Don’t tell Murray Lindsay’s bosses this, but he loves his job so much, he’d probably do it for free. The veteran broadcaster, who has just started as the afternoon host for radio station Magic, can’t quite believe he gets paid for chatting and playing music.
“It doesn’t feel like work, but I don’t want management to know that,” he jokes. “I sit there and talk to people, and I play music that I like to listen to. How lucky am I?”
He’s been lucky for 42 years, which is when Murray (60) first started out as an announcer on local radio. It wasn’t his parents’ preferred choice of occupation for their son – they wanted him to be a civil servant because it was nice, steady work.
Banking was another possible option, but Murray ended up going into broadcasting thanks to a comment made by one of his teachers.
“I was always a bit of a clown in class and an English teacher said to me one day, ‘You should get yourself a job in radio – that’ll keep you occupied!’ I took him up on that and I am glad I did. I couldn’t have imagined doing anything else.”
Murray spent nearly 30 years with one company – previously The Radio Network, now NZME Radio – where he most recently had a show on Coast, before the opportunity arose to move to Magic this year.
He’s seen a lot of changes in the radio industry since he first started out.
“Technology has changed a lot over the years, but in a way, it is easier because everything is done digitally now. Before we had to do everything ourselves, putting in the cartridges all the songs and commercials were on. It was fun but there was more room for error!”
Murray hasn’t had too many mishaps over the years. People have sworn on air – “you never know how someone is going to react when you tell them they’ve won a big prize!” – but he has managed not to put his foot in it himself in a major way.
“Probably the worst thing that has gone wrong was back in the days when you had a hard copy news bulletin, instead of reading a digital one,” recalls Murray. “I was reading the news when somebody lit a match and, all of a sudden, the paper went up in flames.
“But I didn’t let on to the listeners what had happened. They were probably wondering why it was the shortest news bulletin in history – it lasted about 30 seconds.”
One of the best parts of the job for self-confessed people person Murray is getting to talk to folks from all walks of life. As well as chatting with listeners, he has also interviewed some of the music industry’s biggest stars.
“Robbie Williams was great – quite out there, but really lovely,” he says. “[Sir] Tom Jones was someone else who stood out. He’s very much into his rugby and the All Blacks, and he has been to New Zealand numerous times.”
Murray’s gift of the gab has not only resulted in a long and successful career in radio, but it has led to a sideline as a marriage celebrant. He’s been marrying people since 2014.
“I’m often asked to be the master of ceremonies at family and friends’ weddings, then somebody said to me one day, ‘Can you marry us as well?’ I thought it would be worth looking into. But by the time I was eventually registered to do weddings, the couple who wanted me to marry them had split up. I ended up doing ceremonies for other people.”
He says he enjoys officiating at weddings because they are generally very happy occasions.
“The bride and groom are surrounded by people they love, and it is always nice to be a part of that.”
Radio will always be his first love, though, and he’s excited about starting with a new company at this stage of his career.
He had a few months off between jobs, which enabled the father-of-three to spend time with his family, including hanging out with grandchildren Margot and Theo, and walking the Milford Track with partner Jo. But he’s happy to be on the airwaves doing what he loves.
“It’s great being part of the team at Magic. A few of us – like Mark Leishman, Geoff Bryan and Mark Smith – have been around for a while.”
He has a tendency to stay put in jobs for long periods of time – as well as his 29-year stint in his last position, he was in a previous job for 12 years – and can’t see himself leaving Magic in a hurry.
“As long as they want me, I will force myself to get up and go into the office,” he jokes. “It’ll be tough, but I’ll do my best!”
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