ACRAs 2017: Amanda Keller’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech

“Have I just carked it?”

Andrew Denton & Amanda Keller

Length of speech – seven minutes. Andrew Denton introduced Keller, telling about their time spent working together.

MORE: Winners from the 2017 ACRAS

Have I just carked it?

I am overwhelmed…thank you.

I thought these accolades went to people who have worked in the industry for decades and it is a shock to realise that is now me. It doesn’t feel like that.

The alarm goes off at 4am, I hit the ground running and head to the radio station for a job that I still absolutely love.

The first time I was on radio was when I was a kid at school and I was listening to Gordon Elliott. He was doing a talkback show and I phoned up to talk about rewards for kids. When I hung up I was thrilled and hugged myself – I’d been on radio.

In this room we all know why we love radio. We have been talking at the conference about how there is no other way to have an immediate connection with an audience where you can be yourself.

Andrew used to say that you can go through more creative ideas in a month of radio than you do in a year of television. A blank piece of paper in the morning soon becomes a rundown and then a show. You rip it up at the end of the day and then start again.

This job is hard and it’s challenging and I’m lucky I get a chance to do it every day.

There are many shows I have worked on that stand out, one in particular that I shared with Andrew. That was the morning after September 11 which was my first day back at work after maternity leave. People were waking up hearing us tell them the world had changed. People called and cried, we cried, they were vulnerable and frightened. We were able to share all that with the audience and it was one of the most powerful mornings I have ever had on radio.

And then there are days on air with Jonesy when the gift of a belly laugh is wonderful. He can say something funny that makes me spout tea out of my nose. I get to do that for a job…I am so lucky.

It is easy to forget what being on the radio means. I had an email recently from a woman who said I saved her life after telling a story about symptoms for a heart attack.

I have worked with some amazing producers from Richard Mortlock to Peter Clay, to Ben Latimer to Laura Viglino. These are people who have helped shape my radio brain.

To Andrew Denton, my friend of 35 years, we have been through a lot together. It means a lot to me you said nice words about me tonight. You got me into radio and you set me on this path.

You asked the executives Guy Dobson, Cathy O’Connor and Brad March if you could work with me and they said OK. Thank you for having faith in me.

Thanks to my WSFM family – Ciaran Davis, Duncan Campbell, Charlie Fox and Anthony Xydis – all the people who champion me every day.

To Jonesy, who I love, we are great friends and we share that small space every day. Some days you are a cheese grater on my face, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is hard to live with someone who goes to bed at 8.30pm every night and gets up at 4am. My love to my husband Harley and my sons Liam and Jack, who have always respected these hours.

This an incredible accolade and a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.

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