Eddie locks in 30 years
AS HE celebrates his 30th anniversary in TV, Eddie McGuire’s in a reflective mood.
McGuire ( pictured), who first stared down the lens when working as a reporter for Channel 10 in 1982, tells how his approach to career and life has not changed since his childhood in roughand- tumble Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
His philosophy, inherited from his parents, is based on ignoring the doubters, not stressing about failure and having a red- hot go.
His dad Edward was born in Scotland in 1918, worked in the coal mines in Glasgow and served during World War II.
In 1958, Edward and his wife Bridie moved to Broadmeadows to ensure they could give their family a better life.
‘‘ They literally landed here with two kids, two suitcases and five pounds in March 1958,’’ McGuire says.
Edward dug ditches and Bridie worked on assembly lines to give their children Eddie, Frank, Evelyn and Brigette the best possible education.
No surprise McGuire was deeply saddened by his father’s death at 94 in December.
His father is in his thoughts when McGuire recalls the day in 1982 that Channel 10’ s David Johnston phoned the McGuires’ home to offer Year 12 student Eddie the opportunity to work for the network on weekends.
‘‘ Ten minutes later Dad drove in the front gate,’’ McGuire says.
‘‘ He said later that all he could see was the front door slam open and me pretty much long- jumping from the front step to the gate. He said he didn’t know what was going on, that maybe the house had caught fire.’’
The most challenging time in his TV life came when McGuire took on the CEO role at Nine six weeks after the death of Kerry Packer in December 2005. He was promised a mandate to boost an ailing production schedule, but the job soon became about savage cost- cutting.
‘‘ Of course it was hard,’’ McGuire says of his stint. ‘‘ Did I get treated unfairly by the media in Sydney? Yeah, but bad luck, boo hoo. It all helps you keep stable in your mind.
‘‘ For the benefit of me as a father and a person down the track, maybe I needed a bit of a clip of the wings at that stage.’’
McGuire, who in 1994 was poached by Channel 9 to launch The Footy Show, is in one of the happiest phases of his career – splitting his time between Nine’s Hot Seat and his role at Fox Footy.
He shrugs at the mention of criticism levelled at him on Twitter during the London Olympics.
‘‘ The level of personal abuse [ through social media] is an area we’ve not had before. There has to be a mechanism in there so people do not suffer as a result of abuse. I am ugly and strong enough to know if I’ve done a good job or not. The worry is for the new people coming through.’’