The Australian entertainment industry is remembering Doug Mulray, who died yesterday aged 72.
His former radio station, Triple M, described him as the “godfather of radio”, with others paying tribute to his radio genius, cheeky demeanour and game-changing stunts.
Andrew Denton, who worked alongside Mulray at Triple M, said working with him was like being on a rollercoaster “but hanging on from the outside – and sometimes from underneath”.
“He had a perfect radio voice… Doug was a brilliant, spontaneous broadcaster,” he said, noting it was “one of the great creative partnerships of my life and my career”.
“Doug Mulray made himself a legend on Double J back in the day, the sort of counter culture ABC youth network. And he was kind of as he looked -he was crazy… But he was much more than crazy,” Denton added on the “Micj and MG” radio show on Triple M this morning.
“He started at Triple M when Triple M started. So he was part of the birth of FM radio in Australia….. Within a decade he had taken Triple M to the top of radio, top of all radio in Sydney. And the reason was, he was crazy. He had a genius for radio…. Doug was absolutely suited to radio and he could do it all. He could do brilliant impersonations. He was so fast. He could perform. He could sing. And he was prepared to try anything. So, in the years when I was working with him, we had an audience of about 1 million, and it was everything from barristers to garbos listening in…. He was just funny in a way you could never predict.”
Despite his raft of achievements, Denton noted that Mulray spent most of his life unaware of his impact.
“Dougy, he was a very self-lacerating man. He never thought he was good enough, bit I think he knew at the end of his life he’d done something which is given to very few – he had brought genuine joy to so many people’s lives, and that’s what he brought into mine.”
In 2019, Mulray was inducted into the Commercial Radio Hall of fame.
Current Triple M Sydney breakfast host, Mick Molloy, said Mulrary’s Triple M show was “the greatest show in radio at the time – and possibly ever”.
“Any of us who work in radio owe him a huge debt,” he said on air. “He was a trailblazer, a pioneer, a maverick, all of the above. He should have some kind of Triple M Mount Rushmore or a big statue out the front.”
In a statement, Molloy added: “It is a terrible morning. A huge gaping hole has been left in the landscape of FM radio, particularly in Sydney where Doug Mulray ruled since 1982. He was the man, he was a legendary radio performer. For anyone in comedy, particularly going into radio, he was considered the biggest star in the firmament. He ruled Sydney radio for a long time.
“A lot of us who do this for a job owe him a great debt. He paved the way in many ways. He was like a god on the FM train, he worked at the station and just dominated it. He transformed Triple M Sydney, and his impact reverberated around Australia. This is an important passing, especially for people in our industry.”
Ben Fordham, host of Sydney’s 2GB breakfast radio show, said: “If there’s a radio station in heaven, they better get the dump button ready, because Doug Mulray is coming.”
Grant Blackley, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) – the current owner of Triple M – paid tribute to Mulray’s radio chops.
“Our deepest sympathies to the family and friends on the passing of Uncle Doug. He was radio royalty and an absolute legend. He was instrumental in changing the face of radio on Triple M and became a household name. He was deeply opinionated, highly intelligent and one very cheeky bugger,” he said.
“Thank you, Dougie, for entertaining us and ensuring we never took life too seriously. We will miss you. Vale Doug Mulray.”