It’s the end of an era in Melbourne with the imminent closure of the Radio Training Institute after more than 30 years offering a pathway into radio for hundreds of people.
It began life in 1984 as the Melbourne Radio School owned and operated by Gary Mac. It was then acquired by the ACE Radio Network in 2003.
And now it’s coming to an end with the final cohort of students graduating at a ceremony on Tuesday night at Media House, the home of 3AW.
ACE Radio CEO Mark Taylor says it was a tough decision to close the doors, but the school was no longer economically sustainable.
“It was a decision that we thought about long and hard, but in the end, the losses incurred by the school were a little too much to cope with.
“We were OK for a while, but student numbers have dwindled. A lot the courses, voice over and podcast and so on, they’re all on the internet now. I think that contributed to the numbers dropping off.”
With RTI no longer available as a breeding ground for radio hopefuls, Taylor says ACE is still backing young talent through traineeships across its network.
“We’ve gone down the path now of having trainees at our stations. We’ve already got two. We’ve got a young lad starting in the newsroom at Traralgon. In Hamilton, we’ve got a local girl straight out of school, learning everything: panelling, announcing and she’s helped out in the newsroom.
“As time goes on, we’d like to run 3-or-4 across the course of a year. We think that will see us continue to contribute to the industry.”
While the final students of RTI celebrate their achievements, the school will formally close its doors on Friday.