The Newsman From Snowy River | radioinfo

The Newsman From Snowy River

Tuesday 20 January, 2015

There’s a lot of people in regional radio doing news but because of time restraints, multi-tasking or budgets, a lot of bulletins are mainly press releases and items from the local paper. As Jose Auditore discovered, 2XL and Snow FM’s Andrew Page has done things a little differently and one day we might just hear “Hello World.......This is Andrew Page”.

Andrew Page started life in Newcastle but grew up on the Gold Coast. He joined community station at 94.1 before moving to Inverell for his first full time radio job with Super Network’s 2NZ and GEM FM.


Was journalism your first job after you finished school?

No, I worked in real estate with Century21 on the Gold Coast, it was interesting but not really what I wanted to do, I started volunteering at 94.1FM, which was playing jazz at the time then did breakfast in 2008 for six months before I got the job at 2NZ and GEM FM in Inverell in 2009 then to 2NM/Power FM Muswellbrook, StarFM and 2WG Wagga and now here at 2XL and Snow FM.


94.1 was a jazz and swing format, do you remember what you played on your first shift? 

It was by a jazz piano player, George Shearing, very well respected in jazz circles. A song called Symphony, it became my program theme.


Were you a jazz fan before you started at 94.1?

Always been a jazz fan, my dad was a jazz musician. 


You’re studying Journalism?

I’ve almost finished my degree through Griffith University, Communications with a major in Journalism, almost done!  


You moved into news in Inverell, what sort of things were you covering?

Part of the shift was interviews with local councillors, politicians. At the time the major news locally was a big upgrade to Copeton Dam and I used to interview Tony Windsor, the local member for New England who was later one of the two controversial independents (the other one was Rob Oakeshott) in the hung parliament.


When you’re starting out and as you progress there’s people who take a bit of time, they listen to airchecks, they give you some pointers, who’s been influential along the way?

Definitely the GM Richard Wybrew. He’s been a huge help, he has a great understanding of how local news works. Scotty McLaren (Former PD, now in Darwin) definitely and Gary Warne who does breakfast on 2XL, always great,  helpful.


You look down the track at the next few years, where would you like to be eventually?

I’d love to be reading news at 2UE, 2GB or 3AW, one of the big news stations and eventually the goal would be news director somewhere and to hopefully one day be able to help other people starting out with what I’ve learnt. I like to think that what I’ve learnt along the way can one day help someone else because it can be tough out there.


News people sometimes have other ambitions.

I’d love to do a talk shift but when I’ve had a lot more life experience behind me. If there’s an opportunity, talkback’s something I’d love to day. I guess that’s the ultimate goal.


What are your news influences?

Pretty much everything, Sydney Morning Herald, Reuters, AAP, Telegraph, a lot of news sites. Very interested in US politics and still read the printed papers when I get the chance, weekends. I don’t run down to the newsagents every day but I do still love picking up a physical copy and reading it.


Short sharp stories? (The Telegraph, Herald-Sun) or a bit more depth and coverage (The Age, AFR)?

Depends on the issue. Fin Review, SMH, like reading that, there’s more to it. When it comes to general news, short, to the point stories give you a quicker grasp of what’s going on. But the really important stuff, politics, crime, national, need better coverage, background, balance.


In the time you’ve been doing news what do you think you’ve done differently?

I’ve broadcast local stories where something’s happened because of the story I put to air. I dig around a lot more, locally, not just wait for the local paper, I try and get out there and get stories not rely on press release stuff. You have to attend the council meetings as well. I’d like the local paper to run what I’m doing. That’s my goal that’s what I try and do.


What’s the outlook for radio, news or otherwise?

I think talk radio, news and information with more content that relates to listeners is what will survive. Music radio, unless you’re talking about Hamish & Andy, Dan & Maz, those types of programs, people are going to create their own music mixes with what they want to listen to. I think news/talk radio is going to move to a medium in news that people will turn to, to find out stuff they can’t get anywhere else. That’s what radio has to do. It has to be quick and on the ball.


Apart from your own station, do you get a chance to listen to anything else?

Online, I listen to 2GB and 2UE and ABC radio as well. In the US, I like Howard Stern and listen to a little of what Rush Limbaugh’s doing and for music, WS-FM. 


Time off, is it all Q&A, Four Corners and 60 Minutes, do you get into anything else outside of news?

I like Dexter, big fan of Game Of Thrones as well.


Footy season starts soon, AFL or NRL? (or Soccer?)

NRL – The Newcastle Knights of course, cricket too.


Finally, DAB is the way forward for radio at this time, eventually in regional areas. If you had the chance what would you put on an additional DAB station locally?

I’d find what the prominent demographic is and what sort of music they want to hear and try to come up with a format that mixes music with local information and content that relates to them. The music depends on the demographic but definitely run more talk.


[Jose Auditore is a Sydney journalist and audio producer and part of The Radio Green Room industry site on Facebook]

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