90.1 Happy FM Station Manager Ken Burgess walks away from the microphone after 27 years in Victor Harbor

MAKING PEOPLE SMILE: Ken at the microphone for the final time at 90.1 Happy FM. Ken has been the
MAKING PEOPLE SMILE: Ken at the microphone for the final time at 90.1 Happy FM. Ken has been the "happy" voice of the region for nearly 30 years.

At precisely 9am on Friday, August 7, 90.1 Happy FM Station Manager and much loved on-air presenter Ken Burgess switched off his microphone for the final time.

Kenny, Mr Happiness, Happy Kenny, 'Belly', or whatever name you have known and loved this man by over the years, he has decided the time is right for him to retire. The decision was prompted by him experiencing some health issues.

Kenny, after 27 years at the very successful community radio station that he founded and helped to set up in a caravan all of those years ago, is heading off to the Gold Coast. His departure from the station will be a sad loss for the community as listeners have enjoyed his happy on-air personality, great choice of music and his warmth and friendliness to all he meets both on and off air.

He has led the 'happy' team of volunteers over the years in a very professional manner, but at the same time he senses they're like one big happy group.

"We have no egos in our team. It's like one big happy family and we're all here for each other; in both good times and in bad times," Ken said

AT HOME: Ken Burgess proudly displays the radio station he managed and worked at.

AT HOME: Ken Burgess proudly displays the radio station he managed and worked at.

Ken Burgess was born in Norwood in 1943; the youngest of eight and attended many schools, including Norwood Primary. Sadly his mother passed away when he was 12-years-old and he spent time living with his older sister who had a farming property north of Adelaide.

He loved football and moved up the ranks from junior grades right through to a senior SANFL player for Central Districts Football Club. He later played for West Torrens until a serious knee injury finished his career.

To Ken, sport was important as he felt like he was part of a family; perhaps this feeling may be the reason that 90.1 is such a successful radio station today, as it highlights teamwork and mateship.

Ken's first job was at Adelaide Insurance Company and he then became a buyer of hosiery and travel ware at John Martins. His radio career began after he completed a course at the Philips and Long Radio School in Adelaide and he then branched out as an on air presenter in country radio including stations in Geelong, Berri, Port Augusta and finally 5AD in Adelaide.

There were many legends in radio that Ken Burgess looked up to, respected and had as mentors. Kenny was influenced and helped along the way by radio greats like Glenn Gale, Grant Gouldman, Vaughan Harvey and Bob Francis who, coincidentally, hung up his microphone for the last time on August 7, 2013.

Ken Burgess is a real family man and one of his greatest joys in life is his three children; Tim who is owner of Pa's Café at Encounter Bay, Sally Ann who lives in WA and Janie the youngest, who he will spend some time with her and her partner Chris on the Gold Coast where he' hopes' to help the Suns football team achieve finals this year. Ken also has four grandchildren Rylee, Caprice, Mitchell and Allegra.

1994 was a big year for Ken Burgess: he turned 50, left commercial radio, bought Pa's Café at Encounter Bay, his youngest daughter Janie was born and he founded the 90.1 Happy FM community radio station in this region.

"Community radio is real radio it's local and people orientated with 'fun team elements'. I am proud to have safely steered the ship to the successful organisation that it is today, and I now look forward to sitting back and enjoying my retirement," he said.