Board profile: Di Collins

Wed, 25 September 2019

Di Collins Web

2RPH Chair Di Collins kindly shares her story about her love for radio, her start at 2RPH and her exciting next chapter.

"The early years of my childhood were spent in north-western NSW (Upper Horton - outside Barraba, and Hallsville - outside Tamworth) without electricity, town water, telephone communications or other mod cons. However, we did have my parent’s jumbo portable radio, with a monster battery, that required a stringent rationing of listening time to conserve the battery. My ABC radio diet then consisted of news and an English language program for immigrants which followed; and at school: a program called ‘Singing together’ which Dad, as teacher in the one-teacher school, had us all listen to…every week.

Mum on the other hand thought elocution classes were the one thing to teach us how ‘to speak properly’ and each week my sister and I’d be dragged into town to a teacher who taught various poems and exercises to ‘round my vowels’ and recite such tongue-twisters as ‘Betty Botter bought some butter’ etc.(look it up on the web, it’s actually there.)

A transfer for my father to Sydney meant living with grandfather and his wonderful electric radio. The radio was a treasured piece of furniture which dominated the dining room and to which we’d all gather to listen to the news and radio plays…mostly soap serials (Portia faces life; Dad and Dave; Blue Hills), drama (Friday night Playhouse) and kids programs (Tarzan). My fascination for the magic of radio had firmly taken hold, but I could still only listen when permitted.

At university I was given the chance to have a program on Radio UNE…. purely because I ‘spoke nicely’ (thank you Mum for those ghastly elocution classes).  I was totally hooked to being on air and to learning how it all worked. Had there been a radio journalism course at the time I would have taken it. However, a teaching career was in store in the UK and Western Sydney before I took the opportunity to work producing educational publications for teachers and children with the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Department of Environment (then called State Pollution) on the ‘Do the Right Thing’ campaign.

It was at this point I became involved, fleetingly, with 2RPH as a reader…mostly during late afternoon/early evenings at the studios on Blues Point Road in North Sydney.

More time with government (the then NSW Department of Consumer Affairs) working on community education led to working with American Express leading their Public Affairs function for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific; and then with the NRMA with responsibility for Corporate Affairs and Publications.

Returning to Australia in 2011 from communications work with the UK Government, I became reacquainted with 2RPH and the much more sophisticated operation that it had become: paid staff; auditions and pre-recorded programs. It was impressive, engaging and I knew I wanted to be more involved.

Being on the Board has been a privilege as well as illuminating and inspiring. It hasn’t been all plain-sailing and nor will it continue to be, however, the collegiality, commitment and diversity of those on the Board has ensured solutions to the issues we’ve faced, and will no doubt face, can be found.

I’m about to conclude my time in Corporate Affairs and Communications with a superannuation fund, where I’ve been for the past few years. I’m looking forward to spending time with my two-year-old grandson and excited about working closely with the 2RPH team, board and volunteers to build our finances, deliver more new programs and widen our audience."