The plan made sense and also meant I would get a chance to meet all the media professionals – the names on the expected list featured Tony Jones from Channel Nine, Samantha Lane from The Age and many others from the city’s most reputable news organisations.
In practice the plan just simply didn’t work. These were media personalities that had transcended the need for credentials and couldn't care less about reading a media guide. I chased down a few that avoided my table only to be politely told not to bother. Quickly my role went from media wrangler to ensuring the walkway remained clear for guests. I’d plummeted to clearway monitor as fast as I’d reached my peak.
I thought ‘to hell with this’ and moved on to the next task – the beginning of my most enjoyable. I would be giving the task of guiding the inductees and SAHOF members fresh off the stage to be interviewed live on air with radio station SEN 1116.
It was best to introduce myself to the hosts and producer well before required to get the most out of the experience. Connected to our main media room, SEN set up a small double table in a large room with a television connected to a live feed from the Palladium hall. They had everything they needed to broadcast on location except any access to actual talent – this is where I’d come in. I would bring the best of the best in to chat all things SAHOF and general sport to the masses making it actually worthwhile to broadcast from Crown.
I entered the SEN room while in a commercial break with a few plates full of sandwiches and sushi and a couple bottles of drinks tucked under my arm. Behind the desk way at the back of the mostly empty room was Mark Fine and Rohan Connolly, along with producer Peter McGinley. The gifts were a shameful enticement I know, but these guys are basically locked in a room, stuck on a chair for hours and food is a direct link to their hearts.
I was the real-deal to them. There was no mention of interns, free labour or work-experience. I was a man that looked the part in a black suit, standing in front of them holding delicious goodies suggesting the best guests to have on their radio program over the next four hours or so.
Peter was new to the producer role and wasn’t familiar to how the SAHOF gala event worked, which meant he relied on me for all his information. I walked them through the timing but it’s always just a plan and one that’s quick to change, be altered or thrown out. Because I had a direct line to the organisers, I became SEN’s eyes, ears and facilitator.
Everything was aligning perfectly – I had ditched my pointless role of handing media passes to the faces of well-known Melbourne journalists in favour of hanging out with Finey and Rohan Connolly talking shop. The glamour was just a few meters away but the action was in that room.