Sam McClure didn't always want to be a journo | radioinfo

Sam McClure didn't always want to be a journo

Thursday 16 March, 2017
Sam McClure

The media has dubbed him sports broadcasting's newest star, which I found odd because I knew Sam McClure's name so well over quite a few years and then it clicked.

I worked in the newsroom at FIVEaa and we would take 3AW content including Sam's footy wraps.

Sam is now part of SEN 1116 and with the AFL season kicking off next weekend radioinfo got in touch to find out what the transition from reporting to being part of a show has been like?

It's been really good. I always loved reporting and I still do, but nothing matches the feeling of discussing a real issue live on air. Not only can you interact with the other hosts but there's also the element of talkback callers. I think I'll always want to be part of a radio show. 

I know your work from 3AW and the Age so you are no stranger to reporting on sport. How does it feel to be dubbed 'Sports Broadcasting's Newest Star'?

Haha I wouldn't say that! I was brought up by an old-school journo and taught a lot of what I know from Gerard Healy, who has been in the caper for a long time, so I've always been made to remember that you're only as good as your next story. 

I am a big sports fan, but when I am listening to commentators and broadcasters sometimes I get a feeling like, "is there really that much to say about a Collingwood, St Kilda match for example. Do you ever run out of angles?

It's a really interesting point. I think the basic answer is; if you're running out of angles then you've probably exhausted the issue/story. It's why I have so much respect for journalists like Caroline Wilson and Mick Warner, they are always on the lookout for the 'next big story'. The great thing about sport is that there are so many elements. Players, clubs, leagues, officials, umpires, crowds; it just never stops. There's always a story if you look hard enough. 

What's the biggest sport's story you have broken?

The first one that springs to mind is Gary Ablett asking to be traded back to Geelong. It was a story that myself and Caroline Wilson broke for The Age late last year. I think it ended up being such a big story because it created a lot of discussion in the days and weeks to come. The best stories are not necessarily the most controversial, but often the ones that generate impassioned debate. 

Is there a time in the sporting calendar you don't enjoy? eg. I'm not a fan of the racing season. I can't connect with it and hence have no knowledge plus I think fascinators are silly.

Not really! The year always starts well with cricket and then the Australian Open, which is often complimented by golf. As soon as that finishes we're basically into AFL pre-season games and then football becomes my life for eight months. Following that is the racing season, which I absolutely love. I think I love almost all sports because everyone has a story to be told. That's why I loved going to the Rio Olympics so much for work; even if it's a sport you've never covered or even watched live, it's the people inside the sport that make great reading. 

 What do you do in your down time, away from sport?

I'm a big lover of the arts. The only reason I really got into journalism was because my original passion of acting didn't come off. I loved theatre growing up and at school. I auditioned for the Victorian College of the Arts but I didn't get in. Away from sport I love to watch films and write. I took a screenwriting course while I was completing my media studies and I really enjoyed it, it's just nice to do something away from sport sometimes. 

Is there anyone you'd most like to interview.

So many people! I'd love to sit down with David Beckham for an hour. Not so much about his stellar career, but I'd be so interested in his life away from sport and how he coped with pressure. I watched a documentary on him and little things pricked my ears, like how he couldn't go to the corner shop and buy a bottle of milk, because he'd be hounded by fans. Normal people who are forced to live unnatural lives have always intrigued me. 

What's the highlight of your career thus far?

Becoming a regular on sports radio is something I'll never forget. To come into work and have Gerard Healy and Dwayne Russell as your two co-workers is pretty amazing. I really worked hard to gain their respect and I think it paid off. 

Which footy team do you follow?

Carlton. My Dad was a Blues tragic so when I was growing up my sister and I were always told: "you can barrack for whoever you want, but if it's not Carlton then you can't live here." 

If you were to be asked on air who you think the worst Australian cricket captain has been, what would be your answer?

Kim Hughes - given the circumstances surrounding his appointment as captain during World Series Cricket and the calibre of players he was leading, his tenure wasn't overly successful. Given the plethora of hard-nose cricket captains like Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Ian Chappell, Kim didn't have those same characteristics that we've come to expect from our Australian cricket captains.

  Kim Napier St. Kilda fan
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