John became interested in a broadcasting career when he won an announcing competition on the 3AW teenager's program "Rumpus Time", compered by Chuck Faulkner and Arthur Lister, way back in 1954.
When he left school a year later there were very few opportunities for young DJ's in commercial radio, so the ambition was pigeon-holed until 1988, when the then President and co-founder of the fledgling station, Bruce Skeggs, invited him to attend a committee meeting, in those days held in the Heidelberg Town Hall. John walked out that night as the first official Secretary and Public Officer for Inner North East Community Radio!
Having had an avid interest in jazz, even from pre-teenage, John presented a jazz program on the second test broadcast run by the station, then on a frequency of 96.3 khz, in July 1988. As Secretary and Public Officer for the station, John played a significant role in preparing the necessary documentation for the station's incorporation as an Association and, subsequently, the submission to the Broadcasting Tribual, (as it was then known), for a licence to broadcast continually as a community station. This licence was eventually granted in December 1990, following more than two years of intermittent test broadcasts.
John has presented his program "Jazz at Nine" from then up to the present, featuring a broad spectrum of jazz tastes from early New Orleans, through the "Classic" period of the 1920's, to swing, mainstream, big bands and modern. He believes that if a jazz program is fifty percent traditional and fifty percent modern, you will lose fifty percent of your audience, as the "jazz police" have their strict prejudices and biases, but a broad-spectrum program can assist listeners to understand and appreciate how jazz music has evolved, progressed and been re-defined over the last one hundred years.
John has been involved as an organiser/presenter/administrator at many jazz festivals, including the long-running but sadly now defunct, Montsalvat Festivals, over the past twenty years. He is a Past President of the Victorian Jazz Club. In the course of his broadcasts on Inner FM, John has interviewed, live on air, most of the popular names in jazz on the Melbourne scene.
Although he took an early retirement option from the University of Melbourne thirteen years ago, John has been coaxed back to the workforce where he now works four days per week as an administrative officer for Melbourne Citymission.
John believes that Inner FM has an abiding indebtedness to Bruce Skeggs, whose patience and perserverence, combined with his experience in public broadcasting and his political negotiating skills, enabled him to override all objections, barriers and difficulties to guide the station to the foremost position that it now occupies in the local community. He also believes that the present Committee of Inner FM is continuing this legacy in a most capable manner.
John's program "Jazz at Nine" can be heard on 96.5 Inner FM on Wednesdays at 9pm.