Kochie channels inner Bogart for Coast calendar

Tue, 9th May 2017

My Weekly Preview journalist Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane teamed up with Sunrise host David Koch for a charity photo shoot with a touch of nostalgia.

Kochie and Roxanne McCarty-O'Kane
Kochie and Roxanne McCarty-O'Kane

It was a cheeky on-air exchange between Sunrise presenter David Koch and Maleny’s Vintage Calendar Girls founder Misty Bland that saw the popular breakfast show host come on board the Sunshine Coast fundraising project.

Two years after they first spoke, a small crew of VCG volunteers, including yours truly, flew from the Sunshine Coast to Koch’s Surry Hills studio in Sydney to capture one of the key images for the 2018 calendar.

I posed alongside Koch and TV presenter Tamara Wrigley for the calendar that not only celebrates women of every age, shape and size, but also fundraises to provide respite to Sunshine Coast families who are facing a cancer battle.

It was a real experience meshing the enigma of the Koch I have been watching on television for years with the man in person.

Despite his energetic and sometimes over-the-top TV personality, when the man who launched trade publishing group Australian Financial Press in a joint venture with Fairfax in the 1980s and went on to become a respected business and finance authority, talks about his drive to help grassroots charities, you see genuine passion.

After donning a trench coat and a fedora to channel his inner Humphrey Bogart, Koch admits he thought Bland wouldn’t follow up on her on-air challenge and was worried about what he’d gotten himself into.

 “Luckily the ladies let me keep my coat on. I don’t think you want to see me, my bod, at the moment. I have what every middle-aged man or senior Australian male has – that’s delusional hotness syndrome,” he says.

“So, I think I’m hot, then I see myself in a photo or in the mirror and think, ‘that’s not what I am imagining’.”

When he is not on the Sunrise couch as co-presenter, Koch runs Pinstripe Media and helps disadvantaged youth through the Koch Centre for Youth in Macquarie Fields with wife Libby, is a passionate advocate for organ and tissue donation and is the president of the Port Adelaide Football Club. 

Koch says he leads a “process-driven” life so he also connects with people like Bland, who “galvanise communities and they have the passion and energy to get things done.”

“I get approached by a lot [of charities], but I try and do as many as I can because Sunrise is the world’s best job, but it is a bit of a bullsh** job. But, you can help people working at a community level to make sure their projects and fundraisers are a success… that’s the privilege of doing Sunrise,” he says.

“I was asked to fill in for three months, and that was 15 years ago. I just kept going and if I could only look back as it being just a job that would be a waste of an opportunity. By helping people like Misty, I do achieve something and get things done.

“Helping other people can make you feel good and often we lose that in a community that’s so complacent and technology-driven, and we become disconnected with one another and become so self-absorbed to really help and that is not what life is about.” 

Koch says he has many fond memories of family holidays on the Sunshine Coast after marrying Libby and is pleased to have another connection to the region through the calendar.

“Projects like this put into perspective what we are doing in life and remind us that we are all here to make a difference,” he says.

“Cancer is one of those just insidious illnesses that can capture anybody. The great thing is that survival rates are a lot better these days and they are always researching new ways to combat it and funds raised through the calendar will help families who are under an enormous amount of pressure when a family member is hit by cancer.”

Maleny mother Bland began the calendar three years ago to “find a purpose in life” after her husband and high school sweetheart Rob, was diagnosed with a thoracic chordoma, a rare cancer that attacks the spine.

The Vintage Calendar Girls Inc recently became a registered charity and Bland says she is overwhelmed by “the amount of love” she had received for the calendar.

“It has just grown and it has been an amazing journey,” she said.

“We hope this year it will be bigger and better than ever, with so many celebrities on board alongside our gorgeous Coast women.”