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  • midlifelove 11:20 am on November 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bob Fisher, funeral, Geoff Sinclair, Gordon Dryden, Grahame Thorne, Henry Blofeld, Mad Butcher, Peter Leitch, Sportsline, tim bickerstaff   

    Talkback Host Farewelled 

    timBusinessman Peter Leitch lost thousands of dollars gambling with radio talkback host Tim Bickerstaff before he decided to stop shelling out cash on lost bets and start buying radio advertising on Bickerstaff’s Sportsline, the man Tim dubbed ‘The Mad Butcher’ said at Bickerstaff’s funeral.

    Tim died of a massive heart attack at his Whitianga home on Halloween Night (October 31st) 2009.

    Peter joked “I had to get a second job to pay Tim – true story,” but the gamble paid off.  “The Mad Butcher” went on to become a multi millionaire with his 34-store meat franchise and he made a life-long friend of the controversial radio host.

    Promoting Herbal Ignite

    Peter said that when a few years ago Tim rang “and asked if I would do an ad for him for Ignite, (Tim’s men’s sex tonic Herbal Ignite) I said ‘Yes I’ll do it’ and I didn’t even charge him, that’s how dumb I was. Now everywhere I go friends ask “How’s the old whistle mate, things going all right? And I don’t even use the stuff!”

    Tim was farewelled by friends and family at a service at the Manukau Memorial Gardens in Auckland, with former All Black Grahame Thorne as celebrant.

    Tim’s former boss at Radio i, Gordon Dryden said Geoff Sinclair and Tim Bickerstaff were the best ever pairing on radio. No one had the magic chemistry they had. “He was a great entrepreneur .. .  One day he came to me and said he was going to change his name by deed poll to Jim Beam so he could call his show the Jim Beam Show to get around government regulations on alcohol advertising.

    He Changed the Rules

    “He was one of the people who changed the rules of the game (in radio) and changed sport for the better.”

    Bob Fisher, the Observer and Guardian yachting correspondent, and BBC cricket commentator Henry Blofeld gave recorded tributes to the man Fisher described as a “colossal talent.”

    Their comments were echoed in an obituary by sports writer Phil Gifford in the Sunday Star-Times.

    Said Phil: “There had never been a broadcaster like Tim Bickerstaff before he hit his stride, and nobody has matched him since.”

    Tim’s Herbal Ignite business is a lasting legacy to the man who always thought outside the square.

    He was confident that the company he founded 13 years before was strongly positioned to continue and grow into the next decade. And continue it will, on a very sound base of sales from direct marketing in New Zealand and overseas via the Internet and radio.

    For the past two years Tim has been fully in support of his company Happy Families business strategy to launch Herbal Ignite as a truly international men’s health product, selling in Australia, the US and Asia with the same success it has enjoyed in New Zealand.

    Tim was fully engaged in these plans and was excited about the prospects for Herbal Ignite, because he knew better than many men from personal experience how demoralising erectile dysfunction could be.

  • midlifelove 2:31 am on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cavaliers Rugby tour, Derryn Hinch, , Howard Stern, tim bickerstaff, tributes,   

    Goodbye Timothy John Bickerstaff 

    Tim Bickerstaff

    Pay tribute to Tim or share your recollections of him by clicking “Reply” or filling in the text box above.

    Radio broadcaster and health products marketer Tim Bickerstaff was that unusual character – a macho man who didn’t mind taking the risk of other’s ridicule.

    You couldn’t say he had a small ego, but even he wouldn’t have thought that his passing would be the “Most Read” item on the NZ Herald’s webpage – partly because this man who was almost a recluse in his private life was found dead by trick-or-treat kids on Halloween.

    Famously dyslexic – he never could spell – he was also a brilliant marketer who could work out profit margins in seconds and recall sports statistics without a blink. In his later life that willingness to break convention included talking about men’s sex lives and erectile dysfunction.

    When he began raising the topic on radio with his brutal sense of humour 13 years ago, it was still a “cringe” topic. Men didn’t talk about it for fear of being “unmanly”, and women didn’t talk about it because they didn’t want their men to feel they’d had their balls cut off.

    Short-Lived Career as a Viagra Importer

    Tim didn’t care. Before Viagra was a legal prescription product in New Zealand he was buying it off the web and on-selling it to his car dealer and horse trainer friends – being Tim at a good profit margin of course.

    In the process he got practised at talking to his mates about whether they still “got it up”  or not – and so when Viagra was legally introduced he dropped the small scale importing and looked around for alternatives.

