Q&A With Tim Higgins

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M.K Smith

Tim Higgins, 2SER’s first full-time host, will begin his daily breakfast show on Monday 17 June. We spoke to him about what to expect from his radio show.

Congratulations on landing the job of 2SER’s first full-time presenter.

Thank you!

What can we expect from your breakfast show?

It’s going to be a pretty cool mix of things, really. 2SER always has this really great, diverse range of music and it’s still going to be like that, but it’s going to have a whole lot more consistency than has been on 2SER before. I’m the first full-time, paid presenter for 2SER, so hopefully I’ll be able to become a bit of a regular voice in people’s mornings. That’s my ultimate goal.

You’re going to get great, diverse music and intelligent talks, I’m hoping! It’s going to be slightly more intelligent than the stuff that’s out there on the breakfast radio market. And there’s going to be a whole bunch of [things about] Sydney as well – Sydney food. In my personal opinion, there is nowhere near enough food on the radio. I’ve got a few of Sydney’s top food bloggers signed up and we’re going to have a recipe segment.

It’s really going to explore parts of Sydney you’re not going to see on other radio stations. I think it’s going to be a nice little mix of things and hopefully it’s going to fill a bit of a gap that’s in the Sydney radio market at the moment.

What kind of intelligent talks can we look forward to?

Well, it’s not going to be boring. That’s all I’m going to say! I don’t want to associate ‘intelligent’ with ‘boring’.

We’re going to explore issues and do it in a quick and fun way. Hopefully we can explore the issue of same-sex marriage and marriage equality and not do it in a way that’s boring. We can actually be like ‘why do we still live in a country where it’s not allowed’, exploring things like that, issues that I think people are always going to be interested in, but exploring them in a way that people don’t get bored.

To be completely honest, I get really bored when I hear a lot of places talking about these issues which I think are really important and everyone has a connection to. Hopefully 2SER Breakfast can explore it in a way where people will be engaged.

How do you think 2SER is different from commercial radio?

[Laughs] Less fart sound effects, less prank calls. Obviously there’s a lot less pressure and that’s one of the reasons why I took this job, you can really explore some different things that wouldn’t be really viable on a commercial station.

Music is a big part of it, I’m sorry to say but we’re not going to be playing Justin Bieber. 2SER is actually pretty famous for its diverse music. There might be some really good up-and-coming bands. 2SER might be where lots of musicians get their break. We’re generally playing stuff that might’ve ended up on commercial radio, but 2SER played it a year before. For example, Gotye ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, I remember playing that and saying ‘what is this?’ A year later it’s the biggest song in the world.

I think it’s just a little bit more intelligent, sorry to keep throwing that word around, but 2SER is just a little bit less stupid. Now the commercial stations are going to come after me! I’m just hoping to do something just a little less immature, I don’t think everyone really likes that sort of stuff.

How much work goes into producing a three-hour breakfast show?

Lots. I keep getting people saying to me ‘oh that’s great, just three hours a day, you’re done by 9am’. I wish it was like that! You’re generally there 4-4.30 in the morning, and depending on the day, you can be there until late at night.

It always depends. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes because you’ve got to be consistently onto what’s happening. If something is happening at 7pm, a politician has quit or gay marriage has been legalised in Australia… If that stuff happens, I don’t want to be there the next day and be completely behind. There’s a lot of preparation behind the scenes.

What have you done to prepare?

I’ve been getting up early again, building a lot of ideas for segments, getting regular guests and familiar voices for people to wake up to in the morning, so whether that’s food bloggers or regular talents. I’ve started preparing stories but with radio it’s always quite immediate and that’s one of the great things of radio.

Any confirmed guests so far?

None that I can really give away! On Monday we might be talking about a pretty cool story, I’ll be speaking to some guy in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Can’t really confirm why I’m talking to him, but it’s a really interesting story, based on a movie and a book that you’ve probably seen. This guy has an involvement with that, but I won’t give too much away. It’ll be revealed on Monday next week.

How did you get into this position?

I’ve been a volunteer at 2SER for quite a few years. I actually started here (Macquarie University’s 2SER station), not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I’m still not 100% sure, I don’t think anyone ever really is! But I walked in here and I fell in love with the place. Before I knew it I was on air hosting a show. I started hosting a regular show about Australian music and I started to become really passionate about radio.

I think that’s what’s really great about 2SER, it starts so many careers. Pretty much everyone you speak to who now works in radio, so many of them get their start here or somewhere else in community radio. I’ve been at the ABC for two years, and producing at Radio National Breakfast for just over one year, which is a pretty great place to learn. In terms of hectic breakfast radio shows, I pretty much learnt at the craziest one in Australia.

When this job came up I thought ‘wow, wouldn’t it be awesome for me to return to 2SER, the place where it all started for me’. To have the opportunity to be the first full-time presenter at 2SER was such an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad that it’s actually happening. I’m still in a little bit of shock, I can’t believe it. It’s such a cool opportunity and I just really hope I can do it well and not let people down.

What did you study at Macquarie University?

I studied media here, and I was studying radio. The student broadcasts was my first time ever on the radio. I graduated first semester of last year.

Macquarie radio is one of the big reasons why I got started in radio. Virginia Madsen, the lecturer and all the radio tutors – they were the people that made me think ‘maybe I can do this as well’. If it wasn’t for the combination of that and 2SER I never would’ve gotten into radio. I’m very grateful for both of them.

What do you like to do when you’re not busy working?

Music is a huge part of my life. I play in a bit of a shitty punk band. That’s something that people don’t really know about me, because I don’t really seem like the most ‘punk’ guy. I play in a band calledBachelor Pad.

My life has been all radio for the past little bit. Music is a big part of it, just sitting at home and putting on a record – yes I still listen to records! I watch a lot of TV when I have time. There’s nothing more I love and enjoy in life than eating food and exploring restaurants in Sydney’s outer suburbs.

I love throwing a Frisbee in the park, relaxing. I try and do as much relaxing as I can because I kind of really need it. Otherwise my mind will implode.

When does the show start?

Next Monday (17 June 2013) 6-9am, Monday to Friday.

[With the] early mornings, [my] coffee addiction is going to get out of control again. It should be a whole lot of fun. I think this will be something people will like, I hope it is. This is a cool station and I’m glad to be a big part of that now.

You can listen to 2SER ON 107.3 FM. If 6-9am is just too darn early for you, you can always check out 2SER’s podcasts here.

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