2003-2008: Digital killed the radio star
Ok, so radio "star" is going a bit far. I was, at one point part of an amusing breakfast radio show in Darwin and the fourth-rated breakfast radio show in Hobart (out of four...) but I couldn't resist the Buggles reference here. After all, if you've ever worked on "the wireless" you have earned the right to (mis)use song titles and lyrics for your own self-promotion.
So the radio thing started as I was volunteering for a local community radio station on the Gold Coast. It went from being a distraction from being lonely and new in a city where I didn't know many people, to becoming my passion. I lived and breathed this thing - to the point where at one point it even endangered my paying day-job! But when the paying day-job went down in a redundancy pay-out, I took my payout and started working at the radio station full time. They were deperately short of people to do stuff for them, and I was free. And willing to put in countless hours to keep the thing running.
I did their breakfast radio show. I filled in for the afternoon drive show when needed. I scheduled their music, recorded their ads, loaded in their syndicated programming and panel-operated their satellite-fed material on weekends. Then when that was all done, I built and maintained their website because they didn't really have one. Eventually they started paying me $200 per week to do all that work. It didn't even pay my rent, but hey, it was my first paying gig in radio and I didn't really know any better.
And this went on quite some time until a new board member decided that the religious-affiliation of the station woul be better served by people who were actually affiliated with that religion. And I was not. And I was unceremoniously removed from all duties that involved a public face and hauled before a committee meeting to "explain myself." I did. They didn't like what I had to say and I was very quickly applying to radio jobs anywhere else.
And I got one in Darwin. I started with my first commerical radio gig on November 23, 2003. I was hired to write ads and do occaisional fill in work on air. Teh pay was terrible. The climate was unforgiving. But I loved every minute. Within a year I had moved from the copy office in to the main studio as a part of the breakfast team on their hit music station. As is the way in country radio, you never do just one thing. So I was doing weekend live broadcasts, writing ads, building and maintaining their websites and helping out with promotions and music scheduling. It was kinda like the community radio station - except that here I was paid a living wage. And religious-affiliation had no bearing.
Here's a bit of TV work I did on the side during one of my Darwin stints...
In mid-2007 I had to leave Darwin to seek treatment interstate for a health issue that was resolved within 6 weeks. That took me to Perth where I received a call from our Hobart radio station who were looking for a new breakfast radio co-host. And so I ended up in Hobart where they were very interested in my web capabilities. This was in the time of MySpace and web stuff was BIG news. Whilst I won't comment too heavily on my on performance on-air, but what I was doing online got noticed enough by the folks in corporate to get me hired full-time to start creating websites across the whole network. Thank God for a content management system like Joomla to help me do it!
By the way, here's a bit of nostalgia from when I was on-air in Hobart. Cringe!