Peter Denton – Voice of local news

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News is an important element of our lives. Every day we listen to or watch what is happening around the globe, Australia and locally. Wherever you live, we all have a daily dose of news. The population living in regional Australian communities have a thirst to be informed about events in their region.

It is important to us all. Each weekday morning Peter Denton heads to work to keep us updated across the Manning Valley and Great Lakes. He has become the voice of local news; he is passionate and eager to keep you informed. Meet the man who loves his job.

> Where were you born?

In Newcastle. My family still live in the area, and I return often.

> Where did you grow up and attend school?

In Lake Macquarie, attending school at Belmont.

> What was your first job?

As a teenager, I worked on a milk run while still at school. When I left school, I became an apprentice fitter-machinist and worked for four years with Gonninan and Co (United Rail Group).

> What exactly attracted you to radio?

I loved music and after finishing my apprenticeship I wanted to leave the area, believing there was a limited future for me.

So I went to Sydney and attended the Max Rowley Radio School for two years.

> Where was your first job in the media?

It was an interesting introduction. For three months I went to Cairns, doing the midnight dawn shift at 4CA Cairns. It was the hottest time of the year.

> What was next?

Moree at 2VM, where I stayed for four-and-a-half years.

> When did you arrive in the Manning Valley?

In 1991, after the Moree appointment.

> Any early career highlights?

At the Max Rowley Media Academy, I was nominated as the most promising new talent.

> Why did you swap records for news?

I came here as a music presenter, but became disinterested in that field and was looking for a new challenge.

I had presented news in Moree and felt comfortable in the newsroom, and when the opportunity arrived when Dianne Coveny-Garland left to go to 2SM, I took over the newsroom  – and have been here since.

> What time do you start each day?

At 4.30am. It can be a tough gig sometimes, but the early starts does has its rewards. Even on weekends. the body clock has me awake at 4am.

> Why is local news so important to the community?

Local radio news is important to the community, because it keeps everyone informed about the events across the region.

Broadcasting to listeners in outlying areas has great benefits, by keeping them informed, because they may not make it to civilisation for a period. So, it keeps them up to date with what is happening.

> How do perceive your role as the region’s top news provider?

Hard to say.

Like any other job, we get some feedback, but being in the industry for nearly 25 years and a listener for longer, I believe I have a feel and an idea of what people are listening for and want in a news bulletin.

I also try and reflect locally what is happening nationally.

> The worst story you have read on air?

Probably the most harrowing story was the murder of Petrina Eaglesham; it caused a lot of sensation in Taree.

The saddest was the death of Police Officer Glen McInalley and the national coverage of the police funeral.

> What is the future of local news, with so many changes in the communication field?

Local news will always have a place in some form or another. People, especially in country regions, like to be informed about what is happening in their area. It can compare to the ‘over the fence’, let’s hear what the neighbour has to say scenario.

> How do spend your spare time?

It mainly centres around my family, my wife Kim and daughters Hollee and Lily.

It can be busy at times. We love to travel, I play tenpin bowling every week, attend Toastmasters and am on the committee of the Taree Preschool.

> Thank you Peter.

> As told to Peter Lyne.

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