Market reports about more than prices: Vale Les Clyne

View From the Paddock: Vale Les Clyne


The gravelly voice of a markets reporter, presenting cattle or sheep prices from the local livestock sale is a part of rural radio.

Robin McConchie, former rural reporter, Brisbane.

Robin McConchie, former rural reporter, Brisbane.

The gravelly voice of a market reporter, presenting cattle or sheep prices from the local livestock sale is a part of rural radio.

Like Blue Hills, the lunchtime conversation stopped for the market reports on the Country Hour.

Listeners become attached to their markets reporter; he or she is part of the family.

As much as the radio report or the printed version provides critical information on prices or trends, it also provides a connection with industry and fellow producers.

A city newspaper will have sport on the final four pages - in the country you start on the back page because that is where the livestock market reports are and you work toward the front.

That is where you find who sold what to whom, and for what price. Who topped the market, with names, pictures and bits of the back story to the stock.

Over the years the boffins in head office have tried to axe the market reports, saying they are not good radio, spoken in a language that is unknown outside the industry.

The reaction from listeners has always been the same, one of outrage, questions raised in parliament, and most of the time the market reports have survived.

But why? There are so many ways to sell cattle these days; there is so much value-added intelligence to be gained from agents and online services.

I ask the question as we say farewell to one of ABC Queensland Rural's icons, Leslie Clyne who passed away aged 78 on June 18, 2020.

For over 30 years Les would ring into the Country Hour office at 20 to eight on a Friday morning to record his weekly wrap of the markets.

He was a familiar voice with a connection to the bush, growing up in Goondiwindi and a former stock agent in Texas and Dirranbandi.

He was a great raconteur with more stories than you could poke a stick at from his days as an agent.

Together he and his wife of 53 years, Raylee were part of the local community in the town. Raylee worked in the agency, is a beautiful spinner and her knitting skills were prize winners at the local CWA.

Les played the piano from childhood, and he could have been a concert pianist. Instead, he chose, or agency work was selected for him.

But his skills as a pianist were applauded far and wide as he played first in the local pub and bands, then later for charity, schools, concerts, eisteddfods and local theatrical performances.

Les was known, loved and respected far and wide.

So the industry news may focus on the EYCI at record levels, store cattle beyond the means of many producers' budgets, the COVID-19 pandemic and China sales in difficulty.

Still, many Queenslanders will put aside a few minutes to remember Les Clyne, a man of many talents and a genuinely good bloke.

With luck, livestock market reports will continue on radio and in the rural newspapers despite the digital disruption and budget cuts that are crippling regional media.

- Robin McConchie, former rural reporter, Brisbane


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