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Love is on the air: Roger's rock-solid romance

The radio host discusses dating, dancing and dealing with depression

Even after 26 years of coping with 4.30am wake-ups and larrikin antics, she's still his biggest fan on and off the air.
And for longtime radio host on The Rock, Roger Farrelly would've probably never met his wife Lisa if it wasn't for a throwaway comment that changed everything.
When a friend asked Lisa what she wanted for her 23rd birthday, the young teacher jokingly replied, "A date with Roger Farrelly."
She had been listening to his then-Waikato-based breakfast show for several years, and was taken with his humour and deep, dulcet tones without ever seeing him.
"Lucky for me there was no internet or google search in those days!" laughs Roger.
Wedding bliss in 2007
Unbeknown to Lisa, her friend rang the radio station and told him "my friend wants to go out with you".
"I was mortified when I found out," recalls Lisa. About 10 days later, The Rock was giving away tickets to the Finn brothers' concert at Founders Theatre and Lisa was the lucky winner.
"I went up to him after the concert to introduce myself because I wanted him to know I wasn't some 'Doris desperate' with three heads looking for a date. We got on so well, and were talking for so long, that his flatmate left him and I had to give him a ride home. Just before he got out of the car, I asked if he'd like to go out for a drink some time."
"Of course I said yes," says Roger. "She was very classy and sophisticated. I knew straight away that she was the one."
Now, chatting to the Weekly from their beachside home in Orewa, north of Auckland, the couple, who are both 48, feel like they've grown up together alongside the station that is celebrating its 30th birthday this month.
Roger and Lisa in 1997
From its humble beginnings in a Hamilton basement, Roger joined the team six months later as a fresh-faced teen not long out of Katikati College, but jokes he had the voice of a 35-year-old.
"Back then, my radio training consisted of just getting yelled at if I did something wrong," says the popular broadcaster. "Truly, it was the dream job and I never imagined I'd be the breakfast announcer, let alone still be lucky enough to be doing it today."
However, the hardest time for the couple came when station bosses decided to move its studio base to Auckland and broadcast to a nationwide audience. "We had just bought a house in Hamilton, I was about to get a promotion at the school I taught at and all our friends were there," shares Lisa, now a deputy principal.
"But I knew I had to move if Rog and I were going to stay together. It was tough and I used to go back every weekend to Hamilton as I was really homesick.
On DWTS with pro partner Carol-Ann Hanna
"I think listeners also thought Rog would become snobby living in the big smoke, but you can't take the Tron out of the lad.
"They take the mickey out of themselves and aren't afraid to talk about their personal struggles."
Lisa is referring to when her husband revealed on air that he had battled depression early in his career and had sought help from a counsellor.
"No one would have ever dared talk about mental health back when I started in radio, especially not a bunch of blokes," he says.
"But one of the things I'm proudest of is how The Morning Rumble has helped raise over a million dollars for Mike King's I Am Hope charity to assist young Kiwis
with mental health."

Another part of the job is the inevitable pranking that goes on, all in the name of entertainment. When Roger appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2018 ("the bravest thing I've ever done!"), his co-hosts stuck a massive sticker of him in costume on both sides of his Toyota Vitz above the words "vote for me".
"They had also rewired my brakes to my horn. So there I was driving down Ponsonby Road, stopping all the time for pedestrians and constantly tooting. If that was done to somebody else, it'd be the funniest thing ever."
There are changes ahead for the tight-knit Farrelly family, too. They're looking to build on land up at Mangawhai, and gone are the days of Roger doing the after-school routine with the couple's two daughters, Olivia, 20, and Grace, 16.
Olivia is now flatting and has recently started in the same company as her dad, working in sales support at Mediaworks. And their "fiercely independent" youngest child will soon enter her final year of high school.
"I'm proud of Rog," smiles Lisa. "He's worked incredibly hard and is so passionate about what he does."
"I'm proud of us too," he adds. "There's no way I would have got this far without Lisa. It's been a team effort. Having no family here means we've only had each other to rely on for support."

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