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Your Local Radio Experts John O’Callaghan and Nik James

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

✦ FM93.5 Radio 531am began broadcasting on January 26, 2000 and reaches over 90,000 people every week. Part of the Super Radio Network, they have the Mid-North Coast covered.



Live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Local and National News, the John Laws Show, John O’Callaghan (weekdays 12-3pm), Talkin’ Sport, Live coverage of the NRL, AFL, A-League and Super Rugby PLUS the Greatest Songs Ever Made across the Mid-North Coast.


With a combined total of 70 years in the radio field, your Port Macquarie based radio presenter extraordinaires are John O’Callaghan and Nik James Lipovac. Truly experts in their chosen field.


About John


Having worked for 45 years in the Radio Industry after starting as a 15 year old at 2UE in Sydney alongside his famous father Gary, John worked as a panel operator and production assistant before gaining his first on-air role at 2KO Newcastle.


From there he continued to work as an announcer, in the newsroom and in production at 2KA Penrith, 2NZ Inverell, 2WG Wagga, 2CS in Coffs, 4AK Toowoomba, 2GZ Orange and then finally arriving in Port Macquarie on Australia Day in the year 2000!


He is the station manager, news director, afternoon announcer and production guru. John has interviewed a huge variety of politicians, sports stars, music legends and celebrities from all walks of life but meeting Mick Fleetwood was a personal highlight along with Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. John is a huge supporter of the Tigers in both the NRL and AFL.


From John


I grew up with entertainers forming a large part of my early life with actors, dancers and musicians as my grandparents , great grandparents and even further back.


Also, with my father in radio and my mother the radio stations receptionist, we had a parade of entertainers who were family friends drop in. Johnny O’Keefe, who went to school with my father, Kamahl, Little Pattie and many others.


Coming from a large family it always was fun, exciting and never boring. It was also very natural to meet up with all these different people as that was just what life was like.


How long have you been involved in radio, where and why?


I believe I started in radio around 1963, 1964 with little appearances on my father Gary O'Callaghan's show but commenced actually working and being paid at the end of 1973 and start of 1974 as work through my school holidays, but I was approached by the stations owner who convinced me to leave school and work in radio full-time.


Expertise at 531…


Here at Superradio Mid North Coast I wear many hats as the days of being “just an announcer” are numbered. My duties include, Journalist… compiling the daily local news bulletins, music programmer, part-time technician, computer programming and repairs, commercial voice over with production creation and music mixing as well as station manager.


What does it take to be a radio announcer?


If you want to become a radio announcer then just keep plugging away at getting into the industry, join a community station, talk to other announcers, and most importantly don’t try to be them, just learn how to be yourself.


Any formal training or are you self taught?

My career in radio has been a joint effort as you learn all about the industry and how you put it all together everyday from those you work with. You also learn from many announcers and producers from all over Australia and the world as you pull apart what it is they have done to put together their own sound.


How have you helped the community in your role?


It’s amazing the opportunities you get when you are in the media to help others in the community who aren’t as lucky as most of us. I’ve ridden so many different things in the name of charity from elephants, cows, camels and retired racehorses , been in demolition derbys, speedway cars, and legs of a rally car race...


Raising funds for rescue helicopters, cancer charities, children's hospitals, humidi cribs, volunteer rescue association vehicles, riding for the disabled. There are so many worthy causes and I think if you are in the public eye and have the chance to do some good, then that’s what you must do.


Any advice for aspiring radio presenters?

If you want to become a radio announcer then just keep plugging away at getting into the industry, join a community station, talk to other announcers, and most importantly don’t try to be them, just learn how to be yourself.


If you were down to your last $20 what would you do with it?


I’d gather as much of my family as I could, buy a large serving of chips and sit on the jetty watching the sun go down feeding ourselves, the fish and the seagulls.

Thanks John.

