12 Aug 2017

Veteran all-night broadcaster Lloyd Scott signs off

7:46 am on 12 August 2017

RNZ presenter Lloyd Scott hung up his headphones last night after his final all-night stint on air.

He has been a broadcaster and actor for more than half a century - 53 years to be exact - and for the last 13 years he has been one of the All Night Programme co-hosts.

Lloyd in the studio for his final all-night broadcast.

Lloyd in the studio for his final all-night broadcast. Photo: RNZ / John Edens

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A versatile, natural broadcaster, his career has spanned commercial DJ-ing, acting, news reading, and a series of iconic New Zealand adverts as Barry Crump's foil, Scotty.

Lloyd Scott presenting Video Dispatch

Lloyd Scott presenting Video Dispatch. Photo: NZ On Screen

He had a cameo role in Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople, playing a tourist startled by a ute gunning through the bush.

At midnight, after his traditional pre-broadcast nap, the 75-year-old plugged in and set about delivering the nightly mix of music, news, weather, and features in an inimitable, friendly style.

Lloyd in the studio for his final all-night broadcast.

The 75-year-old has never looked back since abandoning a career in medicine. Photo: RNZ / John Edens

Lloyd, who trained in phonetics at the old New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation announcing school, enjoys language. His soft-spoken diction has earned him a loyal army of late-night listeners, shift workers, and insomniacs.

Rewind to April 1963, if you can, and imagine a different New Zealand. The Lyttelton lad decided medicine was the life for him, but after two years at university he knocked that on the head - no, he does not regret leaving medicine - and embarked on a broadcasting career.

Except his first presenting audition was unsuccessful - so he set off for Greymouth to work as a radio technician.

He loved it, spent time learning the engineering side of broadcasting and then shipped out for an OE in London at the tail end of the 1960s, when one of his jobs was an usher in the Old Vic theatre.

"I sort of knew even when I was a technician that I probably wanted to be an announcer. I knew that I didn't want to be a person who pursued management ... I wanted to be a performer.

"The reason I thought about radio was it was sort of like entertainment.

"In 1970 I came back and did an audition in Christchurch."

That, as they say, was that. He embarked on an acting and broadcasting career, on and off the all-night shift since 1988 then the last 13 years as an All Night Programme co-host.

He loves broadcasting.

"It's a joy.

"It's my favourite medium, radio.''

Does he sleep?

He does. He's a night-owl, though.

"When I'm on my days off I can get to bed by midnight. More likely it'll be 3am and I can sleep for eight hours. I think 'Jesus, sleep's so important'.

''Keeping busy is the thing [to stay alert on air] ... you owe it to your listeners to be interested in what you're doing.

''You have this one to one with another person but more than that the person who is listening has the advantage of seeing it the way their imagination sees it.

"It's personal, like when you read a book. Radio can do that.''

As far as standout moments go, he said he was offered many wonderful broadcasting and acting gigs along the way.

He has never done talkback - he said he was not opinionated enough or knowledgeable enough - and said he would miss the engagement with his audience and the process of shaping a broadcast, editing announcements, enjoying the music.

On retirement, he has a trip to England planned and said he was looking forward to the freedom, tinged with a feeling of loss.

An actor, he still has an agent who keeps him on the books and he said he hoped a role or two would be available on down the track.

The industry has changed since those early days in the South Island.

He said he was out of the politics of broadcasting for most of his career and he was not interested in managing. He said there was indignation when the radio operation was moved from Broadcasting House, a building he recalled fondly with its purpose-built suites, soundproofing, and acoustic baffles.

"It was just real camaraderie there, which I thought was wonderful.''

Speaking of music, on his last night, Lloyd was given the controls so to speak and permitted to play music of his choosing, when normally RNZ Music supply the tracks.

He brought a few records from his vinyl collection and a handful of CDs, artists including 'heavy organist' Virgil Fox, Rita Jean Bodine, Art Blakey, Bic Runga, Paul Desmond, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison.

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  • Lloyd Scott’s long and illustrious career