121. Peter Walsh

Media Inductee
Radio Commentator, 1978-2018

Called more than 1200 matches of football over 40 years for:
– 3BA (Ballarat) and 3CV (Bendigo), 1975-78 (Local football)
– 3LO Radio Melbourne, 1978-80; 3GL Radio Geelong, 1981-84 (VFL)
– 7ZR/ABC Radio Hobart, 1985-99 (TFL Statewide League)
– ABC Radio Adelaide, 1999-2017 (AFL/SANFL)

Spent 15 years calling a variety of sports in Tasmania including football, basketball, rowing, hockey and sailing.

One of Australia’s most popular radio personalities, Peter Walsh was born in Ballarat, Victoria in 1954. A passionate sports fan from an early age, Walsh served a cadetship with the sports desk at the Ballarat Courier newspaper, through which came his first broadcasting role with local stations 3BA (Ballarat) and 3CV (Bendigo) in 1975. After three years covering local sport including Ballarat Football League games, in 1978 Walsh was offered a position in Melbourne with 3LO to call VFL matches every weekend; his first game was the R4, 1978 fixture between Fitzroy and South Melbourne at the Junction Oval. In 1981, Walsh joined 3GL in Geelong (now known as K-Rock) and spent the next four seasons calling VFL matches alongside the legendary Ted Whitten, something Walsh described as “bliss”.

In 1985, Walsh relocated to Tasmania after being offered a permanent position in Hobart with 7ZR (later ABC Radio Hobart), and over the following 15 years he was a regular voice on the ABC’s coverage of Tasmanian sport. Football was still his primary focus however, calling countless TFL Statewide League matches during the competition’s halcyon days and making a significant contribution to Tasmanian football overall. At the end of 1999 Walsh transferred to South Australia, where he continued to call AFL/SANFL matches – many in partnership with fellow broadcasting veteran Roger Wills – until he retired from full-time broadcasting at the start of 2018. By the end of his career he had called in excess of 1200 games of Australian football in three states, placing him well amongst the most prolific football callers in the history of the game.

A famously extroverted character, Walsh has endeared himself to countless fans thanks to his energetic and unapologetically excitable calling style, compared by some to that of an old-style boxing announcer. He is also easily recognisable at any sporting venue thanks to his famous habit of donning ‘loud’ Hawaiian shirts, his collection of which is extensive. A passionate Hawthorn supporter, he has also lent his voice as Master of Ceremonies for a number of club Best & Fairest awards nights.

Though best known as a football commentator, Walsh has called numerous other sports during his illustrious career. He has covered seven Olympic (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) and six Commonwealth Games’ (1990, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), 15 Sydney-Hobart yacht races, international and state cricket (including test tours of Pakistan and Zimbabwe) as well as hockey, golf, tennis, netball, cycling, swimming, rowing and lawn bowls. He has also been a prominent voice in the coverage of Australian basketball, having called more than 2000 games at various levels, particularly men’s and women’s international matches and domestic games featuring the Tasmanian Devils, Adelaide 36ers (NBL) and the Adelaide Lightning (WNBL). In addition, Walsh hosted local and national ‘Grandstand’ programmes for more than 20 years, while his broadcasting-related travels have allowed him the opportunity to interview some of world sport’s biggest names, including Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.

Walsh’s remarkable contribution to sports coverage saw him awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2016, for ‘Services to the Broadcast Media and the Community’.