Sunderland, Mr J.

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:20): Today, I rise to pay tribute to a truly great radio man and a great man all round, Jeff Sunderland or Sundo, as he was known. On Monday 2 July 2018, South Australia lost a radio and media legend, Jeff Sunderland, who was expected to celebrate his 74th birthday next week. Despite the best efforts of colleagues and emergency services personnel, unfortunately he died suddenly on Monday at 5MU radio station in Murray Bridge.

Jeff was a highly respected and loved host at 5MU and had been a dedicated member of the team for the last 10 years.

Each morning, Jeff—or Sundo, as he was known by many—would host the morning breakfast show on 5MU and provide entertainment to listeners. Sundo was known for his humour and this was often reflected throughout his segment each morning. On 2 July, Sundo had finished his morning segment and was preparing for the next day when he suddenly collapsed and died. The 5MU radio family are devastated at the loss of Sundo and stated:

The 5MU family has lost a very much-loved colleague and friend today. As an SA Radio Icon, we were honoured to have Jeff Sunderland as part of our team. Our thoughts are now with his family. For our 5MU listeners we will celebrate Jeff's career tomorrow morning [Tuesday July 2] on 5MU from 6am. For the last Sundo's Big breakfast.

5MU general manager, Steve Walker, also described Sundo as an icon at the station and said:

He always had time for a kind word or a joke, whichever you needed … and to rib you when Geelong had won. He was a legend in a time when those on the mic were true superstars. He would talk about his time when he met this musician or that musician and when the Beatles rocked up. One of the things he would do would be to tell you a joke which probably shouldn’t go on air and then change it slightly when it went to air. He always had a quip at the ready and was ready to lighten the mood when it got too serious.

Prior to continuing his successful radio career at 5MU, Sundo graced the media scene for decades, dating back to the seventies. Sundo was best known for his breakfast show with Keith Martyn and was one of the biggest personalities at the former Adelaide station 5AD. At the time of Sundo's departure from 5AD, their breakfast show was reportedly the highest rating program on the airwaves during the early 1990s. Anne Wills OAM was quoted in The Advertiser paying tribute to the late Jeff Sunderland, whom she considered a close friend and co-worker since his arrival in Adelaide 45 years ago. She said:

I never worked with him until 2004 when we did breakfast together for a whole year. He was fabulous, I was never there until one minute to six and he would always cover for me.

I have been working with him doing movie reviews every Monday on 5MU for I don’t know how many years. This morning he said it’s going to be warm tomorrow and when they rang me an hour after he died I couldn’t believe it…

Truly one of our radio greats is gone. He was one of the great announcers. There will never be another Sundo. We will never have anyone else with that voice and that command and a fabulous attitude about everything.

Ms Wills also stated that Mr Sunderland had an incredibly kind heart and was such a dedicated man. Unfortunately, the airwaves have lost a true radio champion. I take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences to Mr Sunderland's wife of 26 years, Marianne; his son, Jeffrey; daughter, Laura; and stepdaughter, Rochelle.

Sundo's influence on the radio scene will be remembered, along with his love for quality food, wine and his staunch support for the Geelong Cats. He was always out for a quick quip if ran into him in the corridors of 5MU. A champion bloke. What a gravelly voice. He will be sorely missed. Vale, Jeff Sunderland.

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