Glenn Daniel talks about his career and life. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

Radio veteran Glenn Daniel: prepare to earn your stripes

Ask Glenn Daniel his advice to young journalists wanting to get into radio and he’ll tell you the biggest key is “work hard”.

“I’m inspired by you guys and the generations coming through below me,” he said. “But there are a number of people who I think, want the job, but actually don’t want to do the work.”

Glenn is a legend in Sydney Radio. Having worked in the industry for 38 years, he is now the Breakfast co-host and news presenter for Sydney’s Smooth 95.3. 

Glenn has been involved in covering some of the biggest historical events in the world, including the Rwanda genocide, that unfolded over 100 bloody days in 1994.

Macleay College students with radio legend Glenn Daniel. Image source; Nour Admad
Macleay students with radio legend Glenn Daniel. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

“Anywhere between 800,000 and 1.2 million people were massacred there,” he told Macleay College students recently. “I can still close my eyes and see things I don’t want to see anymore.

“I went into Rwanda just as it was finishing and my job was to file for all radio networks.

“I was really privileged to do it, but I remember thinking you are an idiot mate, you are going into a war zone.”

Today he thinks more about how journalists take care of their own wellbeing covering these stories, a subject that has only started to be tackled in recent years.

“We don’t do it very well,” he said. “Journos have the attitude ‘we’ll go stiff upper lip, better to keep doing it’, which is not really a good way to do it.”

Samantha Jurman interviewing Glenn Daniel. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

Glenn has also covered some of sports biggest events, and one of his fondest memories was being at the finish line when Cathy Freeman won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

“I was accredited to cover the Sydney Olympic Games, which was just a hoot,” he said. “The way it worked was, we could go to any event, except what were called the premium events. And what you had to do if you wanted to go was put your name in a ballot.

“My closest mate, that was working for another network, was there as well. And we looked at each other and thought we are Buckley’s of winning, but we might as well put our name in.

“We came back to the media center, just as they were announcing who is in and I’m looking at Rory, he’s looking at me and sure enough, they read both our names out.”

The lucky pair found themselves five rows from the front as history was made.

“She put on the the hooded suit and I went wow,” said Glenn. “And then that gun went off.

“Of course she won, and she collapsed and sat on the track. You know, that beautiful shot of her sitting on the track was right in front of us. I just felt so privileged to be there and have that opportunity to do that.”

But Glenn has also had to make many sacrifices in his own personal life, while he worked “stupid o’clock all year round”.

“My alarm went off at about 1.30am this morning and I was in the office at 2.30am,” he told mortified student reporters.

“I can honestly say I love going to work every day. I say to a lot of people, my job is exactly the same every day, but it’s completely different.”

Glenn has worked in seven newsrooms over the past 38 years, but revealed it may soon be time to move on.

“I wouldn’t change anything, it has been fantastic,” he said. “But it’s time to give the next person the opportunity”.