S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
It was with much sadness, this week, that we learned of the passing of former 5THE FM volunteer Alf Trager.
Alf was born in Germany and migrated to Australia with his family when he was a young boy. Working at the mill at Mt Burr was one of his early memories of the South East. The language barrier was difficult he said. He remembered having to point at the grocery item he wanted when shopping, until he learned English.Alf went on to work in various states around Australia and owned his own electrical repair business in Millicent. He married his wife Christa (deceased) and enjoyed bringing up their family together.
Alf began volunteering at 5THE FM as a presenter of the German program and later a variety of daytime programs. He was 5THE FM’s chief fixit man with skills from owning his own electrical/TV repair business coming in very handy. He kept 5THE FM on the air many a time in the days of old equipment and no money to replace anything.
The program he would mostly be remembered for on 107.7, is his Saturday afternoon program aptly called, ‘My Kind of Music, which he hosted for 17 years.’ You could always be assured that Saturday afternoon would be filled with some country, some classic, a German polka or two and a little bit of yodeling to top it off. It was originally called ‘Old Time Sing A Long’ but Alf thought ‘My Kind of Music’ suited his style better.
He loved Isla Grant and one of his happiest experiences at 5THE FM was travelling to Mt Gambier to see her in concert. He also loved Slim Dusty and Daniel O’Donnell.
Alf served on the Board of 5THE FM for most of his years at the station and his contribution to 5THE FM spanned a large part of the stations lifetime. He began volunteering at 5THE FM in 1994 and was awarded the Kegel Award for Outstanding Contribution to 5THE FM in 1999.
Described often as ‘the salt of the earth’, Alf was always dependable, reliable, kind and above all humble. He was a family man whose greatest joy was his three daughters, Eileen, Dianne and Petra and their families.
He loved going bush as he called it, he loved the solitude of the country.
Alf has been known to arrive at the station in the early years to fix or repair old equipment or fill in for a presenter who had not arrived for the morning program; donned in trousers and jumper over his pyjamas to make sure the show went on. His interest in radio began from a very young age and continued through out his working life.
If you had a cough or a headache, a cough lozenge or panadol would suddenly appear from his pocket. Alf was always prepared. He never needed a reason to have a cuppa with you and shared many with 5THE FM team members.
A sign on the back of the station carries the initial A for Alf. It represents a time when Alf and friends used to enjoy a coffee in the sun and talk. This spot was often referred to unofficially as ‘the conference room.’
Over the years much has been said about various people who took the necessary steps to turn the fortunes of 5THE FM around but little is known about the role Alf played. Although a quiet achiever and small in stature, Alf was a giant of a man when he saw the need to stand up for people he cared about and stand against destructive behaviors that were present at the station a decade ago.
5THE FM is now a valuable community asset after recovering from almost certain closure and Alf’s contribution to this process will always be remembered and greatly appreciated.
Chairman Boyd Groeneveld said today, ‘the passing of Alf Trager is very sad, I have many fond memories of Alf’s time at 5THE FM. It’s very sad indeed.”
When hearing that someone he knew had passed away, no matter what age, Alf always said,”It’s always too soon.” and so it is with Alf.
Members of 5THE FM Board, Management and the 5THE FM team extend their sincere sympathies to Alf’s family at this sad time. He is sadly missed.