Radio is like a trusted friend, it’s always there when you need it

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Russell Woolf.
Camera IconRussell Woolf. Credit: supplied/supplied

I reckon radio is one of the most intimate forms of media.

Intimate because it is the most closely aligned with people’s lives.

And the death of broadcaster Russell Woolf last week certainly demonstrated that.

I, like many ABC listeners, didn’t personally know Russell, but despite this, learning of his passing was something of a shock, akin to a death in the family or of a close friend.

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In fact, for two days, announcers on ABC Radio took umpteen calls and messages from people fondly talking about the jovial big man.

The various morning and afternoon programs were full of stories about Russell, with many referring to his gregarious disposition, the person that he was.

Often when someone such as an entertainer or a movie star dies, their body of work, songs or films are listed and talked about, but in respect to Russell, it was, simply, Russell.

And it seemed as though, this is what mattered most to listeners.

From an early age, I have always been fascinated by radio.

Today, I am lucky to indulge in a medium that gives me so much pleasure, a medium that sees people invite me into their lives.

Radio, unlike television, is a simple connection with the public that is just sound, and a good proportion of that sound is voice, the voice of the presenter.

And that voice can have such an influence because radio, for many, is a constant companion.

It is a companion that wakes you up in the morning, that tells you the time, how cold it is outside, and, often, gives you a laugh to keep you going.

It’s something that is always there.

It’s the farmer’s mate on the tractor, or the fisherman’s buddy in the wheelhouse.

Radio is there for those who can’t sleep and those on shift work. Or those who are alone.

And for many, it is a constant in their lives that gives reassurance — it is one of life’s anchors.

When FM radio took to the airwaves in the 1990s, many believed radio chat was going to become a thing of the past, but, somehow, it has survived.

You could say the advancement of the radio app and the onset of podcasts further demonstrates that individuals want to listen to other individuals, telling them what they think and what they do.

So, vale Russell Woolf, someone who, undoubtedly, understood what radio was all about.

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