Content Director, triple j, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Radio
Anyone who works in radio will tell you they love the immediacy, says AUT radio alumnus Ollie Wards who is now the content director for triple j, the youth music and culture brand of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“We can have a funny idea and it's on air the next minute. But the audience is also right there with us – they're always funnier, can make your idea better or were there at the thing you're talking about.
“We're a national station with over two million weekly listeners and millions of followers of our content including the Like a Version weekly live music video. Having two million plus music loving and creative people wanting to join in is the best. Live and interactive; there's no other medium quite like radio.”
A career full of unreal experiences
In his role Ollie is responsible for triple j's content on air, online, on TV, in social media and at events.
“I'm the lead creative of the station – setting strategy and direction but also leading the operations. One minute I'll be brainstorming some weird talkback or a prank, then I'll be discussing election coverage before meeting with the TV department about our music festival going live on YouTube.”
He has had some amazing experiences throughout his career says Ollie who graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Radio in 2005.
“Just thinking about what I've done so far is pretty surreal. For example, I co-hosted the centenary of Anzac Day live from Gallipoli. As the dawn service happened I was there at Anzac Cove with a radio mic, telling people listening from all over Australia how it felt.
“I also got to see and meet so many of my favourite bands. One time I even played poker with Ice Cube and his son in a video shoot, which was fun and pretty damn intimidating.”
Advice for other students
Ollie’s advice for others dreaming of a career in radio is simple – get involved.
“People always say to me they'd love a job in radio and I then ask, 'What have you done so far?'. Usually it’s not much. My advice is to volunteer at your local community or student station, review music for street press, make your own content for socials or a podcast.
“Study what the people you like do, think about how you could be involved – not just on air. Then make it happen.”
He knows what he is talking about. After graduating from AUT, Ollie decided the best way to get a job was to show up at RadioWorks each day, determined to get more experience. His commitment paid off, and he was offered a full-time job at The Rock where he stayed a couple of years, putting his learning into practice.
After working at The Rock, Ollie moved to the UK where he worked in radio in London, before coming to Australia.
Photography by Daniel Boud