When any Millman and his coach will do | radioinfo

When any Millman and his coach will do

Wednesday 05 September, 2018
Man of the Moment, John Millman. Photo: Shutterstock
How Ben Fordham's producers covered the John Millman win without John Millman.

Up until the moment he stepped on court for his match against tennis legend Roger Federer, anyone in command of a microphone could have called John Millman’s mobile and he would’ve picked up, thrilled that anyone had even heard of him, let alone wanted to talk to him on air. 

But by the time the U.S. Open fourth round match had finished, just before 3pm yesterday, the rank outsider became the hottest property on the planet having staged perhaps the biggest tennis upset this century, beating #2 seed, Federer, in four sets 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7) 7-6 (3).

Millman’s phone went into meltdown as just about every media outlet in the world wanted to talk to him - including Ben Fordham’s Drive team on 2GB, Sydney.

For three hours his three-person production team plus a panel op was hitting redial only to get a busy signal in return from Millman’s mobile. They texted him too but to no avail.

What to do, what to do?

As EP Zac McLean explains, “Millman won about 10 minutes before we went to air at 3 0’clock. Immediately we go, right, this is big news, so, who can we get onto? Our first reaction is to get onto someone who can talk about tennis.” 

Contacts, of course, are the bread and butter of any talk show and 2GB has more than most. The first name that was available to go to air was former Aussie tennis great, Todd Woodbridge.

Although they kept calling and texting and hoping, pretty soon it became clear they had Buckley’s of getting through to their target. “Once the show started,” says Zac, “the priority for all three of the producers and Ben is to find anyone from the Millman family.

“The direction for all of us is to track down the family on social media. We found them pretty easily on facebook, so, we messaged them. We got in touch with his old school, got his coach on air. He was able to help us get in contact.

“Then we got on to Tessa, the sister, she was also helpful in getting in touch with their Dad, Ron before the end of the show. It sort of snowballed… some one points you in the right direction and you get everyone involved in the end… well sometimes. It doesn’t always work out.”

Despite the pressure to find credible voices with inside knowledge of Millman, the atmosphere in the studio was subdued and businesslike, according to Zac. 

“On some days, if there’s a terrorist attack - some big breaking news - and we’re all on the chase, that’s a lot more hectic. We’re never yelling at each other but it’s much more intense trying to find witnesses and things like that. But this was much more cool, calm and collected, ” says Zac McLean.

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