Farewell, John Cargher

Radio National

It is a sad day for ABC Radio, with the announcement that John Cargher, presenter of Radio National’s ‘Singers of Renown’ is to retire, after 50 years at the National Broadcaster.

Mr Cargher began presenting his signature programme in 1966, and it was supposed to last for just 13 weeks!

He was also well known for presenting ‘Music for Pleasure’ on ABC Radio for more than 30 years, ending in 1997.

His final broadcast, before a series of retrospective highlights programmes, will be 4:00pm Saturday, 26 April.

A great loss to the ABC, and to his many listeners. May he enjoy a long and happy retirement, surrounded by beautiful music.  

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2 Responses to Farewell, John Cargher

  1. Greg Peters says:

    Dear Mr Cargher,
    I was sad to hear, today, of your impending retirement from “Singers of Reknown”, apparently thru ill health. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
    I have listened to your programmes intermitently, over the last twenty years. As the years have passed, I find I value your presentations more & more, for they capture a musical spirit that is now rare. I have especially enjoyed your Sunday morning programme, since my father passed away in 2005. He was a lifelong fan of the sort of music you play, and so most of your “singers of reknown” were household names to me, from my earliest memory. My father would tell me then of his own childhood -and his love of the radio program “World Famous Tenors”, which, I gather, was the immediate predecessor of your own (as you mentioned, on your program today). My Dad and his brothers were amateur singers themselves, and in the 30s, the family gathering round the wireless, for “WFT” was a highlight of their week. That all ended in 1940, when Dad went off to the war, as an airman. As luck would have it, though, the war took him to Italy, and he found himself in Rome, a few days after it’s liberation. Dad’s boyhood hero, Beniamino Gigli – was to give a public concert in Rome, while Dad was there on leave. Posters advertising this were all over town. On one, someone had written “io fascisti” under Gigli’s portrait! I guess he’d been a bit too close to Mussolini, in the opinion of some!! Sadly, Dad could not attend the concert, as allied soldiers were forbidden to go into dense crowds. This, Dad said, was because some soldier(s) had been “stillettoed” by remnant Fascists, under cover of the crowd. Dad had to be content with sitting outside the concert hall, on the front steps, straining his ears ! But to no avail – the doors were very thick!
    You have over the years mentioned quite a few Australian singers – and one I recall was Browning Mummery. Much later in life, my Dad had a little story about this singer too. In 1979, my Dad was recovering form a serious air crash (still a pilot). As Dad began to get up & about, my mum happened to take him with her on an errand, to a plant nursery, near where they lived (in Canberra). The nursery was called”Mummery’s” and Dad asked the chap in charge if perhaps he was related to “Browning Mummery, the great tenor”, as Dad put it! Yes, the chap replied, he’s my father – and here he comes now! My Dad turned around – astonished, to shake the old man’s hand. This was, for my Dad, the equivalent of me meeting one of the Beatles!
    Dad never forgot that meeting.
    Thank you for adding substance to such memories, of the great days of the tenors. It has been the greatest pleasure, for my mother & I, to have heard your program over recent years. We shall miss it greatly. All the best for your retirement,
    yours, Greg Peters

  2. Richard Jessen says:

    Dear Mr. Cargher,
    I wrote to once upon a time (actually it may have been around 2005 or so). Since then, I have intermittently listened to your programs with the greatest delight–and full amazement that one person could have put together a show from so many recordings over so many years and keep the quality going.
    I believe it was when I first got my computer in 2003 and a few years later I decided to see what was going on in Australian radio as public radio over here has gone to the dogs (well, sometimes even dogs have good taste!). We had a pleasant little exchange, almost like getting a note from a beloved college professor. I am very sorry that your show won’t be on the air but at least it was on longer than George Jellinek’s which I think was also the epitome of grace and humor. Both of you guys were the crown jewels of broadcasting.
    My very best wishes for a speedy recovery from whatever has been keeping off your feet and out of the radio studio. And may I add to the chorus that my very best wishes go out to you for a long and richly desereved retirement full of time at last to listen to all of the golden sounds we lucky ones have been lucky to hear on your programmes.
    My best to you John!
    Yours sincerely,
    Richard Jessen

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