John Tapp

Race Caller, Media Personality & MC

John Tapp is one of Australia’s best-known sports commentators, having called 50,000 horse races and worked in the media for 50 years, 30 of those presenting racing for Channel Nine.

Known to many as ‘Tappy’, John Tapp was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1996, for services not only to horse racing, but more significantly for his support of charitable organisations. This includes acting as a ‘voice’ and ambassador for The Variety Club of Australia, and Diabetes Australia. In 2007 John Tapp was recognised as an Australia Post ‘Australian Legend’.

A charismatic speaker and MC John is wise yet humble and authentic. He believes the harder you work the luckier you get and is famous in the media industry for the research he does prior to any engagement.

Needless to say, John draws on half a century of experience as the man behind the microphone, and captures the heart of all who hear his story.

John Tapp first found his passion for horse racing when, as a child of the 1940s, he spent hours listening to the legendary race caller Ken Howard on the wireless radio.

Growing up in a poor family, John was a resourceful child, spending hours on activities that did not cost his working mother unnecessary expense. This included painting paddle pop sticks in the colours of the well known racehorses of the era, and throwing them into the fast flowing current of a nearby storm water channel. John would walk for miles, calling the progress of the paddle pop sticks, as though they were real racehorses. He became well known to local residents who’s backyards adjoined the storm water channel.

John has vivid memories of his first day at the races when his grandfather, a keen punter, took him to Randwick for the running of the Sydney Cup. The big race was won by a horse called Talisman, ridden by Johns’ favourite jockey Stan Cassidy.

Along with calling over 50,000 races, John was also well known to Australian sports fans tuning into the Nine Network, and radio stations across the nation. He was Channel Nines’ Racing presenter for more than thirty years, presenting a Saturday night News Racing segment for 22 of those 30 years, and providing regular colour stories for programs like Wide World of Sports, and Sports Sunday.

For seven years, John was co-host of the popular Lotto draw, alongside Karen Pini. His radio involvement began with 2GB in 1965, moving to 2UE in 1981. For a decade he was official course broadcaster on Sydney’s’ four metro racetracks. In 2015, John officially resigned from the world of media after an astounding 50 years.

While Johns career was blessed, life was not without hardship. John’s son was only seven years of age when he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, and today his son has lost all of his eyesight as a result of this devastating disease. John understands first hand the impact of Diabetes, and has made it his personal mission to raise awareness and funds to find a cure. He is also passionate about ensuring children are given the best opportunities to live a fulfilling life. Alongside wife Ann, John has collectively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for The Variety Club of Australia, Bear Cottage and more recently The Ted Noffs Foundation and Hands Across the Water.

While he is most famous for race calling, it is a call from the heart that has driven John to use his legendary voice to enact change and find solutions to some of greatest social issues faced by mankind.

John Tapp talks about:

A Call from the Heart

There are not too many people who have maintained celebrity status in a time where we have witnessed unprecedented change in the technology used to deliver media into Australian homes. Whether it was wireless radio, television, Pay TV or the Internet, there is one thing that stayed the same for 50 years: the voice of John Tapp.

In this presentation, John Tapp shares his journey of growing up in a working-class family where he left school at the age of 14 to support his mother, to go on to become one of Australia’s greatest race callers. Along with the obvious tales from the track, John shares memories of another time in media and reflects on the astounding changes he has witnessed and adapted to in a career that has spanned half a century. His core message reflects the courage and commitment it takes to pursue a dream, and what it means to truly know your gift to the world.

Audiences walk away from this presentation inspired by a beautiful story of a young Aussie kid who lived out a very big and colourful dream. They gain insights into the nature of integrity, humility, and the art of telling a great story. Whether we are the local butcher, banker or an Australian celebrity, we can all become legends in our field. All we need to do is follow a call from the heart.

Key Outcomes

  • Gain insights into the changing nature of media
  • Tools to adapt and change in a shifting environment
  • Be inspired to Dream Big
  • Gain insights into purpose and tapping into your unique gift.
  • Insights into interviewing skills and storytelling.

MC & Host

Put simply you cannot buy the level of experience that John Tapp brings to a corporate stage. He has acted as MC for hundreds of events, all the time, ensuring his audiences are entertained while also being provided with relevant information with regards to the purpose of the event.

Renowned as one of Australia’s finest interviewers, John can facilitate a panel or conduct an interview with grace and ease. Such is his talent that over the years, some key racing celebrities would only allow John to interview them, and quite simply this reflects Johns integrity and the commitment he makes to showcasing another person story with the authenticity and respect it deserves. He treats events with the same respect.

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