Sunday 20 December 2020
Now that I have finished work for a few weeks and my Christmas shopping is all sorted, I thought I’d write a note to a few special people at the end of this weird year.
I put this on a hidden page of my Voyage Media web site just to make it easy to share with you. But it’s just for the select few people I sent the link to, not for the world to see.
2020 began with my summer leave being cut short by the East Gippsland bushfires. I had to return early to the ACE Radio (TRFM and Gippsland’s Gold) newsroom, to help cover the worsening fire situation. Then along came that virus.
Before the virus, I had made plans with ACE to change from full- to part-time hours, with my accountant putting a transition-to-retirement plan in place. It’s not that I’ll actually be retiring anytime soon, but after 44 years in the radio industry and related jobs, it felt like time to start winding things back a bit and putting more time into my own projects, at my own pace.
So since mid-year, my work at ACE Radio is now part-time in the early mornings, 4.30am to 10am. It includes writing news stories, reading bulletins for TRFM, Gippsland’s Gold and 3MP Melbourne, and other tasks.
Away from that, I have been putting some time and energy into my own sole trader business Voyage Media, which I started in Sydney 20 years ago.
Apart from some small projects for a few clients, I have been working with my good friend Sam Forbes from Elbow Community Building to put new life into Gippsland Goodness – a web site and Facebook page I established in 2014.
I began another project in August called Bang a Gong. It has really taken off and I need to keep feeding it to take advantage of the public’s enthusiastic interest.
Bang a Gong is a web site, with a Facebook page and Spotify playlist, that celebrates the hit songs of 1967 to 1974. Yes, the year range is rather specific – see: Why 1967 to 1974? 1970 to 1974 were my high school years in Drouin, when my desire to work in radio and play those songs developed. The name Bang a Gong came from a hit song of the era.
For the last few years I had also devoted considerable time to managing and promoting the singer-songwriter Matthew Bentley. I stepped back from that a fair bit in 2019 to let him set and manage his own course. Then this year, the impacts of the virus on the live music industry slowed Matthew down considerably. He wasn’t able to perform but he has been writing some new songs, and has some time booked after Christmas at a recording studio. Matthew’s drive, talent and vision will see him busy again in no time.
Healthwise I’m doing OK. I had a renal concern during the year that a specialist put right, and my diabetes-related issues are all under control.
You never know what the future brings but, as it stands, 2021 should see continuing part-time work at the ACE stations and further development of my Voyage Media projects.
My current work pace also allows time for some streaming, and I’m loving the Alex Kurtzman expansion of the Star Trek universe with series like Discovery and Picard. Ah, the simple pleasures.
Now that I am on 4 weeks leave, I hope to catch-up with friends and family. Meanwhile though, may I wish you the best for 2021.