As many of you know already, radio was where I first got my big break in the music/media industry. For over 12 years, I poured my heart and soul into the shows and stations I worked for, contributing countless hours of overtime to get it right (and get noticed) whilst trying my absolute best to get the bands I knew and loved airtime. We all know how much of a struggle it is these days to get heavy/alternative music respectfully played anywhere on mainstream media, so at the end of my career, I decided to take a step back from that industry to focus on what has now become Wall of Sound.
But behind all the radio shows, career highlights, various station roles and successful on-air campaigns, there were countless dark periods where I struggled with my mental health and unfortunately, I’d get stuck in my ways reflecting on the negative moments (and believe me there were LOTS of them) more so than the positives and in the end, it all became too much.
Despite being a supporter of mental health awareness through on-air and advertisement campaigns, there was this “suck it up” mentality throughout the industry where staff were expected to just get the job done, regardless of the way they were feeling. During my time in the industry, there was no such thing as mental health days, and, as an announcer, you had to go to work each day with a big smile on your face, plan the show and turn on that microphone whilst facing your audience like nothing else was going on, regardless of how you were truly feeling on the inside.
Some examples of my own personal experience were explained in a recently released podcast featuring my first full-time co-host Chris Baskerville, as we reflected on the 10th Anniversary of our radio show’s airing.
Since departing radio world, I’ve spoken to countless former (and current) employees – from all over the industry – who feel the same way, so as a cathartic way to close this chapter of my life, I wanted to depart radio with a bang… for a worthy cause!
Today I’m officially launching my Burn Your Radio campaign, which I hope will not only raise awareness for mental health struggles as a result of the radio industry’s outdated workplace standards, but to raise funds for an organisation close to my heart, who helped me through a few of those periods where I needed them the most – Beyond Blue.
Ahead of the globally recognised World Radio Day, held on February 13th (yes it’s a thing), I will be releasing a limited edition Burn Your Radio shirt, brought to life by Wall of Sound merch designer Jerika Makela AND we’ll be donating 100% of the proceeds from sales to Beyond Blue – to fund their 24/7 Support Service.
“This Service gives every person in Australia the opportunity to talk through their concerns with a trained mental health professional. People who access the service can receive a brief one-on-one counselling session to address an immediate concern, as well as receive information and advice on continuing to seek support.”
This organisation does an incredible job and with a 42% increase in calls to their Support Services during the COVID-19 pandemic (from March to December 2020) compared to the same time in 2019, the community’s support has never been more important.
In doing so, I hope this campaign encourages conversation amongst the industry (and every line of work) for staff members to reach out to one another and make sure they’re doing everything they can to help each other through rough patches, where they’re feeling physically and/or mentally drained, and all they need is for someone to acknowledge their struggles and assist them with getting the help they need to make it through those dark times.
If you want to get involved, you can grab a shirt at the link below and know that your purchase will result in a donation to an organisation who has helped save countless lives in Australia and beyond. Alternatively, you can also donate to our fundraising page instead.
We never know who desperately needs an ear until we take the first step in asking…
This limited edition design will be available in both a unisex tee and a feminine fit.
It’s available for pre-order now until Thursday, February 18th (9am AEST), and only at the Wall of Sound Store.
*Due to COVID-19 delays, the shirts are expected to ship from the first week of March 2020*