NBN presenter Paul Lobb takes over as MC of the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Nobbys beach this year.
Long-serving MC, Ken Fayle, President of Newcastle RSL, feels the time is right to step down and had no hesitation in nominating Paul as his replacement.
“Paul has been an integral part of the Dawn Service for many years representing NBN news, and also as my unofficial understudy,” Ken said. “I know he has a great depth of feeling for Anzac Services and the Anzac community as a whole. As such, I had no hesitation in asking NBN management if he could take my position on the stage.”
NBN has been a huge supporter and contributor to the Anzac Day events in Newcastle, providing time, manpower and resources to promote the event.
It started broadcasting it live in 2015 to mark the Centenary of Anzac.
Paul was host for that telecast, going live to air a couple of minutes before the actual Dawn Service hosted by Ken, to give a welcome to the thousands assembled and recap Anzac events in the area on the big screen.
“First year it went out as webcast, but since then we’ve put it to air across the network,” Paul said. “Things like the ceremony up on the Memorial Walk, the twilight vigil at Civic Park, the lighting of the flame etc.
“NBN would get visuals of all this and I would present the package before handing over to Ken who would step up on lectern for the official duties.”
At the end of last year Ken announced he was retiring and offered the role of MC to Paul, “if he was up to it”.
“Being a great admirer of Ken and the way he has conducted himself over 10 years, I was more than happy and very honoured that he could entrust it to me,” Paul said.
Paul’s connection with Anzac Dawn goes back to childhood, attending services with his parents, wherever they were at the time.
“When I started as a reporter with 2KO, I always volunteered to report on the Dawn Service because it’s always been very special to me,” Paul said.
“Getting up early is only a small inconvenience but a small way to pay respect to those who have gone before.
Paul will still be hosting the live NBN telecast this year before stepping up to the MC lectern.
“We’ll have to rejig a few things, but in true NBN style, we’ll work it out on the day,” Paul said. “It’s a full outside broadcast with multiple cameras – we throw the full team at it, but the team is so experienced.”
The Anzac Dawn Service regularly draws over 40,000 people and is second only to Canberra in size in Australia.
“I always get a buzz out of working to a live audience as opposed to a live TV audience,” Paul said.
“You only have half a dozen people in the studio when you’re presenting.
“Something like this adds an extra element of excitement.”
So how will Paul be coping with the big live buzz?
“I’ll be focused on the script that Ken has skillfully crafted and be guided by what I’ve seen him do in years gone by,” Paul said.
“His delivery has many great attributes.
“As well as the basics of being clear and introducing people with accuracy, he does it with warmth and respect for all people
“I hope to emulate that in my own style.”
After the solemn part of the Anzac Dawn Service is over, Paul loves how people walk down to the beach to watch the sun come up.
“With the sound of the waves lapping, it’s a poignant and powerful experience,” he said.