10 Questions: Richard Culph

Richard Culph is a guy who has worked both sides of the ditch, besides being a killer KFC team member in the day, he’s also been behind some killer creative content. In Australia with Nova Entertainment and in NZ with both MediaWorks and TRN (NZME). Mark Hales caught up with Richard for 10 Questions.

1.         As a bit of background, what stations have you worked at during your career and in what roles

  • Cut my teeth at Radio Dannevirke, 88 Country Christchurch, PulzarFM, MoreFM Christchurch. Started writing at 2XS Palmerston
  • North, to Auckland as a Creative Writer for the TRN network and Mediaworks Auckland, moved to EP Jay Jay, Mike & Dom on
  • The Edge Network Breakfast.Over to AU to Nova919 Adelaide as an Image Writer/Producer working with Fitzy, Jules & Lisa / Fitzy Claire & Jules, then Imaging and Creative Content Producer for Fitzy & Wippa at Nova969Now Mediaworks Group
  • Programming as Group Creative Content Lead and Director of Sidekick Showprep.

Nova969 – Parody – Fitzy & Wippa’s Cookie Jars (Winner Best Comedy Segment 2013)

2. You’ve worked for lengthy periods of time in both Australia and NZ. What are some of the key differences between the 2 markets?

Because NZ is a smaller country with less going on, Kiwi media reports more international news, and listeners have a lot more balanced world-view. I feel it’s the opposite in AU – listeners are often not worried about what’s happening outside of their state let alone the country. NZ doesn’t have states!

Culturally, NZ humour definitely seems like a finer line to hit than AU.  For example the same piece of imaging that might be considered an epic sound in AU, might be considered cheesy and contrived by NZ listeners.  (Though personally I think my sense of humour gels better with AU.)

Up until 2016 NZ was based around two survey periods a year, and big promo ideas (and budgets) were held for these times.  This year is the first in a 2 year transition to a rolling survey system much more similar to the Australian.

NZ radio runs on less capital than Australia, and as a result fewer people carry more responsibilities. Having multiple competencies makes you more valuable in any job, but it’s essential in NZ. On the flipside, NZ does not afford as many opportunities to concentrate on a single discipline and really hone your craft.

Digital Radio is not a thing in NZ

3.         What are the main similarities?

Most stations seem to broadcast a mix of music and personality via terrestrial transmitter on AM or FM.

4.         What got you into radio?

I used to do quite a bit of theatre and spent too long doing stupid voices in the bathroom mirror.  After being the voice of The Plant in Little Shop of Horrors, the Director mentioned something about a great voice for radio, and Radio Dannevirke had just start broadcasting out of a local Electrician’s Garage. The rest is written in history (somewhere near the back).

5.         Any jobs before radio?

  • Amazing KFC Customer Service Team Member (still can’t keep me off a Zinger)
  • Once off 21st DJ (my home burnt CDs started failing when they got too hot, and then I left them on top of the car when i drove off)
  • Terrible Architect’s Assistant

6.         What is the best lesson you’ve learnt during your career?

The best work is not written, it is re-written.

The more times you revisit a piece of writing or production or whatever before delivering it, the better the end product will be.

It’s rare something will come out of your brain that’s anywhere near being fully realised.

Nova969 – Radio Serial – Fitzy & Wippa’s The Wolf of Wooloomooloo Wharf: (Winner Best Comedy Segment 2014)

7.         Describe a day in the life of Richard Culph?

My day is split between directing Mediaworks internal Show Prep Service: Sidekick, leading creative projects (eg. a TVC for The Sound, transitional content for EdgeTV, writing and voicing a character on Jay Jay, Dom & Randell) and working with show producers to help up their game.

EdgeTV – Transitional Content – Artists vs Animals:

Edge – Radio Promo – EdgeTV Oompa Loompa (Winner Best Promo Trailer 2015):

8.         Who are the radio people / radio stations / audio platforms you enjoy listening to away from work?

Not including our fantastic Mediaworks shows, I love Howard Stern and never miss a show.  I might be biased but a big fan of Fitzy & Wippa.  Love a doco podcast like This American Life and Reply All.  Gutted that Sunday Night Safran has gone.

Nova969 – Radio Serial – Fitzy & Wippa’s Xmas Pantomime 2014:

9.         How do you un-wind and escape the work pressure?

Kayak and booze.  Probably more booze than Kayak.  Okay I don’t own a Kayak.

I am a big fan of transcendental meditation, but have fallen off the wagon with 3 kids – who are probably the best thing in the world for getting your mind off work.  In the same way a second job takes your mind off your first job.

10.       What’s the best part of your job? 

I’m lucky that I’m still able get to my hands dirty creatively.  I love to punch out a promo or write a few sweeps and I’m a well used voice.  If I’m feeling the grind, I take on a writing or production job.  If I’m not regularly creating I go a bit mental.

(bonus question) The future of radio is…

Choosing your music and content which then weaves together to create one seamless product to listen live or on catchup.

The next generation of Content Directors will evolve from increasingly self-aware Robot Vacuum Cleaners.

Thanks to Richard for his time and sharing some of his great work. Check out more below….

Soundcloud here and LinkedIn

Mark Hales is former Editor of Radio Today, and Program Director of Nova 91.9.
He is now Music Director and Drive Announcer at River 94.9 in Ipswich, Queensland.

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