How did it all start? Jane Gazzo, Andy Mathers and Stephen Cenatiempo on the age that they fell in love with radio
Everyone has to start somewhere. In radio, it can be in the bush, in smaller metro markets or behind the scenes.
Whether it’s part of street team, answering the phones or jumping in behind the microphone, all of us have a ‘story’ that led us to radio as a career.
Andy Mathers is General Manager of K rock/bay 93.9 Geelong and was formerly Sales Director 91.5/smooth Melbourne and General Manager of Star 104.5.
Like many, he ‘fell in love’ with radio at a young age.
“I grew up in country Victoria in a town of just 3,500 and a career in radio meant moving to the ‘big smoke’ of Melbourne to chase my calling. I grew up listening to 3SR Shepparton and loved the thought of playing your favourite songs and entertaining people. I couldn’t believe this was an actual job.”
“After completing the Swinburne Radio, my first gig was right here in Geelong as a 19 year old driving the “K rock Cruiser” over summer.”
It’s probably fair to say that when it came to handing out the icy cold cans of Coke and packets of Samboy chips, you’re looking at one of the best there was (self-rated).
“Quite strange to look back now sitting in the GM’s chair, would I employ me?”
Triple M’s Jane Gazzo fell into radio at an early age. As a 15-year-old, she discovered alternative music which led to 3RRR-FM, then triple j and a successful career here in Australia and the UK.
“There was a nightly show (on 3RRR-FM) that played The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen. One night, I bravely called the DJ and asked to come in and sit in on his show. He gave me the task of answering phones and making coffee for him and his guests.”
“Before long I’d completed their in-house radio production course, which led to presenting their graveyard shifts. I was around 17 and dad was pretty dedicated in driving me to and from the 3RRR studios in the wee hours.”
“I was eventually given my own weekly show called Calamity and by chance, somebody at triple j in Sydney heard me when in Melbourne one weekend. They must have been impressed, because they called me asking me to do a couple of graveyards from the ABC Southbank studios.”
“I worked in London at BBC 6 Music for 3 years, produced Russell Brand‘s first radio show, broadcast live from Buckingham Palace for the Queens Golden Jubilee in 2012 and was the first woman to anchor a show in 9 years at Triple M Melbourne.”
“When I think about why I followed this path, the thrill was always about having access to all this wonderful music and discovering new bands and artists and passing that joy on to the listener. I never thought 25 years later I’d still be working in radio and finding it as enjoyable as I did as a teenager.”.
Multiple ACRA winner Stephen Cenatiempo came to commercial radio a little later in life. After a career as an auctioneer and time in the building industry, the 2NM talk back presenter ‘found’ his calling in radio.
“It’s a longish story. I stumbled into a community radio show with a mate nearly 20 years ago and from there, auditioned for a TV show that Simon Townsend was putting together.”
“It didn’t go ahead, but I met Murray Wilton at the audition, who let me sit in with me at 2GB. He suggested I should apply to AFTRS, which I did years later when I was made redundant from my job in the building game. That was the result of Rudd’s pink batts scheme going belly up.”
“I applied to AFTRS and got accepted and was offered my first commercial gig at 2HC at Coffs Harbour after doing a two-week work placement.”
Radio is an ever-evolving beast. It’s more than just what comes out of the speakers and no two career paths are the same.
Next week, we’ll hear from more of those who’ve carved out successful careers doing a job they love.