When I Grow Up, I wanna Be….

This radio caper is a funny thing. It can sink its hooks into you at a young age, but it’s not always a straightforward path and for some, there were different career aspirations.

When I was very little, I told my parents I wanted to change my name to Judy and become a stripper on the Westgate Bridge. I have no idea why.

That didn’t quite pan out. Just a handful of years later I was still called Nikole, but doing a ‘radio show’ with my sister, using a portable cassette recorder on the top bunk.

I did the news, while she programmed the music, which mainly consisted of her singing songs from The Goodies (go YouTube “Funky Gibbon”). She was also roped in as an eyewitness to SkyLab falling to earth.

I still have that tape tucked away in a shoebox somewhere.

It eventually led me to attending Melbourne’s RadioWorks, which was run by Fox fm’s Steve Dale and 3XY’s Chris Heaney.  Dave Smith, Vinnie Shannon and Channel Nine’s Tony Jones among those who got their start there.

And it seems I’m not the only one, whose make-believe became a real-life career.

Smooth FM’s Glen Daniel also caught the radio news bug early, thanks to his two big brothers.

“The interest in radio began as a 12 year old. We were fascinated by radio, listening to 2UW and 2SM in the 70s and we set up our own radio station at home called 2DD”.

“Our bedrooms were studios connected by wiring under the floorboards. Terry and Richard were announcers and I’d write and read their news. It didn’t matter that we weren’t broadcasting anywhere – in our minds we were “On The Air”. 

“We all ended up in radio and while working for the Westgo Network, I’d read their news from Sydney while they were on air at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie on the NSW mid north coast.  Pretend became reality”.

After considering doing Vet Science at Uni, Glen eventually settled on a career in radio journalism and landed his first job at 2WS in 1982.  Over the next 20 years, he was News Director at 2Day FM and Triple M Sydney, ARN Group News Director, worked at ABC News Radio before moving to Smoothfm 95.3 in 2012.

SCA’s Rod McLeod is another who tuned into radio as a career from an early age thanks to the Bionic man.

“I had the Six Million Dollar Man radio kit and the best AM reception was achieved attaching the alligator clip wires to the kitchen sink tap.  A short wave radio and walkie talkie set were the most used Christmas presents I ever received”

“I used to love listening to Sydney AM stations 2SM and 2UW at night time some 850ks away in northern NSW”.

Having harboured ambitions to play cricket for Australia, become a carpenter or a ‘job for life’ at Telecom, the future multiple ACRA winner started at Lismore’s local community radio station in 1982 and got his first one-hour show on a Tuesday afternoon after school.

It eventually led to AFTRS and his first paid radio job as Promotions Assistant at 2AY Albury-Wodonga.  The rest is history and despite the toll that 3am starts take on health and relationships, there are no regrets.

ARN’s Kerrie Moutthan hadn’t really considered radio as a career growing up, but her year 12 classmates clearly knew something she didn’t, voting her ‘most likely to read nightly news on TV”.

“When I was growing up, I chopped and changed.  When I was six, I declared I was going to run a deli ‘because I was a girl’.  When asked what I’d be if I were a boy, I answered ‘a doctor’”.

It was an ad in the paper that led Kerrie to a career in radio.

“It was for Vaughan Harvey’s Radio School and after night one, I was hooked! The way that Vaughan spoke with such passion for the industry had me knowing that I wanted to be part of it”.

“Through him, I got some work experience at 5DN, answering the phones for the Sunday night request show with Andrew Reimer”.

That led to Kerrie to the Adelaide Broadcasting Academy run by Steve Hart, before being taken over by Mark Aiston, Kevin Mulchay and David “Daisy” Day.

“After a couple of terms with Mark, Kev and Daisy, a position was advertised for a newsreader at 5RM and Magic FM in Berri.  They encouraged me to follow it up if radio was really what I wanted.  Within a couple of weeks, I was packing up my life in Adelaide and moving for my first job in radio”.

Sarah Patterson has been a radio journalist for more than 25 years.  An impressive resume includes reading news for Triple M’s Hot Breakfast, Gold FM, RSN 927, SEN, FoxFM and Nova.

“I sorted of stumbled into radio, while doing my media studies degree at Swinburne Uni.  By then, writing was my passion.  A friend roped me into joining her at the student radio station there and I started doing a bit of news-reading”.

“I like to joke that I pestered one PD to the point where I’m sure he gave me a news job just to get me off his back.  I was so keen; I would have mopped the floor!

“My radio adventure began at 3NE Wangaratta, where I spent a year before I landed my first city job and without a doubt, it was one of the most exciting times of my life”.

“But funnily enough, when I was little I wanted to be a jockey.  I had a horse when I was young, but I grew a wee bit too tall”.

Not everyone, who pretended to be a jock or a newsreader, has the opportunity to pursue a career in radio.  Or the chutzpah.

But what’s your radio story?  What did you want to be growing up?

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Chris Rieger
1 Jun 2017 - 4:24 pm

I wanted to follow in Mal Walden’s footsteps. There’s still time! GD – a legend. So blessed to have worked with him.


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