Link to Radio Heritage Foundation - radioheritage.net

The Co-operative Global Radio Memories Project



Kiwi Radio Hall of Fame Paddy O'Donnell

Renowned radio veteran Paddy O'Donnell dies

KAY BLUNDELL

One of New Zealand's best-known broadcasters and colourful radio personalities has died.

Paddy O'Donnell, 65, had a career spanning more than 40 years in radio in New Zealand and Australia, as well as stints compering television series, including Top Town.

He died on Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer.

He was one of the radio pirates who took to the Hauraki Gulf in the ship Tiri to challenge the state radio monopoly. He broadcast on Radio Hauraki for about a year before returning to the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.

Former Radio New Zealand network manager Johnny Douglas, who worked with Mr O'Donnell for about 40 years, said broadcasting as the boat was being tossed around on the gulf was "no bed of roses".

Mr O'Donnell was a radio reporter when the Wahine sank in Wellington Harbour on April 10, 1968, and is well remembered for his graphic descriptions as people tried to rescue passengers from the ship foundering off Barrett Reef.

He presented New Zealand's first talkback show on 2ZB in 1968 and was fronting it in 1974 when Radio Windy arrived on the scene.

His well-known radio racing show, which he shared with Peter Kelly, Keith Haub and Mary Mountier, ran on the ZB network for many years. He went on to establish the Radio Pacific Racing Service.

Renowned for an his impish Irish sense of humour and a penchant for practical jokes, he was a colourful character on the Wellington scene. "He had an incorrigible sense of humour and loved teasing people," Mr Douglas said.

Mr O'Donnell worked in Australia for 10 years before returning to New Zealand in 1998, when he established a small community radio station on the Kapiti Coast.

Retiring in 2002, he moved back to his home town of Wanganui. His funeral will be held at St Anne's Catholic Church in Wanganui East on Saturday, starting at 10am.

- © Fairfax NZ News

© Stuff.co.nz August 6th, 2009.

This material remains © Fairfax New Zealand Limited and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

For a current list of all Low Power FM stations broadcasting in New Zealand, visit our NZ LPFM Radio Guide.

Open Air Cinema logo

This feature is brought to you by
Open Air Cinema


^Top


Radio Heritage Foundation projects and activities connect radio, popular culture, history and heritage.

The charitable trust has been giving a voice to those involved in radio via our website since 2004 and will continue to do so.

We are inclusive of all visitors, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or disability and aim to connect people of all ages and cultures who love radio

We welcome a sense of wonder from the joy of listening via radio, and from memories retold for the enjoyment of all generations.

We prefer to use environmentally sustainable goods and services where we can afford to, and we provide free community access worldwide to our collections, published research, preservation and promotion activities in a completely paper-free environment.

© Radio Heritage Foundation 2004 - 2020

Email us

Sponsored by:
Link to Freeparking