After a long career in banking, I wanted to do something for the community, so in 1996, I joined 3RPH. Part of Vision Australia, 3RPH (1179AM) is a radio station for the local blind, low vision and print disabled communities. Listener numbers were small back in those days, but today the audience continues to grow as more and more older people tune in.
After volunteer induction training – which impressed on me that pronunciation was paramount – I joined a group of four announcers reading articles from The Age, the Herald Sun and the Australian Financial Review every Saturday morning.
After a while, my confidence grew and I moved into a Team Leader role. This meant very early starts: I had to be at the Kooyong premises at 5.30 am to check that the day’s papers were delivered. Then I had to prepare the articles to be read that morning. From 7.00 I was on-air alone, reading brief articles from each paper and playing music of my choice. From 7.30 am, my team would join me to read articles from The Age, followed by the Herald Sun and finally, the death notices. Session over, we would share morning tea and a chat before heading home.
They were great times. Some years on, I can still recall my opening line at 0700 hours:
‘You are tuned to 3RPH [aitch] and 3MPH Information Radio – where we turn print into sound.’