After getting back with Kyle & Jackie O for a one-off reunion earlier this week it feels like a good time to remember all the years I had working with them. So I’ve written a 3-part blog on my Kyle & Jackie O story.
I first became friendly with Jackie in about 2001 when I was working the drive shift with Jamie Angel at the old 2DayFM studios in Bondi Junction. Jackie and Kyle were on after the drive show with the iconic Hot 30 Countdown and just about every teenager listened to hear the latest hits. Remember, this was before the internet had become popular and there was no iTunes, You Tube or Spotify!
I can remember getting my hands on a copy of Kylie Minogue’s hot new song “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and racing it into their studio so they could play it first in Australia – that really got our friendship going!
I love the musicals and I started inviting Jackie to shows like Mamma Mia and Priscilla. Kyle had no interest – haha! I’m sure Jackie will remember the Priscilla after party where one hit wonder Charlene was flown in to perform her one and only hit – the sugary and corny “Ive Never Been To Me”.
There was also the time when we met Ben Elton, Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen after We Will Rock You. A certain newsreader spilt an entire glass of champagne over one of their Armani suits, thankfully Mr. Elton acted like nothing happened and continued the conversation!
Things really started happening when one day I got to work with virtually no voice after going to a Kylie concert the night before. I went to air and sounded shocking – much to the amusement of listeners and staff including Kyle and Jackie who got me on their show as well.
I remember we had a ball, even though Kyle pushed me to the point where I was absolutely mute and had no voice. So that was the beginning of our long relationship.
In 2004 they asked me to be the newsreader on the new national “Kyle & Jackie O” drive show. It became a major success, with a heady mix of celebrity interviews, huge outside broadcasts, outrageous pranks and competitions.
About that time we also moved to brand new state of the art studios in World Square. As the year went on Kylie & Jackie got me on-air outside of just reading the news. We seemed to have that elusive thing called “chemistry”.
The following year Kyle, Jackie and me were moved to breakfast and the show very quickly became the number 1 FM breakfast show in Sydney. I can remember having drinks with them at the time and they stressed that they wanted me to be myself! I wasn’t exactly sure what they meant, until our first week on-air when they started talking about what they did with their partners on the weekend – Kyle’s girlfriend, Jackie’s husband, and me and my… other half!
Well the genie was out of the bottle. I was gobsmacked to pick up the Sunday papers a few days later where there was an article on me being the first “out” gay radio newsreader.
From there I was known as the “gay newsreader” on-air, a tag that I didn’t mind, because at the time issues like marriage equality and gay rights were not on the radar. As the year went on I started getting invited to events like the Mardi Gras and fundraising dinners and I was able to use the tag in a positive way.
Then in October of 2005 my life was about to change. On one Friday morning I looked out of my news booth and saw my partner Jason standing in the studio with Kyle and Jackie!
Part 2 will be published tomorrow.