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Veteran radio presenter Lloyd Scott hangs up headphones one last time

Lloyd Scott started in radio at the age of 21 and began the graveyard shift in 2004.

It's a very strange time for RNZ's Lloyd Scott.

The radio presenter that kept the insomniacs and shift workers company during his midnight to 6am shift was still coming to grips with the reality that the work he's lived and breathed for the last 52 years, and the shift he's worked for the last 13, had come to a finish.

He went home to weed the garden under a glorious Wellington sunny day on Saturday. It's not a thing he gets to do often - but as he gets his hands in the dirt, he has brief recollections that that Saturday morning's news bulletin would be the last he reads.

RNZ graveyard shift presenter Lloyd Scott makes his final broadcast after 52 years.

"Those things can make you sad but there's no point dwelling on it because it's the beginning of an adventure and you never know what's around the corner," he said.

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He also realised he'll be able to do more of the seemingly simple and patient task at hand, that or see friends, go to the movies or read a book.


Lloyd Scott is also looking forward to reading some books, watching some films, and spending more time with friends.

"I don't go to see much films and I haven't read many books - I might read more books," he said.

"As I say, it's a strange time just at the moment for me, but it's nice, it's nice."

Scott started in radio at the age of 21 and began the graveyard shift in 2004 - a permanent role but one he had done before as a fill-in.

Lloyd Scott in 1985 after going under a ruck during a Canterbury rugby team-training session.

"I didn't know how long it was going to go for," he said.

"It just kept rolling over and I had no reason to say no because I loved it, I really loved it."

On his last shift Scott was able to bring in his own music to play - a right usually reserved for RNZ.

An RNZ feature about Scott's last shift noted that he brought in "a few records from his vinyl collection and a handful of CDs, artists including 'heavy organist' Virgil Fox, Rita Jean Bodine, Art Blakey, Bic Runga, Paul Desmond, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison"

Scott was delighted to play all of them, but as for the Virgil Fox record - he's not too sure whether that got a run or not.

In fact, most of his last shift was a bit of a blur for him, and one he didn't sit through alone for.

His colleague and graveyard shift sidekick, Vicki McKay, who worked the opposite shifts, sat with him until about 2:30am, as did various other RNZ staff and reporters.

Messages of support flowed in from the public.

The last song he played before the 6am news bulletin was Me Va Me Va  by Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. "Me va" is Spanish for "I like".

Before intending to introduce the song, Lloyd said his final words on air: "I don't know how to say goodbye," he said.

"It's four minutes to six and I can't pick anyone out to say thank you to because there's so many people to say thank you to, so I'm just going to play a song which I'm, I've put the packet away haven't I, I've got it all undone here.

"This is Julio Iglesias, and a lovely bouncy song really which will take us through to six o'clock and the morning news with Catriona (Macleod).

"Thank you so much for having me in your house, it's been terrific. Bye-bye."

His friends later asked what the song was that he played.

"In actual fact, because it was the last thing I played through until 6 o'clock I didn't come on the end of it and I didn't say what it was," he said.

He wanted to play something "upbeat" going into the 6am news. "I just love the energy the song has," he said.

Goodbyes are hard, and something Lloyd seemed to avoid thinking about.

A reshuffle at RNZ meant one night shift job would be relocated to Auckland - in case of an earthquake in Wellington, Lloyd said.

It would leave one night shift presenter in Wellington - and he didn't want to reapply against his friend and colleague McKay.

"I decided at my age of 75, I had a pretty good innings," he said.

"It was my choice in the end but it almost seemed like a sign in a way that I should probably stop now and now is probably a good time to stop.

"I had this wonderful listener reaction to my going which means you're leaving on a high rather than a low."

A fortnight from now he would pack his bags for a six week holiday in the UK,  so it was "a good way to leave work", he thought.

"Before I come back to a situation where it's retirement and I decide how to live my life there, for me."

While his permanent radio career might be over, he's still open to do fill-ins. He has one last interview and wouldn't pass up more acting or voice over opportunities.

But it was radio that had his heart.

"I wouldn't change it for a moment - it's been wonderful," he said.




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