Neil Mitchell (radio presenter)
|Born||21 November 1951|
|Occupation||talkback radio presenter
The son of a school teacher, Neil Mitchell entered journalism at age 17, straight after completing high school. He has had involvement in newspapers, radio and television. He was one of the youngest ever editors of a major Australian metropolitan newspaper, The Herald, holding that position from 1985 to 1987.
Mitchell was also a reporter, columnist and news executive at The Age for 16 years, including four years as sports editor. He has also worked for Time Magazine, and presented documentaries and his own talk back TV program on both the Nine and Ten networks which were both short-lived. He also worked on two programs on the Seven Network and on Sky News Australia.
Mitchell began working at Melbourne station 3AW in March 1987. Initially he worked part-time on weekends and as a morning fill-in host for former broadcaster Derryn Hinch and later became the host of the drive time program in October 1987. In 1990 he moved to the morning program where he has been a successful and influential figure ever since.
Mitchell has a reputation for looking out for "the little guys" and spends a lot of on-air time trying to rectify problems brought to his attention by his listeners, who are encouraged to contact the program with examples of bureaucratic bungling and red-tape. A well-known example is his successful effort to have speed-camera fines from faulty cameras in Melbourne reversed, which resulted in the refunding of $26 million to motorists.
Although Mitchell is on air from 8.30 am to noon on weekdays his time commitment is much longer as he starts work at 5.00 am and rarely finishes before 3.00 pm.
In December 2009, Mitchell was the subject of a concerted effort by rival new-comer talk station, MTR, to gain his services. After protracted negotiations between 3AW and soon to be out of contract Mitchell, he eventually stayed at 3AW, citing loyalty to his listeners as his ultimate reason for continuing at the station. He rejected a more lucrative offer from MTR.
In August 2011, Mitchell signed a new three-year, multi-million dollar contract with 3AW, which commenced on January 2012.
Charity and community work
Mitchell is involved in community and charity work both professionally and in his private life. Some of his successful on-air campaigns have included raising awareness for the building of a new facility for adolescents at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital and helping to set up Blue Ribbon Day for Victoria Police after the death of officers in 1988.
Acknowledgement of Mitchell's hard work in this area is in the citation for his Order of Australia honour which includes the words, for services ".. to the community through a range of charitable institutions".
Honours and awards
In the June 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours List Neil Mitchell was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "For service to the print, radio and television media, and to the community through a range of charitable institutions".
In 2011, Mitchell won the Melbourne Press Club 'Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award', for excellence in radio journalism over a quarter of a century. He is the first radio journalist to win the coveted award. Mitchell is especially proud of this award as, in his words, "I’ve never thought too much about personal awards, but this is a very special one because I worked with him, and because it's about real journalism. You can get the Walkley just by being at the right place at the right time and doing a good job, whereas the Perkin is a recognition of a year of consistency."
In November 2013, Mitchell won his first Walkley Award, in the radio/audio news and current affairs category, for his report that the Ford Motor Company would stop manufacturing vehicles in Australia after 2016.
Australian Commercial Radio Awards
Mitchell has won many Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) including:-
- 2007 Inducted into the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame
- 2008 Best talk presenter
- 2011 Best talk presenter
- 2012 Best current affairs presenter
- 2013 Best current affairs presenter
- A matter of opinion | The Weekly Review 13 June 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2013
- Chapter Eight | Melbourne Press Club. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- Neil Mitchell | The Australian Top 50 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- The power of one | The Age 13 October 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- Neil Mitchell: Profile | 3AW website. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- Neil Mitchell stays with 3AW after talkback offer | The Age 10 December 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2013
- Mitchell inks new deal to keep talking | Herald Sun 11 August 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2013
- Mitchell honoured for charity work | The Age 11 June 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2013
- Neil Mitchell Officer of the Order of Australia | It's an Honour. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year 2011 | Melbourne Press Club. Retrieved 19 April 2013
- "2013 Radio/audio news and current affairs". Walkley Awards. The Walkley Foundation. December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "Hall of Fame", Commercial Radio website. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Hamish and Andy take top ACRA honours", Media Spy, 11 October 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Australian Commercial Radio Awards 2011: Full Winners List", Commercial Radio website, 15 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Radio's Logie awards", The Age, 13 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.