It's just conversations with people you love: Gamechanger Ryan 'Fitzy' Fitgerald | radioinfo

It's just conversations with people you love: Gamechanger Ryan 'Fitzy' Fitgerald

Monday 16 April, 2018

In a cut-throat competition, Ryan 'Fitzy' Fitzgerald is approaching 15 years in the game.


The latest gamechanger to chat with Craig Bruce on his podcast, Bruce said of his guest: 

'If you were expecting me to reveal a different side to Fitzy, then you’re going to be sadly disappointed in this podcast. With Fitzy, what you see is what you get. He’s just a ripping bloke. Funny, engaging a shit-stirrer. He’s a massive loser from Adelaide, what can I say.'
The pair first cross paths when Fitzy emerged from the Big Brother house after a three-month stint on the Channel Ten reality television show in 2004. 

'Here you were, in amongst us, and my failure of imagination ​in terms of "this bloke could be incredible on the radio", I completely missed it,' said Bruce.

'I had two meeting with two radio stations,' said Fitzy, 'the first was with you at SAFM, and you said "we'd love to give you two weeks work experience" [Bruce can be heard groaning in the background], but Dean Buchanan and Cath O'Connnor at Nova had a contract right there and then.'

Before TV and radio, Fitzy worked at the Mitsubishi factory in Adelaide, a job he believes he'd still have if Australian Rules football hadn't come calling. 

After being picked up at number four in the AFL draft, Fitzy made his AFL debut in 2002, but a series of debilitating injuries including three knee reconstructions and two shoulder surgeries saw him retire. 

From there, Fitzy started his radio career at MMM Adelaide as a boundary rider, where his unfiltered comedic style became apparent. 

‘I still remember I got into trouble, against North Melbourne, and Wayne Carey took a hanger and they threw down to me on the boundary and I said "he got higher than Robert Downey Jnr".'

Fitzy signed up for Big Brother, and believes that reality TV was a platform that allowed content directors to see he was relatable to an audience. 

'When I came out and saw the reaction, it was really positive. It changed my life.'

The move was far from strategic, however, and Fitzy acknowledges some luck in his success.

'I find it embarrassing when people ask, "Fitzy, how do I get into radio?" And I say to them "demo hard". Get your foot in the door and keep sending it to content directors, over and over again. But that is still extremely difficult.

'I was lucky at Nova, I started with the best. And two guys that really took me under their wing, and I learnt how to write, how to put a sketch together, and comedy, Tony Moclair and Julian Schiller, the Crud Boys. I’ve never really told these boys that. Watching these boys write something edit it up, it was like hitting the jackpot.'

Fitzy revealed that while staring down the barrel of a camera he would sometimes experience an attack of nerves, the feeling never takes hold on radio. 

'I can sit in that studio it doesn’t come into my mind once that there are hundreds of thousands listening to you. It’s just conversations with people you love in the room. And you’re just making each other laugh. 

'You take it for granted, because we have guests that come in, RIchard Wilkins, when he comes in on our the show, he shakes. 

‘I look at Dicky and think you’re a guru, and you still get nervous.'

On being up against Kyle & Jackie O in the breakfast slot, Fitzy said: 

'We decided that we’re the two dads, we’re going to be a bit more conservative. We target mums in cars on the way to school, 'Jenny from Blacktown', she’s 30 years of age and we want to make her laugh. 

'We understood that we were two guys, we’re going to sound very blokey and very masculine, and we’ve been on that road the whole time, and we’re going to stick to that road.  

'The amount of mums that come up to us and say we just love having you on in the car, the kids love listening to you. So whether we have success against Kyle and Jackie O…'

'You have had success', Bruce interjects. ‘You're against a show that's a one off.'

‘They’ll be hard to beat. They’re a juggernaut. There’s parts of that show you can’t get out of the car because you want to know what Kyle says next.'

How do you feel about beating them 10-plus? Bruce asked. 

‘Craig, I’m a footballer mate, I would love to win a premiership. Not just for me, I would love to win a survey for our team. And we’ve always said that we’re gonna hire a penthouse at the best hotel so we can all sit on the balcony over Sydney Harbour. ‘Guys we finally did it.’

'I want to win a premiership. We’ll keep trying.’

To wrap up, Bruce asked Fitzy if both knees were up to it and back in 2002 he was given a choice between radio and football, which direction he'd take. The answer surprised him.

'No-one has ever asked me that. You know what, I would pick radio. I love this industry so much. And you don’t get injured unless you’re at a Christmas party,' he joked. 

Listen to the full episode below. 


 
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