Tribute to newsreader and racing lover Rob Readings

CAPTION: Former popular Queensland newsreader Rob Readings.

By PAUL DOLAN

ROB Readings was a familiar name and face on television in south-east Queensland for over 40 years.

He was a newsreader on Channel Ten in Brisbane through the 1980s before joining Channel 9. The story goes that in 1996 Kerry Packer, who owned Channel 9, was on one of his big gambling visits to Jupiter’s Casino and was amazed that his network did not have a presence on the Gold Coast. So he opened a station there and Rob Readings was appointed as the newsreader.

Readings passed away recently, aged 79, after a long illness. As a newsreader he was credible and personable, engaging with his audience in a way which is a special talent.

In the early 1980s Readings raced a greyhound named Media Devil with colleagues Pat Welsh and the late Billy J. Smith. The dog was trained by John Reimer and was a good sprinter.

“John Hicks, the inaugural manager at the Gabba greyhounds, enticed myself, Billy and Rob into owning a greyhound and we loved going there on a Thursday night to see Media Devil race,” Welsh said.

“There was a huge ring of bookmakers and massive crowds, they were halcyon days of greyhound racing.’’

Welsh describes Readings as ‘the ultimate pro on air’.

“He loved his racing, having a beer and a bet. He attended the Melbourne Cup (horses) carnival for 23 consecutive years. That was a half-way point catchup with his son Mark who is a prominent sports commentator and news presenter in Perth.”

Mark reported from the tragic bombings in Bali in 2002 and did a live cross from there to his dad Rob for Channel 9.

As well as all the praise for his on-camera talent, Rob Readings is remembered by his family as a beautiful father and loving poppy.  With wife Adrienne, Rob had a daughter Tammy and son Mark. Adrienne is the Chair of tourism organisation Destination Gold Coast.

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