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Member of the Legendary Disc Jockey Team
Winner , John Vertigan (Sport 927)
John VertiganJohn joined 3UZ in November 1963 and became a member of the legendary disc jockey team. Later he took on race co-ordination - a facet of his career that remains to this day.
Jon and John Vertigan, a Victorian radio family
Jon Vertigan with new breakfast co-host Tenielle Hawker Jon Vertigan, the ACE Network's Breakfast Personality has just celebrated 20 years in Radio. Aged 18 in 1992 Jon was doing afternoons at 3SH (Swan Hill), the result of sending them a poor quality audition recorded in his bedroom. Now approaching 40 Vertigan is heard from one end of Victoria to another through 3YB (Warrnambool) 3HA (Hamilton) 3CS (Colac) 3WM (Horsham) 3SH (Swan Hill) & Gold1242 (Traralgon). I hear a lot of Jon on 3WM as I travel to Adelaide. When I first heard him I had no idea he was "networked", and indeed I thought I was listening to a very local Horsham radio program. jonvertigan_160 I asked Jon how can he do a program for a cow cocky in Gippsland, a retired couple on the South Coast and a fruit grower in the Wimmera ? He told me "We work very hard on local segments, weather, news, events, sport results and more." Jon also has a great understanding of the regions he broadcasts into, as over the past two decades after Swan Hill he moved to 3WM, 3SR (Shepparton), 3YB and 3TR (Sale). Whilst at 3TR Jon drove to Melbourne each weekend to broadcast Saturday and Sunday mornings on MIX101which led to him moving to Sydney as the Music Director of MIX/ARN network. Now back with ACE and at 3YB for the past eight years Jon told me "this is where I want to be." With John Vertigan as his Father, was it always going to be Radio for Vertigan the younger? "Yes it was" says Jon. "Dad used to take me into 3UZ when I was a little kid and I loved it back then." jonvertiganben4chloe9_200 John Vertigan met Jon's Mother Jill at 3UZ where she was a receptionist. Jon Vertigan met his wife Kelli at 3YB where she too was the receptionist. Will there be a third generation Vertigan broadcasters? Maybe it's too early to tell with Ben (4). But Chloe (9) is a "bit of a performer on stage so who knows" says the proud Dad. Jon Vertigan is a five time ACRA winner and has been nominated for three more this year. We will await the judges decision and "correct weight." Below: The father, John Vertigan at 3UL Warragul circa 1959.
John Vertigan has one of radio's most enduring and well-known voices.He is a man who, over the decades, has been central to the punters' day, writes Patrick Bartley.The man best qualified to talk about the evolution of racing radio over the past half century did not like the sport when he began broadcasting and is still not particularly interested in it.Over the past 50 years, John Vertigan has seen endless reels of tape replaced by state-of-the-art computers, the number of race meetings increase ten-fold while the number of different bets available to punters has exploded.But what has been a constant in that time is Vertigan, one of the pioneers of the medium and the man with the silky, unmistakable voice, whose words at the start of every Saturday raceday have been familiar with punters for decades.At 66, Vertigan is the authority of racing radio, the patriarch of breathing life into a day at the races.After 50 years behind the microphone, he has relished every innovative step the medium has made since he started his career at 16 with 3GL Geelong, through to his present position at Sport 927.But Vertigan moved into racing radio because he wanted to learn about the medium, not because he had a passion for the sport."The then studio manager, as they called them in those days, at 3UZ was also an announcer: Bob Cornish.He was doing the racing on a Saturday afternoon and suggested I be his off-sider and help him out, so I slid into the chair opposite and learned that way.Then I took it on solo in late 1969 for the next 10 years," he said."I have never been interested in racing.But to me, it is probably the most exciting avenue to broadcast because of its immediacy and the fact that a certain amount of accuracy is required."You may think that following the game so closely, Vertigan would be well placed to land a few good bets.But he doesn't even have a betting account.Vertigan knew that working with Bryant in those times was the cutting edge of radio.Vertigan cut his teeth in the heady days of radio, when disc jockeys were finding a niche and the advent of TV meant that radio had to reinvent itself."A lot of radio people went into television as the whole programming concept changed.You see, in the old days, evenings were peak times for radio.Now the peak time is breakfast.All these adventure programs that were running at night were no longer valid because television was showing the same things with pictures," he said.Vertigan reflects that since the 1950s the attrition rate of AM radio stations has been high."Almost every radio station I've ever worked for has changed its call sign or they have either gone FM or disappeared off the face of the earth," he said.Vertigan, who works on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons for Sport 927, said the main reason radio survived was a small invention in the early '60s.Vertigan is staggered by the changes to racing broadcasts since the '60s."It entailed a lot more information than what we're giving now.Starters and riders were not published in the press in those days.So for every darn race we had to list: No. 1, such and such, ridden by so and so, and give all the riders for the day.The TAB had just been introduced when I joined UZ and gee, I think in the beginning it wasn't even same-day payout and you weren't encouraged to stand around a TAB agency."But Vertigan still thinks back to the days of early racing radio with deep fondness.Vertigan is a stickler for preparation; even after decades in the job he insists on arriving in the studio half an hour before his shift starts.His studio looks more like a mess of wires, microphones and log books but it all makes sense to him."It's all in the preparation.It's all in working one step ahead.If I put a Melbourne race on and there's a Sydney race coming on in five minutes, I'm already listening to the Sydney race."And once that Sydney race is on I'm listening to the next venue which might be Brisbane or country racing or whatever and you keep working one race ahead all the time, and that way, we can keep the impetus going."Vertigan has helped those striving to get a foothold in radio with advice and tips.For so long now, Vertigan has been the voice that brings the heartbreak of a photo-finish going the wrong way or the joy of a protest going the right way.And he envisages he will continue to be that voice for a few years to come.Vertigan, above, at home in the studio at Sport 927.