Vale Mal Hedstrom | radioinfo

Vale Mal Hedstrom

Thursday 20 February, 2020

Mal Hedstrom worked at 2XL, 5RM, 6KY, 2SM, 2KO, 2HD, 2NX, 2NM, 2PK/ROK FM, SUNFM Mildura, KO-FM/Triple M Newcastle. He also worked as Malcolm Alan at 2XL and 5RM.

His last on air role on air was at Sun FM in Mildura.

He finally succumbed to a long battle with illness yestrerday in Newcastle, where he spent much of his 45 year career.
 
On his retirement in February 2016, Station General Manager Alan Burrows said,
 
"In my eyes Mal is an icon of the radio industry and an amazing man to listen to his stories of the wild days of radio in the 70's and 80's.
Great to see Mal go out on his own terms which doesn't happen much in today's world"
 
When we asked what he was planning to do next, Mal said,

"To paraphrase the Eagles, Take It Easy".

Mal worked at every commercial station in Newcastle during his time in that city. He started at 2HD in 1979 doing drive and breakfast. Between 1980 and 1984 he was Operations Manager. In 1984 he moved to 2NX as a journo reading brekky news with Blakely and Stew, then resigned in 1986 and followed John Mcgahen to 2KO, where he apent about 14 years on air. From 2001 he spent the next 14 years running stations in Parkes and Mildura.
 
A celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday the 26th of February at Pettygrew Funerals, Belmont at 12:30pm. Dress code - bright and happy preferable.

 

Mal Hedstrom was the first, no second, person I met in my first ever radio job at 2XL in Cooma in 1972.
 
Having been trained by the legendary Eric Wright at 2KY in Orwell Street Kings Cross, I had a very formal introduction to broadcasting. I vividly recall my first lesson in the “off-air” studio furnished with no more than a lectern equipped with an on-off switch for the microphone. The studio was adjacent to the “control room” manned (it was then invariably "manned" back then) by a panel operator. On the other side of the control room was the on-air studio with Tony Langshaw at the mic.
 
Having done two months under the fastidious tutelage of Mr Wright, who secured my first radio job for me, I bundled my meagre belongings in the back of my ancient Morris Mini Minor (with the sliding windows) that I’d bought from a friend of a friend for $300, to wend my merry way down the Hume Highway, through the Nation’s capital on to the Monaro and into Cooma - amazed that Mini had made it.
 
I introduced myself at 2XL's reception and asked for the manager (whose name escapes me after 48 years) and he showed me around the studios. Nothing like the cavernous facilities at 2KY, to which I had become accustomed, the “tour” of 2XL was conducted in about the same time as I could have shown someone around the interior of my Mini. 
 
The first person to whom I was introduced was standing in what was laughingly called “the control room”. He was wearing faded jeans and a raggedy T-Shirt while I was dressed in a tailored jacket, collar and tie, that my mother had insisted was appropriate for a first day at a new job.
 
The manager introduced the scruffy looking fellow in the T-Shirt as Mal Hedstorm. My first words to him were, “Are you the panel operator?” The place erupted in an uproarious fit of laughter – like, 'who’s this pompous arse who thinks he’s getting his own panel operator.'
 
I soon dumped the collar and tie in favour of a T-Shirt and jeans. Mal and I became fast friends the way Privates in the army do. We listened to each other’s air-checks and fantasised over getting that big gig at a major metro station.

Mal beat me to it. Within a year or so, he’d landed a night shift at 2SM – the number one station at the time in Sydney. He invited me into the studio evening. I was in awe. As he flicked the mic switch to “on-air,” I froze at the thought of the hundreds of thousands of people listening to this big city station - as if somehow they might sense I was there and wonder, “who’s this impostor on the radio with Mal?”
 
Over the years we pursued separate paths in the industry. We rarely spoke. But when we did, it was as if the conversation had never ceased. I think anyone who’s worked in radio for any length of time has developed several relationships of that kind. 
 
Mal became a legend of a newsreader in Newcastle and one of those stalwarts of the business that underpin the vitality of regional radio as he (as they say) 'went through more stations than the Indian Pacific.'
 
We can only hope that radio will be blessed with many more like Mal Hedstrom in the years to come. 

Rest in Peace my friend.

Peter Saxon,
Managing Editor

 

 
 

 

 

Post a Comment

3 Comments

Log InYou must be logged in to post comments.
Salesy
21 February 2020 - 5:04am
I listened to Mal as a child when he was working afternoons on KOFM. Him and his famous "Animal Hoooooouse" segment, doing lost pets.

In 2017 I was honoured to be a colleague of Mighty Mal... working at KOFM. He would be doing weekends and if I was rostered on after him, I would get there hours ahead of time just to sit in Studio 1 and chew the fat. The memories of 2SM, his time with the Super Radio Network, Mildura and his time at 2NX and 2KO.

He finished up last year with us and I knew he was unwell again. But this is still a shock to us. He met my mum and family and was an absolute gentlemen to them.

I hope you're at peace now my friend and free from pain.
JohnnyRogers
21 February 2020 - 10:09am
Mal also briefly worked as I recall at 2KA in 1978.
Wendy Jane
21 February 2020 - 2:18pm
Very sad news, and what an unfailingly charming man he was. Such a lovely tribute from Peter Saxon and I personally send a message of comfort and love to all who knew and loved Mal. Requiescat in Pacem.
radioinfo ABN: 87 004 005 109  P O Box 6430 North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia.  |  All content © 2012. All Rights Reserved.