Doug Mulray dies: Australia loses Sydney FM radio pioneer, ‘true radio royalty’

Doug Mulray

Mulray ruled the airwaves at Triple M Sydney across the 1980s

News broke overnight of the death of former Triple M Sydney breakfast radio icon Doug Mulray, aged 71. Known as “Uncle Doug” to a generation of radio listeners, he passed away in intensive care in a Sydney hospital late on Thursday.

His passing comes at the end of a month when the media industry has also farewelled Foxtel’s Brian Walsh. There were also recent tributes for other Triple M veterans who passed this month – Richard Mortlock and Mike Drayson.

Mulray’s first foray into radio was at the small country station 2AD in NSW. His next on-air role was at 2GO Gosford on the Central Coast. Making the move to Melbourne in the mid-70s, Mulray headlined the 3AW program Mulray & The Man, before heading back to NSW in the late 1970s and a gig at 2JJ (now Triple J).

doug mulray

It was in the early 80s when Mulray truly cemented his place as an influential voice in Australian radio when he became one of the faces of the newly launched Triple M.

Grahame Bond, Marius Webb, Rory O’Donoghue and Doug Mulray photographed for Mediaweek at a book launch in 2017

As Sydney’s breakfast presenter at the network he became a dominant force in the radio ratings, growing the show from a ratings share of 2.6% up to over 18% at one point. Mulray followed his highly successful stint at Triple M with on-air roles in the drive time slot on 2SM and at station 2WS, signing off in 1999.

Mulray – or Uncle Doug as he was affectionately called – was well-known for his quick wit and outrageous comedy skits featuring a variety of memorable characters.

During his time in radio, Mulray worked alongside some of the biggest names in Australian media including Andrew Denton and Peter FitzSimons. Outside radio, Mulray recorded several comedy records, including I’m A Punk, which was equal #1 in NSW alongside The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up in 1982. His single You Are Soul reached #34 on the ARIA singles chart.

Doug Mulray and Miss Lizzie

Former Austereo managing director and current managing director of talent agency Marchmedia, Brad March told Mediaweek:

Doug Mulray was arguably the greatest FM breakfast host ever on Australian radio. Heard on Triple M Sydney, he was the original, the funniest and one of the most entertaining announcers I have ever heard. His show was so compelling I used to listen for hours each morning during the 80s.

“Hired by the legendary Rod Muir, Doug dominated radio ratings and gave rise to Andrew Denton who started as a writer on his show. Mulray was an extraordinary wordsmith, a brilliant broadcaster, and a great comedian.

“In FM radio before Kyle & Jackie, Wendy Harmer, Hamish & Andy, The D Generation and Martin Molloy, there was Doug Mulray, a real pioneer and regarded as true radio royalty.”

Paying tribute to Mulray, Andrew Denton said “Doug was the apex predator of Australian radio comedy. No one was bigger, wilder, or more unpredictable. He brought joy into people’s lives which is still there 40 years later.

“If the world was water, Doug was a giant Berocca.”

See also:
Radio great Doug Mulray inducted into Commercial Radio Hall of Fame

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