The sec­ond I sat down ... I thought, ‘ Wow, I do like this’

The Irish Times Magazine - - BEAUTY -

The Time of My Life is a weekly col­umn about a mo­ment that changed some­one’s life – for the bet­ter or the worse.

Imoved to Ire­land in Fe­bru­ary 1999... I’ll have to do some­thing next year in cel­e­bra­tion. I had never done any ra­dio in Canada, where I had just grad­u­ated from uni­ver­sity. I al­ways wanted to be creative, as I’m not a very log­i­cal per­son. I met this guy who said he was look­ing for creative writ­ers, and that’s what ev­ery­one dreams of do­ing. He knew a guy who was Cana­dian and who worked in Phan­tom [ FM]. He put me in con­tact with him, and so I met [ the DJ] Sin­is­ter Pete at a bus stop out­side the old Screen cin­ema. He said, “We’ll go to the ra­dio sta­tion and have a look.” He was look­ing for women to be on air, which was big prob­lem back then. I re­mem­ber re­ally need­ing to go to the bath­room and think, “I’ll just wait.”

We get on the dou­ble- decker bus, and go all the way to to Sandy­ford. Then we went down a road, go into some­one’s back­yard. The ra­dio sta­tion was a shed. I was like “for Christ’s sake!” He opened this door and I re­mem­ber at the time on air was Cor­mac Bat­tle. He looked kind of in­sane, stuck in a shed for three hours. I was think­ing: “Oh man, I’ve made a big mis­take here.” But the sec­ond I sat down and saw the equip­ment, that feel­ing of flip­ping up the mic, I thought, “Wow, I do like this.” That led to get­ting my indie pro­gramme and then my more main­stream pro­gramme on To­day FM. I wanted to be on mic.

I played in bands in uni­ver­sity and high school. I loved my mu­sic and I knew my mu­sic. Back then, a lot of peo­ple were do­ing [ ra­dio] for the love to it, the cre­ativ­ity around it. We didn’t have Twit­ter, In­sta­gram – we were the con­tent cre­ators. I did it for the love of that and the love of mu­sic. I didn’t want to change my name or have fancy bells and whis­tles. I wanted it to be real, be au­then­tic, be my­self on air. It was like a golden age.

I re­mem­ber things like bring­ing back the Ar­cade Fire al­bum, Fu­neral, from Canada and play­ing it for the first time. I re­mem­ber play­ing a Bren­dan Ben­son track for the first time. And then there was the Ir­ish mafia – The Frames, Turn, Bell X1 – Phan­tom had this net­work of per­son­ali- ties who were also great mu­si­cians, and we were the con­duit for that. This is pre- Net­flix pre- Net­flix, so at night­time we had re­ally ded­i­cated, loyal fo­cused lis­ten­ers.

I still love ra­dio, ob­vi­ously I do. I love con­nect­ing with peo­ple, talk­ing to peo­ple, that’s why I stayed it in it as long as I have. Def­i­nitely get­ting on that bus is the mo­ment that changed my ca­reer path.

Ali­son Cur­tis is an am­bas­sador for the 2018 Team Hope Shoe­box Ap­peal. The Shoe­box Ap­peal asks peo­ple to do­nate gift- filled shoe­boxes to chil­dren in some of the poor re­gions in the world by Novem­ber 9th. For more in­for­ma­tion about the Team Hope Christ­mas Shoe­box Ap­peal or to get in­volved, please visit www. teamhope. ie

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