Parton / Bad calls and how to make them

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THERE’S an ad on the telly for one of those betting agencies, I can’t remember which one, but it’s based on the premise that to be a real man you have to make a decision… and make it fast.

Mark Parton.
Mark Parton.
It got me thinking about some of the strong, bold decisions that I’ve made. Early decisions that had proven to be totally incorrect.

In 2008, I remember having a tech expert in my radio studio to showcase the new iPhone. My little Nokia phone had a camera, but I’d never used it and it had internet capability, but I’d not ever connected.

This device geek showed me all of the wonderful things that the new iPhone could do. I rejected it instantly… loudly and publicly. I stated on radio that I would never ever get one of these devices: “Phones are for calling people. If I want to get online, I’ll sit down at my computer”.

That may have been a bad early call.

I PROGRAMMED radio stations back in the day when it was done by gut feel. As a music director, you would receive a bunch of records in the mail, listen to them and decide which ones should be played on your station.

I clearly remember previewing a new single from a well-known artist and laughing out loud at how bad it was. This song was apparently attached to some movie that I’d never heard of. I called in a couple of the other announcers so they could hear how this singer had “murdered” an old Dolly Parton song. I then tossed it in the reject bin.

A month or so later, I went scrambling back through the bin to try to find Whitney Houston’s version of “I’ll Always Love You”.

Bad early call.

AND I did an outside broadcast ahead of one of those big Australia Day concerts on the lawns of Parliament House. The promoter was popping by our broadcast point at regular intervals with some of the artists in tow for us to interview.

I remember interviewing Tania Doko, from Bachelor Girl, who was a riot. The afternoon progressed and more and more artists came through. I looked around at one stage and the promoter was there with a dark-haired gentleman standing 10 metres or so away from us.

“Who’s this ?” I asked.

“That’s Gotye.”

“Who?”

“Goat-tee-ay.”

“What sort of a name is Gotye ?” I said.

The promoter explained to me that his name was Wally De Backer.

I put my hand up and said: “No, I think we’ll pass on the ‘goat man’ at this stage.”

The goat man, of course, went on to become only the fifth Australian act to have a number one single on the US Billboard chart.

And, thanks to my short-sighted decision, he’s not even somebody that I used to know.

Bad early call.
Mark Parton is the breakfast announcer on 2CC

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Mark Parton
Canberra Liberal MLA and former breakfast announcer on 2CC.

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