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SSC Newspaper : November 2013
22 Strathfield Scene NOVEMBER 2013 PEOPLE By Nahrain John Anon-air sign and a microphone was all it took to transform post office administrator John Elwell into a fully fledged DJ. It was 1976 — the year the Eagles released Hotel California, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak established Apple Computer, and inner-west Sydney’s community radio station 2RDJ 88.1FM started testing transmissions. Listening to the radio on the night of the first transmission in March 1976, a 22-year-old Elwell practically had his ear pressed up against the speakers. He was immediately fascinated. Three men — Vincent Murray, Warwick Madden and Kent Broadhead — had the idea to set up a local station. It would provide updates and news for the municipalities of Strathfield, Ashfield, Burwood, Concord and Drummoyne. It would also play ’60s jazz and country music. Everyone in the community was invited to get involved. Although he was often too shy to attend public events, Mr Elwell knew one thing for sure — he was going to attend the station’s public meeting andhewasgoingtobea local star. Mustering every ounce of courage, he remembers walking to the meeting in Concord where the base for the new radio station was located. He said: “I was sort of hiding at the gate wanting to go in but I couldn’t.Then the chairman at the time came along and asked me if I was there for the meeting to join the new station. “I said yes and she grabbed my hand and said come along.” As the station battled bureaucrats for the next seven years to obtain a broadcast licence, Mr Elwell said volunteers would attend workshops every Friday to learn the ins and outs of radio and how to catalogue records. Mr Elwell was appointed the station’s treasurer in 1978 and when the station officially launched at 7am on 5 November 1983, he was given his own weekly program. Why John Elwell is no Kyle Sandilands It’s about getting to know the people in the community and what’s happening NELLA GAUGHAN, 2RDJ PRESENTER Radio DJ John Elwell and 2RDJ 88.1FM celebrated their 30th year on air together this month. Listening to the radio on the night of the first transmission in March 1976, a 22-year-old Elwell practically had his ear pressed up against the speakers Martial arts for Kids and adults 1st floor, 10-12 Parramatta Rd, Homebush. Opp imo Car Wash on George St, North Strathfield call now 9743 5757 oR 0412 851 302 www.tkdworld.com.au learn self defence Senior classes, High school and Group Training auSTRalia’S PRemieR Taekwondo club leaRn confidence diSciPline concenTRaTion niKe uniforM & 2 weeKs training free *conditions apply taeKwondo world Martial arts Three decades later and it’s a double celebration as 2RDJ marks its 30th anniversary and Mr Elwell his 30th year on air. Today, Mr Elwell is one of the station’s seven directors and is still presenting his own weekly show, Sunday Sunrise with John Elwell. “Once you get bitten, it’s hard to get rid of the bite,” he said. Mr Elwell was unfazed by news of Sydney’s most popular breakfast radio duo Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O leaving 2Day FM. “I don’t have any thoughts about him, I don’t know much about him,” he said of Mr Sandilands. “I’ve never listened to him on the radio; I listen to ABC and 2RDJ. I have no idea what he sounds like on the radio. “I just think he’s stupid, but I’m sure half of Australia thinks he’s stupid. “It’s probably a good thing he’s leaving 104.1 because it will help get them out of the all the strife they get in with ACMA [Australian Communications and Media Authority]. “I think I’ve only seen him once on one of those TV programs where he’s on the judging panel and I was forced to watch it.” Mr Elwell is one of 70 presenters who go on air every week, running up to 65 programs. Shows range from Vietnamese and Croatian to Mel’s Music, which plays music from local artists. Mr Elwell said volunteers ran the station, from presenting to day-to-day office management. The station has also been a stepping stone for Australian talent, including The Chaser’s Chris Taylor, radio reporter Michael Packy and Petersham TAFE radio co-ordinator Ben Starr. 2RDJ director and presenter Nella Gaughan said community radio was about doing something fun for the community. “It’s about getting to know the people in the community and what’s happening,” she said. 2RDJ celebrated its 30 years on air with a line-up of ’80s music on 5 November. The station’s history was also featured during the Sunday morning program, Kaleidoscope with George and Felicity. www.radio2rdj.com / food-guide Read our new food blogger, Wee Lynn Teo Wine and Dine with us Online