After hovering on the periphery of radio broadcasting for two decades while mainly working in print, documentary filmmaking and digital (online) media, I am having a lot of fun producing and hosting my own show for the first time. “Fresh Start Monday” is the breakfast show (7am-9am) on Fresh FM, the community access radio station across the top of the South Island in Aotearoa New Zealand.
My first foray into radio was way back in the 90s, when I was an occasional guest on “Road to Nowhere”, a travel show on Melbourne-based Triple R FM (now Australia’s largest community radio station) hosted by my friend Keren Flavell. This included some live reportage from some not-so-far flung destinations, such as Byron Bay (well before I moved to the NSW North Coast in early 2001). At the time, Keren and I also collaborated in a number of “cross-media” projects (as they were then known) – one year, we provided “real time” online coverage of Melbourne’s Moomba Festival with sponsorship from Telstra, who loaned us a prototype of one of the earliest web-enabled mobile phones. While we soon discovered we had set ourselves an overly ambitious target (one photograph uploaded to the web every minute), we had enormous fun running around the festival and jumping on all the rides to take the photos despite the stress of then trying to upload them while we balanced Keren’s laptop precariously on an artist’s easel adorned with a pink feather boa.
After I moved up to Byron, I was also an occasional guest on various radio shows at Bay FM, the most easterly station in the (Australian) nation. And, in the months leading up to my departure for New Zealand, I was film reviewer on ABC North Coast’s morning show with Joanne Shoebridge (and along with Zenith Virago, a guest on her show as recently as last August, talking about the Natural Death Care Centre‘s extraordinary “Deathwalker” training).
Now I am spending a big part of every year living even further east, based in Nelson, and Fresh Start Monday is the first radio show I have ever hosted (and produced) myself – and after only two weeks, I’m loving it. My guests have already included Carolyn Hughes from the Nelson Environment Centre talking about safe food production, Paul Johnson discussing the bullying prevention project “Equaliser”, Twisty Twinz Jola and Nele previewing their new show “Seasons Intertwined”, Karolina Gorton revealing the line-up for the new Nelson Fringe Festival, and Fresh FM’s new station manager Helen Reynolds previewing the station’s upcoming Anzac Day special “Memories of War”. As well, the lovely Elly Cave has joined me to preview the Nelson Film Society’s screenings each week. This time, I’ve been on the other side of the phone call!
Chatting with Helen this morning, I noted how the upcoming broadcast of “Memories of War” – during which six women who lived through World War Two share their reminiscences – pays homage to the great tradition of oral history. This will be the first time these women, some of whom are in their nineties, have publicly shared their stories.
Meanwhile, my radio show does not exist in isolation. I have set up a Fresh Start Monday Facebook page and interacting with guests and listeners alike on this social media platform will be a major part of the show each week.
So, with a nod to past (the oldest form of storytelling, the oral history) and to the present-future (the growing omnipresence of social media) it seems really fitting – especially since my business Evolve Media was re-branded Write Across Media in late 2013 – that I am now also regularly working in the radio space. All I have yet to conquer is television, but perhaps that will have to wait until another lifetime.
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