Rachael Torise BayFM 99.9FM

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Arriving in Bondi at the turn of the Millennium it was hard not to notice the terracotta hues of the Bondi Hotel gleaming like the treasured centrepiece it is, along the beachfront parade. More so for me though and perhaps because I lived directly behind it was the significance of the community radio station I knew sat perched on its rooftop. For three years I listened and loved the diverse, entertaining and effervescent tones of Bondi FM emitting from my speakers while I glanced glazy eyed at the small rear window of the station and wondered what on earth went on up there to make it all happen. Little did I know I was about to become a part of that very station presenting my own radio show for a solid six years. 

My introduction was not one of great confidence or determination. I simply found myself in the studio one day watching two friends as they embarked on what was supposed to be a weekly radio show to promote a new night that was starting for female DJ’s in Sydney. We had approached the station to ask for sponsorship but were instead offered a show where we could play music and thus promote our night indirectly.

After the first day of nervously presenting the newly named Sista show both friends unanimously decided that they absolutely hated it and vowed never to return, something I couldn’t comprehend because I felt like I never wanted to leave. I’d had the overwhelming desire to grab the mic and jump on the turntables that very first day, not that I knew how to do either at the time but that didn’t matter for the desire was greater than the fear and the very next week I found myself taking over a show I hadn’t known I’d wanted. I learnt what I needed as I went along. This has been a reoccurring trait of mine and it seems in times of great challenge I receive the greatest rewards.

I had only just started DJing a few weeks prior (purely by accident) and had never been in a studio before but seemed to take to both new ventures remarkably well … or so I thought. Bondi FM didn’t offer any training; they showed you a few buttons on the panel and then left you to it. It was minimally staffed and there was often nobody around if you had any queries or problems. I remember once walking in to find that the settings had changed on the panel. Without a clue as to how to operate the newly arranged desk I immediately put a call out on air to any presenters that might be listening in the hope that one of them would call in and tell me how to work the thing. Luckily the phone rang shortly after and I was saved. Nobody ever gave you any feedback and you were pretty much left to your own devises which was comforting in a way but also extremely limiting.