Melanie Dooley

Melanie Dooley

Senior Imaging Producer, MediaWorks
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Radio

Her job is so much fun, says communication studies alumna Melanie Dooley who now works at MediaWorks.

“I’m responsible for producing audio that sonically identifies a radio station. Each radio station has a different format, and I’ll use appropriate sound effects, sound design and music that complements this radio format.

“At the end of 2021, I was promoted to a senior imaging producer at MediaWorks, and I now manage, record and produce all of the station imaging for The Breeze and Magic networks. I’m also the corporate station voice for the Mai FM network where I record and produce my own voice. I really enjoy the contrast in producing audio for our leading adult contemporary station with a massive 80's influence, with our dynamic hip-hop and RNB station. This combo keeps me on my toes but allows me to have a lot of fun every day at work.”

Melanie is proud of being the first female full-time imaging production engineer in New Zealand.

“Our field doesn’t have a lot of women doing audio production, but we now have a group of young females who are making some stellar imaging. I’m excited to see us all flourish in the industry. I was nominated in the Best Station Imaging category at the 2021 New Zealand Radio Awards together with my colleague. Being nominated in this category was always a massive goal for me, so I was really proud of this. However, I’d say my biggest achievement in my career is making myself and my team proud of the audio I’m making.”

Finding her path
She has always been interested in the media, says Melanie who completed her Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2017 and was nominated for the inaugural Johnny Douglas Award at the New Zealand Radio Awards in 2018.

“I chose the Bachelor of Communication Studies at AUT because of how versatile the degree is for anyone wanting to explore the media industry. The structure of the degree enabled me to try a bit of everything early on in my studies before I identified which majors best suited my skillset. I was also impressed with the high-end facilities, gear, equipment and studios. I knew it would offer me the best experience and training to get me ready for the industry.

“One of the highlights of my time at AUT was seeing how close everyone in our degree became by the time we graduated. We spent three years together working on some of the most awesome, fun, creative projects – and we really became a family by the end of it. A lot of the friends that I made during my time at AUT are still my close friends today.”

Working on a practical radio project in her second year was a bit of a lightbulb moment for Melanie.

“I was working on a radio documentary highlighting a great Kiwi album from the 90s. I’ve always been passionate about music, and I was really enjoying this assignment. I thought, ‘Imagine how much fun it would be if I could keep creating projects like this beyond my studies and make a career out of this?’ My radio lecturers Dr Matt Mollgaard and Trevor Plant were so helpful and were a huge inspiration for me. I ended up getting an A+ on this assignment, and the experience also inspired me to major in radio in my final year. My radio classes really felt like home.”

Advice for other students
Make the most of your three years at university, Melanie advises other students.

“My advice would be to have fun with your assignments. The assignments are so creative, thought-provoking and exciting, so make the most of these learning opportunities and dive right in. Make the most of the amazing facilities AUT has to offer too. As an audio producer now, I wish I had used the production suite at AUT to its full advantage. I’d recommend studying up on the equipment that will be used in your field as this will help you in the long run.”

Take up any opportunities for industry experience and work that come up, she adds.

“Reach out and get in contact with people in the industry you want to work in, and get your foot in the door. There’s no harm in reaching out.”