Late last week whilst listening to ABC Radio Melbourne ‘Drive’ with Rafael Epstein, the editor of Kinglake Ranges News, Ashley Geelan, heard Epstein ask for Micheal ‘Mick’ Rogers to contact him as he couldn’t get in touch.
On Friday, Epstein said on-air: “Just one other final thing I wanted to say.”
“… I wanted to read one other thing out to you.
“I really want you [the listener] to undertsand why we do what we do.
“We did that whole day [Wednesday 6 February] of broadcasting ah, you know from all the different fire-affected communities from breakfast through to evenings.
“I got a text [below] and I want to read it out to you.
“One of the people we spoke to Michael Rogers sent me a text late in the evening after we came back from Kinglake.
“I wanted to read this to you because I want you to to understand why this radio station – the ABC – do what we do …
“This is the nicest piece of feedback I’ve ever received as a journalist in something like my twenty-fourth year [as a journalist],” Epstein said. (Audio from 1hr:40m:50s.)
Raf! You along with this wonderful organisation the ABC have set me free …
You have put That Fire out in me.
It finished with you.
[I’m] No longer a victim.
Just a survivor.
Thank you for remember[ing] me.
Raf. I cannot put into words how you’ve made me feel.
I will always remember the 10th Anniversary of Black Saturday.
Not for the fires.
But for a man remembering a man.
You’v’e got my number.
Don’t be a stranger.
-Michael ‘Mick’ Rogers, Kinglake
Epstein first interviewed Rogers following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.
Rogers had changed his contact details and as Roger’s best mate Kinglake Ranges News editor Geelan contacted Rogers for permission to pass his contact details to ABC Drive’s production team.
With Roger’s express permission we provided contact details to ABC Radio Melbourne.
On Wednesday, Rogers was a guest on ABC Radio Melbourne Drive, broadcast live from Kinglake’s Elimatta Youth Centre.
Epstein today said on twitter: “I was stunned and grateful to get this.”
“A rare and precious thing to get feedback like that at work.”
During today’s (Friday 8 February) ABC Mornings program John Faine said that “reading this bought a tear to his eye.”
“You made a big difference by putting me [Epstein] in touch with Michael, so I owe you a big thank you,” Epstein told Kinglake Ranges News editor Ashley Geelan.
Republished with permission of Michael Rogers. A transcript of Rogers’ interview will be published later. With ABC Radio Melbourne.