An incredibly sad day today with the passing of legendary Australian broadcaster, Bruce Mansfield.
I grew up listening to Bruce on Melbourne radio during the 80’s when he worked with John Blackman and Darren James as his alter ego “Uncle Roy”. He was the first radio personality to make an impression on me. This was long before I’d ever entertained the idea of working in the industry.
Bruce hosted “Eyewitness News” on ATV-0 during the 70’s, then worked as a voice over artist at the TV network for some time in the 80’s. I would hear his voice on their station promo’s, on the dating show “Perfect Match” (hosted by Greg Evans) and on the "Saba" and "Swagman" TV commercials.
In the early 90’s, Bruce hosted the drive program each weekday on community radio station 96.5 INR FM. He did this as a bit warm up before heading in to 3AW to host top rating radio program "Nightline" each weeknight.
In 1991, at the age of 15, I began volunteer work at INR FM and hosted my first ever, solo radio show between 4 and 5pm. At the time, it was the most terrifying moment of my life. Thankfully, I got through it without a hitch and the phones went into meltdown with calls of support from so many of my school friends. As the show finished, Bruce Mansfield sat waiting to take over in the adjacent studio. Whilst I’d been on air, Bruce had watched me work…and as his program began, he asked me to join him in the studio.
Here I was, face to face, in a radio studio, with a larger than life personality I had listened to on radio for most of my life.
It was a truly surreal moment.
Bruce spent the next few minutes talking with me on air and giving me the type of praise and encouragement I could only have dreamed of, and urging me to chase a career in broadcasting as he said he saw so much of his young self in me.
I will never, ever forget that moment and the support that he showed me in the years that followed.
Since then, I’ve seen Bruce go on to make television appearances with Bert Newton on Good Morning Australia, with Rove McManus on Rove: Live and listen to him most weeknights on 3AW, hosting Nightline with my dear friend, Philip Brady.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in September last year, Bruce lost his battle early this morning, his wife, Jill and their children by his side.
He was 71.
Bruce was loud, brash, opinionated, wore his pants a little too high, quick-witted and incredibly funny.
He was a devoted husband, a loving father and a doting grandfather to his beautiful grandchildren who brought him endless joy.
My deepest and most heart felt condolences to Bruce’s wife, Jill, and their family and to Bruce’s on-air partner, Philip Brady - friends for almost 60 years and having worked together on Nightline and Remember When on 3AW for over 20 years.
Last but not least, my most sincere thanks to Bruce for believing in me and being one of the most influential people in my broadcast career…I couldn’t have done it without you.