It is interesting how it can feel as if you can grow up (but not older!) alongside media personalities. As we move through our lives – from youthful music fans, through family life and then onto being an empty nester – some of our favourite personalities seem to travel with us.
And this is why that for many of us, radio and TV host Jonathan Coleman feels like someone who has journeyed down the road with us.
When we were young he was the bright and bouncy face on Simon Townsend’s Wonder World. Then, as we grew into our cool, hipster phase (way before hipsters were invented) he was half of Jono and Dano – radio’s funniest duo on Triple J, then Triple M.
And despite a 16-year sojourn in the UK on breakfast radio and satellite TV, he’s been back in Oz for the last few years, moving on to more mature mediums – Studio 10 on morning TV and now Talking Lifestyle, the new radio network in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Coleman says that one of the bests things about his career is that his audience has moved with him over the years – as have his guests.
“Today on Studio 10 we had Todd McKenney and I remember interviewing Todd McKenney when Strictly Ballroom came out,” he says. “We were talking about people we know from then when he was first starting out I was still doing stuff on Wonder World and things. And Kathy Lette and I have known each other since Puberty Blues and then I continue to meet people that I interviewed in London.”
“My audience has sort of grown up with me.”
Coleman is now on the other side of 50 – “probably closer to 60” and is a firm believer that his generation is one of the most flexible and adaptable about. Despite common myths about the over 50s, he says, the pre-1965 generation has learnt to move with the times and welcomed technology and all that it involves.
“When I first started working with Jono and Dano there were no mobile phones,” he says, sharing memories that the Talking Lifestyle and WYZA audiences can relate to.
“And when I was doing Simon Townsend’s Wonder World you had to find a public phone that worked or ring from the person’s house. With Triple M and Triple J, there was no fax machines – no mobile phones. People used to phone in. We would phone them back sometimes if it was an interstate call and pay for the call.”
“There were no computers as such – there were like Commodore 64s and things like that. And then we suddenly went into computerised radio stations – you could actually record, you didn’t have to use reel to reel tape all the time.”
Coleman, right, hosts The WYZA WAY every Tuesday night, pictured here with writer John Burfitt and WYZA editor Lynne Testoni
Now it’s all computerised, simplified and efficient, but Coleman’s cheery demeanour is still the same. He loves a chat and a laugh, which is why radio is just about his perfect medium.
These days he is happily ensconced in a new hosting role at Macquarie Media’s new Talking Lifestyle network – on air every weekday from 9pm to 11pm. It’s informal – which is what Coleman does best. He chats about the issues of the day with his guests and explores the lifestyle topics such as travel, money, entertainment and health. Just like us.
He also is part of the Studio 10 team, doing regular weekday morning TV and covering similar ground.
Indeed, there’s a lot of synergies between his audience and the WYZA readers, which is why we have established a new show with Talking Lifestyle – The WYZA WAY, on every Tuesday evening.
Coleman has seen a lot from behind the microphone over the years and the new show is the perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper with our regular writers – more behind-the-scenes stories and expert tips. Tune in and chill out.
(Feature image: Ten Network)