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|Nelson Mandela 1918-2013|
|Entertainment News | Tuesday February 19 2013 5:42
Kevin Black is being remembered as a legend of broadcasting - and a cheeky one at that.
The man who made himself famous by his antics and prank calls on Radio Hauraki, died suddenly last night aged 69.
He was the first of the big radio deals in the 1980s, when in 1987 he left his slot on Hauraki for 89FM, for a rumoured salary of $300,000.
TVNZ's Eyewitness News talked to him at the time about staying in Auckland, in spite of the lure from Sydney.
"I had to toss up the idea of living in Sydney, or living here in Auckland.
"Auckland won out. Hands down."
One memorable quip Blackie made regarding death has surfaced this morning from the archives of Whakatane station 1XX.
"Here's today's great thought of the day; if you live to be 70 or 80, it has no bearing on how long you're going to be dead!"
Former Radio Hauraki colleague John Hawkesby, close friend and former colleague, says Blackie was a man with a sharp wit, and great sense of humour.
"He was a slightly naughty boy, but he would give you the shirt off his back.
"He was just a lovely, lovely, genuine guy."
John Hawkesby says Blackie liked to get out and enjoy himself socially, but it would never hurt his performance on air.
"His wife would be ringing at 5 to 6, 'where's Kevin, he didn't come home last night?'
"At 1 minute to 6, Kevin would come crashing into the studio looking somewhat worse for wear, turn the mic on with no prep and do an absolute blinder of a show."
He says Kevin Black has died just short of his 70th birthday, but he was young at heart, and always lied about his age.
John Hawkesby says there was a bar in Onehunga called Blackies Bar, which he used to stagger into.
"[There were] more criminals in that bar than you could shake a stick at, and Kevin would bring the room to a halt and shout a round of drinks.
"They just loved him. At the same time he could mix with the likes of the Rolling Stones."
Another one of his former colleagues at Radio Hauraki, Phil Gifford, says his prank calls were legendary.
"One of the things about Blackie's candid calls, unlike some of the more recent ones ended tragically, was that they always were extremely good natured and extremely good humoured at heart, and extremely funny."
Phil Gifford says Blackie was one of the nicest men who ever drew breath.
He says his shock death will be felt deeply by all those who knew him.
"The biggest thing about the man, really, was that there was not a malicious bone in the guy's body.
"He was one of the nicest men who ever drew breath. That, I imagine, is one of the reasons he was so extraordinarily popular."
Phil Gifford also says Blackie lied about his age for years, but the man is timeless.
Photo: NZ Herald
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