Life after radio: Hope Fabillar’s new audio adventure


Listening to an audiobook? Does the narrator sound familiar?

The voice you’re hearing could well be dulcet tones of Hope Fabillar.

The former radio newsreader is now an Audiobook Narrator on Audible, Google+ and 46 other audiobook retailers.

And with her trademark warmth and natural, conversational style, the job’s proving a perfect fit.

Hope’s arrival on the audiobook scene follows a radio career spanning 24 years, in which she presented news for number one AM and FM stations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, from 2UE to Triple M.

“Those who know me will tell you that I’m a great storyteller and can talk non-stop underwater, when given the opportunity,” Hope tells Radio Today.

“I was always curious about audiobook narrating – any narrating for that matter.”

Her chance to have a crack arose when Hope found herself listening to a podcast hosted by a former 2UE colleague, whose guest happened to own a production company.

“We exchanged details and twelve months later, she had an author who chose my voice to read her book.” Hope explains.

It’s been a remarkable journey, especially when you consider that when Hope first moved to Australia from the Philippines as a child, she couldn’t speak English

Living in Sydney, by the age of seven Hope was running errands to the local takeaway shop, where she would order things she didn’t know how to pronounce.

Hope’s mum believed it would help her daughter become more fluent in the local language.

For young Hope, it was a baptism of fire at the bain-marie.

“Remember kabana? Those red sausages that sat beside the Chiko Rolls? In my terrified state, I pronounced them kombana.

But there was merit in her mum’s method.

Later moving to Queensland – where Hope lived on a 23 acre property with her mum and stepdad next to a pine forest in Caboolture – English became the school subject at which Hope excelled.

“The headmaster told my folks in year 8 that I was in the top 1% in Queensland,” Hope remembers.

Today – based in Brisbane – Hope is a linguist who speaks English, French and Spanish.

She can also still speak in her native tongue, Tagalog.

It was five years ago now that Hope decided to leave radio.

“It was simply time to pursue goals that I was unable to do while working full-time and turn the page to a new chapter of my life,” she says.

Fittingly, that chapter turned out to be storytelling.

And it’s been quite the learning curve.

Hope says narrating audiobooks requires patience, time and stamina.

“Audiobook narration is not everyone’s cup of tea because it’s very time consuming. There’s a lot to-ing, fro-ing and re-recording lines or paragraphs.”

The job also requires broadcast quality recording equipment, a slick microphone, a soundproof room and a decent laptop for recording.

“I had NONE of these,” says Hope.

“Well, I own a RØDE microphone, gifted to me by an old boss from my junior burger days on AM radio about two years ago, because he wanted me to do my own podcast.”

“My laptop was my mum’s – who’s a luddite.  It’s from the Jurassic era and still on Windows 8!”

Thankfully, a friend and former colleague came to Hope’s rescue.

“If I can do audiobook narrating with hardly any of the above, so can anyone!”

Hope admits she’s just an audiobook ‘newbie’ at this stage.

“My very first audiobook project was 18,000 words and it took three days to complete. This was rushed for me.”

“I have two authors I know, who always said they would like me to read their published books that were completed in the last decade.”

“Thank God the books are short reads and not the thickness of War and Peace!”

As for the future, some of Hope’s life goals are more pressing than others.

“Firstly, I need to ditch my current laptop and buy myself a Macbook by YESTERDAY.”

Able to emulate accents and characters, Hope plans to set up her own recording studio at home, so she can do her own audiobook recordings, along with voiceovers for animated characters.

“My husband always says my voice puts him to sleep. After all these years, I’m still not sure how to take this comment but it’s given me an idea to do voiceovers on sleep and meditation apps.”

A two-time ACRA finalist turned gourmet cook and skilled food photographer, Hope has many strings to her bow.

“I’m also writing my memoir and a screenplay based on a true story,” she says.

“Both are a work in progress at this stage.”

“Watch this space.”

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Former PD
12 Feb 2024 - 4:12 pm

Hope was one of the sweetest sounding female voices I’ve ever heard on radio. Congratulations to her and glad to hear she is doing well.
Other female newsreaders worthy of mention for quality and sound are Georgie Gardner (X107 Newcastle), one of the hottest sounding newsreaders in history at that time, a great voice for radio, Katrina Blowers – wow – another great voice and communicator. Radio has been blessed re: female newsreaders over the years. Hope, Georgie and Katrina my Top 3. Might be a great question to pose to others – Favourite Female Radio Newsreaders ?

William Dent
12 Feb 2024 - 7:06 pm

Hope is an old friend of mine who I asked to do the audio for our online aviation security training some years ago.

She did it beautifully and made it sound interesting!

13 Feb 2024 - 7:24 am

Hope is the epitome of professionalism with a mellifluous voice she has always been one of Australia’s best female newsreaders and it’s absolutely fantastic now a global audience has the opportunity to hear her anytime and anywhere and again to make a wonderful difference to peoples’ lives. Brilliant and can’t wait to hear and see the new adventures ahead.

13 Feb 2024 - 7:46 am

@Former PD

I have to agree with you there on your Top 3. There are still some amazing voices on air. Ange Anderson and Heidi Tiltins are very smooth. professional and are just lovely people too.

Former PD
14 Feb 2024 - 10:26 am

@ Joel

Agreed, Heidi a beautiful person and newsreader. Worked with her in Sydney many moons ago within the palace of Tasmanian Oak and Cinema Carpet 🙂

Geoff Field
16 Feb 2024 - 11:19 am

Hey Hopie
Coach here yes you could always talk as much as me so this isn’t a surprise.
Well, done.


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