Graham Mack, Talk Show Host, Mack Media UK
New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury Confidential series profiles NYF’s award-winning Grand Jury members, these world-renowned professionals are recruited from all facets of the radio industry to select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠. This week we’re up close and personal with 2016 Grand Jury member, Graham Mack, Talk Show Host, Mack Media UK.
Graham Mack is a multi-award winning radio programmer and presenter with over 20 years experience in the radio industry. In 2013, Mr. Mack was in the spotlight at NYF’s International Radio Program Awards, earning the Bronze Trophy for Best Radio Personality.
It all started one day in 1991 when he was working as an an air-conditioning engineer in Sydney Australia. He came home from work and said to his wife, “I’ve had the radio on in the van today; I reckon I could do that!” Graham started his radio career in Australia, and in 1997 he moved back to his native England. He has achieved consistent ratings success in talk and music formats, working for commercial radio and the BBC, on-air and in management.
In the interview, below Graham shares his insights on working in the radio industry including disc jockeys that were an inspiration, the most important lesson he learned from his first job, early leadership lessons and more.
New York Festivals: Who or what were your early influences in your career?
Graham Mack: Before I worked in radio I was lucky enough to have lived in three different countries. I grew up in the north west of England halfway between Liverpool and Manchester so was able to listen to great disc jockeys like Billy Butler on Radio City and Mike Sweeney and Dave Ward on Piccadilly Radio as well as Radio 1’s Steve Wright. In 1983, my parents immigrated to New Zealand, I heard Kevin Black on Auckland’s Radio Hauraki and his syndicated show “The Other Top 40”. I also was really into Rick Dees who’s Weekly Top 40 played on our local FM station, ‘K Double C’, every Sunday. In 1990, I moved to Australia and became a fan of Doug Mulray on Sydney’s Triple M at breakfast time and during the day as an air conditioning mechanic; I listened to the AM talk stations, 2UE and 2GB in my work van. My favourites were John Laws and Malcolm T Elliott. By the time I got my first full-time job as a radio presenter at 2PK in the Central West of New South Wales in 1993, I’d had a wide range of influences to draw upon.
New York Festivals: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?
Graham Mack: During my first shift at 2PK, I took a call from a lady who said, “Oh you’re our new announcer.” She didn’t say THEIR new announcer or even THE new announcer, the word she used was OUR. That’s an important thing to remember, you are there for them. They chose to put you on, as far as the listener is concerned, it’s their radio station,not yours.
New York Festivals: What were some early leadership lessons for you?
Graham Mack: You can manage time, projects, budgets and expectations but you can’t “manage” people. People have to be led. To do that you have to inspire, motivate and respect them.
New York Festivals: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?
Graham Mack: I started out as a music jock on commercial radio stations in Australia, moved to the UK and was fairly successful doing that for a while. I also worked as a programmer and won my first major awards (Sony Gold, Gillard and a couple of NYFs) for presenting talk shows on the BBC.
New York Festivals: What are the hallmarks of award-winning radio programs?
Graham Mack: It’s all about emotion. Award-winning radio programs have to move me in some way.
For more information about the 2016 New York Festivals Radio Program Awards please visit: Here.