Radio how it all began.........1980s
Country music had become popular in Coffs Harbour because of the free Friday night Bowling Club country music nights. A long time friend Russ Hammond over a few beers one night said he was going to go to Tamworth and record a record album. We all thought he was joking but that is just what he did. Russ then began to broadcast a Country Music radio program on The school kids' Community Radio Station, 2CHY. "Wow" everyone in Coffs Harbour was listening to radio broadcaster Russ Hammond on the radio. The students would open the station at 7 am. but Russ had been given permission to open the station at 6 am. He was on between 6am and 7am five days a week. He did play his recorded tracks a lot. It wasn't long before "Norma Murphy, Terry Smith and Jan Kelly. Leon Lowes and Maggie Stuart, Wally McQuaker and many others had all recorded at Russ Hammond's new Recording Studio and they were all now getting their recordings played on the radio.
Sadly, Russ told me one day, he had cancer. He asked me would I do his Early Morning Radio program when he wasn't well enough to do it. I had never been inside a radio studio and didn't really listen to the radio that much. I didn't have any desire to do a radio program I had known Russ for many years and he was a good mate. I said I would give it a go. I only went once with Russ. A short time later he rang me and asked if I would do the early morning country music, he said he was too sick to do it.
I went the next morning. The 2CHY Community Radio studio was on the fourth floor in Moonee Street. Looking out the window there was no activity in the town. (Anyone with any sense would be still in bed). It was raining, dark and cold. I fiddled around and had music playing and wondered who would be listening to this? Surprisingly after that day people said, "We heard you making a fool of yourself on the radio today".
That's when I realized the power of the radio. People didn't have to go to Hotels and Clubs to be entertained. There was a real audience listening, some in bed, some at work, driving to work or just getting home. Some were going through hard times some just needed a friend. They were my audience. Not everyone gets that chance. I decided to make my radio programs as entertaining as possible.