The smoothest voice driving you home | radioinfo

The smoothest voice driving you home

Wednesday 06 July, 2016

Yesterday's survey results saw smooth move to the top of the FM tree in Sydney.

radioinfo's Kirsty Meyer caught up with to the smoothest voice on Australian radio, Byron Webb, who drives Sydney and Melbourne home on Smooth FM,  and asked him about life, radio and intriguing career changes.

What made you choose radio for a career?
It kind of chose me to be honest. My mum, dad and uncle were all very much tv and radio and I really thought I wanted to do something in the legal arena, that was until I did work experience at 2SM. The bug set in immediately.
Byron you have over two decades of radio experience under your belt, what does your radio timeline look like? 
2SM when it was still rating close to number 1, (yeah, I feel old now) 2UW, 2UE, 2WL now Wave Wollongong, New FM Newcastle a couple of times, Triple M Brisbane, Sky Radio through 20 or so stations, Triple M Sydney a couple of times, C91.3, brekky on the EDGE 96.1, drive on WSFM, Mix 106.5, now KIIS Sydney and obviously smooth fm.
What's the best thing about working for Smooth?
I'm really proud of Smooth. We have an amazing team and inspiring group PD in Paul Jackson. 
The fact that we got to re-build a metro radio station from the ground up was incredibly exciting. We're a small, tight team who really support each other and are currently #1 FM.
What do you love most about your job in general?
It beats actually working for a living.
You've also worked as a full time lecturer for the Australian, Film, TV and Radio School (where I was lucky enough to have you as my lecturer!), what was it like to step off air and into the training realm of radio?
I love teaching! The best thing at AFTRS was feeding off the student's excitement in their own growth. Mind you, I never gave up radio and was still doing various shifts at Triple M Sydney, Better Homes and Gardens for MCM and a few inflight shows with Stellar Sound, so always kept my hand in while teaching.
People take many different paths getting into radio (or getting out), what would you say has been one of the most intriguing career changes you've witnessed?
One guy went on to work building those giant Lego displays that tour department stores. Seriously! He was building Lego for a living and with an amazing pay packet at the time.
What has been your most memorable on-air promotion/competition so far?
I love changing people's lives giving away the gigantic amounts of cash we do at smooth, but I'll never forget some of the great promotions from the mind of Guy Dobson who was always out to push the boundaries at Triple M. The House from Hell was hilarious. It was the pre-cursor to Big Brother only on radio. Live in it to win it was among the ugliest. We had 4 people living in a small Suzuki Vitara in the middle of Bondi Junction Tower. The last one out won the car. Trouble was, no-one folded and what felt like 6 months into it, we had 4 very smelly, now overweight people still living in the car. I think we ended up giving a few cars away just to end the promotion. 
What's been your most humorous moment working in radio?
I can't say exactly what, but suffice to say the late Jon "Ratso" Kennedy was always hilarious to work around. You never got into trouble for doing anything when Jon was around because he'd always be doing much worse that you could ever imagine.
What's the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
Because I do a completely separate Melbourne drive shift as well as Sydney, I jump on-line to get my head around the feel of Melbourne for the day. Twitter, the Age newspaper's morning blog etc.
What's the last thing you do before you leave?
Segue up my shift for the next day and print off my log.
You've met your fair share of celebrities over the years, who would you say has made the biggest impression on you and why?
KISS because I got to try on a pair of Gene Simmons' boots. Long story, but a great memory.
What would you say is key to having a great career in radio?
Passion. Don't get sucked into thinking you're special because celebrity is vacuous and fleeting. Be yourself and be a team player. 
Any tips for aspiring announcers?
My dad used to say to me, "you can do anything you want to do so long as you really want to do it". Have a focus, but also remember to smell the roses along the way. I was in such a rush to crack metro radio in Sydney I don't think I enjoyed the journey in smaller markets along the way nearly enough.
Favourite activity/hobby to do away from the mic?
Life outside work is now all about my 2 kids, but it used to adventurous weekends away with my wife, renovating our house or quietly reading a book on the beach.
Where were you born and raised?
Born and raised in Balmain, Sydney.
What's the most spontaneous thing you've ever done?
Elope and get married on a beach in Hawaii.
Favourite sports team?
I like F1. Not much of a sports fan outside that.
Favourite country you've traveled to?
I love Paris for all its romance, but my wife and I also had an amazing experience kayaking with whales off Vancouver Island in Canada.
Tell us something on your bucket list?
Watch my kids grow into happy, healthy adults. 
If you were on death row, what would you choose as your last meal on earth? 
My wife's chicken and mushroom stroganoff pie. 
What's your favourite song at the moment? 
Izzy Biku's White Tiger
Most played song on your device?
I only listen to the radio or radio podcasts to be honest.
Favourite film?
High Fidelty
Any pets?
I have 3 cats. I didn't mean to have 3. We had two. One died and the one left was really old, so we thought we'd get two more to keep each other company because the old one wouldn't be around much longer. That was 10 years ago and she's still going. 
Any favourite quotes?
Stick a fork in me I'm done.
If I didn't work in radio I would....
Probably have done something much more meaningful, but a lot less fun.


Our profiler, Kirsty Meyer, has worked in news and programs in Australia and internationally.

This is one in a series of profiles Kirsty is compiling for radioinfo.


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