A longer extract of the program Nicky and Graham starring Nicky (Clifford Nicholls Whitta) and Graham Kennedy on Melbourne radio station 3UZ in June 1955.
Graham passionately wanted to be on radio and he got his chance aged 15 when he secured a messenger job for Radio Australia in 1949, literally running the news copy from the newsroom in one building and delivering it into the hands of the newsreader in the studio in another building. This led to a position in the record library at the Melbourne station 3UZ and in 1951 to the coveted position of turntable operator for the popular announcer Nicky (Clifford Nicholas Whitta). Graham’s on-air radio career began with this program. Initially shy on air, he grew in confidence feeding lines to his mentor and participating in various cheeky scenarios such as this one where Nicky and Graham reveal to the listener their intention to send up an ABC radio children’s session in this program.
Using the device of telling a fairy story about a witch, Nicky reads a script incorporating a multitude of commercials as Graham skilfully cuts from one sound effect on disc to another, and from music to recorded commercials. Proceedings are interrupted as 3UZ staff, such as Ivy from reception and Stan from the control room, wander into the studio. Occasionally the announcers burst into song or take on different characters and towards the end of the recording they enact a scene at a shoe industry board meeting to profile one of their sponsors, Rosenberg Shoes.
In 1956 it was reported that 73% of morning radio listeners in Melbourne tuned in to 'Nicky and Graham'. In February 1956 The Argus newspaper began a comic strip by artist Stewart McCrae based on their on-air personas. And later that year, in The Listener In magazine (4-10 August 1956), psychologist Roy Ledwidge stated that the number one factor that keeps people listening to the ‘Nicky and Graham’ program was Nicky’s irreverence towards the sacred advertising plug. This was amplified by the use of distracting sound effects with their implied derision of the sponsor. According to the then 3UZ General Manager Lewis Bennett, Nicky was one of the few radio personalities in Australia with a long waiting list of sponsors. Unlike other announcers of the time, all of Nicky’s work was his own creation. Bennett also described Graham as an excellent foil for Nicky.
Notes by Maryanne Doyle