Radio brings calm to troubled waters

Comment from Jen Seyderhelm

I’m going to say it.

Since last November, through drought, fire, smoke haze, flood and now virus – radio and podcasting are the only industries which are booming, in a positive way, exponentially. These are unexpected halcyon days. We have NEVER been more listened to and relevant since before the existence of television. 

I think people who haven’t tuned in to radio for a long time suddenly have rediscovered the dial. Don’t have internet? Radio takes batteries. Self -isolated? Audio books, podcasts, catch up radio and news will keep you company. What if we all must stay home for a while? I can still broadcast from my laptop in bed to my radio station, if needs be. We are in the unique situation of being most able to keep providing what we do to a global audience.

When this is hopefully over, and all these stimulus packages start to take effect, we are going to see more and more businesses use radio as an advertising tool and podcasting for marketing. When things were the worst, we continued to be able to get a current and local message across, instantly.

Right now, every single story and post on my news and social media feeds are connected to coronavirus in some way. I’m already sick of it (not literally – I feel great). But this circle, rinse and repeat methodology of panic facilitation is exactly why different accessible voices will flourish. I, and presumably most of you reading, can do this is a low cost, low risk way.

About half of you will have finished reading the above and are already heading to your studio / laptop / zoom mic to take action right now. Good on you. If we want to show why radio has survived every innovation thrown at us, then let’s do it.

We can be the reason that small business survives and re-establishes itself in our respective communities. The bush and the isolated can have a voice through us. Our medical professionals, who will be so overwhelmed in the coming period, can call us on the phone to give updates without leaving their workplaces – like the firies did only a month or so ago. We can do so much that is positive and meaningful.

I was fortunate on Saturday to teach students a Voice Over Introduction at a TAFE here in Canberra. Fortunate because the course still ran, every single student who was booked turned up and that I profoundly love teaching. I started my session with the above message. They got it. Immediately. I know they’ll all be back next Saturday for more unless CIT Solutions deems it unsafe to do so.

I asked my students to share a positive personal story with the group.

Life goes on and we are so inundated with the dour, dreadful news that we all need the respite that Netflix, movies, books and podcasts can bring. I have a Facebook page where every morning I share an Australian One Hit Wonder. I almost need to do it for the space in my mind it gives me from other worries. 

The arts are struggling, gigs are being cancelled, major exhibitions too. When there is finally an end in sight to the current situation, I truly think we are all going to look very deeply at where we went to get our entertainment, information and news and reevaluate audio’s importance in this digital world.

My positive is that I have a voice and a platform, no matter what happens on Monday. Those of you reading most likely do too. Let’s use it.
About the author

Jen Seyderhelm is an announcer, podcaster, producer, writer, news reader and music historian. She works for 2CC Canberra and is part of the Raiders Call Team.

Jen is a trainer in voice over and podcasting; her website is – you can find her Australian One Hit Wonders page here.

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