Radio host Ian McNamara is one of the country’s most popular voices on the airwaves with more than 2million tuning in to his national ABC morning show, Australia All Over, every Sunday.
‘‘Macca’’ is gearing up to hit the road on a national tour to celebrate more than 30 years of his popular program.
The Macca concert tour begins in Gosford at Laycock Theatre on October 28. For your chance to win a Macca prize pack, see the win section on page four.
How did you get started in radio?
Like everybody, I just went to school, then I did uni and then I went to work for a little while. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My mother was keen for me to get a job so she was always collecting job ads out of the paper and leaving them in my room. I got the hint and applied for a job at the ABC but didn’t get it. Eventually, I landed a job in their finance department. I got the opportunity to work in radio, did some training and became a reporter.
Can you remember your first report?
There was this bloke who used to do carvings in whale bones and that was the first interview I did. I remember it more because I was so nervous. I buggered it up, like anything you do the first time, but I gradually improved [laughs]. I loved being a reporter and running around with a recorder. That’s what I still do – I take the recorder and go talk to people. I like meeting someone and having a yarn wherever I am.
Do you find more interesting characters outside the city?
Everybody has got a story and they want to tell it. It’s not always a riveting story but I reckon it’s a great way to learn about the world. I met a bloke once and he was driving a tractor and said ‘I’m just stopping for lunch’. He’d built a metal box and welded it to the exhaust pipe and used to put his lunch in there. So he’d put a leg of lamb in and by the time it got to lunchtime, it was all cooked. I thought that was the most amazing thing. He was a real Aussie innovator. Things don’t happen like that in the city.
What year did the program start?
I started doing it in 1982, so it’s 30 years. That’s half my life, really. My mum said to me when I was much younger ‘One day you turn around and you’re 65’ and that’s sort of right. The 30 years has just gone like a blur. I look at things I did two years ago and I say ‘Was that really two years ago?’ Maybe it’s because of the internet? Everything is faster. We’ve all got the iPhone in our hand. We live life at a fast pace. That’s why I like getting out, meeting people who’ve just cooked their dinner on a tractor [laughs].
Tell us about the upcoming tour?
It’s like the radio program, so there’s a lot of music and friends and a bit like the show in that anyone will turn up. Often we’ll be in a town somewhere and someone will ring me and say, ‘‘I hear you’re in town. Can I come and sing a song?’’ We always involve the audience.
Do any memorable audience members spring to mind?
People turn up with all sorts of things. I remember one night a guy turned up with a snakeskin and said, ‘‘Look, Macca. Look what I’ve got’’ and it was this snakeskin. He proceeded to tell me the story about how he got it and felt compelled to bring it along. But I like that kind of thing.
What are your favourite parts of Australia?
I just love to be out of the city. The world’s your oyster, you look out the windscreen and it’s like a postcard. You see this great vista and the further out you get, the better that is. It’s a great country.
What do you love about the job?
I interview people all the time and it’s always different. You get a different perspective about life. Some people are nice, some people are a pain in the arse. It’s a bit like life, you know? [laughs].