Where have all the real radio people gone?

Where have all the real radio people gone? The ones that have been bitten by the bug? Darwin PD Phil Brandel has had some bad experiences lately when trying to hire passionate radio people. He has several positions available in Darwin that he just can’t seem to fill. What happened to moving where the jobs are, always climbing up the pyramid, always wanting to work in a bigger and better station, asks Phil. His views are supported by several readers who have added comments at the bottom of this article, including:You are so right. The attitude of young people today has made finding good new staff who have ambition and want to learn, incredibly difficult,” and Phil has hit the nail on the head – I have had a similar situation recently.”


My first job in radio was doing afternoons in Mt Isa, when I got the job I was thrilled too bits. I put all my worldly possessions in the back of my Holden Gemini and drove from Sydney to Mt Isa in four days to start my new job on the princely sum of 21k a year. After 12 months I started sending out “tapes” to bigger stations, I got a job in Goulburn, so I packed up my Gemini, drove for four days and started in Goulburn. This is what you did back in the day.

I have several positions available in Darwin that I just can’t seem to fill. I remember back to my Mt Isa days when the PD would always have five to six “tapes” in his top drawer from people wanting a job. I haven’t received a single unsolicited aircheck from a jock since I’ve been in Darwin. I would love to receive an aircheck from a small country station, asking for a critique or just to say hi and that they would like to be considered for any future positions.

These days the only airchecks I get are when we place a job advertisement and most of those are from Irish and American jocks, although I think this says more about their respective countries economy than having a real passion for wanting to work in Australian Radio.

Where have all the real radio people gone? The ones that have been bitten by the bug?

The last couple of interviews that I’ve done went something like this, (these are from people who rang or emailed me after I placed a job advertisement).

Interview 1 Me “So why did you leave your last job?”

Newsreader 1 – ” I didn’t like getting up early, it stressed me too much”

(She was applying for the position of breakfast newsreader)

Interview 2 – Me (on the phone) – So you want to work in Darwin?

Announcer – “Not really I just applied because my old PD told me too”

Interview 3 – got an email the day after an interview, saying he wasn’t interested in the role, because it meant doing live shifts.

Interview 4 – announcer “Yeah mate I wanna get back into radio and I’m willing to move, but not that far”

Interview 5 – announcer “Yeah I wanna job in radio, but I just got offered a job driving a van at my dads courier company”

What happened to moving where the jobs are, always climbing up the pyramid, always wanting to work in a bigger and better station?

A mate of mine used to drive from Sydney to Bathurst every weekend just so he could do some weekend shifts in Bathurst.

Are we to blame?  Did creativity and passion leave the building when we installed Nexgen and started taking networking and voicetracks from all over the country? Localism be damned, thus creating a vacuum where the young hungry jocks used to be?  Or was it when the big networks turned their backs on announcers and started hiring sports stars, comedians and big brother wannabes who didn’t have to do the hard yards.

Or is Gen Y so wrapped up in instant gratification that they don’t want to do a few years in the bush to make their career happen?

Have we become so PC and OH&S that radio is no longer fun?

I once drove from Goulburn to Port Macqaurie and back in one weekend so I could have a weekend interview with the PD.

Now I’m a realist enough to know that Darwin isn’t for everyone and that we are just a stepping stone to a bigger station, but where are all the staff from the smaller feeder stations? Isn’t there someone in Charleville or Parks or Mildura, who wants a career in radio and is willing to move to a bigger station to make that career happen?

Where have all the real radio people gone? If your still out there give me a call sometime.

Phil Brandel

Group Program Director Hot 100.1, Mix 104.9, Top Country 92.3 Darwin

08 89419999