Riverina radio stalwart celebrates milestone

WHEN Allan Wallett stepped behind the microphone for the first time as a breakfast announcer on 2RG, it was only supposed to be for two weeks.

But 40 years to the day later the undisputed king of Riverina radio is still there.

Allen Wallett will celebrate 40 years on the air.

Allen Wallett will celebrate 40 years on the air.

The impressive milestone means the laconic larrikin and former shearer has had more than 9600 4am starts.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd still be doing this," he said.

"It was only supposed to be for two weeks and even when I said that would do me they wouldn't let me go.

"When I was a shearer, I'd work and drive trotting horses so I've been getting up early since I was about 15.

"It's the best time of the day if you ask me. You'd be surprised how many calls I get between 4.45am and 5.15am from people who just want to have a yarn."

The VB-loving 70-year-old said over the years it has become a labour of love.

"I don't regard it as my program. I think of it as the peoples' program and I like the interaction of the listeners," he said.

"I came straight out of the shearing shed into the radio station and had no training whatsoever so I've always felt like I had to give it 110 per cent. That's what I try to do every day."

Proving he doesn't mind having a go, when he first started as well as radio he presented a sports program on TV for nine years, while also doing camera work for new stories.

His popular country music hour, which can be heard weekdays from 5.30am to 6.30am, earned him an induction into the Australian Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004.

He has met plenty of people in his time on radio. But whether they are knockabout blokes or high profile celebrities, they all get the same unmistakable, down-to-earth Wallett treatment.

"I've met some wonderful people over the years. I've met hundreds of them. People like Steve and Cathy Roach, Alan Jones, Peter Sterling and Ron Barassi," he said.

Tomorrow also marks 40 years since he started calling horse races around the district.

Griffith Radio Centre general manager Chris Corbett has worked with Allan for more than 20 of his 40 years.

"Working 40 years in any job is a significant milestone in anyone's career, but to achieve 40 years working on breakfast radio on the same radio station is a unique achievement in Australia full stop," he said,

"Allan is a unique breakfast presenter who says it as it is and is enjoyed by thousands of listeners across the 2RG region weekday mornings.

"We congratulate Allan on this highly special and rare milestone and thank him for 40 years of dedication and look forward to celebrating with him."


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