“I’m on the best show ever, but I’ve still got so much to learn.” Alfie Laguzza – from a cancelled journalism degree to AFTRS and KIIS

“I had one plan, and it was to be on the Kyle and Jackie O show.

My dad said, ‘you’ve got six months to get a full job.’

 I said, ‘I’ll give you three and I’m on the show.’

I shook his hand and in three months I was on the show.

To do it by 21 is amazing.”

Any radio station would be lucky to have Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Graduate Diploma student and KIIS 1065 producer Alfie Laguzza, but there’s zero chance of poaching him because he’s exactly where he wants to be.

Speaking of poaching, Laguzza can now cook eggs after serving Kyle and Jackie O cold ones rolling around in their shell.

I teased Alfie about this and got this response that will stick with me the rest of my life:

“I learned how to boil an egg. Then I started making mistakes on the coffee machine. And I know it’s just coffee, but to me, it’s more than that.

I got up at 3am, I got to work at 3:30 and I sat there and studied for an hour, YouTube and everything, and made sure the coffee was perfect. I’m making it for the team and I’m making it for the biggest role models in my entire life, and I’m going to make sure I give it and anything else 150%. And I think that’s what they love about me.”

Laguzza started towards a journalism degree when serendipity stepped in and one day on the train, on the way into class, he got an email saying he shouldn’t bother as the College he was studying at had gone into liquidation. He deferred to Western Sydney, but gut felt journalism wasn’t him so did research and groundwork (recurring Alfie themes) which ended in him applying for AFTRS and getting a street team role at KIIS.

Kyle and Jackie O’s EP Pedro Vitola invited Laguzza one morning to sit in on the show.

“I was about five minutes into my stay there, and that was it. I fell in love. I said I have to be here. That’s all it took.”

That led to the conversation above with his father, and where he is today, getting airtime, creating segments and producing not just for Kyle and Jackie, but also Mitch Churi over the summer, and sitting midway through his AFTRS Graduate Diploma where he’s already prepped segments for their pop-up radio broadcast 2NRS next year.

I asked him how he was going to manage all of this in 2024.

His reply?

“Easy, of course!”

Of course.

I believe him.

The infectious energy of Alfie, so in love with radio and the people he is working with and learning from, is much needed in our industry.

Many of you will have attended AFTRS whether one of their short or leadership courses, the Graduate Diploma, or even taught or mentored there.

You’ll know that being accepted requires showing commitment to audio, being open to feedback and learning how to do everybody’s role in the building, not just the one you’ve set your mind to.

I was worried that radio isn’t enticing to millennials and younger generations. Certainly podcasting is, but outside of community stations like 4ZZZ and SYN, and Ben Latimer’s focus on enticing 18-24 year olds back to listening to triple j, who are that demographic seeing and hearing on air that reflects them?

The best advice I ever heard came from the late, great broadcaster Terry Kerr.

Ratings had come out, Kyle and Jackie O were dominating, and people were critiquing.

Kerr said to no one in particular,

“Why don’t you look at what they’re doing right rather than picking at what you think is wrong.”

Kyle and Jackie O personally are no longer the demographic that KIIS targets. What they are doing right is investing in people like Alfie who are. Laguzza, who is proudly Western Sydney and more certain of his identity than many people twice his age, is encouraged to bring that to work, and on air, and grows even more confident as KIIS and the audience respond. He gets stopped in the street now by people who offer content ideas.

That is why KIIS rates its proverbials off in Western Sydney and to people aged 10-39.

They are reflecting their audience.

Laguzza has a plan for his future, and with KIIS, as long as Kyle and Jackie O’s recently negotiated contract. In the meantime, he’s incredibly excited for next year at AFTRS where he learns additional skills like using Pro Tools and making podcasts to make him better on air and off, because he wants to be the best.

There are kids watching Alfie now, in his yeezys, bringing 150% to whatever he is tasked with, thinking, ‘I want to be him one day’.

It rubbed off on me too.

You can find out more about studying at AFTRS here.

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (2)
Post new comment
8 Dec 2023 - 9:56 am

alfie will be running this company in 5 years

11 Dec 2023 - 3:44 pm



See all