When someone with the wallop of Ray Hadley, a broadcaster of great influence and a huge national audience drops your name…it’s a good thing. Right? Not necessarily.
“tug his coat please, otherwise he’ll cop both barrels to a much larger
audience,every day from here to eternity…”
Driving home from an early morning jog around Lake Burley Griffin on a mild May morning in 2012, A.M Radio activated, 9 am news done and dusted and the banjo intro theme fading.. Raymond Morris Hadley OAM proceeded to “rip me a new one”…deluxe. I’d been pre- warned a slap was on its way but I was totally unprepared for the childish “mine is bigger than yours” outburst which was delivered to the hundreds of thousands of listeners tuned to the scores of radio stations which take his daily morning program. And the silly sausage forgot to mention my name. People in Bundaberg and Bendigo and Griffith and Goulburn are to this day still none the wiser as to the identity of bollockee.
During seven minutes of the opening stanza of Ray’s nationally syndicated radio program I went from being…. “my old mate Welshy down there in Canberra” ….to…. “that bloke in the Afternoon on 2CC” . Ray Hadley had completely dropped my name.
We were certainly not “old mates”, we had met on half a dozen occasions (and spoken several times on my radio show) over a period of 12-15 years. We had several things on common; both born in 1954, a background in horse racing, the Macleay Valley (Kemspey) and 30 years in broadcasting but that’s where it ended.
My sin? The previous day I had the audacity to interview, on my program, the Independent member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott. Without putting too fine a point on it Ray doesn’t like Rob Oakeshott and consequently anyone who does he doesn’t seem to like either. I have known Rob Oakeshott for as long as I’ve known Hadley. A decent, hardworking, intelligent and outstanding member for the electors of both Port Macquarie in the NSW Parliament and the Federal seat of Lyne he won in 2008 is how I often described the controversial former conservative on air. Which almost always garnered me the vilest responses from several anonymous cowards in the audience.
Reality is we didn’t mention Ray during our Drive chat. Rob referred to Sydney “shock-jocks” and their daily sermons on the evils of the man who made Julia Gillard Prime Minister but not Ray specifically.
That afternoon I did what all red blooded boys from the flint- hard North Launceston suburb of Mowbray do and got on the front foot. I wacked back. No backward steps were ever taken by Mowbray boys. If there were any bullies and cowards at Mowbray they found themselves another post code very quickly.
Word got back to Hadley which resulted in the following laughable, “mine is bigger than yours” email which was shoved under my nose by my Program Director the following day.
“I copped another spray from your drive announcer yesterday……It’s very
simple…..Given he commands about 6.9% of the audience and I have from
memory, 12.4%, can you tug his coat please, otherwise he’ll cop both barrels to a
much larger audience, every day from here to eternity…” Ray Hadley
I’ve often wondered just how Ray was going to successfully give it to me “both barrels to a much larger audience every day from here to eternity” without naming me. And pardon me for being a pedant but would that be the beginning of “eternity” or the end?
You would have to feel terribly sad for a man who has the world at his fingertips – Influence, success, power – yet allows a “sawn-off bodgie” (a former teacher’s assessment of me) from Mowbray with a bigmouth and an audience of 7 people, 2 cats and a ferret to get under his skin.
At least Ray’s 2GB colleague, Chris Smith had the decency to name me when he was bagged me.