This post was first published on news.com.au on 24 April 2018. See the original here.
We’ve all probably wished that we could tell our boss to sod off at some stage. Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald actually did it — and it paid off big time.
Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald has opened up about an outburst that ultimately landed him a huge payday.
Fitzy told the story during a chat with Craig Bruce on the Game Changers: Radiopodcast in which he recalled how he parlayed a short stint in the AFL into a flourishing media career that has been going strong for 15 years.
If you’re not familiar with his past, the South Australian played just 18 AFL games between 2000 to 2002 before retiring due to injury.
In 2004 he was playing local footy in Adelaide when he decided he wanted to pursue a career in the media and thought auditioning for the fourth series of Big Brothercould help him achieve his goal.
Thousands of people wanted to be on the reality show, but Fitzy received some invaluable advice that all but guaranteed him a place in the house.
“Ben Williams [who won the first series of Big Brother] was a good friend of mine,” Fitzy told Craig Bruce.
“Now when I was getting through the stages of Big Brother, he pulled me aside and said, ‘If you make it, this is the strategy you need.’
“He said, ‘You need an identity.’ He said, ‘You know what mate? You’re an ex-footballer. Go in there and say that you failed at football.’”
Fitzy took his mate’s advice and the producers ate it up.
“Something clicked inside of me and I said, ‘I might go in there and say I’m just a loser. Everything that I put my mind to, it doesn’t work; football’s failed, love’s failed ...’ They instantly went, ‘That’s exactly what we’re looking for!’”
With a clear strategy going into the show, Fitzy proved to be a hit with viewers and finished fourth in the season which was won by Trevor Butler.
Not long after the reality show ended, Fitzy joined the Nova breakfast show in Adelaide and proved to be just as popular on radio as he was on Big Brother.
Fast forward to 2011 and Fitzy packed his bags and moved interstate to host Nova’s national drive show with Michael Wippa’ Wipfli.
The drive gig was a huge promotion, but as Fitzy told Craig Bruce on the podcast, it lasted less than a year.
“I was good mates with Scott Dooley and Mez [who were hosting the Nova Sydney breakfast show] and their show wasn’t doing too well,” Fitzy said.
Nova executive Paul Jackson summoned Fitzy and Wippa to a meeting and told the duo, “Guys, got some great news, we want you to do Sydney breakfast!”
But Fitzy’s reaction was not what the Nova boss was hoping for.
“I just looked at Paul and said, ‘I’m not going to f***ing do it. I’m not doing it,’” Fitzy told Craig Bruce.
“I said, ‘Mate, I’ve just done seven years in Adelaide doing breakfast!’
“The drive show ... our ratings were starting to climb and we were just enjoying it so much. I said, ‘I just don’t want to do it. I don’t care about the money, I just don’t want to get up early anymore.’”
The Nova boss was stunned by Fitzy’s outburst and realised he had to make the offer too good to refuse.
“It actually helped in way,” Fitzy said about his severe reaction to the offer. “They just threw more money at us and we were like, ‘This is awesome!’”
With a substantial financial offer on the table, Fitzy reluctantly changed his mind and the duo started hosting the Nova breakfast show in Sydney at the start of 2012.
“After a year of doing breakfast again, we got back into the groove,” Fitzy said. “I love breakfast now. I think it’s the perfect shift.”