A quite personal story I'd like to share about the late Ian Ross.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Ian Ross was a lovely man and something he did for my family at a time of need says it all really.
I don't want to give you the wrong idea. We weren't close friends - more 'radio friends'. For about 18 months, we used to chat on my 2GB Drive Show each afternoon so he could promote the Channel 7 news.
In truth, they were 'paid for' 60 second live spots where we were meant to chat about what was coming up on 7news that night.
More times than not they'd go for much longer. Roscoe loved wandering off the topic and pushing the boundaries. He took the piss out of me and the listeners loved it. One time, he made some story up that I'd asked Chris Bath out when she was a young radio reporter and I was a 19 year-old cadet and our 1st date was a disaster. It was all bullshit but I still get people who ask me about it!
Sometimes we'd never even get to doing the actual promo which annoyed the managers of both stations but it was good radio.
We probably only spoke 'off the air' - in the real world - a handful of times. I actually only met him once.
Fast forward a few years: Roscoe had been long retired and I had changed stations. It was 2UE by then and after three strange years they had decided to give me the bullet. My demise made the papers.
It's a strange thing in the media business and I'm sure many can relate to this. Some of your colleagues kind of abandon you when you get sacked, ironically at a time when you really need friends and support.
Out of the blue comes a phone call from Ian Ross who rang to find out how I was doing. He'd heard our second child was due any day and he was worried about a then very pregnant Heidi and how she was coping. He wanted to send her flowers and promised to put in "a good word for me" with all his media mates to get me back into a job. I know he called one senior executive at 7 to suggest they hire me.
We hadn't spoken for years but his sincerity and care was touching at what was a lonely time.
But here's the amazing part of the story. I found out some weeks later that he made that call the day after he had been given the bad news by his doctor.
He was on borrowed time, quite sick and emotionally fragile - but he still was worried about someone else.
There are a lot of empty souls in the media industry. Ian Ross was not one of them.
All you hear people say about him on TV today is real. First class bloke.