    And that was how Herbal Ignite, the men’s health product which Tim marketed with success for the next decade got launched – and talk about it he did until his death in October 2009. By then the company had developed a life of its own and was well established to continue strong growth without its feisty founder at the helm.

    Outrage Provoked Slashed Tyres

    That ability to crack convention could be seen again and again in Tim Bickerstaff’s life. At a time when political correctness hadn’t yet been invented, Tim provoked enough outrage to get his tyres slashed by irate listeners.

    Over 40 years in radio Tim was New Zealand’s answer to Derryn Hinch or US “shock jock” Howard Stern.  He was the “King of Contra” – the first to foster the negotiating skill whereby radio men sell “time” on air for products, and then sell those products on their own account.

    He foresaw an era of professional sport in the 1980s and was involved in backing the controversial Cavaliers Rugby tour to South Africa.

    King of ‘Contra’

    He famously had a company called Artnoc – Contra spelt backwards – and for most of his career he was never paid a salary by the station, he simply developed his own list of advertisers and sold their product on “time” – a certain number of minutes an hour – the station gave him in lieu of salary.

    Effectively it meant the radio host was competing with the station’s own sales staff, and no one did it better than Timothy John Bickerstaff.

    TVs, Refrigerators, microwaves, or Souvenir editions of All Black or All White books – Tim could sell them all, while at the same time drawing listeners with his controversial commentaries on sport.

    He had a prodigious memory for sports statistics, boxing in particular, and loved nothing better than staging sports quizzes on air.  But with TJB you could never be quite sure whether the show was for real or rigged.

    Love Him or Hate Him

    He loved a poster one he’d seen of a small boy with his fore finger in the air in a defiant “up you too” gesture, and there was always something of the delinquent in his anti-authoritarian salvos which fired up radio listeners.

    At one time he deliberately taunted traffic officers on air about the speed limit on a stretch of highway which he traversed on his way home at night – and found himself regularly copping tickets on said stretch. It’s no wonder that in the 70s and 80s he managed to make his “love him or hate him” show compulsive listening.

    Death On Air

    When interviewing high profile real estate auctioneer Dick Gladding ‘live’ on air in 1989 Tim asked Gladding if his agency used “ring-ins” to boost the bidding. Gladding replied “Tim, I feel sick”. To which Tim replied “I thought you would say that”.

    There was a long silent pause and Tim looked at Gladding. He had suffered a heart attack and was dead in the studio chair. (This was believed to be the first time in the history of world radio that this had ever happened).

    In the 90s he wrote a successful sports book with a team of journalists Heroes and Villains recalling some of the scandals of sport – as a tabloid man at heart there was nothing Tim liked better that a good scandal…

    Poking Finger At Authority

    Bickerstaff has gone and in our PC era there is no one nearly as funny or entertaining to follow him on air.  The spirit Tim embodied is found today more with Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson that Radio Live’s Michael Laws. It’s the spirit of the rebel male poking a finger at authority. He’s naughty but never loses his sense of humour.

    His legacy will live on, because Happy Families, the company he founded, succeeds him in good heart and Herbal Ignite has a strong future, but if you’ve got a favourite Bickerstaff story from the past we’d love to hear it.

    Is there a place for that unrepentant male in today’s media?  Has all this talking about “getting it up” just made males into “menopausal” men? Tell us your favourite Bickerstaff story, celebrate an era, add to the tributes below as we celebrate a hell raiser who was at heart a very private man.


    “Vale Tim – Rascal, Raconteur, and Colleague in radio

    You got me into more trouble with my spouse than everyone else in my life put together! And we loved every minute of it.

    Sincere condolences to Sue, Brenda and Scott whom we knew as neighbours and friends at Farm Cove – and Jenny, who we didn’t.

    John and Jacqui Scull,
    ( Radio i, Radio Hauraki, Radio NZ & Radio Pacific )
    Gold Coast


    Very sad to hear the news about Tim and our thoughts are with you right now.

    My memories of Tim are all good and our work on Heroes & Villains was one of the most enjoyable episodes of my career – a laugh a minute.
    I noticed today that the Most Popular story on the Herald website was the story about Tim’s death – I’m sure I heard a Bickerstaff chortle from above, relishing the fact he could still top the ratings!
    Best wishes
    Josh & Wendy
    Josh Easby
    Hurricane Press Ltd
    New Zealand

    So sorry to hear about Tim, but what a way to go – my caring thoughts are with you.

    Warm wishes



    The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Auckland Inc.


