Saturday night, Mix 102.3’s The Ali Clarke Breakfast Show won Best Community Campaign (Metro) for their Mel Dzelde Rescue: The Spirit of Christmas at the 34th Annual ACRA Awards.
The 34th ACRA Award winners were revealed at a gala red-carpet event attended by 1,000 radio personalities and executives from across the country. The ACRA Awards celebrate excellence in commercial radio broadcasting and audio across entertainment, news, talk, podcasting and sport. This year the awards also celebrated a century of radio in Australia.
Mel and husband Chris Dzelde were both well-known names within the Adelaide radio industry, having worked at various networks – including Mix 102.3 and Power FM – for over 30 years. Sadly, although Mel had overcome cancer on three occasions, she was diagnosed for a fourth time with Stage 4 Rectal cancer. Mel was then dealt another blow when diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and was placed in the Mary Potter Hospice her diagnosis of MND slowly overtook her body.
Mel’s big wish was that her family wouldn’t be left with the massive debt of her treatment. To help Mel and her family, Mix 102.3 pulled together an Adelaide radio first: a joint Mix 102.3 and Power FM breakfast simulcast for Mel, who was a big part of both stations.
Ali Clarke explains, “Because seeing Christmas was a long shot, Mix 102.3 made Christmas come early for Mel and the Mary Potter Hospice where she was being cared for. We then dared try to pull off the impossible, to get Oprah Winfrey involved.”
“Mel was someone you couldn’t help but fall in love with. So, not only did South Australia come to the rescue, but so did Oprah, who delayed a flight to ensure she could speak to Mel,” Ali continued.
Oprah Winfrey, who has known Mel for over 20 years, called through from the US to send a message of support, telling Mel: “You are such an inspiration, you are the greatest human spirit we have all witnessed. We have never met a woman like you.
“Christmas is whatever day you make it because it lives in your heart, and it’s an expression of pure love coming from all the best places. I know that everybody is there just to show you how much we care about you and how much you mean to us. So blessings to you and thankyou for all the grace and inspiration you have given to all of us.” Oprah concluded.
The campaign had the help of SA celebrities who volunteered at Mix 102.3’s telethon-style pledge room, an incredible $83, 745 was raised for the Dzelde family.
Some of the people that came to help included Mix 102.3’s Erin Phillips, singer Kate Ceberano, Adelaide Crows player Rory Sloane and musician Diesel; other celebrities including Lauren De Cesare and Hayley Pearson from Adelady, cabaret superstar Hans the German, and TV and radio personality Anne Wills were also in studio answering phones and taking donations; and WSFM’s Amanda Keller also auctioned off a money-can’t-buy experience to help her good friend Mel.
After winning the award, the MIX102.3 show’s host Ali Clarke FaceTimed Mel’s husband Chris Dzelde and posted the moment to Instagram.
“This one’s for you Mel … you were with us every moment,” Ali wrote.
“To everyone involved in this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Mel sadly lost her battle, she died in December 2022, just before Christmas.