Obituary: Ken Sparkes

kensparkesKen Sparkes, for many years the “voice” of the Nine Network, has died at the age of 76.

It is reported that Sparkes died overnight (Australian time) of a heart attack while hosting a river cruise in France.

His career began in radio as a sixteen-year-old in country radio, but it was only a few years before he made it to Sydney station 2GB.

He then moved to Melbourne to top-rating radio station 3UZ. It was also at this time that he hosted the national pop music TV show, Kommotion.


Other TV credits included Homicide, Division 4, Bandstand and Wide World Of Sports, but he most prominent role was as an announcer for many years for the Nine Network and for radio station 2UE. His voice became one of the most widely heard in Australia.

For a brief time he was also a voice-over announcer for TEN10 in Sydney.

More recently Sparkes hosted the music program Jukebox Saturday Night for Foxtel channel Aurora.

Source: Noise11

Permanent link to this article:


Skip to comment form

    • Andrew M on 11 September 2016 at 6:51 PM
    • Reply

    he had his own column in TV Week back in the 1960’s RIP Ken

    • janette sandison and lyn power on 12 September 2016 at 12:50 PM
    • Reply

    so sad to hear of kens passing;hopefully the show he loved so much Saturday night jukebox will keep going;its a great show and full credit to him and all of the wonderful people who put the show together;we love it and never miss it;please keep it going in memory of ken too;kind regards janette and lyn.

    • Norman Stanley on 12 September 2016 at 5:54 PM
    • Reply

    R,I.P Ken you will be missed on Jukebox Saturday Night

    • Steven Wood on 12 September 2016 at 8:46 PM
    • Reply

    OMG – I’m sorry to hear about this, because I’m a fan of his Jukebox show on Aurora and this just came as a real shock! But I remembered watching a 60 Minutes special that Richard Carleton did years ago about improvements in heart/artery treatment and Ken was profiled while he was still a voice-over on the Nine Network; Ken had an angioplasty and they actually showed him having the treatment. Man, I’ve even lost count of how many ads he’s voiced-over for over the years, as he was in constant demand by all kinds of advertisers, but his most memorable one would have to be that all-time 70s classic “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos, and Holden Cars” which ended up becoming a big hit. Vale, Ken (and Thanks For The Memories).

    • Barry Skinner on 15 September 2016 at 11:52 AM
    • Reply


    For 14 years I worked with Ken when I was Promotion Manager/Producer at GTV Melbourne. I went on to work in Britain (with the acclaimed Tommy Vance), US (Hollywood) and Malaysian and Swedish television.

    In 35 years in the TV industry, nothing was more satisfying than the time when I worked with Ken. Every Monday he would get off a plane from Sydney and arrive in the studio for a day of production.

    In my opinion he stood above from his peers; he perfected the art of voice-over.

    The total professional, he was a sincere friend, and a joy to work with.

    If you are lucky to arrive at the “Pearly Gates” there’s a good chance that you’ll be welcomed by the voice of Ken Sparkes! One-take Sparkes “The Golden Larynx”.

    • Donna on 17 September 2016 at 9:28 PM
    • Reply

    Heaven wanted a great rock and roll DJ for all the stars who have gone there and wanted someone special like Ken. R.I.P you will be sadly missed Jukebox Saturday night will not be the same without you.

    • Lindsay Wray on 19 September 2016 at 8:48 PM
    • Reply

    What a shock and a tragedy. I’ve worked at GTV Nine both full time and freelance since 1980, and had the privilege to work with Ken and doing promos, commercials and the Logies. Everybody loved Ken for his wonderful sense of humour and perfect timing.He raised everybody’s game because we all knew we were working with the best.

    I did a “this is your life” production for my mother, and Ken did all the voice overs.. He thought it was great fun. I’m only glad I didn’t have to pay his rate!

    My last contact was when he started Jukebox. He loved doing the show. It was classic Ken.

    Rest in peace Ken

      • Bernie Brittain on 16 November 2020 at 9:56 AM
      • Reply

      Hi Linds!

      I still remember the great ‘Live from the family room in Beaumaris Melbourne…’. Fabulous ‘This is your Life’ rendition.
      Featuring the late great Brian Naylor too. Great memories of 3AK Production. Cheers.

      Bernie Brittain.

      RIP Ken.

    • Lady Dee on 25 September 2016 at 5:32 PM
    • Reply

    Oh Kenneth John,
    My dearest Mr. Sparkes. I am so terribly sorry that you have left this world. At least, by some reports, you were with one of your beloved children when you departed and so i can be thankful that you were not alone – as being alone was not something that sat particularly well with you for the most part. You and I weaved in and out of each other’s lives for thirty years, starting way back in the 80s at the Royal Melbourne. You were a fine gent when I first met you and continued throughout the years as such. I am so terribly sorry for your children Kenneth John – and of whom you were so very proud. I will miss you singing to me as you always did when we spoke. Au revoir dear one. You were both a gentle man and a gentleman.
    Lady Dee

    • Heather on 18 December 2016 at 12:16 AM
    • Reply

    The end of an era rest in peace Ken

    • Karen Keavy on 7 November 2021 at 5:45 PM
    • Reply

    I worked with Ken briefly when he was in Adelaide. A true gentleman and ultimate professional. He was a very kind and generous man and very generous in terms of sharing his expertise and knowledge. I was saddened to hear that he had passed away – a huge loss to TV and radio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.