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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.”

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