Peter Marcato: How community radio set me up for the career I have now


Teacher, announcer, newsreader, programmer, station manager, sports broadcaster … there really aren’t too many radio jobs that Peter Marcato hasn’t yet done.

The former SEN host and for years the voice of M-Sport on the Triple M Network, Pete’s long been known within the industry as a likeable, can-do kind of guy.

He’s also a great advertisement for the solid grounding community radio can provide.

From a young age, Pete – a Melbourne boy, from Greensborough – was keen to work in media.

He tells Radio Today “I was fascinated by all forms of radio – music, talk and sport.”

Pete joined his local community radio station Plenty Valley FM when he was just fifteen.

“I started hosting music shows including New Year’s Eve top 100s, then branched out into sports commentary,” he says.

“I found one of my first broadcasts on cassette during COVID.”

“Thankfully I’ve improved a bit since then!”

Pete says the really great part about getting involved in community radio is that you can take on a range of roles and learn as you go.

“I was on the committee for many years, I was in charge of programming, I was Station Manager and I also had a stint as President.”

“Great times on and off air set me up for the career I have now.”

Today, Pete works largely in the streaming space, broadcasting VFL footy in the winter.

Come January, Pete switches from footy to tennis commentary, and can be heard on Australian Open Radio and the Wimbledon Radio Channel each year.

“I met the brilliant Charlotte James, who was working for Tennis Australia many years ago. She gave me a go working on Australian Open Radio, which was only a year or two old then.”

He’s been there ever since.

“Because of what I do there, I’ve worked with other broadcasters across the world who have provided opportunities to head overseas.”

Being able to both travel the globe and cover the sport he loves is something he’ll never take for granted.

“Calling matches at Wimbledon is special and a privilege,” says Pete.

“Working at Roland Garros (at the French Open) was fun for the decade or so I was there pre-COVID.”

“And of course, so is working in Australia on my home slam, calling finals at the Australian Open both on radio and TV”

Currently, Pete works with the ATP men’s tour, commentating at several tournaments across the year for TV all over the world.

Pete loves the fact it’s live, it’s spontaneous … and he gets paid to talk about something he enjoys.

“It’s allowed me to broadcast across the world, work with and meet some great people, to have the privilege of being in the best seats in the house … to watch and give voice to history unfolding.”

In the teaching space, Pete has lectured in communications and radio at Swinburne University for almost twenty years now, continuing the legendary work of the great Jim Barbour (pictured above).

“It’s great to be able to pass on knowledge and get students into the industry,” says Pete.

“While Jim’s commercial radio training course finished some time ago, there are still students interested in getting careers in audio, across radio and podcasting.”

“I’m also making sure students are aware that there are still plenty of jobs in radio and it can be a rewarding career.”

“It’s satisfying to see students with the passion and drive succeed and find jobs in the industry.”

Jim’s legacy, says Peter, is reflected in the number of people who did the course who are still working in the industry today: Fifi Box, Patrina Jones and Ellie Angel Mobbs, to name just a few.

“There’s still plenty of us out there!” says Pete, himself a graduate of Jim’s radio course.

“I think most, if not all, of the students who went through the course would remember something that Jim taught us which has helped us through our careers.”

Part of Pete’s work at Swinburne has been setting up and running the university radio station SwinRadio.

It’s located in The Jim Barbour Studio, a special space dedicated to the man so fondly remembered by those he taught and guided over the course of more than 25 years.

Though these days, Pete says, Jim’s a bit of an elusive bloke.

“He’s happily retired and enjoying life spending time with his grandchildren and family.”

Pete says there have been many more who’ve helped shape his own radio journey.

“In the early days at Plenty Valley FM Roly Sims (who is still the Program Manager there) and I put together a show called Saturday Plus which showed that there can be high quality programs.”

“Through the Triple M days, I worked with the legend that is Lee Simon. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do that.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great broadcasters over the years who have provided guidance. The late, great Clinton Grybas showed the way as I was coming through.”

Pete says also working with legends like Fred Stolle and Peter Donegan whilst finding his feet in the TV realm was amazing.

Now, his goal is to return to regular radio work one day.

“It would also be good to do another big sporting event like the Olympics, having done the Comm Games back in 2018,” Pete says.

“I do miss doing regular radio since I finished at Triple M and SEN a while ago,” Pete says.

“It would be great to get back into it a bit more regularly. Always open to offers!”

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