Alo Baker: Why I left the Gold Coast to return to Dubbo
You’re an idiot… In fact, I heard it more than once. WTF you are doing people would ask.
I’d worked my career to get my Gold Coast workday job and I loved it. I was happy to do it for 10+ years. Like many aspiring announcers throughout my working life I was encouraged to aspire for the big metro gigs.
Honestly, on a personal level I never really wanted it. I just wanted to get on air and kickA$$ and didn’t care where I did it. But the Gold Coast, I genuinely loved the joint.
Alo on-air at Sea FM
That’s why when it was announced that I was taking a Breakfast position in the station where it all began for me, Hit93.5 Dubbo it was received with a mix of responses.
This may come as a surprise to most, but Dubbo isn’t exactly the radio mecca of the world and people often said, “are you sure?” Honestly, I wasn’t. I LOVED my Gold Coast life. Heck, it was the Gold Coast.
My ratings were strong even up against the great AJ on Gold FM. I was smashing out food videos for online content consistently getting huge view numbers (yes mostly just for eating burgers) while being involved in hosting loads of events from NRL to GC2018 Games.
Let’s be real, there are none of those events in Dubbo. But my reasoning for taking up a breakfast role <cliché parent line ahead> was a better work-life balance for my family.
I’d never done Breakfast before so that was new to me, but just as important my wife’s extended family are in Dubbo. This was an opportunity to get our kids around them after dragging them all over the country from market A to market B like so many of us force our partners/families kicking and screaming for the job.
Although this decision was a personal one, I had no idea the lessons that we’re about to smack me HARD professionally.
Alo at Star FM
I’d been taken back to my roots and discovered I’d gotten used to the comfy announcer life in a bigger market. Having promo crews set up OBs or creative teams write promos or station stunts.
‘I’d realised I’d become a princess who’d been asked to work in the mud for first time in years.’
It was an epic wake up call! Nothing had changed since I worked here 12 years earlier. Well nothing but my attitude, I’d taught myself to be lazy by being comfortable by not pushing myself. Honestly, I was learning more about myself and radio by being back in Dubbo than I’d learnt a few years previously in other markets.
Maintaining a Breakfast show was new to me, and honestly hard, harder than I’d expected anyway, especially without a team of producers behind our every move. Not to mention personally launching a new TV show, the wife having a new baby or the family property getting more than half obliterated by bushfire. And that’s only going back the last two months…
There are so many slogging it out in regionals without the resources our city counterparts have. We like so many other stations don’t even have an in-market CD or GM anymore.
There are headaches and it teaches you to be proactive and fix problems on your own. Daily we are not just announcers, we are Content Directors, Producers, Operations Managers, Script Writers, Digital/Imaging Producers, Promo Teams and just about anything else a station needs.
If I’m truthful with myself, I’ve learnt more than I’d ever expected going back to where it all began, and against popular belief, I’d ACTUALLY recommend it.
So go on, I challenge you to put a year or two into a regional town and see how your perspective changes on the industry as a whole.