The Herald’s Q&A
Hugh, Stephen and Stephanie of the OZFM Rush give us a rundown of radio life, the station’s devoted fanbase and their own personal playlists.
Q: Talk about the chemistry in the group. You guys seem really tight knit and bounce off of each others ideas.
Stephen: We have an interesting chemistry. For people that listen for the first time, it might seem like we hate each other sometimes because of how much we tease and bug each other, but it’s really like a sibling rivalry. It is really fun every day, though, and it’s nice working with people and everything going exactly as it should. It’s like a well-oiled machine, if parts of that machine really liked picking on the others.
Stephanie: It’s like we always worked together! We get tons of emails and voice messages from people saying how funny the show is or how much they enjoy listening and that’s really cool because I’m so comfortable that sometimes I even forget we have an audience. It’s like we are sitting around having a coffee and a yarn… Actually never mind that is EXACTLY what we do, just add weather news and traffic! hahaha!
Hugh: The chemistry on air has never been better. Stephen, Stephanie, and I have a lot of fun together on the air and off the air, so when we turn on the mics, the transition is seamless.
Q: OZFM and The Rush are apart of and conduct many great giveaways, trips, etc. How is it seeing/hearing a listener win, seeing their reaction, etc?
Stephen: It is one of the coolest parts of the job. You wake up in the morning just expecting it to be a normal day, then your phone rings and we’re on the other end telling you that you’re going to Australia or that you’ve won $10,000. Nothing beats that. We feel a little bit like Ellen every time we do a big grand prize draw. It never gets old.
Stephanie: One of the best parts of the job is giving away Powertrips or anything for that matter …. I’ve always been the type of person who loves giving gifts – I mean come on Christmas IS my season !!! Pay Your Bills in the fall was maybe one of my favourite things we’ve ever done. The night before the show I would start thinking about what accent I was gonna use and then not be able to sleep because I’m was excited! I love this job so much! It’s actually a deadly job!
Hugh: Hearing the reaction of a person who just won something they’ve been dreaming about is absolutely unreal. The combination of disbelief, energy, and pure joy never gets old.
Q: What’s your thoughts on the island’s music scene? Lots of great stuff right now.
Stephen: Newfoundland’s music scene is constantly changing and reinventing itself, it’s so interesting to watch. It’s also so interesting because Newfoundland is such a small place, but the music scene is so diverse. I love that.
Stephanie: Our local music scene is absolutely insane right now … I don’t even know where to start. From Jerry Stamp, Matthew Byrne, Hey Rosetta!, Sherman Downey, Isle of Ease, Port of Call, I mean I could go on forever! This Island is blocked with talent and the music they are playing is on or with anyone we play …. I’m so proud to be from Newfoundland, especially with our music scene.
Hugh: Newfoundland’s music scene right now is really fun to keep up with because there’s so much going on. Every time I check out a handful of new bands, someone tells me about 5 more groups I hadn’t heard of yet. If you want constant new music in a huge variety of genres, Newfoundland is the place to be.
Q: What would we find on your playlist?
Stephen: My playlist is extremely eclectic. I try to give everything the benefit of the doubt at first. I have been loving Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, it was my favourite from 2015. I’m also really excited for some new music from Kanye West. Apart from that, I love listening to all the awesome Canadian talent that’s on the international stage right now like Drake and The Weeknd.
Hugh: My musical taste is really all over the place. Pop, rock, rap, metal, r&b, blues, whatever. When I put my music library on shuffle, my roommates probably think I’m insane. It’ll go from Rihanna to Black Sabbath. I really don’t understand people who limit themselves in terms of musical style.
Stephanie: On my private playlist? Hmm, it’s a very eclectic mix. From Macklemore to ACDC to Ivory Hours to The Mahones …. I love all music!
Q: What is on your list for life outside of the job? What can we find you doing on your days off?
Stephen: I love spending time with my partner, Rebecca, and our dog, Murray. We don’t even have to be doing anything special, I just love hanging out with them. I’m also a huge hockey fan, so I love watching the game or reading about it. I’m finishing up Tie Domi’s book Shift Work, it’s a fascinating read.
Stephanie: Days off, I’m a winter gal!! I love going to the cabin, or in the summer camping!!! I love a nice fire in the snow bundled up outsid !!! And The Lumberjack and I like to take our American Bulldog Jada to the park and watch her be silly in the snow. Believe it or not I’ve slowed my life down a bit the past two years and am trying to enjoy the simple things. I’m still super busy but my down town is with my little LumberFamily.
Hugh: I’m really not much of a homebody – I’m always on the move. One of my favourite things to do is go for walks around downtown St. John’s. In fact, if you see a guy walking around Duckworth wearing a Leafs sweater, headphones on, and a coffee in one hand, that’s probably me.
Q: Advice for those young readers, listeners, etc, who may want to break in to a career in radio?
Stephen: Focus on your education before you make any attempts to break in to a career. Education is the most important thing in life. After that, work hard on honing your craft, making your demo, and then becoming the next radio superstar!
Stephanie: My advice?? Since I was five I’ve been pretending to be a Radio DJ. Never too early to start! I have all the recordings on a tape. I believe in getting an education! I have eight years post secondary in the arts. I always took every opportunity to be front and centre and to learn from people in the business when I could! Never stop learning! I have a huge personality so it works for radio. As for the technical side of things? There are many schools you can go to and learn all the tricks of the trade! Orrrrrr email me and we have a chat firstname.lastname@example.org! (laughs out loud).
Hugh: If you’re an outgoing person who wants to get into radio, I definitely encourage you to follow that path, it’s a great career! Seek out volunteering opportunities, always be paying attention to what makes the pros successful, and look for any opportunity to get involved. One great way to start out is with the OZFM Summer Cruiser Team. Put in an application and who knows where it could lead.