WSFM breakfast duo Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller. Picture: Toby Zerna
WSFM breakfast duo Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller. Picture: Toby Zerna

Radio star revealed Keller’s tragic secret

AMANDA Keller and Brendan 'Jonesy' Jones are one of the most formidable duos on Australia radio. But their friendship was very nearly over before it had even begun.

In this extract from his new book Fifty Shades of 50, Jones recalls filling in for Amanda Keller and Andrew Denton in the late '90s while their Triple M Sydney breakfast show was on holidays. And one short phone call almost ruined his relationship with Keller completely.

Here's what happened.

"Filling in for the Breakfast show is no easy task. There was one on-air break that threatened to tear the fabric of my relationship with Amanda and doom any chance of us every working together.

On Andrew and Amanda's show there was a segment called 'The Rumour Mill', where people would ring in with 'rumours' they had heard. Usually they were pretty benign: Coke has a new flavour, Baby John Burgess was going to be hosting a new show (usually rung in by Baby John)." 

"One morning a rumour flashed up on my phone screen, Amanda Keller Pregnant. I used the two-way to talk to the producer, who assured me it was okay and it was a funny call. Once a radio show starts, there's no stopping it. It's a bit like that episode of I Love Lucy where she was working in a pie factory."

"Seemingly all she had to do was get the pies on the conveyor belt, but as soon as she hesitated or got distracted the pies ended up on the floor. In Lucy's case, hilarity ensues, for a radio show, it just ends up being bad radio. So, with the pie analogy in mind, I put my faith in the producer; I have to there's only one minute to go on Nickelback.

Andrew Denton and Amanda Keller hosted the Triple M breakfast show in Sydney.
Andrew Denton and Amanda Keller hosted the Triple M breakfast show in Sydney.

In my mind, I imagined the call would have something to do with the plunging neckline Amanda had displayed on the show Good News Week that Andrew was giving her grief about before they went on holidays intimating that her bosoms had gotten bigger.

The caller went to air and said that Amanda was pregnant. My co-host that morning was former Simon Townsend's Wonder World! reporter and one-time Playboy model Jodie Young. Jodie asked how the caller knew this and I was preparing for the plunging neckline comment, but our caller said 'I saw her coming out of an ultrasound clinic'.

Jodie and I looked at each other, and I hastily wrapped up the call. As we went into the ads, someone from the newsroom came through on the intercom and said, 'Well that was shit.' I didn't know what to say. I buzzed the fill-in producer Rebecca and the fill-in PD Simon and asked, in what world was that even remotely funny? They told me not to worry, but it really plagued me, and rightly so.

What wasn't known by me, and everyone else, was that Amanda and her husband Harley had been trying for a baby with IVF, and that particular day at the clinic they had just been told that their last attempt had been unsuccessful. MMM sent a bunch of flowers; for me that wasn't enough.

I wrote her a letter in which I expressed my sincerest apologies and if I had known what that caller was going to say there's no way it would've ever got to air. I mailed it and then went on my Christmas break, but I still felt that it hadn't been resolved and spent the holiday feeling pretty glum.

My mate Scotty noticed I was distracted one day and I told him what had happened. He said 'that's a pretty shitty thing to do.'

He and his wife Vicki were having their own battles with IVF, so I was very aware of the struggles facing childless couples. He added, 'Perhaps you can just avoid her.' So I made up my mind I'd just avoid her for the rest of my life.

When I came back to work, instead of going through the usual door, I went around through the sales side. My plan was going well until the first person I ran into was Amanda who for some strange reason was on that side of the building. She looked at me, gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, 'Thanks for the letter.' And that was that.

Jonesy’s book is out now.
Jonesy’s book is out now.

Fifty Shades of 50 by Brendan Jones, published by New Holland Publishers, is available from all good book retailers or online RRP$32.99