Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Dyer, Michael David (1932–1978)

by Sue Turnbull

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

Michael David Dyer (1932-1978), radio announcer and television producer, was born on 2 October 1932 in London, son of Carleton Leroy Dyer, businessman, and his wife Dorothy Bernice, née Wemp, both from Canada. In 1940 Michael accompanied his mother, sister and brother to Ontario where he attended Lakefield Naval Boarding College and Oakville High School.

In 1951-52 Dyer undertook a professional training course in radio and television arts at Ryerson Institute of Technology, Toronto. Although he was offered an appointment with the National Broadcasting Corporation of Canada, he decided to travel, and sent home regular features to a newspaper syndicate. He worked briefly as an English-speaking announcer for the international service of Radio Nederlands and was based at Hilversum. After exploring Europe, he travelled to South Africa to be reunited with his father who encouraged him to visit Australia.

Dyer arrived in Melbourne on 19 May 1954, and stayed. He was first employed at nights as an announcer on radio station 3DB and later produced 'The Happy Gang'. A jazz enthusiast since his high school days, he instituted a late-night jazz show, 'Sound Study', which ran for seven years on 3DB, 3XY and 3AK; his closing tag, 'Stay gay', then carried no sexual connotations. He compered jazz concerts, lectured on the history of jazz at such diverse establishments as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Pentridge prison, corresponded with many American performers and entertained them on their visits to Australia. On 17 October 1956 at Ewing Memorial Church, East Malvern, he married with Presbyterian forms Judith Elizabeth Tilton.

In August that year Myke had moved to Australian Radio and Television productions; in 1958 he moved again, to the television station GTV-9. There, between 1961 and 1969, he produced the Logie award-winning show, 'It Could Be You', hosted by Tommy Hanlon. Through that programme, Dyer relished opportunities to make people's dreams come true. From 1963 to 1977 he was a regular panellist on Bert Newton's 'New Faces', and Graham Kennedy was godfather to his first child. After two years as publicity manager for Channel 9, Dyer left in 1976 (following Kerry Packer's takeover) and set up an independent production house which enjoyed only modest success. A slim, handsome man, who sported a moustache or beard on holidays, but was usually clean shaven for work and public appearances, he loved the media in which he worked, was a skilled and amusing communicator, and gave generously of his time to many charitable causes.

Two days before he was due to take up a new appointment with Armstrong Audio Video Pty Ltd, on 7 January 1978 Dyer went swimming in the surf at Mullaway Beach, New South Wales. He was swept out to sea by a strong rip and drowned. Survived by his wife, daughter and son, he was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • P. Beilby (ed), Australian TV (Melb, 1981)
  • B. McLaughlin, From Wireless to Radio (Melb, 1986?)
  • Herald (Melbourne), 19 May 1954, 9 Jan 1978
  • Age (Melbourne), 9 Jan 1978
  • Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne), 9 Jan 1978
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 9 Jan 1978
  • private information.

Citation details

Sue Turnbull, 'Dyer, Michael David (1932–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dyer-michael-david-10083/text17791, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 14 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

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