on air now

Radio and TV icon, John Blackman, opens up to Neil Mitchell about his health battle

It’s hard to forget the dulcet tones of much-loved comedian and long-standing 3AW broadcaster John Blackman.

For decades his voice sailed the airways into our homes.

Now, nine months since undergoing a marathon 12 hour surgery to remove and reconstruct his jaw, John Blackman shares his journey on finding his voice again.

Diagnosed a with basal-cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer, doctors feared it would become rampant if they didn’t act soon.

“It’s like I ploughed into a tree and my life changed forever,” John told Neil Mitchell on 3AW Mornings.

“When I was given the news, my first thought was ‘I’ve got a full diary full of corporate gigs, I’m going to have to ring them all and put them on hold.”

As a public speaker, an entertainer and an comedian, his voice was his livelihood.

“It’s made me realise there are more important things in life than work,” John shared.

“There’s people out there far worse off Neil.”

Blackman said he is now, as far as he is aware, in full remission, but the last nine months have given him a new found respect for how disabled people navigate everyday life.

“I’ve got a new appreciation for someone who looks different and sounds different,” John said.

“Its not contagious.”

The grueling surgery saw fibula redesigned into a jaw with a skin graph from his inner thigh replacing a section on his chin and his teeth removed.

“I’ve discovered my voice doesn’t have any authority anymore,” John joked.

“I sound like a very drunk uncle Arthur when I’m on the phone.

“I don’t get any respect as (people) assume I’m a drunk or an old fool.”

Whilst physically John has changed, he’s determined to get back to what he loves most – his work.

“My working career stopped the day I went into surgery and I’m determined to get it back on track,” said John.

“In the words of Arnie – ‘I’ll be back’.”

Click PLAY to hear John’s full interview with Neil this morning.