Maher established his broadcast career in Australia, working many minor roles, particularly as a weatherman, in many cities before beginning a 25-year stint with Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1979. He is mostly remembered in Melbourne for his use of a varied and creative number of viewer submitted pointers to highlight items when delivering the ABC's Victorian state weather forecast.
In 2003, China Central Television sought to expand its CCTV International to be more professional and accessible to Western audiences. CCTV senior executive Jiang Heping approached Maher, already working in China with CCTV as a voice coach, to become one of the first western anchors for the revamped network. Maher was offered the position because of his clear diction speaking English and his experience in voice coaching. Maher taught speaking in private lessons through his company Maher Media Services, lectured at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and even released audio lessons on voice. He accepted the job with CCTV and started in March 2004. Besides anchoring a news broadcast a few afternoons a week, his duties include voice coaching to the Chinese staff.
Maher answers criticism that he has become a paid mouthpiece for the Communist propaganda by saying he only reads the news and is, "not trying to read into the news, not thinking about what is behind the content. Politically sensitive news, like any other news, has to be read clearly. That is my bottom line. Because I'm in China, some news may be regarded as politically sensitive or whatever, but that doesn't affect my interpretation of it to the audience." Maher also wrote articles for the English language China Daily newspaper about his experiences learning Mandarin Chinese.
In January 2010, it was announced that Maher's life story would be adapted into a feature film.
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