ACRAs 2015: The Wash-up

It’s the radio industry night of nights, the famous, the first timers, the fashion and the finest green marbles anyone had seen (I’ll get back to those later).

Every year we all spend days stewing over what bits of audio to put in our entries that will grab the judges attention in just 60 seconds, which bits shine, what showcases our talent, is that the best laugh we’ve had in 12 months? It’s nerve-racking!

Then at the stroke of midnight on a Saturday, I interrupt my crazy partying (ok I was actually asleep but I set an alarm to wake up) to log on and find out I’ve been made a finalist for 4 awards, Best Comedy, Best Station Promotion, Best Community Service Project and Best Documentary. Relief, elation , anticipation are all felt in the next moments, and then back to nerves again, have I done enough to win?

Looking back now, the pressure I put on myself and this night was ridiculous.

Personally, 2015 has not been a great year, it started in January being the first on scene at a double fatality and watching someone die in front of me, something that I felt tremendous guilt over, did I do everything I could to save her, did I provide her enough comfort in her final moments? All these thoughts and feelings led to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After dealing with that, my relationship began to fall apart. Radio, our show, and audience, is what has got me through it all. But the ACRAs that was going to be the turning point, things were going to get better from there, I was going to win, it was going to open doors for me.

The night was finally here. I was already excited as 2 out of my 4 nominations had been selected as winners for the people’s choice. The excitement grew as I walked into the room and caught up with people I hadn’t seen in years from my stints at Albury, Wagga, Nowra and Wollongong, and then seeing all the familiar faces of radios biggest stars, people who I inspire to be as good as one day.

We take our seat and the nerves return again. The first award comes up, Best Community Service Project…and the winner is… not Juelz and I. We tell ourselves, ‘that’s ok; there are still 3 more to go’. Up next, best station promotion, one that scored a people’s choice, but again, we’re overlooked for a nod. A quick break and a quick pep talk, its ok, the next one was our strongest entry, Best Comedy Segment, a parody song actually sung by Guy Sebastian, and the winner is… not us again. I was shocked, confused and deflated, what just happened?

The awards continue and my fourth nomination comes up, I have my fingers crossed, but unfortunately it’s another no, I’ll be walking away empty handed this year.

Moments later, I hear the familiar message alert tone of an iPhone 6, it’s my mate Brooklyn who reads news for Kyle and Jackie O, ‘How many f@#kin awards do you want to be up for?’ It’s amazing how something so small can put things in perspective for you.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t disappointed or that winning isn’t important, we all strive to win every day, from ratings to getting our next gig to just nailing a break, but I hadn’t stopped to think about what we had already achieved. Juelz and I had only been on air together for 6 months and managed to get a finalist in 3 awards each, and 1 each personally, that’s a huge achievement for any show, let alone a brand new one.

It was a reminder to think about why I get up at 3:30 every day. I didn’t start doing it to win an award. Every day I go in to the show, I want every single person who tunes in to take something away from the show, a laugh, a cry, a view on what’s trending that day, any emotion, or even just the latest 100% hits. The same applies to getting to the top of this industry, as corny as it sounds, my drive is to connect with more people, not the money or the fame.

Catching up with mentors past and present after the awards reassured me that we have a great show that is achieving remarkable things, a show that is fun and funny, but never shies away from the difficult topics, Juelz and I are prepared to share our own life experiences from the embarrassing to the traumatic with our audience to connect with them completely, simply put, Chris and Juelz is real and on point, if it’s trending, you’ll hear about it on our show.

After the ACRAs, I took an extra few days off after the Gold Coast to have a much needed break, did the tourist thing, checked out the theme parks, clubbed in surfers, and I spent  2 hours winning 4 marbles at Timezone, so who needs an ACRA, it’s the little things that count.

About Chris Sewell:

Chris has worked at Power FM Nowra, in Wollongong with Wave FM in production and recently he made the move to breakfast radio and joined Star FM Dubbo. Chris & Juelz have been On-Air together since.

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