(last episode 26th June 2022)

Sandra McCurdy (1946-2022)

Condolences are extended to the members of her family at this sad time.

The Committee of Management and Members of 96.5 InnerFM Community Radio Station mourns the passing of long time colleague Sandra McCurdy who passed away at 6.10am Sunday, June 19, 2022.

Sandra hosted and presented the “Sunday with Sandra” program every weekend for the past 30 years.

Our Station acknowledges the profound effect that she had on her friends, listeners and fellow presenters.

Listen again below to the final episode of Sunday with Sandra that was produced by Sandra’s son Trent McCurdy after the passing of his Mum.

Our Wavelengths team sat down with Sandra in 2020 to find out more about the amazing woman behind the mic for 30 years each Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

Wavelengths: What was your professional background?

Sandra: I was a hairdresser for about nine years including an apprenticeship. I got married and had two sons and I was a stay-at-home mum. When my eldest started high school I wanted to get back into the workforce as I needed money for books and uniforms.

I was visiting the Warringal Private Hospital to see a patient and asked about a job, and got it. Over a period of years I went through housekeeping and then moved into various roles in administration.

W: How did you get involved in community radio?

S: It was through my son Trent. He had aspirations to be a journalist and couldn’t find work experience at the local newspaper during his Year 10 placement, so his teacher suggested he try “news reading” at InnerFM. That was back in 1991. My husband Alan and I were driving him to and from the Station and we got to know the people involved.  Ken Gillin was the Station coordinator at the time and he invited me to go on-air.

W. When you joined the Station what were your “duties”?

S: I didn’t really have a lot of duties in those days. I answered the phone a bit, but wasn’t really a “receptionist”. I also didn’t want to go on air, but Ken kept encouraging me and I kept saying “no” because I was too nervous. Finally, he got round me and convinced me to do a show.

W: So, what were you doing?

S: I was supporting Trent. When he finished his work experience he was asked to remain involved with InnerFM and was doing a breakfast show with the late John Smith and Ronnie Lopes, as well as reading the news, so I was driving him to and fro.

W: When did you finally go on air?

S: It was not quite a year after all this time getting to know the people at the Station. I eventually did a fill-in show called “Carousel”. A lot of people did those fill-ins. That’s how we learnt to put our shows together.

I filled-in for Jackie Maud and Terry Hillgrove on occasions, as well as different programs requiring a spot host covering for regular Presenters who were on leave for various reasons.

W: When did you start “Sunday with Sandra”?

S: Really about a year after I first went on air doing the fill-ins. That’d make it early 1993. Gordon Riddell was doing the 1pm to 3pm timeslot on a Sunday and the Warringal Private Hospital was sponsoring the show at the time.

Gordon moved on and I had the chance to take his spot. The time slot has changed to 2pm to 4pm because the Presenter before me (Kevin Trask’s “That’s Entertainment”) went to a two hour slot. It’s been 2pm for a long time now.

I also completed the 12 week Melbourne Radio School course back in 1997 which really helped me understand the broadcast industry a little deeper and definitely boosted my confidence.

W: What is the “Sunday with Sandra” music mix?

S: It’s really right across the board with a mixture of easy listening through to soft rock. It’s all about the music I love to listen to myself.

W: What do you like about radio?

S: It’s a passion. It wasn’t at first as it was very nerve-wracking. It took me a long time to become confident enough to present a program. The whole system at our Station and community radio in general, is all about our Listeners. I love that we’re able to entertain our listening audience.

I also love our other Presenters, the current ones and the ones that have come and gone. We’re not as active socially now, but our Christmas party last year gave us a chance to get together and compare notes.

In the past we held a lot of get-togethers at the Ivanhoe RSL on a Friday night – Presenters AND Listeners. I’ve got lots of photos from those nights.

I used to enjoy doing “proper” fill-ins for other Presenters. I mean, that’s all about knowing what their programs are and then duplicating those programs for them when they were absent.

W: How do you prepare for your program?

S: It normally takes me two or three nights a week to prepare. I put music in, I pull music out. I may even put it back in again. It’s all about making sure it gels together, so when I get behind the microphone it’s easy to entertain the Listeners.

Sometimes the show can be up-tempo and other times it can have a very laid-back vibe. I love getting the feedback via calls from our Listeners. They’ll often thank me for playing a song they haven’t heard for a while, or just say they loved the show. That’s very satisfying.

W: Who are your favorite artists?

S: Rod Stewart and Kylie Minogue are two of my favourites, but it’s just so hard to pick individuals. I find I play a lot more males than I do females, but I think that’s because the blokes are stronger performers.

W: What is your advice to budding Presenters?

S: Most importantly just be yourself. Be dedicated to the program you are doing at the moment. Do your preparation. Be reliable and turn up all the time. Enjoy yourself. Always think of the Listeners.

And, just as importantly, give a little bit back to the Station that gives you an opportunity to have a fabulous hobby.

W: Sandra McCurdy: To one of the stalwarts of our Station we thank you.

S: Always pleased to be involved and thank you for the opportunity.