Sunday Soapbox: Graham Mack pt 7
How an airconditioning mechanic working in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain
Graham Mack was born in Liverpool England and became an Australian citizen in 1993. He’s an AFTRS graduate and worked on the air here at 2QN, 6KG, 2PK, 5SE, and 2GO.
He’s won some of the industry’s biggest awards as a talk show host and music jock, on commercial radio and The BBC. Since 1997, he’s been working on radio stations in London and all over the UK. He is currently the Program Director and Breakfast Show Host at BOB fm.
In a weekly Sunday Soapbox series on Radio Today, Graham shares with us some very funny stories from his time learning about and then getting onto Australian radio (read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6). The 7th and final instalment is below…
Although I left 5SE in South Australia in June 1995, I know my voice was still being heard on the radio station for many weeks afterwards, possibly months or even years.
I’d accepted a job as drive-time presenter at 3GG in Victoria but was still at 5SE because I’d had to give a month’s notice. Less than a week into my notice period, I was taken off the air and given other jobs around the radio station. One of those jobs was recording album tracks from vinyl LPs onto tape cartridges. The idea was to make it easier for the DJs to play the tracks on the air when they came up on the play list. 12″ albums were more difficult to cue than 7″ singles and often, after playing an album track, jocks forgot to switch the speed back to 45rpm so you’d hear a slowed down version of a song until the DJ realised what they’d done then they’d switch the speed back and you’d hear the song ‘wow’ up from 33 and 1/3 rpm to 45rpm. Having album tracks on carts was a lot safer.
Every day I was locked in the back studio, away from everyone else with a stack of albums and blank carts. All day I would record the songs in real time onto the carts then at the end of the day, I’d sit in front of the music computer and change each song’s details from “LP” to “C”. Now, when a DJ was getting the music for their show from the record library, they’d grab that song on cartridge instead of vinyl and it would be the cartridge they’d play on the air.
By the second day, I was making the job more interesting by singing along to the songs. Then it hit me, why don’t I open the mic that’s in front of me and RECORD my singing along with the album track onto the cartridge? That’s what I ended up doing, I added extra backing vocals and harmonies to some of the greatest hits of all time.
I always wonder if anyone ever noticed that the versions of songs by artists as varied at The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Meatloaf and The Bee Gees that were played on 5SE from then on, sounded a little bit different.
Listen to “Mack Nuggets” at www.mackmedia.co.uk