This post was first published on Radio Today on 6 February 2018. See the original here.
The good stuff always happens when the microphones are turned off.
It was September 2016 and I had just finished talking to Christian O’Connell for the UK series of the Game Changers podcast.
I liked Christian from the moment I met him. He’s a radio guy – has loved it with a passion since he was a teenager, and has been living the dream from the moment he first went to air.
The off-air banter that day started with some small talk – we both knew Phil Dowse, we both loved working with Hamish and Andy, we both loved Melbourne… oh, “and by the way Craig, I would love to work in Australia”.
My first reaction was “you crazy Englishman, why would you give up a number one show in London?!”.
Here’s the thing with Christian. Listen to the podcast (I need the numbers, it helps with the rankings in iTunes…) and I challenge you to not have a very positive view of him by the end of it. He’s unbelievably likeable.
He’s also funny, he’s smart, he loves radio, he loves Australian radio and our creativity as an industry. I think he thinks we might be one of the strongest radio territories in the world.
That’s one of the reasons he’s coming – so he can slug it out in an incredibly competitive market against some of the biggest stars in Australian media. (And because it’s too fucking cold and wet in London for any normal functioning human).
However, none of this will matter in June when his voice comes through the speakers in the kitchen of a Gold P1 listener getting ready for work in Waverley. To them, he’ll just be some strange Pommy guy.
Will they give him a chance? Will they stay for the music and grow to like him? Or will they run to the open arms of Eddie, Fifi, Chrissie and Sam?
Christian knows how big the challenge is. He knows that it’s going to take every bit of two, maybe three years, to build an audience in Melbourne.
What an unbelievable result it will be if he manages to pull it off.
I for one wish him well.