SWAPPING A MIC FOR A SPATULA PAYS OFF FOR KIM
KIM DENNISON Radio announcer to chef
Sometimes necessity is the mother of reinvention. Kim Dennison had been a radio announcer since she was 19, taking up her first position at 2VM Moree in 1980 after graduating from radio school.
Over the next 20 or so years, she worked at commercial radio stations from Townsville to Gosford and MMM in Sydney before landing a gig with ABC Gold Coast, where she was an on-air presenter for 10 years.
After a restructure, she found herself back in the commercial radio market, never the most secure of employment playgrounds, particularly for a single woman looking for a stable long-term income.
“I was driving up to Brisbane for radio work – I still loved radio – but I knew it was time to come up with a plan,” Kim says.
Kim, a passionate foodie and home cook, began a word-of-mouth catering business, testing her skills beyond her family and friends.
“I’ve always been passionate about food so I thought I’d do something I enjoyed doing,” Kim says.
From there, she started casual work in a cafe kitchen to upgrade her skills and supplement her radio shifts, which were mainly at nights and weekends. Her next big step was to formalise her qualifications. She enrolled in chef training through TAFE.
“That was a shock to the system,” Kim says. “Going to TAFE as an older woman in an environment with 17-year-olds, it’s quite tough.”
But Kim persisted with the workbooks and practical tests and graduated as a qualified chef. It roughly coincided with her radio employer Magic 882 announcing it was broadcasting networked programming from Melbourne, making all its on-air staff in Brisbane redundant in one fell swoop.
By then Kim was already set on her new path, working full-time in a cafe kitchen.
She’s now landed a dream job, the chef at Bluebird Early Education Centre, where she’s planning to use her creativity to get children to enjoy eating fun, healthy food.
She’s also still on air as a fill-in weekend presenter at ABC Gold Coast.
“I suppose that’s not bad to still be working in radio after 38 years,” she says. “I’m studying up on podcasting at the moment too so I can dabble in that. I’ve always liked being busy.”