    I would like to express my sincere condolences to you all in the loss of Tim – he was of my era and I well remember his Radio I days.  Certainly a man with huge strength of character and his very own feisty opinions.  But a truly memorable and professional broadcaster – and a man of his times.  Please express my sorrow in his loss to his family.

    Warm regards
    Ruth Sullivan


    I am of similar vintage to Tim.I never met him but his radio show in the seventies & eighties with Geoff Sinclair was compulsive listening.There has never been one to equal it since.It was one fantastic ride to be on & I am glad I got to experience two great talents & personalities.Radio is not the same now,but I still have the fantastic memories of those nightly programs when you rushed home from work to switch on to Radio Pacific at 5pm, a nightly ritual Monday to Friday.Irrepressible,sure,but you never wanted to miss one show,sheer entertainment everyone of them

    Thanks Tim,you are unforgettable,in the best way.



    My condolences on the passing of Tim, and hope you are going well
    yourself through this time.

    I quite liked Tim and had just recently been thinking about taking a
    drive over to Whitianga to drop in and say hi. He was a great
    character and I’m glad to have gotten to know him and yourself.

    Best wishes with all, and my thoughts are with you.

    Best regards,
    Tom Brown


    Please accept our condolences on the passing of Tim.
    We are very sorry but we can’t attend Tim’s service in Manukau on the seventh.
    Let us know if there is anything we can help you with in Whitianga.

    Hope to meet you soon,

    Kindest regards,

    Hans and Annemarie Apers


    It was with considerable sadness that I saw Mondays paper which talked of Tims passing . I talked to him within the last little while and he seemed fineI feel that a part of my life has also passed….I knew Tim for almost 30 years and had a lot of enjoyable,funny and irreverent times with him…not so much since he made his home in Whitianga but we talked often

    He truly was a larger than life character and one of New Zealand’s great broadcasters…his legacy in the world of radio will endure.

    Regettably I am away from Auckland this Saturday and so cannot attend the funeral…but I will be thinking of him as I have done a lot over the last few days

    He was too young to go but he lived a fuller more exciting life than most and I’m sure Tim himself would acknowledge that

    All my love and best wishes
    Jerry Hirst
    Laura Hay (Derek Lowe’s former PA) is in London, as I am.  As two former Radio Pacific employees we worked with Tim Bickerstaff and we want to pass on our sincere condolences to you and his family.
    Tim was THE original contra king – before Murray Deaker thought of it!  In fact, Murray may have copied Tim in these endeavours.
    We were always intimidated by Tim’s presence, his manner, his manna, his directness. We would shake in our shoes if he pointed his finger at either one of us and want a discussion!  But, when we got to know him, we got to understand he was a pussy cat with a teddy bear covering.  And he could be very funny indeed.  He was his own man, certainly, and for that we always admired him.
    A literally large part of Radio Pacific has now gone.  Sports broadcasting was tame when Tim arrived at Pacific and not the same when he left.  He has left that important legacy among many others.  He made his mark and how wonderful that mark was.
    Our thoughts are with you and the wider Bickerstaff family and friends.
    All our love,
    Sandy Myhre


    Laura Hay
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time with the loss of your special friend. Regards Carrick and the Thompson family.
    To Jenny Wheeler, the Bickerstaff family and Tim’s colleagues,
    Kindest regards and respects to you at this time. It was one of my career highlights to spend time and interview Tim a decade ago (for Brass magazine) – that’s where I’ve pulled quotes from.
    Like many Aucklanders young and old, Tim switched us on to sports news entertainment, and his work lives on.
    Apologies for not being able to be at the celebration tomorrow, as I’ll be on-air with my own radio show.


    Phil J Taylor


    • midlifelove 4:26 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      My thoughts are with you at this time, and although we have never met, I did enjoy my chats with Tim on phone in recent years re our family history. I have many happy memories of Tim and his family during our growing years and he certainly lived life to the fullest, and will be sadly missed for his sense of humour alone!!!!!!!!!
      Kind regards, Lynn Cupitt,

    • Claire Monteith 9:08 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Tim’s Poem:
      The wine glass is empty, as the bar tender shouts:
      ‘Last call for drinks, before I throw you all out’

      The cab drivers waiting, to give you a ride.
      He’s taking you home, to it’s safety inside.

      A spare seat is waiting, at Heaven’s dining table.
      ‘Take your seat Timmy, and tell us a Fable!’

      You’ll make the angels laugh, and see the grin on God’s dial.
      With you at their table, they can’t help but smile!

