Shining The Light on radio’s next generation


Melbourne Christian community station 89.9 TheLight continues to produce a wealth of on-air talent, and its commercial counterparts are reaping the rewards.

Mary Argall is the latest member of TheLight team to take on a commercial radio gig, officially joining the announcing roster at Melbourne’s Gold 104.3.

Mary says TheLight provided her with the necessary support and skills to take the next step.

She tells Radio Today “My time at TheLight reinforced the importance of continuing to learn and listen, as both an announcer and as a team member.”

“I’m grateful to have built up my on-air and production skills whilst there, but above that, I take away the importance of communication with both your team and your listeners.”

For Mary, the learning experience continues.

“I’m loving getting to know the team at Gold and ARN. I was nervous about the jump from community to commercial, but they’ve made me feel so welcome.”

“Mainly I’ve noticed a generosity of knowledge. Chat to any of the announcers for a minute, and you’ve got a helpful tip on how to handle your next shift.”

“That behaviour trickles down from Content Director Sue Carter, who has been generous with her time and feedback from my first day.”

Gold 104.3 announcer Craig Huggins tells Radio Today it’s wonderful to see young radio-focused talent progressing in the industry.

“Mary’s so enthusiastic, she’s super keen to learn from us all and spends hours here just watching, talking to us and learning.”

“In the upcoming survey break she’s doing daytimes for a week. We are no.1 FM daytimes, so it’s a pretty big deal and I’m thrilled for her.”

KIIS FM weekend announcer Euan Burns is another member of TheLight alumni to land at ARN’s Richmond headquarters.

Euan spent nearly four years honing his craft as a presenter at TheLight.

Euan tells Radio Today “TheLight was a great opportunity to learn new skills.”

And learning from the likes of departing SCA South Victorian Content Director Leroy Brown – also a former announcer at TheLight – was a particular highlight for Euan.

“The greatest aspect of working there was having Leroy as my mentor.”

“He gave me the opportunity to develop my skills, and to this day remains a positive influence in my career.”

Over at 101.9 The Fox, Azzan Schuster recently took on the full time role of Digital Content Producer for the Breakfast team of Fifi, Fev & Nick.

Prior to arriving at SCA, he’d immersed himself in a host of roles at TheLight, from producer to Promotions Coordinator.

Azzan recently told Radio Today that the experience gained at TheLight has been an integral part of his radio journey.

In recent years, he’s tried his hand at everything from taking calls to bulk-loading outsourced shows, panelling OBs, producing and copywriting.

He, too, counts Leroy Brown as having played a vital role in guiding him to success, along with others including Mel Tracina.

Mel is another commercial radio success story whose industry journey has taken in TheLight.

The Nova announcer got her start at Melbourne’s SYN FM, then cut her teeth as part of the Nova street team.

Prior to hosting Afternoons on Melbourne’s Nova 100 and Adelaide’s Nova 919, Mel was a music announcer at TheLight for almost four years.

But often commercial radio isn’t the end of the journey – or even the beginning.

It’s not unusual for those who’ve been working in the commercial sector to return to community radio.

Nor is it unusual for on-air talent to choose community radio over commercial in the first place.

TheLight’s Content Director MJ Want tells Radio Today that while stations such as TheLight are great places for people to learn, grow and hone their craft, community radio isn’t just a stepping stone for talent:

“It can be a destination in itself. Community radio has such a powerful impact on the life of its listeners.

“At TheLight, we’ve seen some great talent start with us and eventually transition into metro commercial radio opportunities. At the same time, we’ve also seen people knock back commercial opportunities or choose to depart commercial radio in favour of working in community radio.”

(Leroy Brown himself is heading back to Christian radio as Content Director at Geelong community station 96three).

Lucy Holmes – Breakfast Host and APD at TheLight – tells Radio Today “Having been here at TheLight for 15 years, I’ve seen some great people move onto commercial stations, like Azzan, who produced my brekky show for many years before he moved into a producer role for Fifi, Fev and Nick (which I’ll never recover from, however he did MC my wedding recently!)”

“But we’ve also had many ex-commercial jocks including ACRA award winners move back into community because of the mission and our values.”

“I think the beauty of radio is that regardless of the format, if you can find a station who values you, and is committed to helping you hone your craft, the sky’s the limit for wherever you choose to land.”

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Mary Bottoms
25 Jun 2023 - 4:19 pm

Where is Jimi Love in this piece? A decade long radio career and not a whisper!


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