Tim Cox, Drive presenter, 612 ABC Brisbane

Bite off more than you can chew and chew like buggery!

Maybe he accompanies you on the afternoon drive to school to pick up the kids, or perhaps he helps you get through your weekday afternoons at work, but 612 ABC Drive presenter Tim Cox is known to many as the jovial mate who’s always up for a natter and a chuckle. The man behind the microphone is every bit as affable in person, full of amusing anecdotes and infectious optimism. Although he’s been thrown some serious curve-balls over the course of his 20-plus-year career – think power blackouts and unplugged cables – Tim’s professionalism has seen him pick up some of the industry’s highest accolades, including 2009 ABC Broadcaster of the Year and the 2011 Keith Welsh Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. The Weekend Edition popped in to the ABC studios to chat to Tim about career highlights and weekend essentials.

Describe yourself in ten words …
Gregarious. Short. Funny (looking). Talkative. Inquisitive. Loved. Fortunate. Incredibly fortunate.

What’s a typical day like for you? 
Busy! Up early, absorbing news, getting my son off to school and then work (radio stations are nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies – we are all way better looking – it’s pretty calm, with as much pre-show collaboration as working solo, and the quiet of the studio always surprises visitors) and home again. There’s a lot of talking and a lot of reading.

What do you love most about your job?
Pretty much all of it – and if it goes wrong, as sometimes happens, no one gets hurt … and I get to come back and do it again the next day.

What is your most beloved Brisbane suburb, and why?
I manage to find something I like in each suburb I get to, but I really like cross-cultural, higgledy-piggledy West End for its … cross-cultural higgledy-piggledyness.

If we rummaged through your grocery bag what would we find?
You’d find coffee, avocadoes, nice bread, mangoes when they’re in season and lamb (for five-hour treatment by my wife, Barb).

What five things complete your week?
Friday shows conclude with a 20-minute sports panel – my favourite way to complete that part of things! And if the rest of the week has involved some live music or theatre, drinks and/or dinner with friends, a swim and finding something new to do in Brisbane, then that is a good week.

The last time something took your breath away was … seeing Bruce Springsteen’s tour-opening show in Brisbane. I’m a latter-day fan but was stunned at how powerhouse it was.

What has been your most memorable moment on-air? 
Being there – and describing – when the Beaconsfield mine rescue came to an end.

And off-air?
Introducing the Blind Boys of Alabama – to around 15,000 people – onstage at Byron Bay Bluesfest last Easter.

How do you like to start your weekend?
With a walk to the local shops for the papers and (really wonderful) fresh bread. My son and I try to let my wife sleep in while we creep out and go on a boys’ adventure, with bird-watching. But we prefer it when she comes along, too!

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Get home from that walk and spend some time with the papers, breakfast and a couple of ‘uncompromising’ short blacks.

How do you like to unwind?
Musically! There’s music on at home pretty much from sunrise until bedtime. New stuff, old stuff, online radio, very little talk – my weekdays are for talk, I guess.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Some time doing as much (or as little) as possible with my family, some friends, music, rugby and a crossword.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
I keep hearing how good Kelvin Grove Markets is … maybe this weekend?

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
It’s not my favourite thing but Sunday evening always involves folding the washing!

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
I’m going dolphin- and whale-watching off Moreton Island (a birthday present from Barb) and really looking forward to it!

What are you reading at the moment?
An ever-present mountain of magazines and I’m just dipping a toe into Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.

What inspires you?
Someone I will never meet, living a life of quiet sacrifice or bravery looking after someone in need, who will share their story on the radio. Being trusted with that is indescribable.

What was your childhood dream?
It would have been to score a match-winning try for the North Sydney Bears … probably whilst calling it for radio.

What has been your greatest achievement?
I don’t know that I’ve had it yet. I did an all uphill half marathon (walking) that was as exhausting as it was exhilarating.

What is success to you?
Personally, it’s making good men out of my sons – one is just about there, the other is still a wonderful work in progress. Professionally, it’s meeting someone who says ‘I loved that thing on your show’ that made a dark time brighter or gave them a reason to see the world differently.

What are your words of wisdom? 
They’re my mum’s: Bite off more than you can chew and chew like buggery!

Only a local would know … Musgrave Park Pool is Brisbane’s best place to swim. It’s old school – definitely not an ‘aquatic centre’ – and it’s cheap and simple.

Perk up … 
Any ride on the CityCat – easily Brisbane’s best transport.
Relax … My wife and I love the walk around the Kangaroo Point riverfront and cliffs … where there may also be ice-cream, en route.
Dine … They do a great breakfast at Bungalow 4171 in Hawthorne and Rouge Coffee just near work in South Brisbane, and dinner at Ortiga is incredible (and a special treat).
Indulge … I’m not into massages and I cut my own hair, but show me a music shop and I will indulge!
Shop … I’m a sucker for a well-stocked newsagent and Brisbane’s terrific independent bookshops.
Catch-up … Home! We moved a little while ago into a place with a big back verandah and sitting out there with friends and a beer is unbeatable.
Be inspired … GOMA and Queensland Art Gallery. I have no artistic talent whatsoever but am in awe of genius and daring.


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