Radio has been some what of a life saver for me... It first came to me as a 17yr old student at my old high school, when a friend asked me to join her in a dodgy tent on the oval and do muck around commentary with her for the day... Since that day, I’ve done nothing but chase that goal of being on radio and getting to the next level in it each and every year... Before I started in the industry, I was just another black kid from the country without a goal, without any purpose... When radio found me and I found radio, my life changed and since then, radio continues to be the shining star in my unpredictable life.
At the start of this month, I was lucky enough to be asked to host ABC Digital Radio’s ‘National NAIDOC week Breakfast show’ which saw me broadcast nationally between 8am-10am, Monday-Friday throughout NAIDOC week (National Aboriginal Islander Day of Celebration)... This was my first taste of on air radio in almost 2 years and it was glorious to say the least...
Radio, my passion, my industry is something I’ve had to walk away from in this past 1.5years after my mum passed away suddenly in 2010. I through in my jobs and moved back to my small regional home town with no quality radio stations close by to work at. My days consist of ways and plans to get off this island of boredom that is my home town. Why you might say? It was all for a bigger purpose, to be my brother’s fulltime carer and I have absolutely no regrets in making the decision to walk away from the radio industry to raise him; this is the path I was meant to walk in life right now and I embrace it every day and am thankful that I have the privilege of raising him to be the best man he can be.... But before this role as his new guardian, I was a career woman and the career woman in me still yearns for purpose and still yearns to continue with her passion of radio.
See I have this dream that one day I will get back into the industry I love and start making radio again... A dream that will see me improve with each touch of the microphone, for hundreds if not thousands to hear what I say and enjoy my style, to be able to entertain and interact with total strangers over the airways and through the internet all because of the medium of radio. This is my dream... This is what I dream and hold onto every day and yet every day I feel that dream is so distant but yet so close at the same time?!
When I tell people about my situation, I try to put it into perspective for them like this: What if tomorrow you were forced to walk away from the only job you knew how to do and loved and were cast into a small town away from opportunity and away from your chosen industry... What would you do? Would you give up on something you worked so hard to achieve in or would you hold onto hopes that one day soon, you will resume and flourish in it?
This dream comes in waves every now and then just like it did with my recent broadcast on ABC for NAIDOC week. My first taste of radio in almost 2 years and I was nervous, but I had the opportunity to work with two amazing producers and had free reign over who I wanted to interview and what stories I wanted to run; all stories and guest who I am passionate about and on a week I’m so proud to be a part of as an Aboriginal person... It was all a dream come true in itself.
The anticipation leading up to the broadcast felt like I was starting my very first day on radio again. It had been so long since I touched a microphone, I was doubting myself; would I be able to do it again, would the nerves get the better of me, would I choke, would I have blank moments on air, what will my family and friends think of my new style, and would I be out of my depth in this new style of radio I’ve never done full time before? All of these things came into play but my best bet was to trust my producers and to try and remember everything I knew about radio and paid a lot of money to learn about when I graduated as the first Indigenous Radio graduate ever from the Australian Film Television and Radio school. I had to trust myself and revise over my old books, relearn the tricks and start to practice my style again... Pitch, projection and pace Carly... Just breathe, just do it...
It was like I was preparing myself for a fight... A fight between myself, my self belief and others expectations. Radio is frightening but so enjoyable. The thrill of live radio is like nothing you can experience until you’re sitting in that presenters chair in a studio by yourself, ready to open your mouth and speak to thousands on national radio... It’s at that moment when you’re trying to calm your nerves and your mind and only have one goal in mind; SPEAK WITHOUT MESSING UP WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO SAY!!! Easier said than done but I did it... 2hrs a day for 5 days straight, I did what I thought I had lost in these last 2 years... RADIO!
This is my 8th year in the radio industry... Although I don’t do it full time anymore, the small bouts of radio I do get to do, whether it be producing for a few days here and there, teaching radio to Indigenous participants in communities every so often or being able to do a week on air for NAIDOC week still keeps me involved in the industry... I have a radio family with many of my friends working as producers, announcers, editors and aspiring journalists all around the country and I am so proud to know each and every one of them... A deadly nomination, a graduate diploma of radio and now a national NAIDOC show on digital radio under my belt, I know I still have a long way to go in this industry and hope that one day I’ll get back to doing it full time.
It’s so funny... I came off such a high from doing the NAIDOC show, and had a lot of people asking me ‘What’s gonna happen now? Did you get any job offers, are you gonna do more work with them etc? The answer is no... The wonderful bosses in Sydney all gave me some constructive criticism and some great feedback and I learned A LOT in those two weeks, but right now the reality is there is no work going... I came back to my quiet life, back to my quiet home town after a week of appearing on national websites, being on national radio and meeting and speaking to some of Australia’s most influential Indigenous identities because that’s the reality I face every day... I can’t do the job I love full time because this path I’m walking right now requires me to sort my own life out before I can return to my career... That means making a move to another town for my brother and I so I can get some sort of work (even if it’s not in my industry) until a job in radio hopefully comes up that will suit my brother and I uprooting our lives and moving for... Until that day, this is my reality and radio is but an untouchable dream in the distance.
Thanks to everyone who tweeted me, facebook messaged me, text me, and let me interview them while I as on air for NAIDOC week... Thank you to the ABC for giving me such a huge opportunity and continuing to believe in my talents. I appreciated every bit of feedback, every bit of help from my producers and bosses and every message that came through from family, friends and strangers supporting me in what was one of the hardest but one of the most excitable two weeks of my life.
My next radio work comes in the form of teaching a few days in Coffs Harbor through my old school and I’m excited to meet the participants and can’t wait to share the love of radio with other like minded people in the industry at the end of the month...
One love, one life... x