 

About Nik


Having spent the best part of 25 years working in radio, Nik, aka Niko, has lived on the Mid-North Coast since 2002. His first job was as the office and promotions assistant at 2DayFM in Sydney. He then moved to 2GN Goulburn as an announcer followed by 7AD Devonport in Tasmania, then it was off to 2LT Lithgow (Blue Mountains) to take over the breakfast announcer and news director roles before shifting north to Coffs Harbour to work in brekky, sales and the Saturday Sports Show.


2MC/StarFM in Port Macquarie (now Triple M and HitFM) was his home for almost 11 years where he worked on-air and in promotions including coordinating the first 10 years of Give Me 5 for Kids. Nik has been with the Super Radio Mid North Coast team since November 2017 in sales and as the fill-in announcer. Some of his radio highlights include having lunch with Eddie McGuire in Melbourne and interviewing Russell Crowe. Niko loves the Rabbitohs but has a passion for all sports.


From Niko


​I'm a sports-mad, community-loving, underdog-fighting, extra mile-taking, overly optimistic individual who is somewhat stubborn, always passionate and most definitely determined to make a difference... and a father of two! I'll speak out, speak up and put myself forward. It's fair to say I've been heavily shaped by my blue-collar background where I've worked my backside off to just make ends meet.


How long have you been involved in radio, where and why?


​Although I only recently hit the 25-year mark in my radio career (with a few detours along the way), I first started working at 2Day-FM in 1989 following a brief stint at a Sydney Media Academy. I love to inform, entertain and enjoy music from all eras. I've taken on numerous roles including breakfast announcer, news director, sports show host, etc, at stations across NSW and even 12 months in Devonport, Tasmania. I spent almost 11 years at the old 2MC-FM/StarFM (now Triple M/Hit) and since 2017 I've been part of the Radio 531 team.


I've always had a strong interest in all forms of media and communication. I think it all started when I was a kid listening to the Footy and Top 40 Countdowns on the radio and I read a lot of newspapers. Still do! (*even the on-line ones!)


Expertise at 531…

Most of the time I focus on my full-time sales role, but also assist in putting together our weekly local sports show and I occasionally get to fill in on-air when John O'Callaghan is away. Having worked in various roles over the years I really enjoy putting all my skills to the test from community engagement to writing and voicing commercials to preparing and presenting a show.


What does it take to be a radio announcer?


You need to be bloody determined. There are fewer and fewer positions available these days and radio school graduates are now competing with reality TV stars for on-air roles. Just be yourself, be natural, have a good knowledge of local news, info and current affairs, be able to tell short amusing stories and have a basic understanding on the music and artists you're playing. Sounds simple enough but putting it all together takes time.


Any formal training or are you self taught?


​A bit of both. In addition to radio school, while I was waiting for my big break, I got involved in community radio and did a weekly shift. Back in the day when every kid had a cassette recorder you could have a bit of fun and practice at home. I suppose these days you can use your phone to record audio and vision... and become an instant social media star!


How have you helped the community in your role?


​Radio and the media in general, always has and always will be, about the local community. Supporting events via promotion and publicity, getting involved on ground level as a volunteer coordinator or emcee, Encouraging others to get behind the occasion, using your contacts to benefit others, Whatever it takes. I've been involved in hundreds of community events and fundraisers over many years and there's nothing quite like helping someone who needs it most.


Best thing about your Job?

Freedom, flexibility and fun.

Any advice for aspiring radio presenters?

If you don't have a passion for it you won't last long. It's addictive, it's a rollercoaster ride, it's not for everyone. There are as many people in the industry who will push you to be your best, as there are people who will tear you down. No matter where you are, learn as much as you can about all aspects of the industry, be prepared for hard work and long hours, but also enjoy the journey.

You might also want to consider a back-up career.

If you were down to your last $20 what would you do with it?

Split it with a homeless person and then we can both enjoy a meal.


Thanks Niko.

 

Contact

Super Radio Mid North Coast FM93.5 Radio 531 (Hastings - Macleay - Nambucca)​


Office: (02) 6584 9344 116 Lord St, Port Macquarie NSW 2444



 

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