John Tinney, a proud, gentle octogenarian sat behind the microphone for the last time this week as he retires from his popular program Mostly Music.
His humble beginning at 3DB in the library with boss Norm Spencer had John hooked on the radio industry with the best personalities in the business naming Sir Eric Pearce, Dan Webb, Eric Welch, Ron Casey as his mentors.
John’s father was transferred to Ouyen the following year and his radio hopes were lost in the Mallee dust. When it came time to leave school his dad insisted he get a ‘proper’ job. So he joined the local bank despite being woeful at maths and arithmetic. That job took him all round country Victoria, one time stationed in Mildura. There he met Les Johns at local radio 3MA and spent a lot of spare time haunting the 3MA studios.
After leaving Mildura he worked at Hoyts Theatres. Les Johns then introduced him to Lee Murray. There he met his wife.
After approximately twelve months with Lee, he secured his first professional announcing position at 3CS Colac and his highlight was covering the Great Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycle Race with a continuous broadcast from a radio equipped car, considered ground breaking technology back then.
He stayed with 3CS for three years until a vacancy became available at 3XY as a copywriter. When an announcer called in sick, John filled in their shift and had a regular Saturday night party program. He moved on as a traffic and general reporter and joined the sales team including production, talent and scheduling.
Further employment saw John at the Melbourne Herald as a Sales Representative looking after the lucrative Supermarket sector. One of his principle clients was Safeway Supermarkets.
He became Creative Director for Safeway involved in the introduction of a parody character called Supermarket Man and featured the talents of Mary Hardy and Noel Ferrier. After a couple of months, Safeway came up with the idea that this would work even better on television. Mary and Noel were not available so it was settled that we have old-time vaudevillian, Frank Rich as Supermarket Man and Graeme Kennedy as the straight man. The ads ran for twelve months on In Melbourne Tonight and were considered one of the most successful campaigns for Safeway up to that time. The ads were also aired on 3UZ.
Later in life, John still had a yearning to be back on radio. Bob Phillips, (RPP FM presenter) who he had met from his days with Lee Murray, put him in touch with then Station Manager, Maria McColl and became part of the RPP FM’s staff, firstly on sales and then as a volunteer breakfast announcer then moved to the 9 – 11am timeslot on Tuesday mornings with Mostly Music.
Like all RPP FM presenters John is a volunteer. He said, “I don’t get paid for what I do, but who cares! I have enjoyed every minute of my time with the station and age is my only reason for the decision to call it a day.”
At the latest annual general meeting his program “Mostly Music” was acknowledged as being the station’s most popular program by listener vote. He says modestly, “This was a surprise to me as I am is well aware of the amazing talent at the station.”
On the home front John has a loving wife, Dorothy, two wonderful children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He has been an avid stamp collector for as long as he can remember. He became a foundation member of the Dandenong Stamp Club and became their delegate to the state body – The Victorian Philatelic Association. A couple of years later he became State President of the VPA looking after the interests of 56 suburban and regional stamp clubs.
John may be “calling it a day” from behind the microphone, but it is not farewell to the station. He is now a member of the station’s Board of Management which will keep him a ‘radio man’ for a few more years to come.
From RPP FM Management and presenters, we wish John well in the days ahead – time to stop and smell the roses!
Compiled by Debra Mar
Photography Rab Siddhi