Real Life

The Hart of Paul’s Show

Funny man Glenn Hart reveals the best and worst of working on Paul Holmes’ breakfast radio show.

He’s the droll sidekick of New Zealand’s top-rating radio personality. But Paul Holmes need not worry. Glenn Hart says he isn’t remotely interested in the veteran broadcaster’s job. He’s happy pushing the buttons and coming up with pearlers to keep Paul on his toes.

Glenn (32) began work as the technical director on Paul’s morning radio show on Newstalk ZB five years ago, and he has slowly developed more and more of an on-air role over that time. His witty quips have Paul describing him as a major comedic asset.

“Glenn stimulates the entertainment side of me and Phil Armstrong, my producer, keeps me honest on the facts,” says Paul. “But every so often I have to remind Glenn whose name is on the marquee.”

It’s obvious this early morning trio get on like a house on fire. Glenn says he never thought he would end up on national radio when he was “invited” to leave his secondary school, Cambridge High, halfway through his seventh form year.

“I was considered a `disruptive influence’,” says Glenn. “But, in retrospect, I was ready to move on.”

A keen and accomplished musician and actor, Glenn spent his first couple of years out of school working in local theatre and busking on the streets of Hamilton. It was during this period he met his wife-to-be Lynda (36), who now works as a travel consultant.

“It was Lynda who told me it was time to get a real job and encouraged me to try my hand at writing and producing radio commercials,” says Glenn.

He did a copy test for a radio job and was immediately accepted. For five years, he wrote the words and music for hundreds of familiar radio ads. That work led him to his current job at Newstalk ZB, a position that involves the technical producing of the award-winning Paul Holmes Breakfast show, which will celebrate its 20th birthday in April.

Glenn admits the only downside to his coveted position is the hours. “The early starts are the lament of everybody who works a breakfast shift. It’s a wonder I haven’t adapted to them after five years of getting up at 4.15am,” he says.

“I’m not really a morning person, but I have trained myself to function at that hour, albeit in a state of subconsciousness. I don’t really wake up properly until about 11am, which is a far more gentlemanly hour.”

But he acknowledges the early starts allow him to share the daytime childcare of Billie (5) and Macy (2), while Lynda is at work.

So how does he find working with the biggest name in radio? “It’s a bit like being like with my two-year-old daughter. Paul is sometimes very reckless, so I make sure I monitor the warning signs and take evasive action when necessary,” smiles Glenn. Story by Rebecca Nicol Photograph by Frances oliver

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