Radio job opportunities: The flip side


A recent Radio Today article about the challenges of attracting radio talent to country areas certainly struck a chord within the industry.

There was no shortage of suggestions as to why nobody was putting their hand up for vacant positions in the bush.

 This was one of many responses:

“Is anyone really that surprised? Times have changed. Young people have devices where they can get what they want on demand – radio is what their parents and grandparents listen to!”

A wider discussion ensued about the industry as a whole, with claims of people being overworked … and underpaid.

“And while you bust your guts trying to hone your craft and get a promotion, the latest Bachelor evictee with zero experience has just landed a prime metro slot.”

Shane Gaynon also read the article about NOW FM’s search for radio talent, and he says there’s a flipside:

“It’s people who have the talent, who are not getting hired,” he tells Radio Today.

Shane cites himself as an example.

“I am a graduate of the great Grant Goldman School of Broadcasting, and for a few years, tried to get a break in commercial radio. I was told back then that to get a job you need experience, so I went and got my experience … overseas.”

Interested in checking out the differences between the Australian and US media scenes, Shane attended the Madison Media Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.

After graduating, he was hired by Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison as a promotions assistant.

“I then continued that with being on-air talent as well, eventually becoming producer for the number one morning show in the market at the time.”

“I then moved on to other markets in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. I ended up doing similar duties in Allentown, Pennsylvania for a number of stations.

With fifteen years of experience under his belt, Shane decided to return to Australia, but says his attempts to pick up work in the industry back home have been unsuccessful.

“I have tried to brush the rust off by volunteering my time at one of the local community stations, but that lasted roughly 12 months, due a problem that I now see with community radio: Egos aplenty.”

“Do I still want to be part of radio? Of course I do. But I find a few factors are stopping me.”

Shane believes one of those factors is his age. He says another obstacle is when people are told they have either too much experience, or not the kind of experience that is desired.

“This has been extremely frustrating to say the least, but I am still trying.”

For others who may find themselves in the same boat, Shane says of his own story “I hope this helps certain people out.”

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8 Mar 2023 - 9:07 am

Great article Sarah love the background

8 Mar 2023 - 9:37 am

I’ve never heard of someone with talent (on or off air) not being able to get a job, unless there’s a personality issue.

Sucks to type, but cream really does rise..

8 Mar 2023 - 12:36 pm

In Australia, ageism is a very big problem. Doesn’t matter how much talent you have, or how much experience, if an employer thinks you’re too old, they won’t even consider you.

Tony Upjjohn
8 Mar 2023 - 12:58 pm

how old is he ?

8 Mar 2023 - 2:00 pm

I can relate to the age issue. Being a veteran broadcaster with 35 years metro and regional experience, I’ve come to realise my radio career is over because the industry considers me a dinosaur and believes I can not contribute anything further.

One has accept he is no longer hip.

The other huge issue which deters many from considering regional radio is money. The bush always paid badly and still does. If people – especially those with experience – are to be attracted to regional centres, the issue of poor money must be addressed.

A friend of mine recently left a radio job in Northern NSW because he could no longer live on a base salary of $41,000 a year.

That isn’t remuneration, it’s simultaneously a joke and insult. I wonder if that pittance is even legal?

The days of starry eyed wannabees accepting a job with lousy remuneration because they saw the present job as a stepping stone to the bigger, much better paid, gig are over. The cycle repeated as one gained experience and moved on. Stations never suffered a lack of hopeful new talent putting their hand up for the next vacancy.

Poor pay wasn’t an issue for stations because the next up and comer enthusiastically accepted the job irrespective of salary. We also forget how many stations were prosecuted for failing to meet their obligations to employees. Awful money and many got further screwed through underpayment.

Happened a lot.

The problem currently facing the industry – especially in the bush – radio doesn’t hold the wow factor so evident when I started. Nor are many younger people prepared to move to a far flung regional centre in order to gain experience.

Sadly, the observation that a reject from reality TV is liable to get the next plum metro gig is spot on. It is – in my opinion – a major reason why radio is falling off many people’s entertainment radar.

Radio is one of the few industries where people obtain major roles with little – or no – industry experience. Ask yourself why anyone would move through three or four regional stations with a view to gaining a metro gig when they are liable to be overlooked in favour of some reality TV star or social media influencer with zero experience?

Then – to get back where I started – there are those who are older. Loads of experience, still wanting to work in an industry which doesn’t want them. So they move on and take their extensive experience with them.

The industry is the poorer for it.

When I look at my 22 year old son and his mates who never – not ever – listen to the radio, I wonder if the industry – unless it completely reinvents itself – is not destined to go the way of Kodak and the Dodo bird.

Ben Wright
8 Mar 2023 - 2:28 pm

This is a really interesting article with regards to some of the feedback. I agree, it is frustrating for those who have done time in a regional area to be overlooked in their next step by a reality star in terms of on-air. I’m a creative writer who is trying to get back in after 12yrs of physical rehab. Prior to that had worked in Bunbury & Perth and loved it. I’ve been applying for writing gigs for the last 16mths but, to expand my job pool, have looked at country on air gigs too, as that was part of my studies. And they still want prior on air commercial radio experience. That would be an ok ask if, and it’s a big IF …reality stars who have no formal training and no radio experience (other than being interviewed during the course of their show) are offered metro or close to metro spots in top time slots ahead of real radio alums. I do think people are being overlooked and some disheartened by the thought that their not good enough to go for that country gig because of how the ad reads when they see who is being hired around the country in more prime locations and time slots.

Wiser but broke
8 Mar 2023 - 4:47 pm

Yeah unfortunately it’s a case of why pay for experience? when you can pay less for an enthusiastic newcomer. Money is a factor when considering a hire. Experience doesn’t hold as much weight anymore sadly. The most cost effective option often gets the job! Love the article too

8 Mar 2023 - 6:57 pm

What do you learn? How to switch in the relay from Sydney. Wash up the coffee cups.

9 Mar 2023 - 9:31 am

I can absolutely relate,

More qualifications than most in the industry and years of experience across community radio and casual regional ABC. When I apply for the jobs I know I can do, I don’t even get looked at


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