Q&A: Jamie Dunn owes a lot to that cheeky, little puppet
IF YOU remember anything about the 80s, then you will have fond memories of the cheeky, little, furry puppet, Agro.
But it's the man behind, or inside, the puppet who is the real character.
In their chat Jamie Dunn shares his less than admirable school results, how Agro started and the colourful fellows he meets in pubs.
Matt Collins: Did you have a grand plan for your life during school?
Jamie Dunn: No, school was more a social experience for me. I really enjoyed art, music and sport. Anything that had any educational value wasn't for me. I once got seven per cent on my maths exam. Once The Beatles turned up I just wanted to be a Beatle.
MC: Agro has been by your side for over 30 years. Where did it all start?
JD: The fact is I wasn't the first guy to do Agro. I was a musician and had written a song about Agro. The guy that did Agro sued Channel 7 for the rights to Agro and lost. So I was asked if I wanted the job, and I learnt early on in the piece to say yes to everything.
MC: What was that first day like being under the table performing as Agro?
JD: Well, you used a very loose description of what I was doing, by saying I was performing. I lay down on the floor, put my hand in the puppet, put it in the air and started talking. We were live to air and the Program Manager crawled over next to me and held up a signed that read, 'can you please make the puppet's mouth move when he speaks.'
MC: What are some of the more memorable things that have happened to you because of Agro?
JD: I was at a hotel having a dinner with my missus and this guy comes over and he'd had a couple too many. He goes, 'mate, I grew up with you, you made my childhood just wonderful. You are a funny man and that character of yours, I just loved it.' Then he walks up to the public bar and yells out, 'Dickie Knee.'
MC: Do you think Agro would have the same sort of success if he was to start today?
JD: I'm not sure, not ever in children's TV again. I'm nervous if anything was to happen TV-wise, because they re-did Hey Hey it's Saturday and it just didn't have it. It died miserably when it came back. But I would say yes, and die with it.
MC: How did radio start for you?
JD: Because of Agro. B105 called up Channel 7 and said, 'can I speak to the man who does Agro.' They didn't even know my name. Back then they were on seven per cent of the ratings. During the contract the guy goes, 'we want to pay you x amount of dollars and incentives.' Well after the first survey we went from seven per cent to 29 per cent.
MC: You would be as good a person as anyone to ask, is radio still relevant in today's age?
JD: It'll definitely change. AM stations won't even be in cars anymore when they are produced. But it is very personal. Once people understand the people on-air and who they are, they enjoy it all the more. But generally speaking, in radio, you put a tin plate down the back of your pants and you walk around like that. That way you can never get an arse-kicking.
MC: You have been in radio and the media for so long. What advice to you have for any up-and-comers?
JD: The hardest person to be on radio is yourself. Once you can achieve that, and not do the whole, 'It's 98.9 and there's a chance of a late storm' and all that. If you can get rid of that and just be who you are, you will go far.
Agro Up Late! with Jamie Dunn are performing at the Brisbane Powerhouse from Tuesday March 17 to Sunday March 22.
For more information and to get your tickets go to the website.