Unlocking Your Potential at TuneFM: An Interview with Charlotte Stone
Stepping into the world of radio broadcasting can be a daunting prospect, especially for someone who describes themselves as “pretty shy and nervous.” Yet, for Charlotte Stone volunteering at TuneFM (UNE’s student-powered radio station), what began as a hesitant first step turned into a confident stride towards a promising future in media.
Join us as we delve into Charlotte’s journey at TuneFM, exploring how her involvement evolved from behind-the-scenes writing to on-air broadcasting, and how the station played a pivotal role in shaping her career aspirations.
1. Describe your journey as a volunteer at TuneFM. What sparked your interest in joining, and how did your experience evolve?
I first became a volunteer back in 2021, my first year studying on-campus at The University of New England (UNE). I was a part of the Townies radio show with my friends, and it was this first taste of radio that sparked my interest in solo volunteering. I very quickly latched onto some of the behind-the-scenes work here at TuneFM – I was pretty shy and nervous to speak on air on my own, but I spent my Thursday shifts once a week writing articles on anything from online art events to the rise of NFTs. I got to learn the ins and outs of the TuneFM social media and help out with researching stories for Instagram posts and stories. While the Townies show introduced me to what TuneFM is all about, I didn’t wind up getting on air by myself until a while later, when I began writing my first scripts and jumping into the studio to practice voice-tracking! I didn’t expect at the time where this skill would take me.
Being on-air was terrifying at first, a process that involved me running out of the studio every 5 seconds to ask a new question and redoing the same recording over and over until it felt perfect. Learning new skills (and knowing that someone out there is listening to you try those new skills) was pretty scary to me, but like most things, with practice comes way more confidence.
Over my two years working with TuneFM and recording on-air, I’ve come a long way from the shy person afraid to step foot in the studio without someone there with me to hold my hand.
Broadcasting my voice is no longer a scary ordeal, and I’ve been able to go from a volunteer to someone who can help to teach new volunteers just like me. If you had told me in 2021 that I would be where I am today, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.
2. What’s your favourite memory from your time at TuneFM?
During my time at TuneFM, I have been granted some amazing opportunities to extend my professional skills. One of my most memorable moments of my time was attending the CBAA (short for Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) conference with a small group and getting the chance to form connections with other people involved in the radio industry. This trip to Cairns involved a plane ride, plenty of driving, some team building and an event full of interesting sessions, exciting panels and networking to teach me a number of skills to bring home with me. I feel incredibly lucky to have attended this conference so early into my time with TuneFM – thanks to this trip, I have been able to extend my professional skills and feel comfortable leaving uni with industry experience and guidance under my belt – getting the opportunity to meet other people passionate about radio and journalism makes me excited for what my future could hold.
3. Looking ahead, how do you envision your future being influenced by your involvement with TuneFM? Are there specific career aspirations or personal goals that you believe this experience will help you achieve?
Speaking of the future – looking ahead can be scary. Very scary. If you had asked me in 2021 about the future, I would have said, ‘I just want to get through uni first.’ Now that I’m at the other side of university, it’s a little bit frightening to be thinking ahead, but I am incredibly grateful that I’ve emerged from my studies with the experience I’ve gained at TuneFM under my belt.
Tune hasn’t just transformed my resume, but allowed me to graduate with direction and a newfound confidence that no matter which path I decide to take, I have the capabilities to seize new opportunities.
This isn’t just thanks to my experience announcing and writing, but also simple things like research, collaboration and communication – things that make going into a diverse world of job opportunities with a degree in writing seem a lot less scary.
I knew that I wanted to leave uni feeling as though I’ve improved my writing in some way; thanks to TuneFM, I’ve undoubtedly succeeded and then some.
My involvement with Tune has allowed me the opportunity to write scripts, social media captions, blog posts, articles, reviews and more about a number of topics I’m passionate about, and I can’t even imagine where I’ll go from here.
4. In your opinion, what sets TuneFM apart as a volunteering opportunity compared to other options available to students? What unique advantages does it offer?
TuneFM is a super hands-on volunteering program that allows students to do their shifts hand in hand with their degrees – this flexibility definitely sets it apart from other options available to students, since we all know it can be hard to find time for anything other than study, especially when full-time. Not only that, but TuneFM is a jack of all trades when it comes to your degree – whether you want to work behind the scenes doing data entry, articles or blogs or recording on-air, I’ve been able to find ways to connect my volunteer workload with that of my study.
As a writing major studying on-campus, I had an accessible and safe space to work on writing in a variety of contexts and chat about things that interested me on-air, such as science or art news.
It’s also a great way to take a break from a stressful workload and refresh your brain from assignments. This is a huge opportunity to buff up your resume with unique accomplishments and skill sets that can be hard to break into elsewhere while still a student – not many can claim to be able to talk live on-air and broadcast to a wide audience before they’re even 20.
5. What words of encouragement or wisdom would you offer to any current students considering volunteering with TuneFM?
I would offer the encouragement that working with a radio station is an opportunity that university students very rarely get, and it’s something you don’t want to miss out on while you still have the chance. I’d also add a reminder that you don’t have to jump into chatting on-air immediately, and you don’t have to be speaking in the studio to be able to get involved with TuneFM, so don’t feel discouraged about any shyness or stage fright as you enter your volunteer-ship. It’s totally normal to ease into it slowly, and fully normal to take breaks whenever you need them for assignment season or anything else. The beauty of volunteering with TuneFM, whether you’re an on-campus or online student, is that you have the flexibility to stay up to date with whatever else life and university throws at you. And, best of all, you’ll make connections that will stick with you beyond your degree, like I have!
TuneFM is always accepting new volunteers. To find out how you can get involved, check out their student opportunities or if you have any questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.