Former Radio Sport commentator Allen McLaughlin has been made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit in Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to sports broadcasting.

Over a career that spanned more than 40 years, McLaughlin became the voice rugby league, calling more than 300 NZ Warriors matches and missing just one home game through illness, before retiring last September.

"It's very nice that someone has thought that I was good enough to get an award, but really it's for the time I spent in radio," he reflects. "I've spent most of my life in radio, and I've loved working in that environment during the amateur and professional era of sport in New Zealand.

"When you spend long enough at something, you tend to be rewarded perhaps."


While he was best known for his coverage of league and cricket, "Allen Mac" insists some of his memorable moments came in lesser known sports.

"I remember, along with Murray McKinnon, broadcasting John Walker's 100th sub-four minute mile from Mt Smart Stadium," he says. "A lot of people wouldn't have known that.

"I also did a world wrist-wrestling commentary from Hamilton, where one of the contestants broke his arm while he was on air. That was one of the most sickening sounds you will ever hear in your life.

"Little things like that will stick in the back of my memory, as well as the big sports like rugby and rugby league, but obviously the Kiwis winning the [2008] World Cup ranks really high."

McLaughlin acknowledges the massive changes that have taken place in the media industry and is thankful that his career only briefly overlapped with the social media era.

"I look back at radio and think it was a much better product a long time ago, because it served as a service to many people out there, whether they be people sick in hospital or at home, or people working late shift or living by themselves.

"I think radio served a great purpose, but I don't know whether it quite does that now, with the social media emphasis. It's more about headlines than substance in many cases.

"Sports broadcasting has changed so dramatically, there used to be people like myself who were trained as professional broadcasters, but nowadays you get former sportsmen who finish their careers and are thrust into the role through their profile. Some of them are very, very good at it and some struggle."


But McLaughlin is full of praise to the people who have helped him through the good times and bad, especially family and workmates.

"There are lots of people who have helped me to do what I've done," he says. "Some of the technicians that have worked with me have been absolutely fantastic and we've had to work in some pretty average conditions.

"I share my award with all those people who have helped me and all those who haven't been recognised."