RADIO RANCH - My Memories!
By Phil Charley
My sincere thanks to Phil Charley for his words of encouragement about this site
and for his contributions.
I also congratulate Phil on receiving his OAM award for "Services to Broadcasting"
a very well deserved honour.
What a wonderful website! It's great to see the reference to "Radio Ranch" and its magazine
"Spurs". I really enjoyed the story about the old days by my dear mate, Tom Crozier. Also Kevin
Knapp's recollections -- just wonderful.
I feel that Tom has said it all about the start of "Radio Ranch" and "Spurs". There's not much
more I can add. Tom has always been a great writer. I remember at 2LM in his lunch hour, he'd
sit at a typewriter and dash off a brilliant short story which he'd send to the Sydney "Sun"
newspaper, using the nom de plume "R.F. Thomas". These stories were invariably published in the
"Sun" and Tom would receive regular cheques in the mail in payment.
A name I remember from the earliest days of "Radio Ranch" is Betty Pearce of Goonellabah. She was
one of our most enthusiastic listeners and supporters and contributed articles for "Spurs". I wonder what happened to Betty?
A proud Phil after receiving his OAM award.
Dick McLaren ("Trigger") and I first met as teenagers at 2CH Sydney in 1945, where we were panel
operators. I played clarinet (and still do) and Dick's a fantastic jazz pianist. He now lives at
Lake Okareka, close to Rotorua in New Zealand. We've played a lot of swing and jazz together
over the years. I have a photo of Dick, dressed as Trigger and me, dressed as Moose at the studio
piano at 2LM with Smilin' Billy Blinkhorn and Shirley Thoms. I'll mail it to you for scanning.
My best wishes to any listeners to "Radio Ranch" who still happen to be around. They were fun
Marie & Phil Charley. The Lady behind the man
- Phil Charley
("Moose Murphy") 2003
Originally "Radio Ranch" was titled "Hillbilly Hit Parade". However, that name was soon changed
to "Radio Ranch". I honestly can't remember how Dick McLaren and I came up with the idea.
Probably because C & W music was so popular in that area -- as
These pictures have been lifted from a Radio 2LM promo sheet of on air
personallities in the 50s. Again my thanks to Phil for
evidenced by the number of
requests the station got We decided to make it a fun show and thought up the crazy names and
used phony American accents. I even used a sort of stammer / stutter for Moose (which wouldn't be
at all "politically correct" nowadays! ) Still, noone seemed to mind. Both Dick and I were
(and still are) jazz lovers and played jazz -- Dick: piano and me: clarinet and tenor sax. When we
started the show we weren't particularly keen on country music, but we soon grew to really
I think Tom Crozier has done a great historical piece on "Radio Ranch" -- there's not much more
I can add. Except to say that he was very gracious about "Desperados of Crystal City", the serial
I wrote for "Spurs" magazine. When I left 2LM to manage 4ZR, Roma in Queensland, I left without
finishing the serial. I had no idea what was going to happen from issue to issue. Tom contacted
me and asked could I please send the final episodes, I apologised and said I just didn't have time
to write any more episodes. 4ZR was my first management job and I was flat out. So dear old Tom
wound up the serial himself, with no help from me. He always was a great writer.
Dick McLaren & Phil Charley co founders of Radio Ranch
supplying them for use here.
|What a wonderful radio station and great line-up of
There were 7 personalities on the brochure with the three of them being head-liners on Radio
Geoff made the character of Uncle Zeke a very believable one.
The copy reads as follows;
Geoff ... earliest riser on the staff, conducts Breakfast Session,
picks winners every Saturday-but doesn't back 'em, eligible backelor.
|I don't think Phil & Dick had any real idea just how
popular the Ranch would become.
Phil... "The Profile", quite, unassuming, his pleasant friendly voice is heard in various
day and night sessions. Clarinet his inseparable companion.
Dick...copy chief and announcer, heard in day and night sessions, fashion stylist, plays
piano with ease, elegance and precision.
Fun at the piano in the 2LM studio. The studio was quite large with
the grand piano in the corner where visiting guest artists as well as locals would perform
live to air. I have some fantastic memo- ries of Saturday morning shows. This photo shows
one of those live broadcasts performed by from left;
Smilin' Billy Blinkhorn, Shirley Thoms, Dick "Trigger" McLaren tickling the keys, Phil "Moose
Murphy" Charley, on clarinet and Geoff "Uncle Zeke" Ryan.
Another gem from Phil's collection memorabilia which he has kindly allowed me to use on this site.
Back to Radio Ranch index ||
Story by: Tom Crozier ||
Story by: Kevin Knapp ||
RIP Dick McLaren ||
|1st May 2004.|
Sad news. Dick McLaren (Trigger on "Radio Ranch") died in his
nursing home in Rotorua at 8.30 this morning. He was 74. Poor old Richard (pictured at the piano above) had been declining in
health since his partner, Beverley Peters, died of cancer a year or so ago. He was cremated
in Rotorua on Wednesday 5th May 2004. Very sad.
My sincere thanks to Phil Charley (Moose) for emailing this information.
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