An ego in radio

Journalism sounds like an interesting job when ABC radio show presenter Spencer Howson tells you what he had been up to. “That’s what my journalism degree got me,” he says at a Monday morning lecture, showcasing his treasured portfolio of moments at the ABC. From flying to Fiji after the Cyclone Winston aftermath to playing a vacuum cleaner in the Queensland Pops Orchestra, he has covered what many people would not have the privilege to experience. To add to the list (if it wasn’t enough adventure), his recent take-off to the Torres Strait Islands to broadcast #612tsi sure isn’t an indication it will stop at there.

Travelling aside, a radio journalist’s job is not in fact all fun and games. It’s not just about giving interviews, telling the time, playing a song… it’s about ego, Spencer says. An ego in radio.

With the ever-changing landscape of technology and podcasts getting in the way, radio is moving away from wireless and transcending into the trend of online journalism ‘showbiz’. Can’t stay in the past, right? Spencer’s talking Twitter, cross-posting and promoting a story before it is told on air.

Not only that, radio journalists are expected to multitask. Spencer tweets the news in real time – from minor inconveniences such as traffic alerts and power outages to breaking news like federal election results. All this is done to grab the public’s attention – getting them to visit the ABC’s website, attend their events, as well as draw new listeners into ABC 612.

If you think that doesn’t fuel the ego enough, there’s more to just giving impressions on the internet of course, and Spencer gives some advice to radio journalism interns: it’s not about impressing your manager, but your colleagues. Indeed, he says being likeable is definitely a useful feature to have in your job.

However, ego aside, Spencer says there is one thing more important to note: being good at what you do. Through that, the journalism industry will welcome you with open arms.

As I sign off from this blog post, let’s just say that was all that happened that day… 😉


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