Local radio personality Mark Strachan has been working on the Mid-North Coast since 1989. His popular morning show on 2MC has become the voice of the coast and a reflection of our lifestyle. We catch up with ‘Strawny’ for a chat.
> How did you get into the Radio Industry?
It was something I always wanted to do but never really had the confidence to do it. So after working for myself for nine years I decided that I would give it a go and I landed my first job at 2GM in Goulburn in 1989.
> What did you have to do to become a radio announcer?
It’s like one of those vicious circles, you go to get a job and they tell you you gotta have experience and you say you can’t get experience without a job. So, I did what most people do and combined community radio with a course I did at the Max Rolley Media Academy in Sydney which is still operating. Max is a famous old voice over man and he still has his radio school running today. I really enjoyed my time there, which was about 18 months. I put what I had learned at the Radio school into practice at the community station, while still running my business and was lucky to get that first job.
> When did you start working for 2MC?
I moved here in March 1989 as the Producer and I was just making commercials and filling in for a few hours in the middle of the day. Since then some people have left, the radio industry is a very transient industry especially for young people who are always looking to move on, move on, move on. I just loved the area so much, I always wanted to stay here with the great surfing and fishing, I can pick my young fella up from school everyday so it’s just a great environment. As people left I made my way up the tree and ended up on the breakfast show after only a year and a half. I have been here ever since.
> What is your most memorable moment on radio?
Gee that is a toughie. There have been so many; that’s one thing about this job, you get to meet so many interesting people – be that locals or international stars. One of the delights is helping with community events and playing a part in linking up business with worthwhile community events. One of the funniest was a joke we played one time when the Maltida’s (the Australian Soccer team) were finding it really hard to raise funds for overseas trips and training facilities, and they did a nude calendar. We played a joke on air to say our nude calendar will be out this year and you can buy it at newsagents etc. What started out as a joke came to reality in 1996 and we actually did a nude calendar. There were no “bits “ showing, they were cleverly disguised in various shots but it was really funny, probably one of the funniest I’ve had. When I came up with the idea the other announces thought it was one of Strawny’s lame brain idea’s and would never get off the ground, so when the photographer arrived here on the day to take the photo’s everyone was saying “wow, he’s fair dinkum about this”. What started out as a joke ended up a huge success. We ordered 1,000 calendars and sold out within two days. With the funds we bought 95 rescue tubes for surf clubs in our broadcast area from Camden Haven to the Nambucca.
> Most embarrassing moment on radio.
I have had a few, like everybody I have had my fair share of ‘stuff ups’ at work. I would say one of the first big interviews I did in Goulburn was one. I had been doing music shifts and just moved into mornings and I was doing an interview about Alcoholics Anonymous because it was one of their biggest rallies on the weekend. I met this guy who said his name was say- ‘Fred Bloggs,’ and I was live on air and said “and joining me from Alcoholics Anonymous is Fred Bloggs” and said his first and second name…the poor guy just sat there shaking his head. It was then that I realised what I had said, dear oh dear. I wish it didn’t happen but it did.
> Favourite person that you have interviewed?
I don’t know. But one of the weirdest was Syvelster Stallone’s mother – who apparently does her own Starguide and things like that!
I tell you she’s a wild bit of gear! Jim Rogers, I don’t know what he’s is on! But he was an interesting one. There are really too many.
> How did you end up interviewing Sylvester Stallone’s mother?
She was ‘flogging’ a book and she was out here to do as many interviews as she could. Jackie was her name.
> What is the best thing about working on radio?
Probably the variety, no two days are ever the same.
A lot of people ask me about how they can motivate their kids. I believe the major thing in life is finding a passion; something you like doing and can make a job out of it – and that’s what I have done. I enjoy talking to people, thinking up crazy promotions and just having fun, which is what it is all about. Everyday I enjoy getting up, people ask me how I get up at three o’clock in the morning, but its just the lifestyle. Living in a great place like this where, as I said I can fish and pick the kids up from school everyday. People in Sydney don’t believe I have this great lifestyle, even though it’s six days a week and a lot of hard work, it is still a lot of fun.
> So what does your average day entail?
I get up at 3am, I am at work by four, then on the air from five untill nine. From there it’s virtually my lunch period where I can have a run and swim at the beach, I have a shower then put on the collar and tie and head back to work. Then I write the sport for both the stations we have here; there’s commercials to voice; promotions meetings and meeting clients. On Saturday’s my shift is from six until nine as the show virtually runs itself when we have so many guests, but when we do the live shows on a Saturday it might end up a five till two day.
> The 2MC annual fundraiser is on again this June, can you tell us a little about that.
We started off for the first time last year with “Give Me 5 For Kids”, which is basically about how useless five cent pieces are for anything these days when you’re out shopping. They just fill up your pockets and no one really uses them. The idea is for everyone to go through the jars and fruit bowls at home, even ash trays and collect all the five cent pieces they’ve got and donate them to “Give Me 5 For Kids”. It specifically looks after buying equipment for the local hospital for the kids wards. Last year we set an initial target of $5,000 which was passed in the first few days and the final figure was just over $21,000. Of this around $16,000 went to the Pediatrics unit of the Port Macquarie Hospital and $5,500 went to the children’s ward at Kempsey hospital. It is a really worth while fundraiser and people can see that the money is staying local. It is helping kids which everyone wants to do, it has been a lot of fun.
> Are you hoping to beat the $21,000 figure this year?
With charity things I never like to put a figure on it, if we only raised $500 to me that’s great as it’s money the Hospital didn’t have – although it would be great to beat $21,000 this year!
> How can people become involved in the fundraiser?
There will be specially marked tins from our good friends at Nestle. They are silver with the “Give Me 5 For Kids” logo and the 2MC FM logo as well, which will be at a lot of businesses around the coast.
> Thank You for your time Mark.