Over the airwaves
With 60 years in radio behind him, our Queensland customer Graham has more than a few stories to share about life on air.
His colourful career took him all over the world, from Sydney to Europe, and even onto the famous offshore radio station, Radio Caroline. However, it was the music stars that Graham met along the way that he remembers most fondly.
“I’ve met all sorts of bands through my career – The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, ABBA. But it was when I was working in Madrid in 1965 that I met the biggest band of all – The Beatles,” Graham says.
Graham spent 24 hours with The Beatles, meeting them in their hotel room in Madrid, where John Lennon sat strumming his guitar. He then travelled with them in a limousine to an event.
Graham’s career in radio started from a chance encounter while he was a young telegram boy in Sydney. “Part of my route was delivering to recording and radio studios. One day I delivered a telegram to the ARC studios where they were recording an episode of Tarzan. The lead actor Rod Taylor said I had a great voice for radio. He put me in touch with someone who worked on another show and I started training,” he says.
For the next 10 years Graham worked in radio stations across Sydney, until he heard about Radio Caroline, a UK radio station that was going to broadcast from international waters.
In 1964, Graham set sail for Europe as part of the entertainment team on a cruise ship headed for Italy. He then spent the next year working at radio stations throughout Europe, learning six languages and meeting all sorts of bands and people, before eventually reaching Radio Caroline.
After about three years with the radio ship, Graham returned to Australia in the late 60s. He took up where he left off in Australia’s radio industry and played a key role in shaping radio and television as we know it today. He was pivotal in the popular game show, Blind Date, and presented Australia’s first ever Top 40.
In a career with very few disappointments, Graham says there is one singer he dearly wishes he could have interviewed: the one-and-only Elvis Presley.
“The interview was all planned. It was 1977 and his manager, The Colonel, had given us permission. We were on our way there when we got the news that he had died.”
Although Graham’s life is no longer full of meeting world-famous bands, his love of radio has not diminished at all. Now with help around the home from KinCare Graham can continue doing what he loves most. Every week, Graham hosts his own radio show, Webby’s Golden Years of Radio, where he plays interviews and music from the 1960s – his favourite era in music.
“I still think the 1960s were the best time for music – it was innovative and imaginative.”
You can listen into Webby’s Golden Years of Radio across Australia. Check your local radio listening guide to tune in.