What you can learn from Fitzy

Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald is celebrating 10 years with Nova Entertainment (formerly dmg).

Fitzy joined the Nova 919 Adelaide breakfast show just after launch in August 2004. The launch lineup was Jules Schiller, Tony Moclair and Jodie J Hill. Fitzy joined straight out of BB04 as a sports guy after a heated market fight to get him.

Very quickly he became more and more part of the show.

I joined as PD in early 2006, taking over from Jason Staveley (now heard on WSFM).

The Nova 919 breakfast show went through many changes in the 6 and a bit years Fitzy was there. A couple of years in Jodie left, with morning announcer Lisa Fernandez replacing her. Then it was Tony’s turn to move on. When Lisa left to go to Perth, Claire Murphy (now B105 EP) took over until late 2010. Too much change really but sometimes that happens.

Radio programmers are always on the lookout for unique, real and compelling entertainers. Fitzy is definitely that. Yes he sounds rough around the edges, some listeners call him a bogan, but what you see is what you get with Fitzy and that's a great thing! He is always just himself.

What Fitzy did in his early years at Nova Adelaide was very clever. The way he learnt and sponged knowledge off season performers like Jules and Tony was very smart. They are both intelligent, funny and talented writers, who delivered sketches and characters regularly on the show. Fitzy developed many content tricks within a short period of time by learning off Jules and Tony. His song parodies back then were well crafted and well performed – a strength he still utilises today. While the song parody has become the new prank call in Australian radio, Fitzy is the one that does them really well.

He is a super nice guy who always has a clear vision of how he wants something to go. Not only in his passion for the radio show but also beyond that to things like TVC shoots. He would constantly come up with ways to make every bit the best that it can be. A true creative.

Fitzy works really, really hard. He would constantly be at work until lunchtime – writing, recording, prepping his next piece of exclusive content. Leaving at 9.10 was unheard of.

Once I remember walking through the airport on my way to some record company junket (sorry, I mean important executive training session) when I bumped into Fitzy heading to the Gold Coast for his Big Brother TV commitment. In that one 5 minute walk through the Adelaide airport a lot of people interacted with him in some way.

They would yell out “Fitzy” (or “Frysy”), or want to have a chat. He would always give them something back. It might have just been a “Gday mate”, a “Hey”, a wave or it may have been something more substantial. He’s probably still best mates with security at Adelaide airport. Fitzy always gives his fans something, a bit of himself. He connects.

For any radio performer wanting to ‘make it’ to their end goal, you could learn a thing or two from Fitzy.

Congrats on 10 years mate.

Mark Hales is former Editor of Radio Today, and Program Director of Nova 91.9.

He is now Music Director and Drive Announcer at River 94.9 in Ipswich, Queensland.

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