Location: New South Wales, Australia
Date: 1971-1972

Posted November 2010.

When the news arrived that our applications for a job at 2GO, Gosford, were successful, Daryl and I drove south to Gosford for an interview. When we arrived we met with Keith Graham, the manager, who worked out of an office in town. The station was still in the process of being completed. He took us on a tour of the local attractions, including the skillion at Terrigal - a steep headland that juts out into the sea.

Daryl and I arrived back in Lismore and resigned from 2LM, which meant that Daryl's wife Yvonne resigned too - three key people gone. That was an excuse for the board to sack Howard Head as manager. He didn't do much anyway, and he had the WORST body odor. We used to leave cakes of soap on his desk but it didn't do any good. I heard later that he was driving an ice cream truck.

Two weeks later we were in Gosford. Daryl and Yvonne rented a holiday flat at Terrigal and I shared the place with them. I remember being introduced to John West tuna with onion in a can, spread on crackers. Yum. How posh!

The radio station was ready to begin official broadcasting but none of the new announcers had been allocated a shift yet. So we did test broadcasts just to see how the guys performed and how strong the signal was. I remember we received a letter from a bloke in New Zealand who said he heard one of the test broadcasts from across the Tasman!

I was on air early one morning doing a test broadcast when I said, "If you're waiting for the 7.58am train to Sydney, it's now 7.59am. Neh neh neh neh neeeeh neh." The boss was listening and thought it was hilarious, so he allocated me the breakfast shift. Hehe. Daryl got the morning shift so we were back doing the same shifts we did in Lismore.

Life in Gosford was pretty good, and the station was well accepted by the local central coast community. My parents had sold their house in Sydney and bought a house at Terrigal, so I moved in with them.

Top: The old 2GO studios in Henry Parry Drive. The left side of the building housed the studios and the right side housed the reception area and office space. That's an old Volvo whizzing past. Below: My mate Daryl in the on-air studio. I'm pretty sure those phones gave way to a bank of cartridge machines so I must've taken the pic in the very early days. Note the ash tray near the turntable. Hehe.

I traded in the Holden on a late '71 Superbug. There it is pictured parked near the Skillion. I overheard one of the young mechanics at the VW dealership say, "He's trading this on THAT!" as if I were totally nuts. I must admit, when I got behind the wheel of the Bug, I felt claustrophobic compared the the ballroom dimensions of the Holden. That afternoon, there had been a major downpour in town which flooded the streets of Gosford because Brisbane Water was at high tide when the rain fell. As I drove the Beetle through the flooded streets, and saw all the stranded cars with their hoods raised, I knew I'd done the right thing. And on the trip back along the rough, potholed road to the Entrance (before I moved to Terrigal) I was certain I'd done the right thing. The Bug handled the potholes with consumate ease. What great cars those Bugs were!

Yes, there I am looking absolutely terrified. And I was! The local Citizen's Military Forces (CMF) asked me to participate in a promotional exercise that involved heading out to sea in a landing barge. I thought, oh, that sounds nice... a little sailing and a picnic. Yeah, right. That Saturday morning the storms were raging and the wind was howling, and I announced on air that there was NO WAY the CMF would go ahead with the exercise. Wrong! So they bundled me into the back of an army truck with all those butch blokes with rifles and away we went to The Entrance. There were two landing barges. Once we were through the breakers, I caught occasional glimpses of the other barge being tossed about in the huge swell, and I thought, "Bloody hell, if that thing is bobbing around like a cork, we must be doing the same!" All I could do was stare at the floor of the thing and pretend it wasn't happening.

As luck would have it, one of the soldiers was dying for a pee, so he went forward. We crashed head-on into a massive wave which exploded into an almighty shower and he lost his balance, which is not a good thing to do when you're waving your willie around. He broke a leg. So a couple of other soldiers went to his aid, and strapped his leg to his rifle. The captain then gave orders to about turn and head back to shore.

HEAD BACK TO SHORE? I was so relieved I can't begin to tell you. And that's the pic the local newspaper journalist took of me about to disembark. Next, we all had a cuppa tea from an urn in the back of one of the trucks... IN THE RAIN. Jeez, what fun.

The following Monday, back on air, I was supposed to tell the listeners what a great time I had, and that joining the CMF was a fabulous idea. Hello?

Yes, well I hope they didn't listen to mine. I'd hate to think what I said... something totally dumb, I suspect. But at least I was safe on dry land. And there they go again, giving my first name an extra 'r'.

"What are you gonna say next, Gary?" "I dunno, Daryl. Whaddaya reckon?"

I think that lady won a year's supply of frozen food or something. The things you do when you're a DJ.

Yes, the things you do when you're a DJ. There I am bound and gagged... well, not gagged - you can't gag a DJ - and stuck in a wheelbarrow. I'd been kinapped by the local high school kids and held to ransom for a charitable cause. The little buggers arrived at the studio just as I was about to finish my brekky program and dragged me kicking and screaming outside, and then plonked me in the wheelbarrow, and wheeled me all over town asking for donations. And I thought the CMF landing barge was terrifying! All those kids would have been about 18 at the time, which would put them into their late 50s now. Sheesh.

