BRUTAL WAY A LEGENDARY BROADCASTER WAS AXED

Mike Raymond was the voice of Australian touring car racing and the Bathurst 1000 from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

ANDY Raymond has opened up about the way in which his father, legendary broadcaster the late Mike Raymond, was axed by Channel 7 while still recovering in hospital from a heart attack.

In a wide-ranging chat with the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Timken, Andy talks about his own two decades-plus career in sports broadcasting that has seen him cover rugby league, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling, in addition to motorsport.

Listen to the full episode in the player below!

After working in various behind-the-scenes and on-air roles, Andy stepped into his father’s role as lead commentator for Seven’s coverage of the 1996 Australian Touring Car Championship.

By 1995, Mike had been with the Seven Network for over two decades.

In that time he had become not only the voice of Australian touring car racing and the Bathurst 1000, but he had helped spearhead many broadcast innovations – headlined by Seven’s live on-board camera system RaceCam – that are commonplace today, and had rose through the network’s ranks to become its head of sport.

Mike had also been a key player in Australian touring car racing’s move to a formula focused on V8-engined Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, setting the championship on the path towards the current day’s Supercars.

However, Raymond suffered a heart attack late in that year.

He was still in hospital when a message arrived from Seven’s executives.

“New management had just taken over,” Andy told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.

“Mum got a message (for Mike) in ICU: ’You’re seen as a health risk, your services are no longer required.’

“He would’ve taken some time off but I’m pretty sure he could’ve continued doing what he was doing and not have it affect his performance.

“He had put a lot of time, effort and a lot of emotion into his motorsport. It was his first really professional love and he gave it absolutely everything.

“For them to treat him like that at the time … he didn’t show it – (he was a) very proud guy – but it got him. It broke his heart.

“It’s something I haven’t thought about for many years and I’m happy I haven’t, because it’s actually getting me now to think that you could do that to someone.”

Along with sharing stories about his late father, who passed away in November 2019, Andy tells plenty of tales from his own career during the episode – including the time he was nearly stitched up on-air by Garry Wilkinson, the time he interviewed WWE chief Vince McMahon, and a hilarious tale about his one-off appearance in the Rally of Canberra as a co-driver to rugby league legend Steve Walters.

Will Dale began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport for the next six years, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.