From Big Brother to radio reject, Dani Pola hits the big time at hit107

At 24 Dani Pola thought her radio career was over. Having come to Perth’s 92.9 to do late nights through the well travelled Big Brother route, just a year later she found herself out of a job. “It just wasn’t working out. I needed some development.” says Dani philosophically. “I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. My mentality was, ‘I may not be good enough now, but I know I can be.’”

That was in 2008. Now in 2014, she’s just done her third breakfast show with on air partner Amos Gill on the freshly rebranded hit107 in Adelaide.

Much is riding on the success of this program – not just for her and Amos but for the station and the entire network as they test the veracity of the ‘hit’ brand. 

They say about Formula 1 that it’s 25% driver, 25% engine, 25% chassis and 25% tyres. Arguably, the same could be said of an FM station – talent, format, social and marketing. While that may be true in an academic sense, all the public is aware of are the stars. In F1 it’s drivers. In radio it’s presenters.

Speaking to Dani, she’s not concerned with any of that. She’s firmly focused on her job – to make the best radio she possibly can.

Her axing from 92.9 hit her hard. “I was heartbroken because I think there’s no one in this industry can put up with the highs and lows if they’re not passionate. But if you’re passionate about something it really breaks your heart when you have a fall. So, I was really gutted. It was the first time in my life that even though I felt like I had failed, in my heart of hearts I knew it wasn’t the end. 

“But I could see the radio announcer that I wanted to be and hear the announcer I wanted to sound like. And I knew that I had to get on air every day.

“I remember saying to myself, if I can just get the opportunity to be on air enough that I can be the person that I am in my lounge room with my girlfriends, then I’m set in this industry. That’s when I made the decision to leave.” 

Dani thought to herself, “I was at 92, I’m at home, in Perth. This is comfortable, this is amazing. But to do what I want to do, I have to get out of here. I have to work my way up. I had to get out of Perth. 

“A friend of mine said, go on radioinfo. I applied for three jobs and in a week and a half I was gone. I was in Albury-Wodonga doing Breakfast Radio. It was an older demo (graphic). I was probably too young for it at the time. But you’ve got to take what you can get at the start of your career.

“I also had to leave the stigma of Big Brother behind me as well. There were a lot of people who were really shocked when they met me to find that I was actually passionate about doing radio – community (radio), but I was doing (commercial) radio before that. I had a lot to prove,” says Dani.

It took Dani a while, but she finally shrugged off the Big Brother hoodoo.

“After some more regional radio including a stint on the NSW Central Coast and a year off travelling around the world, it was back to Perth.

“When I was initially fired from 92.9, I had this big mentality that this business doesn’t give you a second chance. And I really believed that at 24, I was done. I thought I’d failed and I was done. The lesson for me was that life gives you a second chance. Even a third or fourth chance!

“I came back to Perth and caught up with 92.9 again and said, right, I think I’m ready to make things happen. It was my opportunity to start again on 92.9. I started with two late nights a week, then a Sunday show. Then I started sending my stuff out. Craig (Bruce) heard it. I told him I’d love to do The Scoopla in WA. At the time Charli (Robinson) was doing it everywhere and I thought I could do it and be good at it.

Then I went to the Central Coast for two years. And now I’m here. That’s six years in a nutshell,” says Dani as she embarks on the next phase of what promises to be a brilliant career. 

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