TV Daze – rewind – The Day I Crashed The Evil Empire

A great mate of mine Gary Campaniello owns Portside Mitsubishi in Adelaide.

He’s one of the most generous people I know and he also happens to have one of the best wine cellars in Adelaide.

Friends like these are to treasure.

A few years ago Gary rings me and says he’s got some tickets to a One Day Cricket International at Adelaide Oval am I interested?  Silly question.

It’s a sponsors’ show so after the cricket we adjourn to Jolley’s Boat House restaurant on the banks of the Torrens, me thinking it’s probably a Mitsubishi function.

The alarm bells should have started ringing when I saw a big Channel Nine banner outside Jolly’s front door, but I just thought, well 9 do the cricket so they’re just supporting the sponsors show.

Gary and I go inside where we’re given name tags ( mine had to be hastily written up).

I see  familiar faces – Rob Kelvin – 9 Newsreader and a couple of other 9 identities.

When 9’s sales manager strides up to me and has a brief chat an uneasy feeling starts in the pit of my stomach.

That feeling quickly departs as fine wine and plates of food are brought to the table.  Radio legend Tony Pilkington is seated with us and the conversation is free and easy, and with Pilko in fine form, very humorous.

He asks me a few loaded questions about how did I enjoy the cricket and how did I come to be here at Jolly’s.

“Compliments of my dear friend Gary from Portside “I replied.

Shortly after Pilko rose to his feet as he was to be the MC for the function.

Then I broke into a cold sweat as Pilko began.  “Good evening everyone and welcome to the Channel Nine program launch for 2008.”

As I started to squirm Pilko singled out different identities for special mention.

I knew my time was coming.

“And I’ve saved the biggest news for last.  As you’ve no doubt seen Channel 7’s Graeme Goodings is with us and I’m pleased to say he’s quitting 7 and joining 9 in the new year.

A collection of gasps and sideways looks from 9 management followed and me looking for the nearest exit to beat a rapid retreat.

My old pal Gary oblivious to it all. He had not seen how politically incorrect it was to have a 7 network’s personality at a Channel 9 program launch revealing the stations lineup for the upcoming year.

Everyone was very good about it but there was a perceptible level of tension in the air.

I thought, well I’m here now better make the best of it and went round to all the 9 execs and sponsors I knew and wished them the compliments of the season and all the best for the upcoming year.

As soon as possible after that I suggested to Gary it might be time to leave.

The embarrassment didn’t quite end there. In the next day’s Confidential section of The Advertiser  there was  a picture of me with the Channel 9 sales manager and the caption ‘7 News Presenter Graeme Goodings seen at the Channel 9 program launch.’

7 management took it in good humour although I don’t know that my explanation sat too well with them.

I stayed at 7 for another  6 years so I guess that says something.

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