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

13 thoughts on “Obituary: Ken Sparkes

  1. 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.

  2. 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).


    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”.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    1. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Gary Mac Tribute to Ken Sparkes – 8 years on.

    It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 8 years since the passing of Ken Sparkes. I feel that I had known him all my life.
    When I was a kid growing up in NZ in the mid 50’s, my parents and I were regular movie goers.
    In those days cinemas would show a number of movie trailers and a couple of news reels before an interval and the feature film.
    The news reels would give us look, albeit in black and white, at the happenings in our part of the world and elsewhere.
    I remember listening to the unique style of one of the news reel narrators and I would wait to see his name, as the credits rolled.
    The narrator was Ken Sparkes.
    There was a 5 year difference in our ages. My ambition was to do what he was doing….and in a way I followed in his footsteps.
    Although a few years apart, we began our radio careers at 2MG Mudgee. Ken was just 17.
    Both Ken and I ended up in cap city radio and we both voiced TV promos for Channel 9. For many years Ken was “the voice” of the 9 network.
    Kenneth John Sparkes was also the undisputed loveable larrikin. His ego was as big as the Grand Canyon.
    He had an insatiable appetite for the company of women.
    Indeed he married 5 times. I think he had a proclivity for wedding cake.
    We became firm friends in the late 60’s.
    When Ken met and married Meg, with whom he had 3 beautiful children, my wife Joanie and I were asked to be god parents to Ken’s son, James.
    My wife Joanie and I remain close friends with Meg.

    I feel proud to have known him. For the silly times we shared with many other equally silly people. For the memorable Monday night dinners in the 70’s, when Ken would fly down from Sydney to voice the GTV9 promos. And of course, watching his children grow into wonderful people…
    Amber, James, Jasmine and Esther or Esse.
    Ken enjoyed a LIFE LIVED LARGE. We miss you mate.
    You’ll be remembered always.

    Gary Mac

  9. My husband and I have been watching and singing along with Jukebox Saturday Night for at least the past 10 years (in fact we are watching it right now as I’m typing this) Ken Sparkes was great and it was with great sadness when we heard of his passing. I remember the excitement he showed about the river cruise he was about to embark on. Although I never knew him in person I feel he was doing what he loved when he passed and I am certain he is having a ball entertaining the angels in heaven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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