Ray Hadley made a decision in February 2002 that was to change his life. Back in October the year before, Ray decided to join Macquarie Radio Station 2GB after 19 years with Radio 2UE.
2GB owner John Singleton asked Ray to come across with his successful Continuous Call Team to cover rugby league.
After Ray agreed to terms 'Singo' suggested he might have a crack the King of Morning Radio, John Laws. It was an offer Ray refused until news broke of 2GB's signing of Australia's best known Breakfast host, Alan Jones.
The day Alan signed, Ray agreed to host 9am to noon weekdays on the proviso he could continue to lead the 'Continuous Call Team' on the weekend. Ray's weekday programme moved to its new timeslot in 2005, from 10am to 1pm, following the extended Alan Jones Breakfast Show.
The rest, as they say, is history. Within a year, Ray Hadley had become the only broadcaster in ratings history to be Number 1 seven days a week. His morning show rated 12.2 per cent by the middle of 2003, and rugby league on Saturdays and Sundays were a runaway Number 1 as well. By the end of 2005, Ray had been Number 1 for two years, averaging well over 14 per cent for most of the year. In 2006, he took it to a new level, reaching a record 14.6 per cent of the audience share between 10am to 1pm.
Ray had done what no-one thought was possible – he had the radio ratings seven days a week.
Ray Hadley was born on September 27, 1954. He grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney but spent a great deal of time with his grandparents in a small village called Eungai Rail on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.
Deciding at a relatively young age he wanted to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, Ray says he drew strange looks from family and friends whenever he mentioned his ambitions.
Ray completed his Higher School Certificate in 1972 and tried unsuccessfully to find employment in sports broadcasting. He later found work in another type of broadcasting — he became a trainee auctioneer — and after gaining his auctioneer's license stayed with that profession for eight years.
Still bugged by his desire to enter into the world of sports broadcasting, Ray gave up auctioneering and started driving taxis so he could spend his weekends seeking out casual work as a race broadcaster.
He had started calling the greyhound races at Appin, Bulli and Nowra in 1980 when fate intervened.
He was driving a taxi one Tuesday evening when he picked up a fare at the front of Radio 2UE. That chance meeting, with 2UE News Director Mark Collier, was to change Ray's life.
Within a month of that fare, Ray was working casually at 2UE and took on any job that was thrown to him. He presented traffic reports in Gary O'Callaghan's top-rating Breakfast show, was involved with on air promotions for various programmes and eventually found himself understudy race caller to Des Hoysted and John Tapp.
His biggest break came in 1987, when he was offered the job of heading up 2UE's rugby league coverage. For 10 of the next 13 years, Ray led the Continuous Call Team to ratings victory after ratings victory. Just before the ARL Super League War in 1994, Ray became the first league broadcaster since Frank Hyde to gain almost 200,000 listeners per quarter hour.
In 1999, 2UE lost the broadcast rights to rugby league. Ray faced the most difficult time in his broadcasting career. 2UE asked him to continue to present a rugby league programme for six hours on Saturdays and Sundays without access to the actual game and with his reporters unable to speak to him from inside the ground.
Despite these hurdles, Ray and the Talking League team won every ratings period in 2000 and 2001, a feat which left industry insiders scratching their heads. It was something else that had never been done before.
Career highlights include the Sydney 2000 Olympics, where Ray Hadley broadcast all major swimming and track and field events. His most memorable moment came on September 25, 2000, when he broadcast the remarkable victory by Cathy Freeman. Later, Cathy heard a replay and said Ray’s call made it sound better than it actually was!
He's also covered Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2004 in Athens.
His graphic call of the Rugby World Cup final in Sydney 2003 goes down as one his other great moments, along with 14 rugby league Grand Finals and 36 State of Origin games. He broadcast the first league Grand Final at both Telstra Stadium and Aussie Stadiums, and the last one at the SCG in 1987.
He's been on three Kangaroo tours and covered the 1991 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom, plus two other European tours by the Wallabies.
His stand-out Grand Finals are, in no particular order: the 1989 Balmain-Canberra thriller, the 1997 battle between Manly and Newcastle, the upset win by Penrith over the Roosters in 2003, and the fairytale win by Wests Tigers in 2005.
In 2006, Ray Hadley received the Australian Commercial Radio Award for Best Current Affairs Commentator. Ray has also been named Australia's best Radio Sports Broadcaster for six of the past 11 years. He has a total of 13 Radio Awards to his credit.
Ray was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen's Birthday 2002 Honours List for service to Rugby League Football as a broadcaster and to the community, particularly through fundraising for charitable organisations.
Home for Ray Hadley is the north-west of Sydney on a 2.5 hectare property, where he lives with his wife Suzanne and four children Daniel, Laura, Emma and Sarah.