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In­ter­view NAOMI CHRISOULAKIS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Pho­tog­ra­phy DAVE WHEELER

im Black­well leads a glam­orous life: the ra­dio host presents Nova’s na­tional drive show with Kate Ritchie and Marty Shear­gold, trav­els the world for guest stints on Get­away, reg­u­larly pops up on the To­day show and The Project, and has a bevy of fa­mous friends on speed dial. But ask him for a high­light and he of­fers the most mun­dane of mo­ments: rolling through the morn­ing rou­tine with his two chil­dren, Bo and Al­fie, and wife Monique, a yoga teacher, at their home in Syd­ney’s in­ner west.

“I’m so lucky to be able to spend the morn­ing at home with Mon and the kids and then just drive off to do [ra­dio] ev­ery day at one o’clock in the af­ter­noon – and then be home to read them a story at night. It doesn’t get much bet­ter than that,” the 37-year-old says. “I take my daugh­ter to school most morn­ings and help out with the lunches – we def­i­nitely take it in turns, I’m not claim­ing credit for that – but yeah, it’s re­ally great to have the morn­ings. My lit­tle boy is three so we do the park or take him to the li­brary. I did a lot of years of break­fast ra­dio and I was con­stantly a zom­bie, and for that I’m not wish­ing th­ese hours away, that’s for sure.”

Come 2019, he may face a re­turn to that sleep-de­prived state – a third child is due next month. Life will cer­tainly be louder, but Black­well likes it that way. “My mum al­ways had John Laws on in the house. Even now, in ev­ery room in the house, I have a ra­dio on. I just like noise, I al­ways have.” When he was a child, his grand­fa­ther bought him a Young Ta­lent Time set com­plete with a mi­cro­phone, am­pli­fier and gui­tar. Black­well put the gui­tar to the side, but spent hours read­ing the news­pa­per to his mother from his bed­room, the mi­cro­phone cord snaking out to the amp in the kitchen.

But per­haps it was his stint in the US that made his ca­reer path clear­est; he moved to Wash­ing­ton DC with his mother and step­fa­ther when he was 13 and rev­elled in the pop cul­ture of the ’90s. “I got to go to school ev­ery day and lis­ten to Howard Stern on my Sony Walk­man on the yel­low school bus and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is some­thing I want to do,’” he re­mem­bers. “As

a 13-year- old, all you did was watch TV and movies by Amer­i­cans. I was a huge Friends and Se­in­feld fan, and I lived there at the peak of those shows.”

Back home in Ho­bart where he grew up for the later high-school years, he es­chewed Sat­ur­day morn­ing sport; his fa­ther in­stead fer­ried him to the lo­cal com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion so he could make cof­fees and ob­serve the break­fast hosts at work.

It paid off. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing Black­well ping-ponged around Aus­tralia as he worked his way up the ra­dio ranks at Nova. In 2002 he made the big move to Perth to host Nova 93.7’s lo­cal drive show and was the first voice heard on air when the sta­tion launched with a Red Hot Chili Pep­pers in­ter­view. But the big­ger mile­stone, on the same day, was meet­ing Monique. “It’s the cheesi­est ra­dio-nerd story ever – one of the big­gest days for my ca­reer and cer­tainly the big­gest day of my love-life. I had all the big bosses in town, all the news me­dia there. I was shak­ing and ab­so­lutely sh*tting my­self but also ex­hil­a­rated at the same time. Once all that was over, we went down­stairs and had this huge launch party and Monique was a part of the pro­mo­tions team at the time there. She came over and I got the courage to say, ‘I’m new to Perth and I’d love to take you out to cof­fee or some­thing.’”

Time on dif­fer­ent Nova shows in Mel­bourne and Bris­bane fol­lowed, and the cou­ple will cel­e­brate their ninth wed­ding an­niver­sary in De­cem­ber. Asked to name the key to a long and happy re­la­tion­ship, Black­well replies, “Well, we haven’t ac­tu­ally prop­erly spent any time to­gether in five years since the birth of our child, and now we’ve got a third com­ing. When we can fi­nally get a word in over the scream­ing and the laugh­ing in the house, we still love the same things and we still love each other’s com­pany.”

When he’s not busy kid-wran­gling and do­ing his thing on ra­dio, Black­well dips in and out of the Syd­ney so­cial scene and counts Peter and Karl Ste­fanovic as bud­dies. He ad­mits watch­ing them re­ceive neg­a­tive at­ten­tion from the me­dia in re­cent months makes him want to de­fend them.

“There’s cer­tainly been times where you re­alise how the re­lent­less kind of pes­ter­ing by some parts of the me­dia does start wear­ing peo­ple down,” he says. “They’re not

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