Brendan Tacey: The sound of fulfilment


You’ve heard of water tanks and petrol tanks, but what about love tanks?

It’s important we fill those up, too.

Just ask Brendan ‘BT’ Tacey, SCA’s Head of Audio Production – Regional/Provincial (Hit+Triple M)

‘Filling the love tank’ is an expression BT uses to describe what gives him fulfilment in life.

BT tells Radio Today “Where I get my satisfaction from – or as (SCA colleague) David Konsky calls it, ‘the filling of the love tank’ – has changed over the years.”

Born in the Victorian regional centre of Shepparton and having grown up on a strawberry farm, life has come full circle for this award winning production maestro.

Today, BT and his family live on a farm on Melbourne‘s outskirts, at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.

The father of two – who was doing the ‘work from home’ thing long before the Covid pandemic made it the norm – reflects on how his radio career began.

As a child, BT says he was a ‘mad, off the plan’ Lego builder.

“Today, my Lego blocks are blocks of audio in Pro-tools,” he says. “No instructions … just whatever creatively comes to mind.”

BT used to pop his dad’s transistor radio under his pillow every night, tuned to local station 3SR.

“It would keep me company in the very early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep.”

Given the radio itself was roughly the size of a house brick, it would also leave him with a sore neck and indentations on the side of his head!

BT also found great joy in the process of recording voices onto a portable tape recorder.

His interest in radio well and truly ignited, BT did work experience at Shepparton’s Sun FM in year ten.

“Around that time – at the age of fifteen – I joined ONE FM, the community station in Shepp,” he says.

“I would load up my backpack with all my CD singles and ride the 12 kilometre round trip to do a couple of shifts a week there.”

In the beginning, announcing was BT’s great love.

“It took me about 4 years to realise that to truly get anywhere with it at the time, you had to be an ex Big Brother contestant or footy player. Or just be as good as Dangerous Dave, Sarah Maree Cameron and Tim Lee are today,” he says.

“None of that was ever going to be me.”

So, after he got off air at midnight, BT started playing in the production studio.

“I quickly found this amazing satisfaction in hearing my work in production form, playing back on the air. That’s where my true career began.”

BT’s first metro job was at SAFM.

In the decades since, the ‘filling of the love tank’ has evolved.

“It’s gone from hearing my work back on air, to crafting a killer beatmixed style promo, to designing soundscapes in things like comedy sketches, painting pictures with only audio, through to being the best leader I can be for our incredible production team at SCA and beyond.”

BT says radio has given him the gift of some wonderful relationships, both with people still in the industry and those who have moved on.

He says he cherishes the trust, love and backing of the production team at SCA.

Another great source of pride for BT – and curiosity for others – is The Hemp Studio.

“It’s not what you think it might be,” says BT, with a cheeky grin on his face.

The Hemp Studio is actually a machinery shed on the farm that he converted into a studio.

All the internal walls are made from hemp.

BT says it’s an amazing material that is great for sound absorption, insulation and thermal mass.

As an added bonus, it looks pretty incredible too.

“People always ask me if a quick scratch of the walls and a Tally Ho paper are common at the end of the day.”

“Sure, you can do that … but there is no buzz to be gained! The walls are made from the industrial version of the hemp plant … no THC here!”

Aside from his image production work, bands also use the space to record.

“Being less than an hour from the city, it’s not far for them to travel and essentially be out in the country air and belt out some tunes ‘til all hours of the night.”

As to where he sees radio heading in the future, BT says “It’s a hard one to answer because I’ve been working from home full time for almost 20 years now, so my perceptions may be skewed with the disconnect of not being in the building with the team.”

“As an overall thing, I’d say the major change is the consumption of it and the role it plays in people’s lives. I reckon that would be different too, based on what part of the country you live in, metro or regional.”

BT points out that once upon a time, just one product could be made, and the masses were covered.

“Today, the options for engagement are endless for the listener,” he says.

“That can be a good and bad thing depending on which angle you are coming at it from, but – on the positive side – we now have the opportunity to really hone in on people’s interest and create listening for those specific segments.”

“People still want noise in their ears. We just need to make SO much more of it now to fill that need.”

As for his own future, BT’s goal is to continue to grow to be the best version of himself he can be – as a husband, father, mate and leader.

He derives great satisfaction from working more and more in the mental health space.

“Taking my lifetime of audio editing and content creation and curation and applying that to content that lands in the mental health space … THAT fills my love tank to the point of overflowing.”

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Dom Evans
31 May 2023 - 8:39 am

What a great write up for a great friend, producer, builder, carpenter, tiler, plumber, pilot, aquatic engineer, irrigation specialist, landscape architect…

Equally talented at producing a killer piece of audio as you are a 175m wide, 3m high retaining rock wall. We’re all in awe of your far-reaching talents and ridiculously firm handshake.

Love the mental health piece too.

Hats off to you BT! Keep filling that love bucket.

Josh Olek
31 May 2023 - 11:37 am

BT’s one of the greats, immediately so kind and helpful to new people through the door at SCA, its good to see great blokes like him leading the industry!

31 May 2023 - 12:02 pm

One of the industry really good guys and I exceptionally talented producers. Have had the pleasure of working with BT for a couple of years and was the highlight of my career.

Gordon Haywood
31 May 2023 - 1:01 pm

I met BT through my Son who is so fortunate to work with him. What an awesome man, so much richer for knowing him.

Gavin Brice
31 May 2023 - 2:20 pm

The Man, The Myth, The Legend is just such a positive force when he is in the building!
Took the time to listen to me when I wanted to get my foot in the door, always has my back and is only just a quick phone call away when I feel something might not be going according to plan.
I look forward to learning so much more from you BT, kudos!!

31 May 2023 - 3:56 pm

So many blokes owe their career to BT’s enthusiastic, optimistic and genuine support and guidance over the years. I count myself lucky to be one of them, and every time I see that giant man it feels like a giant warm hug for my brain.

Good on you Brian Taylor!

Adam P
31 May 2023 - 4:53 pm

What a superstar. The most level headed, passionate, creative and humble person I’ve had the pleasure of (briefly) working with.

No chance in hell I’d get on a paraglider though 😉

1 Jun 2023 - 8:38 am

BT fills my love tank.

Billy McFerran
1 Jun 2023 - 5:25 pm

BT is one of the good guys in radio. We need more of these guys in the industry.

2 Jun 2023 - 9:37 am

BT is truly one of the good ones. What a fabulous story, thanks Sarah for writing it


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