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Inspiration Lyal Richardson was a prominent broadcaster who interviewed stars such as Frank Sinatra.

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Malcolm Brown

Inspiration Lyal Richardson was a prominent broadcaster who interviewed stars such as Frank Sinatra.

Lyal Richardson had a claim to being Australia's first genuine disc jockey and he certainly must have been the oldest - broadcasting at 89 years old on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. In between, he was a fixture, from the war years when he brought to the airwaves the comforting sounds of Glenn Miller and his orchestra, into Sydney's throbbing postwar nightclub scene, through television and on to the world of community radio. Through his interview studio came the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole, Johnny Ray and Diana Barrymore. A lifelong broadcaster, disc jockey, football announcer and talent manager - taking to the air on Radio 2KY, 2UW, 2BL - he spanned the golden age of radio and was a mentor to many who went on to make a name for themselves.

Albert Lyal Richardson was born in Mudgee on February 17, 1920, son of a storekeeper, Albert, and his wife Lima (nee Miller). The family moved to Tamworth when he was 10 years old and his father became an owner of a sports store, and a sports broadcaster on Radio 2TM. At 16 years of age, Richardson helped his father by compiling sports results and reading them on air. He completed his schooling and received an accountancy certificate. But his heart was set on broadcasting.

When war broke out, Richardson hosted a show, The Hit Parade. In the first week of 1940, he played a song at the top of the parade, England's Flanagan and Allen singing: We're Gonna Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line. ''There were only two disc jockeys then - Allan Toohey, the Old Smoothie, on 2UE, and yours truly on 2UW, ''he said years later. ''You read about the million-dollar contracts radio stars today are supposed to sign I remember they paid me 8 a week. There was no such thing as the Top 40.
The Echidnas The Australian Order of Comedians