Tracy Bartram: From breakfast radio to podcasting
Tracy Bartram likens living through a pandemic to wading through quicksand, waiting to come out of a bad dream.
The Melbourne radio personality, singer and comedian – for years part of the top rating Fox FM breakfast show Tracy and Matt in the Morning – describes the two years of the Covid pandemic as atrocious. The hardest of times for anyone in the entertainment industry.
I recently caught up with Tracy on the Food Bytes podcast, where she told me “At no point did I ever think that I would not be able to do the work that I love – the work that has sustained me for 32 years.”
Tracy talks candidly about the breakfast radio days.
Whilst to the average observer it appeared she led a charmed life, she admits the long days and relentless early starts took an enormous mental and physical toll on her.
“I had terrible adrenal burnout, and real stress. It’s just not a healthy thing to be doing – getting up at that time of the day, and having to be ‘on’ at six o’clock, and just ‘boom!’”
“If you’re a born performer, you’ll do it. I often felt that I really had found what I was meant to do in this world, doing breakfast radio, because I just love people, and I love the joy of talking to people.”
But she says the stress was overwhelming.
“It wasn’t just the studio stuff. Quite often I’d have to be leaving the studio and going to Channel Ten to record something with Bert Newton – may he rest in peace – on Good Morning Australia, or I’d have to go somewhere else to record an interview – go and talk to some celebrity. People would say ‘It must be great having the day off!’”
“I worked FULL TIME. I finished on air at nine, I was there until eleven. We had pre-records, at 3 o’clock I picked up my son (from school). Then I was watching the news and whatever other crappy other stuff I had to watch until I went to bed, and was writing material.”
“It’s a brutal industry. If I resent anything, it’s that we never got school holidays to fit in ratings periods, but now they do.”
Years later, Covid was the challenge nobody saw coming, upending lives and businesses, often with devastating consequences.
The pandemic proved the catalyst for people to adapt, and Tracy’s no exception, having joined the podcast arena.
Tracy Bartram’s Laughaholics: The Podcast came out of Tracy’s corporate bonding program The Laughaholics Experience.
For someone who loves laughter and loves people, it made perfect sense – Tracy and her favourite funny mates, getting together and chewing the fat about what makes them giggle.
As a self-confessed ‘radio girl’ first and foremost, Tracy admits she had to be dragged kicking and screaming into podcasting.
But now she’s loving – and laughing – every minute.
“Oh gee, it’s fun. My first episode was with Shane Jacobson. We hadn’t seen each other forever, and we just laughed our heads off. It’s so great, because it’s this inside look into what we were watching on TV as kids. Shows we used to race home from school to watch. My sister was in love with Fonzie from Happy Days.”
Gilligan’s Island has also been a popular point of discussion.
Recent podcast guests have included Cal Wilson, Eddie Perfect, Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope and Vince Sorrenti.
“Vince said on one of the episodes ‘When we were kids and we came home from school, there was comedy everywhere. Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie – it was all comedy.’ Even now, I could watch stuff from Bewitched all day.”
Given what the world’s been through, it’s a tonic for us all, not least Tracy herself.
“I find it really easy to laugh. I find silly things in everything.”
You can find episodes of Tracy Bartram’s Laughaholics podcast here. Latest episode below.