Animates: Our memorable interviews

Fri, 27 April 2018

Animates StoryThe 30-minute program focuses on the stories of people who live with a disability and who find owning or being close to an animal helpful for everyday life. The interviews are brought to the air by a dedicated team of volunteers, who we spoke with to uncover their most memorable stories producing for Animates.

Jo Van Kool has been a stalwart of the Animates team, keeping it all together until finding support with Josef, Katie, Shimon, Sarah and Elaine. While all of Jo’s interviews have proven to be both informative and a joy to produce, one of her most memorable in terms of subject matter was with ‘Minddog’. “I thought it wasn’t going to be a good one as I initially had difficulty ‘clicking’ with the interview subject and sensed she was reluctant, but she turned out to be just fantastic, with so much to offer by way of interest for our listeners.”

Shimon, Elaine and Sarah joined the Animates team at the end of 2017 after a personal call-out looking for Animates members. “[I joined Animates because] I have always been fascinated by how our pets invariably change our lives for the better. Animates gives me the opportunity to explore that further,” Shimon said. “It also helps me understand the breadth and depth of that very special relationship.”

Volunteer newsreader for Saturday’s Features Forum, Elaine Wziontek decided to join the Animates team so she could use her former journalism training and interview skills as well as learn some radio announcing and editing skills. She has enjoyed researching animal stories and finding potential interviewees. “I am discovering there is a lot more to pet therapy and dog training than I realised. It’s been proven that owning pets has physical and mental health benefits,” she said. “Shy kids can improve their communication skills by teaching a dog tricks. Dogs are less likely to respond if you mumble and forget to smile.”

Shimon has conducted two interviews for Animates so far, with both of his guests a delight to learn and chat with. “Sam Bloom overwhelmed me with her courage, strength and authenticity, without sugar-coating what she and her family have been through,” he said. “Adrienne Cottell (of Molly Polly fame) struck me with her dedication, resilience and resourcefulness to keep her twin daughters Hannah and Olivia healthy and happy with Type 1 diabetes. I just hope my interviews succeeded in sharing their stories.”

For Sarah, who joined the team because of her belief in the power of human and animal interaction, she found her interview with Faye Yarroll and Sydney, her hearing dog, to be her most memorable. “[Faye] is an inspiring person with an incredibly positive attitude to living with a disability,” Sarah said. “Modern technology has helped her hear for most of the time and Sydney gives her friendship all the time, plus the security to help her live a normal life. She devotes a lot of her time to speaking in public, informing others of the assistance available to them.”

While it’s the presenters voices you hear, such as Jo, Shimon, Elaine and Sarah, there are two voices behind Animates you don’t hear but who are just as important. Josef is Animates’ designated researcher, who helps source stories and interviews. With a background as a research librarian, Josef is well suited to the challenging task of finding items for use in Animates. “My method is internet search engines to find relevant items as well as the use of keywords and phrases, but I also check various newspapers (local and network) and news websites.”

Josef keeps the stories and interview guests coming in for Animates while Katie ensures the recording of the program runs smoothly. “As the technical producer for Animates I help with putting together different pieces of audio – theme music, interviews and additional readings,” she said. “The thing I enjoy most about working on Animates is teaching people how to make radio. It helps that my students are so enthusiastic, and each has their own talents they bring to the program while trying to create a consistent overall style. We like to have a friendly approach in providing interesting stories and useful information for our listeners.”

Animates airs on 2RPH (100.5 FM, 1224 AM, and Digital) on alternate Sundays at 5:30pm and is repeated on alternate Tuesdays at 7pm. Hear all the latest interviews from Animates here