Main Image: (from left) 96five General Manager Arthur Muhl, Paul Clark and At The Top producer Justin Rouillon.
96five volunteer presenter Paul Clark has recently notched up a radio milestone, recording the 1000th edition of his long running ‘At The Top’ spots.
The first At The Top spot was broadcast on 96five in July 2011, with the project initially undertaken to encourage and uplift the church in North Queensland, where Paul was working as a minister with the Uniting Church.
“I was on holiday at Mission Beach, and I was lying beside the pool and this phrase – at the top – just dropped into my head,” Paul told 96five. “When you live in North Queensland you’re living at the top of Australia and it’s a lovely place to live.”
“That phrase meant many things, but mostly it made us ask how we as a church could be at the top of our game, and how individuals could do the same.”
Paul found an ally in fellow Uniting Church minister Phil Smith, who had previously worked as a journalist and presenter with ABC Radio, and encouraged Paul to look to the airwaves to get the message out.
“Phil thought that the at the top idea would be great for radio; coming up with one minute life coaching spots about living life at the top.
“So we recorded the first batch in North Queensland and put them out to radio everywhere, and 96five was one of the first stations to pick up the spots. The feedback from 96five was that they loved the spots, and that they really fitted in to what they were trying to do, and when I moved down to Brisbane the relationship really blossomed.”
The At The Top spots are one of the longest running ministry spots on 96five, so what has Paul learnt about writing for radio over the years?
“The first 20 spots were easy to write, but to keep going really was a challenge. You learn pretty quickly that you can’t say three things – you’ve really go to make one point and try and make that point really clearly.”
And while Paul is keen to keep the spots going into the future, could there be a book on the cards?
“After we’d done 100 spots we put those out as a book, but now that I’ve done 1000, if I get enough people requesting it I’ll go through and pick the best 100 spots from over the years.”
If you’d like to purchase one of the few remaining At The Top books, or request a new version, you can get in touch with Paul via the Redcliffe Uniting Church.
Listen to more At The Top spots here.