It’s hard for me to really say too much about Merv Smith.
I would say that for a long time, and certainly probably forever, he was the biggest name in radio
He dominated breakfast. It was the whole cliche ‘the King of the Cornies’.
Merv Smith was that, and probably had a bigger market share than anyone’s ever had in radio. A great voice, and an absolute broadcasting legend.
That name is bandied around somehwat recklessly to describe people’s career, but certainly when it comes to boradcasting legends Merv Smith would be right there at the very top.
Pretty much in his days when he was doing radio, when he was dominating everyone in the breakfast, he wasn’t on the big money either. In those days it was pretty much the role of a public servant was the job of being a radio announcer.
That was Merv Smith, and he dominated for a long, long time.
He did breakfast radio from 1961 through until when Paul Holmes came on. Merv Smith went from 61 to just shy of 1990.
Probably no one’s role as a breakfast host has been as distinguished or successful or as lengthy.
I don’t know how big he was outside of Auckland. I think the Earlybird was on before some of the breakfasts on the ZB network outside of Auckland, some people might remember him for the kid’s show on the weekends.
The other thing about Merv Smith too was he was very much a railway man. He was very involved in railways and restorations. His two loves were radio and the railway, probably three with country music. I met him once when I was making a railway documentary.
People that work in radio, they don’t always live forever. Plenty die young, but when you look at Merv Smith. He must have had 30 years of retirement. It was a long, long time.