Out of Covid and from the Community radio sector comes audiobooksradio

The pandemic lockdowns of the past couple of years have had a detrimental effect on a lot of industries, while others have flourished due to their ingenuity.

In radio/audio there have been some great stories of inventiveness out of necessity, like this one from the Community Radio Sector.

Take a pile of studios, some amazing Australian voice talent, ambitious audio engineers – add some COVID lockdowns, plus a hefty rise in people listening to rather than reading stories, and what do you get.

An audiobook production business that was born inside the community radio sector.

Founder Maria Issaris at the time, conceived the idea while working with the RPH Radio Reading Network as a radio producer of a writers program, New Voices, and as Deputy Chair of the Glebe Station.

Maria says, “The aim initially was to provide employment for voice performers and audio engineers who were left stranded as artists during COVID,’ ‘But it would also serve to maximise income for the station by using spare studio space, and allow readers at the station to be paid for work that produced the books.

Over a year later audiobooksradio was formed, winning contracts ranging from government projects, to memoirs, anthologies, speculative fiction, literary novels, business books and academic works.

She says, “Overall we have narrated and produced the stories of hundreds of authors in the past two years, employing dozens of narrators, and hired many studios within and outside the community radio sector.

“Every project is exciting, like a theatrical production. Our back end systems work beautifully now, so we can provide an intimate process for indie publishers and self-published authors.”

Recently audiobooksradio came to a contractual arrangement with Eastside Radio for provision of studio space and also narration work for two of their volunteers.

Maria says, “The production was beautiful – narrating a book called SongForge by James Beckingworth.We have quite a few studio options, but it made sense that Yasmin Hingun use the studio space where she had access, and felt comfortable.

“As it turned out, the Station Manager, Tony Smythe was very happy to provide Yasmin with the space, and to get studio fees for completion of the work. In this case the narrator wanted to offer her services to the station – in effect donating her fees back into community broadcasting.”

Currently there is one role for Lillian’s Eden by Cheryl Adams.

They are looking for the perfect voice performer for this 90,000-word Australian manuscript, a Female sounding voice, which can range in ‘age’ 40 – 60.

The main characters are two women in 1950s rural Australia: Lillian (40s, English immigrant to Australia, an outsider) and Maggie (80s, Aunt to Lillian’s husband, feisty and eccentric).

Main picture: Voice Performer and actor, Caroline George with Maria Issaris