      Your glass will never be empty, and hang-overs don’t exist.
      Have fun and drink up, ’cause you’ll never get p*ssed!

      You tried to disguise yourself as the big grizzly bear, but to me you were a big soft teddy with a heart of gold! Your house was always our ‘escape’ from life, and I will miss those weekend visits drinking wine and talking food!

      Safe trip Timmy, only you could have had the last laugh on Halloween of all days!
      All our love to Jenny and Tim’s friends and family
      xxxx Claire & Kevin Monteith

    • Margaret Burke 10:43 pm on November 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi TJB or should I say Timothy John Criminal, make sure you have a drink or 20 with Parkie up stairs and don’t try and con God because he knows everything you have done, well he is supposed to be always nosing around. Thanks for the thousands of laughs we had over the years and the thousands of drinks we also had. Love you like a boil on my neck Margaret Burke

    • Tom Brown 9:34 pm on November 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Farwell Tim & good luck in your new appointment!

      We had some good years doing Ignite together, and we had some great discussions about people and world matters in the midst of it. I always appreciated your sharp attitude and awareness… and your wine cellar :)

      You moved on when you got a better deal, but I can’t complain as that was how I got the gig in the first place. Biz is biz and you were sharp and calculating. My respect for your formidable marketing capabilities stands. I regret never having a chance to catch up again.

      A great character moves on, and it was an honour to know and work with Tim.

      All my best to Jenny & all Tim’s friends and extended family.

  • midlifelove 4:33 am on May 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dietary supplements, doctor, , , FDA, green viagra, , , icarin, , , PDE-5, , regulatory, sex tonic, spiked pills, tim bickerstaff,   

    Bizarre law turns Coffee, Chocolate into prescription drugs 

    It could be a case of “Doctor Doctor, I need my morning coffee script renewed,” if a bizarre move to ban spiked herbal sex pills is approved. That’s because coffee, as well as chocolate, pomegranate juice and a host of other ‘normal and safe’ foods and herbs contain the active ingredients similar to those in ED drugs Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

    waitress2And in a bid to control “Green Viagra” – sex pills adulterated with ED drugs – New Zealand authorities are gunning for any substance containing PDE-5 inhibitors, the thing that makes ED drugs work.

    In a move that natural health advocates suspect is directly from mega pharma interests keen to squash competition, popular men’s sex herbs horny goat weed and guarana could also be made prescription only medicines.

    Many people prefer herbal alternatives because they are more relaxed and natural to use, and don’t produce a feeling of “compulsion” on female partners to comply so the man “get’s his money’s worth”.

    Popular herbal sex tonic Herbal Ignite is one supplement likely to be affected by the change, because it contains horny goat weed, with the active ingredient icarin, a PDE-5 inhibitor.

    If the regulators carry through with their proposal, New Zealand will be the only country in the world that makes horny goat weed into a prescription medicine – they obviously think it works!

    The muddle has occurred because health authorities understandably want to control sales of “spiked” sex pills, many of them produced in Asia, adulterated with active ingredients (the so-called PDE-5 inhibitors) from ED medicines Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

    But in their enthusiasm to curb sale of the adulterated pills, NZ health regulators are recommending that any substance containing a PDE-5 inhibitor be made a prescription medicine.

    The problem is PDE-5 inhibitors are found in smaller or greater amounts in many foods and herbs, and the recommendation suggests a blanket ban without any reference to risk levels or the strength of the active ingredient.

    Herbal Ignite managing director Tim Bickerstaff said his company was fully behind the moves to outlaw “spiked” sex pills because they gave all herbal enhancement products a bad name.

    “These ‘spiked’ pills claim to be totally natural and yet they contain undeclared amounts of drugs,” he says.

    “That could be dangerous. It highlights the importance for the public to find a product they can trust,” said Tim Bickerstaff, who launched his men’s sex tonic Ignite ten years ago.

    However Tim Bickerstaff says he believes the NZ authorities already have the power to deal with the problem, just as the FDA did in the USA, without outlawing a safe and effective herb.

    “If they find “spiked” herbal products in their testing they can prosecute them under several different laws, including the Medicines Act, Medicines Regulations and the Dietary Supplements Regulations. They don’t need to introduce more red tape – and give the pharmaceutical companies a free run.”

    • SALLY TAS 5:04 am on May 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I am surprised to read this, knew nothing about it. It certainly sounds like something the mega pharma interests would be behind. They are always after any nutritional supplements.

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