ACRAs 2017: Ray Hadley’s (almost) unedited Hall of Fame acceptance speech

“After 19 years at 2UE I left. I didn’t actually leave, I was sacked.”

When he started Hadley said the longest speech he had ever sat through at an ACRAs was 25 minutes which he described as “pure agony”. He promised not to do that – although he did stretch his out to 17 minutes. Adam Lang introduced Hadley.

MORE: Winners from the 2017 ACRAS

You won’t believe this, but Southern Cross Austereo has edited the speech. I’m fucked now.

There are people to thank. Firstly to Commercial Radio Australia. To my four children – Daniel, Laura, Emma and Sarah – I am very proud of them and they have put up with a lot over the past 28, 26, 22 and 20 years. They didn’t have much say in the early part of all of this.

I worked seven days a week during their very young days and I worked every Christmas Day for 12 years, meaning I wasn’t at home when I should have been at home and they never complained. As adults they are very supportive.

There are a whole range of colleagues to thank. I have been blessed with wonderful producers, particularly over the past 16 years at 2GB. John Redman is currently my executive producer and the extraordinailry talented Taylah Hill, who has already accepted an award tonight. We also have Jack Gramenz from 4BC in Brisbane plus Zoe Hitch and Danielle Pogson guide me through the day.

What I try to do is make sure there is a future for young people in the industry and I am very proud that Tamara Wearne, Stephanie Borys and Nick Fergus have recently left me to work in other areas in our company.

Previously Michael Thompson, who I picked from 2CC and Capital Radio got pinched from me by Macquarie Media and the executive chairman Russell “call me Roger” Tate and Adam Lang.

Other people include Janyne Tooze, Sophie Onikul, Amanda Long, and Sarah McGilvray.

My PA Sophie Baird has always had my back and she knows where all the bodies are buried. And there are a few fuckin’ bodies, I’ll tell you! You don’t do 35 years of this without getting in a fair bit of strife. Hopefully the strife is behind me in more ways than one. I owe her a great debt of gratitude as at various times in my life she has stood beside me and she is a wonderful sounding board and a great friend.

Women have played a very important part in my broadcast life. I have surrounded myself with the most wonderful, talented and intelligent women, particularly over the last 10 to 15 years at Macquarie Media.

When I first started, most women in radio worked in the newsroom.

I worked for a bloke once who only allowed women in his office to wear skirts or frocks. They weren’t allowed to wear long pants. He [John Laws] is still broadcasting and still making women wear frocks and skirts.

In 1981 at 2UE you couldn’t date another staff member. Stewart Lamb, the owner and a Presbyterian, wouldn’t tolerate staff members going out with each other. If you did date in secret and then happened to get married, one of you would have to leave the company. They wouldn’t allow a married couple to work…we’ve come a long way since then.

I have been dragged into this century by the young women I work with.

People used to call me a fuckwit and a dope when I first started, hence I used to talk to people in the same manner. That doesn’t happen any more and nor should it. It should not have happened to me and I should not have done it to other people.

Other people I need to thank include Mark Collier who was the news director at 2UE in 1981 who allowed an auctioneer-turned-cab driver on air.

I was a race caller earning $100 a week so I used to drive a cab on Thursday and Friday to earn a quid. I was convinced to take a cab out on a Tuesday as well one week and I picked up Mark Collier in North Sydney and took him to North Ryde. If I hadn’t been on the rank in North Sydney I wouldn’t be here tonight.

We lost Gary O’Callaghan this year, and he also got me in the door. Also thanks to John Tapp and Des Hoysted, then John Brennan who turned me into a rugby league caller and then a general sports broadcaster. I have been doing the League for 31 years. I probably should stop but I like it. I like going to the footy, it is a really good seat and you don’t have to pay for it.

My colleagues in the Continuous Call Team have played a major role in my life. Bob Fulton has been with me for 30 of the 31 years and the late Peter Frilingos who we lost in 2004, Steve Roach, Darryl Brohman, Erin Molan, Mark “Piggy” Riddell, the late Peter Jackson and the late Jack Gibson.

In 1991 John Brennan called me and asked me to fill in for John Laws. I continued doing that until mid-2000. Laws wasn’t all that giving about sharing his secrets and he has plenty of them. He is a consummate broadcaster, but just watching him was a life-changing experience for me.

Even though we don’t talk all that regularly these days I want it known I owe him a great debt of attitude.

After 19 years at 2UE I left. I didn’t actually leave, I was sacked. And the prick that said you are a competent sports broadcaster, but nothing else is that ******* Tony Bell. But having called him a ******* I want to also say this…

God bless you, sir, for doing what you did because if he hadn’t I wouldn’t have gone to 2GB and I wouldn’t be here tonight.

Everyone thinks that the plot to get Jones and Hadley to 2GB was some masterstroke by this genius John Singleton.

I started at 2GB on Christmas Eve 2001, doing breakfast of all things while Alan [Jones] was having a contractual dispute with 2UE. Singo asked me to do Mornings against Laws and I replied it was too hard.

Subsequently when Singo was announcing Alan Jones would be doing 2GB breakfast, he also said he had just agreed to terms with Ray Hadley to host 9am to 12 noon. I was sitting out the back.

George Buschman [former 2GB MD] pushed me onstage. What was I going to do, I had him by the balls because he had to pay me a lot of money to do the football and weekday mornings. I said it was a great honour and the rest is history.

I want to say something about Alan Jones and the role he has played in my success. He is a very complex individual and more complex than anyone could imagine. He is also the most giving individual I have ever encountered in terms of what he does for other people that doesn’t get acknowledged.

Anyone in radio who thinks you can be a success in morning, afternoon, drive or nights without a really strong breakfast is certifiable. I am fully aware that I don’t win 107, and I don’t win one, without Jones delivering me a big audience at 9am.

Thanks to Singo and the management team at Macquarie Media who have been very supportive and never interfered [Hadley rolls his eyes and looks sideways]…unless it is absolutely necessary.

To Russell Tate, Adam Lang, Michael Thompson, Mark Noakes and the team, thank you.

I want to also thank the network stations – Grant Broadcasting. To Ron and Stephanie Camplin from Bathurst Broadcasters, who have supported me through my career.

Also to Kevin Blyton from Capital Radio and to Resonate who take the program in parts of rural Queensland.

We have had a tough week with Southern Cross, but in the main they have been very supportive. I never really thought they would take me off given we have a 42% share in Port Macquarie. They have made a lot of money out of me and we probably don’t charge them enough, but good luck to you.

When I get too old for this I wouldn’t mind going to an FM network and bullshitting for three hours in the morning and playing a few songs.

It’s not rocket science. We are in the entertainment business. If we don’t entertain, the audience will go somewhere else.

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