maddy crop

SYN alumni, Maddy Rowe, joined SYN in 2018, where she jumped on air on The Hoist and produced The Hip Hop Show. She also worked as a SYN trainer, working with school and community groups to deliver SYN Media Learning educational programs.

This blog asks Maddy how she landed her current gig as an announcer in commercial radio, and how her workplace is adapting to social distancing in the age of COVID-19.

What are you doing now? Where are you working? 

In August 2019, I packed up my bags in Melbourne and moved to beautiful Townsville in North Queensland to do the on air shift from 10am-3pm everyday across the regional Hit Network (you can hear me in Gippsland and Bendigo everyday!). I’d never been to Townsville and never lived by myself before I moved – who knew that being an adult with rent and electricity and internet bills would be so expensive?! I’ve been here just over 10 months now, and it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I learn something new every day! I also write and release music as GENES. 

What steps did you take to improve your employability, then secure the role you’re in now?

After starting out at SYN, I soon began doing day time on air shifts at JOY 94.9 (Australia’s only LGBTI+ radio station), which soon led to hosting the drive time show with my best mate [Aimee Craig] every Thursday on JOY. SYN and JOY really gave me creative freedom to have crazy ideas and put them on air 1 minute later. They also let me make mistakes, press the wrong buttons and fumble my words and it was always a safe space (FYI: I still do these things all the time, don’t tell my boss HAHA).

I also was lucky enough to be accepted into the Music Industry Mentoring program through The Push in Melbourne (shoutout to Mel Dine, what a legend), who linked me up with my dream mentor, Ash London (obviously another absolute legend). Ash/The Push program opened a lot of doors for me and I will always be forever grateful.

I put my hand up for every opportunity, every interview and every fill in radio shift which helped me get a step closer to where I’m at now.

What did a typical day look like for you (pre-Coronavirus)?

A typical Maddy Rowe day starts with a 6am wake up, lots of green tea and lots of Twitter scrolling. I get into work by 7:30, print my song log for the day and get to planning my 5-hour show. And guess what? All that Twitter scrolling comes in handy because I remember that quirky fact I read about the new Dua Lipa song, and I know the MAFS season finale is on, and I heard that bizarre song Madonna wrote about her Fried Fish in Isolation. CONTENT! My show starts, I take plenty of callers, I segue the songs, I talk…I dance aggressively to the songs… I talk some more… I forget to go to the toilet… I forget to eat my lunch. Wow, is it 3pm already? The show is over, I’m hungry and sweaty from dancing. That was fun! And we repeat that again tomorrow. 

What adjustments have been made at your workplace to accommodate for social distancing?

Hand Sanitiser. All day. Before you go into the studio, while you’re in the studio, when you leave. We have our own mic socks now too, so I don’t accidentally lick someone else’s fresh crusty saliva (trust me it happens), and we all have our own designated studios. We do all our content meetings over Skype calls and email, and obviously if we do cross paths in the office, it’s at a 1.5m distance. I’m really lucky that changes have been made so I can safely keep doing my job!

What’s it like working from home as a radio announcer? What have you and your workplace done to adapt to the challenge?

It’s a lot more work from home because you don’t have the same buttons and systems that you would in a normal studio, so everything takes a little longer. HOWEVER, I can stay in my pj’s all day and eat iso-snacks, so I’m not complaining. I can literally talk to half a million people on air and no one knows I’m wearing no pants or bra. Pure bliss. I have a simplified online version of the studio on my laptop that I can use from home, I chuck a doona over my head for sound proofing and go for my life in my apartment kitchen. That’s showbiz baby. 

You’ve had some exciting opportunities coming up in your music career lately. How have you been balancing your radio work with your music?

I’m really lucky that radio gives me a set schedule so I know that the first half of my day is dedicated to that. Once I finish, I click into music mode which is always unscheduled (unless I have to do admin stuff like reply to the unread emails or take a call). I love having two passions that I can put my energy into. Radio distracts me from the musical creative process, and music is an escape from my 9-5 in radio. Living by myself in a regional city has really helped my creativity. I have a lot of time to sit with my own thoughts and ideas, and a lot of freedom to make music at all hours of the day and night without annoying a housemate. 

In your experience, what helps you stand out when looking for work in commercial radio?

Undeniable passion.

What advice do you have for someone working towards a career as a radio announcer?

Keep hustling. Keep saying yes to things. Keep putting in the work. Keep making demos. Send those demos to people in the industry. Get air-checked regularly. Keep improving. You’re one call away from your dream radio gig!


You can keep up with Maddy and her work on Instagram and Twitter. Check out here music triple j Unearthed.