A story of determination and guts of a boy ‘born with a wooden spoon’ in his mouth, who managed through perseverance and sheer will power to turn that into one of silver. Born the third child of hardworking, honest Jewish parents in Krugersdorp in 1941, a nervy, hypochondriac who broke into a nervous rash whenever he felt uncomfortable or stressed, the boy was a total disaster, academically promoted to higher classes only because of his age. From an early age, John would listen to the radio at any opportunity that presented itself, spending hours perfecting the mimicking of great commentators, holding a tablespoon up to his mouth as he spoke, setting his mind on a career in radio. Through a series of coincidences, his lucky break finally came and he was employed by the fledgling commercial station LM Radio in Lourenco Marques (Maputo). From a stammering, stuttering insecure young announcer, he quickly blossomed and began to make his mark on the station.
Sent to Australia by the legendary David Davies to study commercial radio John brought back the secret and pattern of success of commercial radio in Australia, which became the blueprint for broadcasting in South Africa. His radio career spanned 40 years, included working on LM Radio, SABC, Springbok Radio, Radio 5, Capitol Radio, Swazi Music Radio and 702 is legendary. Pioneering modern radio in South Africa, he broke new ground in radio broadcasting through his hilarious parodies of situations, phone calls to unsuspecting victims, his ‘characters’ such as ‘Jan Sweetpak’ and others, his humour and development of talk shows and techniques used by many today.
He developed ‘Theatre of the Mind’ and took it to new heights, with a vision to push for talk radio at a time others said it would fail and changed the face of broadcasting in South Africa. On any morning, his talent and effect was measurable, one only had to look at other drivers in Johannesburg’s rush hour traffic to see the smiling faces as he brightened the day with his machine gun fire wit and humour. A man of great humility and integrity, this book shows how much can be achieved when the odds are stacked against you and all you have is determination, passion and an unparalleled talent for communicating.
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