TAFE NSW graduate Rufus Barr has stunned his teachers and peers by landing the coveted gig of breakfast radio host at Hill FM 96.5 Broken Hill just months after completing his studies. As a former live venue host in Sydney, when COVID-19 hit, Rufus lost all his work. Instead of giving up, Rufus saw this as an opportunity to focus on getting into the career he’d always wanted.
“I’ve always had a passion for radio but initially started working in editing for television, and to satisfy my passion for performing I became a trivia and karaoke host – which is basically like hosting radio, just in a pub and with even worse music,” Mr Barr said.
“After losing all my work during COVID-19 I decided to enrol in the Diploma and then Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (Radio) at TAFE NSW Ultimo to get qualified and go after my dream job.”
Rufus is getting into the industry at the perfect time. The radio industry experienced a COVID-induced downturn in 2020 but is gradually gaining back momentum as Australians return to the office to maintain its role as one of the most resilient broadcasting modes once again.1
TAFE NSW Teacher Nick Bennett said the Advanced Diploma tackles presenting, producing, storytelling, audio and video editing, and industry.
“Students get the opportunity to build their own websites which become a solid portfolio of their work, and Diploma students start to focus on the sort of work they want to make post-studies,” Mr Bennett said.
“Rufus, for example, made a series of quite dark-yet-hilarious radio plays with a fellow student which impressed his teachers and our industry guests.”
Rufus continued into the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (Radio), a student-driven and designed course where students work on a collaborative project to manage the TAFE NSW Ultimo radio station and news site and build up a portfolio of creative work.
“Rufus was laser focused on fine tuning his radio producing and presenting, so we wasted no time in getting him on air producing and presenting a regular 2-hour show. That, coupled with regular air checks and a few strategic introductions to industry contacts helped bring the industry gig to fruition,” Mr Bennett said.
Rufus completed the Advanced Diploma in late 2020 and one of his teachers introduced him to the program director at Hill FM, a former teacher at TAFE NSW.
“Hill FM needed a new breakfast host and my teacher suggested me for the job (without my knowledge), sent them some of my work and I got a phone call from the station manager, out of the blue, offering me the job. 12 days later, I was here in broken hill, starting my dream career.”