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globalrugbyleague - Sun, 09 Dec 2007 17:55:00 GMT
Australia’s most complained about, biased broadcaster has his final say in a fitting tribute appropriately titled "My Way or the Highway".

Completed by his wife Marchella and released by New Holland five months after succumbing to terminal brain cancer, the life of the late Stan Zemanek is reflected on with spirited humour, no-holds-barred opinion and unapologetic honesty.

The title is a reflection of the attitude he held in life which won him fans and influenced ‘ imbeciles’ and ‘gooses’ to keep listening.

Like many of Stan's radio programs, this book is guaranteed to entertain. Yet knowing how this showman's life ends thanks to the massive media coverage it received does provide an incentive for many of his fans not to finish this book.

The Stan Zemanek that everybody either loved or loved to hate is presented as an almost unrecognizable figure in his final days on earth.

There is a tragic powerlessness in the revealing details which measure the emotional and physical agony that this beloved public figure, husband, father, work colleague and friend endured before signing off for the last time.

Long-time listeners of talkback radio will be pleased however to know that the origin of the bitter feud between Zemanek and arch-rival, Mike Carlton, is finally verified. The vernacular used in the book to describe this volatile working relationship is far from soft.

The media myth that both men chucked spaghetti all over each other in a North Sydney restaurant is sadly dispelled. Zemanek confesses: "Sorry to spoil everyone's fun but we drew the line at throwing wine."

Where they didn't draw the line was in their on-air jabs particularly after Carlton returned to 2UE in 1997. Zemanek gets the last laugh.

"The gloves were really off between Carlton and me - to the point where if there was a commercial voiced by me that came up on Carlton's program, he would send it up.

What he wasn't aware of is that the clients were ringing the radio station and complaining - the same clients who were paying this imbecile enormous amounts of money to advertise their products."

Other radio rivals get a serving too: "Ernie (Sigley), Steve Price and Mike Carlton are three of the nastiest people I know," he wrote of his time working at 3AW in Melbourne.

Responding to a station proposal to work with Carlton on the breakfast show, the Z-man said outright, "God no!".

This is a proposal that never got off the ground but one which some think perhaps could've worked if this hypothetical duo had managed to transport the real-life off-air feud onto the airwaves.


The concept did have merit. As Stan proved on his own program conflict sells radio very well.

Like crossing the Harbour Bridge, this is a book which offers the people whom Stan may have offended with his brash Jeckyl and Hyde on-air persona a look at the other side. The real side of a man who many people loved not to hate but to be in the presence of.

Though Marchella candidly admits it breaks her heart that 'there is a perception in some quarters that Stan was heartless,' there is an upside to that very same ignorance.

Simply put if some people remain convinced that Stan was a 'humpty dumpty' or a 'pretentious bastard' as he was labelled by some of his listeners in his first book, "The Thoughts of Chairman Stan", the night-time radio king would love it.

Those views of Stan were a testament to how successful he was on 2UE.The ratings vindicated that through the determination of those who disliked him (or those who pretended they did) to get through to him night after night.

His act worked and to this day people are still furious with some of the things he said. Job well done, mate!

[Editors note: The loss of Stan Zemanek is something I will never forget. I was fortunate to meet him on a number of occasions and correspond with him for many years. His encouragement to young people to live out their dreams is why I continue to build my own career today. There are several great memories I have of Stan but none sticks out more then when I appeared on his Lunatic Callers CD as part of an incorrigible duo appropriately labelled 'Two first-rate heavy metal morons.' Sorry Stan, I'm still listening to the heavy metal though in a reduced dosage.]

You Tube Interview with Marchella Zemanek


My Way or the Highway

Marchella and Stan Zemanek
Published by New Holland
RRP $29.95

Available in all good leading bookstores and online.
Book Rating: 8 steedon balls out ten. - Read More, Here