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Richard King was born in August 1954, His mother, Pat King, was an actress. She had badly burnt her hands as a child, so, she was told, as an actress, she couldn’t expect major roles. But that didn’t matter on the radio. She did a lot of character voices for radio plays. Richard’s father, Doug Gawler, was a former merchant seaman.
As a child, living with his mother and older sister, Richard would be in his bedroom at night with his radio, listening to the latest hits and renowned announcer Ken Sparkes.
“I had a crystal radio and I had the little tiger clip plugged into the fly screen beside my bed, and I used to listen to 3UZ,” he says, before singing the station jingle he remembers from his childhood.
When King was 11, his mother remarried, to a man named Ron King: “So she was a King, married a Gawler and became a King again.”
The family moved to Sydney and Richard turned his radio dial to discover new music stations, primarily 2SM and 2UW. He attended Barker College and, having received a private education, “there was an expectation I should do something” when he matriculated.
“I think at the time as an articled clerk, I got the princely sum of about $30 a week. I was spending it all on records,” King recalls.
But it was real enough for Richard King to leave behind law and enrol in a radio presenter’s course. And the rest is history.