HOW I MAKE IT WORK... TV host Marc Fen­nell on putting his family first.

WHEN HIS FLOUR­ISH­ING CA­REER BE­GAN TO TAKE A TOLL ON HIS FAMILY LIFE, THE 31-YEAR-OLD TV AND RADIO PRE­SEN­TER DE­CIDED TO CHANGE DI­REC­TION AND FOLLOW A PATH CLOSE TO HIS HEART

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - as told to Vic­to­ria Han­naford Marc co-hosts The Feed, 7.30pm week­nights, on SBS Vice­land.

When I was 15, I turned on the radio, heard Triple J for the first time and was ob­sessed. From that point, the only thing I wanted was to be their on-air film re­viewer.

That dream came true. When I heard my voice on radio? Oh, my god. It was just a two-minute seg­ment, but know­ing it reached nearly three mil­lion peo­ple mul­ti­ple times a week meant so much.

Soon I was des­per­ate to branch out. I also wanted to write books, mount a com­edy show and find my way to TV. In 2009, they all happened. Then I asked my now-wife, Madeleine, to marry me.

I met Madeleine when I was 17. We were work­ing in com­mu­nity radio. She was a pro­ducer then and now – not to men­tion an amaz­ing man­ager. How she han­dles our lives leaves me in awe. She’s the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of our lives.

I kept get­ting work: I launched a new ABC radio pro­gram in 2012. The fol­low­ing year, SBS came along with a host­ing gig on The Feed. My wife was not wild about the im­pact nightly TV would have on us. It is a big life­style change, but pro­fes­sion­ally speak­ing it was worth it; the show went on to be nom­i­nated for Walk­ley Awards and Lo­gies.

In 2014, our son came along in the midst of the mad­ness. As par­ents who were used to work­ing – a lot – things were hard. Then came our daugh­ter, So­phie, who’s now 10 months old.

It fi­nally be­came ev­i­dent about a year ago that some­thing had to give for the sake of family; months be­fore I made the de­ci­sion to wrap up my time with Triple J, Madeleine and I were broach­ing the idea. It took me a long time to come to terms with who I might be away from my job there – a decade on, it had come to de­fine me. But I came to re­alise that one more night spent work­ing at Triple J meant one more night spent away from my kids.

Chang­ing my ca­reer led to a change in my in­ter­ests, too. I’m now part of Me­dia

Di­ver­sity Aus­tralia, a not-for-profit with the goal of help­ing the Aus­tralian me­dia look more like its pub­lic. When I was grow­ing up, no­body on main­stream TV looked like me ex­cept for [news pre­sen­ter] Indira Naidoo. I don’t want to be the guy whinge­ing about the prob­lem any­more. I want to help find so­lu­tions. Look at it this way: I spent enough time as a critic. Now I’d rather be some­one who con­structs.

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