ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 4, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 23
TV Times  

No more Meloney Magic

By Sisira Chandrasekara

Veteran Broadcaster, Radio DJ, news reader and TV Presenter Derek Maloney passed away on October 16 due to pneumonia at the age of 58 in Perth, Australia. Derek joined the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) as a relief announcer for the English Services in 1977 and worked there until he left the country for Australia in the early 80s. I was the first technical assistant to work with him on his very first shift on the SLBC commercial services live broadcast studio in 1977.

Derek was a very friendly guy with a very good sense of humour and kept us alive while working under pressure on live broadcasts. He always offered compliments to his colleagues and appreciated those who worked with him. He was a very talented man in his profession as a radio broadcaster and a news reader. I enjoyed every single minute of working with him.

Derek became very popular among listeners and built up a huge audience within a very short period. He used to come for a night shift from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. once a week and in those days the request programmes were very popular. Derek prepared for this one hour programme well in advance. In the early 80s he worked as the Public Relations Manager at Holiday Inn Hotel in Colombo.

A few years back when I was in my office in London, my telephone rang and I heard a familiar voice at the other end. It was none other than good old Meloney saying, 'Sisira, I am so happy to talk to you after so many years; I was looking for your contact details and finally found it. I wanted to thank you for all that you did to help me become so popular among the Sri Lankan audience.'

In the year 1977 Music Memories and Good Old Fashioned Meloney Magic was heard on the commercial service on a regular basis. During this period some of the most popular commercial service programmes went to air with yours truly behind the mike and with help on occasions from V. Rajendra, better known as Raj to his fans.

Meloney spent the last 19 years in Perth. Whenever he came to Sri Lanka he did occasional announcing and news reading at SLBC. He was a faithful, sincere and dedicated broadcaster to the SLBC and never thought about moving to a private radio station for extra money.

Derek donated hundreds of English music CDs to the SLBC English record library. Even today anybody can see his name written on each CD: ‘A gift from Derek Meloney’. When I visited the SLBC last month I saw his CDs in the SLBC commercial services studio used by many announcers with appreciation. When I met my dear old colleague Niranjan Abeysundera, he said the CDs gifted by Derek were as good as gold because they could not be found in any ordinary record shops.

I lost a dear old good friend; the SLBC lost one of its best ever announcers and our dear listeners lost a great broadcaster. Derek, although you are not among us, your voice is still echoing in our ears. I can remember the good old days we enjoyed so much working together as a team in Studio C. Although you are no longer with us, your name will stay in our hearts and memories forever.

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