HOW A BLOW-IN FROM MELBOURNE BECAME THE VOICE OF THE GOLD COAST
Paul Gale was never meant to stay on the Gold Coast and so, after 10 months of sand and saltwater, he dutifully departed on the next tide, bound for South Australia.
Galey had impressed audiences after being paired with local radio queen Suki Mead as the 1997 SeaFM breakfast team. The Melbourne born announcer had already completed stints at Kalgoorlie’s 6KG, Albury’s 2AY, Perth’s Triple M and Hobart’s Triple T, with current GoldFM program director Adrian “AJ” Johnston giving him his start in the lucrative breakfast slot during his tenure on the apple isle.
The Gold Coast was just another stepping stone on his journey for supremacy of the airwaves.
But after two and a half years at Adelaide’s SAFM and on the cusp of moving to the big smoke, Galey suddenly had second thoughts.
“The next logical step would have been Sydney or Melbourne but I felt torn,” Galey says.
“I felt like I spent more time thinking about going back than I did moving forward. “I had some unfinished business on the Gold Coast.” Not only was one of the Coast’s longest-serving announcers not meant to stay, his was a face not originally destined for radio.
In 1988 the aspiring thespian left behind everyone he knew in Victoria in the hope a late-night slot on the Kalgoorlie wireless would be his key to cracking into acting.
“It was a long trip across the Nullabor on the bus and when I got there I had no idea what I was doing. Some would say I still don’t,” Galey says. “In those days we were still loading the vinyls on. “In a mining town there’s always a sense of adventure. People running away from something. Working hard and playing hard.”
He threw himself into his gig on air, but young Galey never quite gave up his dream of becoming an actor.
While working at Albury he met actor Belinda Giblin, best known for her role on Sons and Daughters as the post plastic surgery Pat the Rat, who was originally played by Rowena Wallace.
The enterprising Galey asked for her contact details and got in touch when he finally scored an audition at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.
“I had to reintroduce myself to her and then I asked her if she would help me prepare for my audition,” Galey says.
“She said yes and spent the entire day helping me prepare.”
Galey was among 150 auditioning for a coveted spot at the acting school. He made it to the top five but ultimately missed out.
“Someone came along and told us all to warm up. Everyone else was doing voice exercises, but all I knew how to do was footy stretches so I was standing there doing my hamstrings,” Galey says. “I ended up just going to hide in the toilet for a bit. “I was disappointed to have missed out, but I also had a big sense of achievement for making it so far.”
Resuming his role at SeaFM in 2000, Galey spent the next 16 years being paired with a string of memorable personalities. Among them were Sally Rope, Simon Baggs, Matt Acton, Ross Wallman, Digby Gillings and former Hi 5 star Charli Robinson.
Among the procession of voices to mingle with his own, none resounded as loudly, or indeed laughed as heartily, as Moyra McGregor.
Now known by her married moniker of Moyra Major, the duo spent a decade on air together after a fortuitous meeting at a stand-up comedy night.
Moyra parted ways with SeaFM in 2011 after the station controversially punted her when she was due to return to work after taking six weeks’ maternity leave.
Galey followed her to Hot Tomato where she’d picked up a gig reading the news. Since the start of this year, together with Malcolm Lees, the trio of Galey, Mal and Moyra have been blitzing the drive slot.
The 102.9FM team had a convincing win over their rivals at 17.6 per cent in the latest GFK Gold and Tweed Coast Radio Ratings.
It’s bound to be a relief for Galey, who has wholeheartedly embraced his new station, although the different timeslot is still taking some getting used to for the breakfast stalwart.
“I’m pretty much awake at 4.45am every morning, but I’m trying to coach myself to sleep longer,” Galey says.
“But them my brain starts telling me, ‘You’re awake you might as well exercise’, so I’m pretty much at war with myself.”
The 50-year-old Carrara dad to Maggie, 22, Bennett, 20, Rosie, 18, and Willow, 16, is partial to a trot up Burleigh Hill and an F45 Team Training class.
His partner of two years, Ange Pease, also has two children of her own, Ajay, 13, and Maddie, 11, so there’s no slowing down on weekends.
Many people know Galey for his infamous crazy calls, which caused listeners to alternatively cringe and erupt in hysterics when the unfortunate person on the other end realised they had been pranked.
Despite his AFL roots, Galey was among those lobbying to get the Gold Coast Titans off the ground prior to their NRL debut in 2007.
He also co-hosted Channel Nine travel segment Gold Coast Weekend with Melissa Downes and has long been a regular on the emcee circuit.
But for all the full-volume fun, it was the time when Galey’s voice went quiet that makes him get a lump in his throat. While some announcers choose to bare their souls to their audiences, Galey has always been private about family affairs, including his divorce from wife Billie with whom he says he shares a fantastic and respectful coparenting relationship.
It was only during the time when his mum passed away that audiences got a dose of raw Galey.
“Mum was still in Melbourne so I did a few shows from the studio down there because she was always so proud and I don’t think she would have wanted me to miss them,” Galey says. “I did take the last couple of days off to say goodbye. “Mum always enjoyed what I did, so it split my emotions a bit.
“When you’re saying something publicly you’re always so vulnerable with showing emotion.”
The day of the Gold Coast Eye photoshoot rolls around and Galey has a confession to make. We’d discussed at length how to best represent a voice that has soaked into the sand, echoed from the high-rises and bounced off the canals of the Gold Coast for the best part of two decades.
So of course we had to take him to the top of our city’s most iconic structure Q1 to do the SkyPoint Climb.
“I’m just not that great with heights,” Galey says minutes before making his lofty ascent.
“But I’ve been up there before and the view is great, so I guess I’ve got no excuse. “I’ll just have to get up there quickly and get it done.” And so, even though his voice may have crept a few octaves higher, Galey lived to blow the wind up his listeners for another day.