IT’S the bromance that resulted in the most successful radio show in Australian history, but how did it all begin?
Andy Lee has opened up about the first time he met Hamish Blake way back in 2000 when he was studying marketing at university in Melbourne.
“It was really bizarre,” Andy explained to Craig Bruce on the Game Changers: Radio podcast.
“I hadn’t been to class very often. I wasn’t a great student. I wasn’t really engaged in what I was doing and there was a management class and I knew I was going to need these 10 attendance points to get a pass.”
Andy hadn’t rocked up to that class once all year and as the lecturer ticked the students’ names off the attendance list, he just assumed that Andy wouldn’t be there ... again.
“I said, ‘No, I’m here’,” Andy said.
“I just left my hand up and I said, ‘I’d love a chance to address the classroom.’ So I went up and I made a speech to the whole class and him about, ‘if I was here, I would be more distracting and for the good of everyone here, I think you’re all going to do better, come this exam, because of my absence.’ And then I said, ‘with that in mind, I think I should probably get 10 [attendance points], but I’ll leave it with you’.”
Not only did the speech work and Andy received all 10 attendance points, but it also impressed one of his classmates who approached him after the tutorial.
“A guy called Pete came up to me … and said, ‘Hey, you’re a lot like my friend Hamish’,” Andy said.
“He said, ‘You should meet him.’ I said, ‘Yeah, OK, where is he?’ And he said, ‘Oh, he’s in Sydney ... but he’s here next year’.”
Four months later, Andy had completely forgotten about the conversation when Pete approached him in the university courtyard with Hamish by his side.
“Pete came up and said, ‘This is the guy I was telling you about last year.’ I remember Hamish saying to me, ‘I’ve heard a lot about you.’ And I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Nup. Nothing at all’.
“We cut Pete out of the relationship, went across to the pub and that was the start of getting to know each other,” Andy said.
Less than 12 months later, Hamish and Andy landed their own radio show on Fox FM in Melbourne and after five years of honing their craft, they were promoted to the national drive slot on the Today Network.
As Andy also revealed in the podcast, in their very first week of their national show in 2006, the boys came up with one of their most famous slogans — Pants Off Friday.
The ritual of broadcasting in their jocks once a week was born after a disagreement with their radio boss who only wanted Hamish and Andy to broadcast from Monday to Thursday.
“Hamish and I were adamant that we were not going to let another show have a day where they can sample something else,” Andy told Craig Bruce.
“We went back and forth with Dave Cameron (Fox FM boss) about it and he eventually came back and said, ‘We can’t afford it, that’s the reason,’ which was a lie, obviously. And we said, ‘We’ll do it for free.’ So we did Fridays for free for the first two years of our contract. And he said, ‘Yeah, OK, but you have to theme it.’
“We’d forgotten all about it ... we came in on the Friday and Dave says, ‘Now what did you think about the theme?’ And Hamish just turned around and said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s Pants Off Friday,’ just off the cuff. And Dave’s like, ‘Oh yeah, what’s that all about?’ And I’m looking at Hamish and I’m like, ‘Oh, it just helps you relax, kind of heading into the weekend’.”
Their boss loved it and the boys are still dropping their dacks on Fridays more than 10 years later.
“It’s probably the most recalled thing we have on our show,” Andy said, “but it stemmed from a want to always be on”.
Hamish and Andy can currently be heard nationally on the Hit Network from 4-6pm weekdays but are set to walk away from radio at the end of the year.