July 16, 2024

The Ray Hadley Morning Show has been named the number one morning show in Australia for the 158th time running, marking 20 years of back-to-back ratings wins iconic broadcaster Ray Hadley.

It’s a mammoth milestone but Hadley tells 9News he has no plans to mark the occasion.

“One of the young ones at work said, ‘Are you going to go out and celebrate?'” he says.

“I said, ‘No, I’ve got to get up at half past three in the morning and do this again.'”

Next week he’s calling the State of Origin decider, then he’s off to Paris for the Olympic Games, giving him little time to reflect on the achievement.

“Which is a good thing,” he adds, “because you just keep going.”

Hadley, 69, first topped the Radio 360 Survey ratings back in 2004, just two years after he joined 2GB.

The Ray Hadley Morning Show has taken the top spot in the mornings category every year since.

Hadley counts this 20-year milestone among his greatest career achievements, a list which includes Johnny Tapp giving him the go-ahead to call his first race in 1984, then calling Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe’s Olympic wins in 2000.

But the radio heavyweight swears there’s “no secret” to his astounding success.

His only advice is to “be yourself”, something mentors like Gary O’Callaghan drilled into him at the start of his career.

“When you’re happy, laugh. When you’re sad, cry. And when you’re angry, get angry. Don’t try and pretend to be someone else,” Hadley recalls being told.

“And show up before everyone else.”

He took that advice to heart, working public holidays and Christmas Day for years.

Even when times were tough, he showed up.

”There have been difficult times in my life, personally and professionally (when) I could have folded up a tent and thought, ‘I can’t take this anymore,'” he says.

“But I just kept turning up.”

The hard work paid off, but it took a toll on his personal life and his four children, Daniel, Emma, Sarah and Laura.

“When you’re driven, your children are non-participating victims of your ambition,” Hadley confesses.

“They didn’t ask to be part of that deal and so I guess if I had my time over again, which I don’t, I’d do it differently.

“When I started in 1982 I was very ambitious and very persistent, and probably didn’t have the sort of life balance that people have in 2024.”

Regardless of missed Christmases, his kids are still immensely proud of him.

As is wife Sophie Baird, who has shown Hadley a “special kind of loyalty”.

Today he makes more time for family, including his seven grandkids: Ava, Noah, Ella Rae, Lola, Tommy, Remi and Milla.

Some of the older kids understand that “Poppy Ray” works on the radio, but Hadley’s many media accolades usually fly right over their heads.

He’s more than happy to keep it that way.

“I hope that, in the future, they just remember that I was a good pop,” he says.

“Career aside, I just want them to think that ‘pop was there when we were little.'”

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