$700 doesn't sound like much but at today's value it would be something close to $10,000. Not bad for a morning's work. UPDATE: Got an email from one of the former students at Gosford High, who remembers the kidnapping very well, and says I was "such a good sport about it". He also wrote: Just further to your kidnapping - if you look at the names in the newspaper clipping, one of your kidnappers was a Mark Edmondson - who became the last Australian to win the Aussie Open Tennis in 1976 - beating John Newcombe. Not everyone can lay claim to that! How's that for trivia! Mark is the one up top with the sideburns.

Kind help? I was hog-tied and kidnapped! 40 years later I'm still having nightmares!

Oh yes, Mulga Bill. The boss of the station asked me to do a promotion for a local electrical and homewares retailer for a brand of washing machine. So I created Mulga Bill, a fictional character who phoned me on air each morning to tell me about his adventures as he wheeled his old washing machine along the road south to Gosford because he'd heard about the great deals being offered by the retailer. He was a miner from Lightning Ridge, and used the old machine to wash and polish his opals. But he needed a new one, and wanted to trade in his oldie.

Each day, I wrote a script and recorded Mulga's bits on cartridge, leaving pauses of appropriate length between his lines for me to respond live on air next day. I recorded Mulga's stuff through a phone to make it sound authentic. I can remember how uncanny it was when the conversations went to air live, just like a real convo with another person. Spooky!

The promotion was supposed to last 2 weeks but it was so successful, the boss asked me to continue it for another 2 weeks. I had to extend the journey by involving Mulga in a romantic interlude with a lady he met on the way. For a while there, it seemed that Mulga was madly in love and might not continue his journey to Gosford. I can't remember all the things that happened to Mulga on his trek south but there were many. It was quite an adventure.

Anyway, there was no real Mulga. But he became real in the minds of listeners. So we had to find one! We hired an actor from Sydney, plonked him a few miles out of town with a wheelbarrow carrying an old washing machine, and got him to walk to town. We announced it on air and people flocked to cheer him on. Hehe. It all sounds so ridiculous now. So he eventually arrived in town and camped overnight on the front lawn of 2GO studios. The poor bloke was petrified. He was unfamiliar with the multitude of adventures that the pretend Mulga had experienced on his trek from Lightning Ridge to Gosford, including the romantic interlude, so he tried to avoid questions from the public like the plague.

They mean "above". But that's okay. I'm not picky.

Not sure what this is, but it might be the winner of the "Draw Mulga Bill" competition. I can see two washing machines with Mulga in the middle. Yeah, who wants to be a rocket scientist when you can do this kinda thing for a living?

And here's another thrilling moment in Radio 2GO history... a lawnmower competition. Noel Brophy, a well-known actor who was as camp as a row of tents, was hired to do the "Zip on the Doodah" TV commercials for Victa Lawnmowers. Check the way Noel is eyeing the winning contestant. Hehe.

And yet another promotion... a pet show. Daryl and I were judges. A DJ's work is never done ya know.

Just before Santa sat on my lap, he whacked my crotch with a cold spoon. I still haven't figured out why he did that.

Oh dear, there I am again making the social pages. How boring. Actually, I bumped into Geoff here in Taree not long ago and... well, let's just say he hasn't aged all that well. Hehe. I used to think he was gorgeous. Next!

Yes, good old Woolie. He was actually the store manager for the local Woolworths supermarket. One time, we did a promotion that involved hitching a ride in a little Bell helicopter - one of those bubble ones that resembles a dragon fly - at nearby Somersby airport. Airport? Try a grassy field on top of a mountain. The pilot was doing aerial mapping but was happy to take us on board for the short flight into Gosford. Well, we were at Somersby waiting for this thing to arrive when I spotted a speck on the horizon. "We're gonna fly in THAT?" Actually, it wasn't too bad. I remember the boss and a few others waving goodbye as the chopper lifted. It was weird to see the boss and the others getting smaller as we gained height almost vertically.

As we flew at a couple of thousand feet over bushland, it was like we were floating in space. There was little sense of forward movement. But the chopper was very smooth, albeit a little crowded with the pilot on one side, me in the middle, and a bear-suited Woolworths manager on the other side. (Pic from the web).

When we got close to the park in Gosford where we were to land, I saw the crowd that had encircled the grass "landing pad". It looked tiny from the air and I wondered how many people would be instantly decapitated as the chopper settled on the ground. "Put your bear head on," I told Woolie. "We're nearly there."

He put the head on and zipped it up, but couldn't see very well out of the two eye holes. He had straight ahead vision, but nothing above, below or to the side. Hehe. The pilot, as I mentioned, was on an aerial mapping survey, and the idea was to drop Woolie and me off before he continued on with his mission. So naturally, he kept the rotor blades spinning as we touched down. The landing was so gentle, Woolie didn't believe it. "We're down," I said. "Time to get out." "Yeah, right. Pull the other one." "Seriously, we've landed! Open the door!" Well, he wasn't convinced because he could hear the rotor blades still spinning. But he opened the door anyway and gingerly put one foot out the door as he checked for solid ground. "We're on the bloody ground," I insisted. "The crowd is waiting!" So he finally found solid earth with his foot and we both exited the aircraft before it took off again. The things you do when you're a supermarket manager.

So that was my time at 2GO. Little did I realize back then that I was about to be arrested and charged with "indecent assault upon a male person", and put in a police station cell. That buggered up things big time and I was dismissed.

Scrapbook Part 6
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