PJSE and Channel 7 have enjoyed a close relationship, over many years, working together on several of Melbourne’s great events such as; AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup and Freeze at the G. Pete caught up with Channel 7’s Managing Director, Lewis Martin, for our latest edition of “White with one”.
Peter: How do you take your coffee?
Skinny Latte with one sugar. I’ll have a maximum of two a day. First one at 7.30am as a pick me up from Jerry’s in Elwood, and then the second at 8.30am in the office. I don’t have a coffee at dinner as I can’t sleep, and I’m not really a tea drinker.
Peter: How long have you worked at Channel 7 and what is your background?
I’ve been here for 22 years and I was appointed Managing Director in 2008. My career started doing surf reports for 3XY and Bay FM back in the 70’s. I used to drive around in a cruiser doing live crosses from the beaches all around the bays. After coming back from overseas and looking for a job, this was a pretty good one for a young guy!
Peter: Yes, I can think of a lot worse than doing that over summer.
I then joined Channel 7 as a Junior Sales Executive – the oldest junior ever – and have been here ever since. The area I spent the most amount of time in was sales, but thank heavens never an on-air presenter.
Peter: What are some of your proudest moments/highlights while being at Channel 7?
There have been so many, as television has changed so much over the time I have been at 7. The Ben Cousins documentary of his fall from grace was an outstanding piece of TV production then and is to this day. The Good Friday Appeal goes from strength to strength and I’m always amazed at how the whole state comes together to support it. We have been involved with it since the very first appeal was broadcasted live in 1957. Then there’s the Freeze at the G which last year raised over $6 million. It’s amazing how something like that can grow from the inspiration and desire of Neale Daniher and his team to make a difference and fund research for MND.
Peter: Couldn’t agree with you more Lewis, as we are honoured to be involved with this event as well.
I’m also proud of our Rio Olympics coverage last year and of the Black Saturday Bushfires back in 2009. There is a great team here at Channel 7 who all do a wonderful job, much of it under difficult circumstances.
Peter: Why is Melbourne such a great city to host major events?
It’s the people who live here who just seem to get how lucky we all are to have so many events to attend and so constantly. Lots of cities have major events, but it seems we have one every week and that’s what stands us apart. I’ve travelled and seen a lot of great events in wonderful cities, but Melbourne still leads the way with what we have been able to deliver over many years. Besides great venues and infrastructure, it seems it’s part of our way of life and we should never take it for granted. There is always something for everyone in Melbourne.
Peter: Who are some of your most admired Melburnians?
I admire people who are high achievers in their particular field but who do it in their own low key style – some might say they are the quiet achievers. Two in particular come to mind. Luke Beveridge – for what he has achieved at the Western Bulldogs over such a short period of time. You couldn’t meet a more down to earth person, considering the immerse pressure he would have been under. And Lyn Swinburne – for having the vision to create Breast Cancer Network Australia, and in particular Field of Women. There is no saying no to Lyn who has amazing drive.
Peter: What do you feel Melbourne needs more than anything else?
I think we need to be better at telling everyone that there is no other city we can think of that has such a world class capacity in so many different areas. Whether it is medical, sport, the arts, science or education, we have so much to offer in those fields and many others. It’s almost like we need a new international brand to tell everyone.
Peter: What are some of your favourite events to attend?
I’m very fortunate to be able to go to many great events but two come to mind for different reasons. Firstly, ANZAC Day football, as it is a truly memorable for 90,000 to stand as one for a minute’s silence. You can literally hear a pin drop. Secondly, Saturday morning at the junior school sporting events. Where else can you get a sausage in bread and support your children rain, hail or shine!
Peter: I can really relate to the latter as I’m currently a netball Dad each Saturday morning and the sausage sizzle is pretty good. If you could be any other Melburnian for a day, who would it be and why?
I’ve always respected people for who they are as individuals, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lots of wonderful people over the years. If I had to swap for a day, I would have liked to have been Peter Gordon, President of the Western Bulldogs, on Grand Final Day. I can only imagine what he, and all the Doggies supporters, would have felt after all the years of firstly saving the club from disappearing and then rebuilding it to where it is today. There have been lots of others who would have been part of that journey at the Western Bulldogs, but he would have been particularly proud when the siren sounded.
Peter: Lewis, thanks for making the time to catch up and for providing an insight into the man behind some of Melbourne’s best televised events. We look forward to working with you and your team again this year.