In 1981 broadcaster Ray Hadley stumbled upon what would be the luckiest fare of his life when he picked up 2UE Radio News Director, Mark Collier, in his taxi.
That incident would see the former auctioneer turned Sydney cabbie transformed into one of Australia’s leading broadcasters.
Ray had been a successful auctioneer in Sydney for a number of years but yearned for a life as a race broadcaster. In 1980 he decided to give up auctioneering and have a crack at chasing his dream. Unable to make a living out of race calling Ray decided to get a taxi licence so he could survive. That decision changed his life when he picked Mark Collier up on a Tuesday night from the studios of 2UE at North Sydney.
By the end of 1981 he started as a traffic reporter for legendary Sydney broadcaster Gary O’Callaghan. By 1982 he was covering Rugby League and was calling races with Des Hoysted. He was appointed full time at 2UE in July of 1983, being paid $19,500 per annum. He stayed there for 19 years before moving to 2GB.
Ray joined Macquarie Radio Network’s (MRN) 2GB in December 2001, at the request of Australian media icon John Singleton. His first broadcast on 2GB was breakfast on December 24th 2001. He continued in that role until Alan Jones arrived in March of 2002.
He then embarked on ‘The Ray Hadley Morning Program’ every weekday continuing the phenomenal success of his ‘Continuous Call Team’ on the weekends. For a 12 year period Ray worked 7 days a week during the football season.
The Ray Hadley Morning Show is now on air Monday to Friday. Ray has rated number one in Sydney since 2003, and is heard on 4BC in Brisbane and 30 network stations across Australia. In 2016 Ray celebrated 100 consecutive survey wins on his morning program, and now has recorded 145 consecutive ratings victories.
In 2017, The Australian Financial Review Magazine listed Ray as one of the nation’s most powerful individuals for his major influence on key issues.
On weekends, during the NRL season, Ray’s Continuous Call Team has remained unbeaten since 1992.
Ray’s talents in sports broadcasting have seen him cover 96 State of Origins. 33 Rugby League Grand Finals, 6 Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) and three Rugby World Cups (1991, 2003 and 2011). He led the ever-popular Continuous Call Team on air for 31 years and now plays a leadership role calling Origin matches and the NRL Grand Final.
In 2003 Ray was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for service to rugby league as a broadcaster, and to the community, particularly through fundraising for charitable organisations.
SINGO IS A HARD MAN TO IGNORE…I KEPT DECLINING, SO HE JUST GOT UP AT A MEDIA CONFERENCE AND ANNOUNCED I WAS DOING THE MORNING PROGRAM.Ray Hadley
Ray has won 33 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), recognising everything from his sports presenting skills – including NRL Grand Finals and the Olympics to his ongoing success commenting on news and current affairs to a national audience.
In 2017 he was inducted into the ACRA Hall of Fame. Ray is the most awarded broadcaster in the history of the ACRAs.
His reputation for hard work and accuracy has established an enormously loyal audience over his long career.
He counts among his career highlights as having won his 100th consecutive survey in 2016, being lead broadcaster for swimming and track field for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which included his graphic description of Cathy Freeman‘s 400 metres victory and the Ian Thorpe inspired win by our 4 x 100 metres relay team in the pool.
Ray acknowledges his career has been moulded by his various mentors and friends including John Brennan, Gary O’Callaghan, John Tapp, Des Hoysted, Frank Hyde, the late Bob Fulton and the late Peter Frilingos along with the man who decided he should have a full time talk-radio career, John Singleton. Singo convinced Ray he needed to break away from being a sports broadcaster who filled in doing talkback to be a full time talk host who occasionally called sports.
It was a career defining decision. Reflecting after cracking 100 consecutive survey wins, Ray said, “Singo is a hard man to ignore. He tried to talk me into the full time gig in mornings, I kept declining, so he just got up at a media conference and announced I was doing it”. Ray is now closing in on 150 consecutive survey wins – A feat never achieved before.
Ray is a major supporter of the Australian country music industry providing many new and established artists with a platform not seen in mainstream media.
He’s presented over 500 Country Music Countdown programs across the country. He convinced station management at 2GB and 4BC the program deserved to be heard on capital city radio. The Countdown also goes to over 100 provincial and regional stations and rates number one on a Saturday night on 2GB.
When he’s not on the radio you‘ll likely see Ray with his mates at the golf club. He says that’s his sanctuary. His mates say he needs to get a life. Ray has four adult children and lives in Sydney’s north-west and spends as much time as he can at Main Beach on the Gold Coast where he has an apartment.
Ray says his life has gotten even better over the last years – with his marriage to Sophie in 2021 and the arrival of 5 grandchildren who are keeping poppy young.