Radio & Television
Iain’s career in radio started at the age of four when he was featured on Radio Station 4ZB Dunedin by Peter Dawson as ‘The Wonder Boy Pianist’. At this time Iain recorded a 15 minute programme of piano music by Schumann for which he was paid a fee of five shillings from the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. He was five when World War II broke out and when Radio 4ZB organized a series of variety shows from the Dunedin Town Hall in aid of the Food For Britain Campaign, Iain was featured each week in this series – some of which were broadcast live.
In addition to being a regular performer on 4ZB’s ‘Children’s Hour’, he also became a vocal member of the 4ZB Choristers. In his teen years, he gained valuable experience through Radio 4ZB not only as a soloist but also as an accompanist for on-air vocal and instrumental performers. Indeed, from 1952 until 1958 he was appointed Official Accompanist to the Royal Dunedin Male Choir
When Iain moved to Sydney, Australia in April 1958, his radio career was expanded when Radio 2UW contracted him as Resident Station Organist and Pianist in May 1958. From then until his departure for London in October 1961, he was credited on 2UW with 510 editions as organist for ‘The Coca Cola Bottlers Club’, hosted by Ross Higgins - as pianist for ‘Rumpus Room’, hosted by Howard Craven – 5 one-hour programmes each week - as organist for Fidelity Production’s ‘Laugh Till You Cry’ with George Foster (producer and scriptwriter), Keith Smith (co-scriptwriter), Harry Dearth, Ross Higgins, Nola Lester and Rita Pauncefort - and also in the long running ‘George Foster Show’. During his time at 2UW Iain broadcast each week on piano as ‘The Shefte Melody Man’ in 15 minute programmes of evergreen publications from the catalogue of music publishers, J Albert & Sons, the major shareholding owners of the radio station.
Radio 2GB, Sydney also featured him as guest Hammond Organist for their shows: ‘The Chance of a Lifetime’ and also an eight programme series of ‘Singalong with Noel Judd’.
On his arrival in London, Iain was heard many times on BBC Radio with Daphne Barker in guest spots on ‘London Lights’ produced by Trafford Whitelock for the Light Programme with repeats on the General Overseas Service. ‘Music While You Work’, BBC Radio’s longest-running series was another programme for which ‘Iain Kerr and His Keyboards’ was a regular contributor.
Back in Australia in the 70’s, Iain was extremely popular with his partner Roy Cowen as Goldberg and Solomon in many radio interviews in all state capitals and regional stations.
During their theatre season in Townsville in northern Queensland, Radio 4TO engaged them to conduct a two hour talk-back show in harness each week-day morning. This amounted to 20 hilarious sessions plus a further 28 radio programmes of ‘Goldberg and Solomon Look At . . .’ in which they jointly wrote and broadcast a series of unique humorous observations of life in northern Queensland.
When Iain was contracted to TCN Channel 9 Sydney, from May 1958 until October 1961, he appeared in 95 editions of ‘The Lucky Show’ (once weekly), 64 editions of ‘The Happy Show’ (once weekly), 16 editions of ‘The Contact Show’ (once weekly), 61 editions of ‘Tic Tac Dough’ (once weekly) and 151 editions of ‘The Happy Go Lucky Show’ (five shows each week) making a total of 387 regular TV programmes during his time in Sydney.
On his return to Australia and New Zealand with Roy Cowen in their two-man theatre show tour, television and radio appearances were numerous in all states. Apart from a heavy schedule of talk shows on both TV and radio, Iain and Roy were popular regular guest judges on the national TV show ‘Pot of Gold’ produced by Reg Grundy Productions. They also appeared in ‘I’ve Got a Secret’ and fund raising telethons from Sydney.
The ABC television also used Iain’s talents with Roy in swiftly prepared satirical musical comments on topical matters much along the same lines of the BBC in London who frequently called on Iain and Roy for ‘The Frost Programme’ and ‘Man Alive’ on BBC1 and the ‘Late Night Line Up’ programme on BBC2