Talent

The Graduate Diploma in Radio Class of 2018:

Claudia Hirst

Claudia Hirst is working towards becoming a radio producer or newsreader at the ABC after completing the Graduate Diploma in Radio at AFTRS. She fell in love with radio after starting announcing at Ryde’s 2RRR at the age of 14, and has also produced for FBi Radio. Her passion for news and talk came while working at 2GB as a panel operator, and she always tries to find the weird and whacky stories in the daily news.

In her down time she drinks tea and listens to the radio, or hunts through social media for memes. She can talk your ear off about Japanese bullet trains and how badly we need them in Australia, or show you thousands of pictures of her dog Lulu.

My favourite show food…
I couldn’t pick a favourite, but I really love all the fresh fruit and vegetables available because they are they are the best of the best!

If I had my own showbag it’d be…
A bag that showcases all the best cheeses, pickles, salamis and antipasti – too much sugar hurts my teeth!

Who I’d like to take to the Show
I’d bring my dog Lulu so I could put her in the dog competition and have her win best in show! I think she would win but the judges might say otherwise!

 

Damon Sutton

Hailing from the sun soaked beaches of Western Australia, Damon first became interested in broadcasting after a stint at Curtin Fm, a station entirely geared towards seniors. After producing the drive show for six months, he decided to focus on university studies, completing a double degree in English and Communication at the University of Western Australia. Trading in $10.00 coffees and views of the Bell Tower for the bright lights of Sydney, Damon is now furthering his broadcasting experience through his enrolment at AFTRS (Australian Film Television and Radio School).

In his spare time, Damon is an amateur podcaster and avid comedy, music and arts fan.

You can find this small time Perth boy strolling the streets of Sydney mouth agape, marvelling at the low price of sushi and sizeable CBD taken for granted by Sydney-siders.

My favourite show food…

I would be remiss to say the Cheeseburger

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

A deep fried show bag with spring roll ingredients. Basically a giant spring roll.

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

I’d love to take Maggie Beer as she just seems equal parts sweet and knowledgeable in the culinary sphere.

 

Dean Johnston

Dean Johnston has a background in the Australian Defence Force and completed a Bachelor of Legal Studies at La Trobe University Melbourne. He is an avid film buff and supporter of the arts. Dean’s passion for veteran advocacy motivates his drive to develop greater avenues for veteran awareness within Australian media. Upon completion of the Graduate Diploma in Radio at AFTRS Dean aspires to mature as an industry professional in media and radio.

My favourite show food…
Piping hot Dagwood dog

If I had my own showbag it’d be…
Doughnut show bag, show bag full of doughnuts, vouchers to various doughnut stores where I there’s more doughnuts.. mmm doughnuts.

Who I’d like to take to the Show
My dad, we used to go when I was a kid and it was always the best fun ever!!!

 

Dylan Saville

Dylan is a Tasmanian born, music loving, beach dwelling, latte loving Graduate Diploma in Radio student at AFTRS.

Since finishing a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Theatre Studies at the University of Tasmania he has spent the last years managing several successful bars and restaurants and traveling the globe.

During his time growing up in Tasmania he established himself firmly within the arts community, whether it was in bands, local theatre, stand up comedy or the mascot for the most successful football team of the modern era. Though it was a stint at the local commercial radio station that inspired him to work in the Australian radio industry 

After a year living in Melbourne where he was involved in community radio stations PBS and 3RRR and made too many babycinos for undeserving toddlers, he now calls the harbour city home.

My favourite show food…

A solid jacket potato with the lot. Vegan of course.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…
Doughnut show bag, show bag full of doughnuts, vouchers to various doughnut stores where I there’s more doughnuts.. mmm doughnuts.

Who I’d like to take to the Show
Barnaby Joyce, to cheer him up and check out the beetroots.

Grant Maling

Grant is an aspiring television host, with an outgoing personality to match. He finished his secondary education as School Captain, and dived straight into university and completed a Bachelor of Media, majoring in Journalism and Communications. With eight years of community radio experience under his belt, Grant is no stranger to the industry but is hoping that the AFTRS Graduate Diploma in Radio will perfectly mesh the education with the experience.

Grant began at Gadigal Information Service (GIS) Koori Radio in 2009 as a Volunteer Broadcaster while also helping GIS with hosting various events and outside broadcasts. He then completed a two year traineeship at the Nine Network, dipping his toes in The Today Show, Mornings with Kerri-anne (before Mornings with Sonia and David) and in the news room. During university Grant did a one year internship at ABC working in the news room with various journalists for tv and radio news.

Grant currently lives in Sydney, represents NSW in Mens Netball and hopes to one day be the Australian version of Ellen Degeneres.

My favourite show food…

The $2 cheese toastie from the food hall, a must get while at the show.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

It would have chocolate, milk and a funky cup. Any chocolate, any milk, any cup, yum!

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

I’d love to bring Ellen Degeneres to the show for no particular reason other than I love her. 

 

Jack Schmidt

Jack is a writer with a Bachelor in Communications and International Studies from UTS. At University, Jack majored in writing and Latin American studies and completed an Honours project on bicycle politics in Sydney. He has work experience in Marketing and got his start in radio at community station 2ser 107.3.  Jack also volunteers for the Sydney Story Factory.

Jack is a news and current affairs junkie, especially interested in stories relating to sustainability, environmental politics and urban planning. In his spare time, he enjoys live comedy, bushwalking and getting out on the harbour in his old kayak.

In 2014, Jack lived and studied in Mexico, where he learnt Spanish and fell in love with Mexican culture and history. He also maintains a bit of High School German.

My favourite show food…

has gotta be the $2 cheese toasties, or a hot buttery corn on the cob

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

full of the best fresh produce and gold medal winning food entries from the Sydney Royal Easter Show – the best cheeses, cakes, condiments, fruit and confectionary.

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

My good friends from afar – from Mexico, Finland and Germany – to give them a taste of country Australia.

Jake Harvey

Jake Harvey grew up in Liverpool, located in the South-West of Sydney. At the age of 18 he completed work experience at 2GB with Alan Jones and knew that radio was where he wanted to be. In 2017, Jakcompleted an Advanced Diploma in Radio Essentials at AFTRS as well as doing Community Radio at 2GLF. He is currently studying the Graduate Diploma in Radio Full-Time at AFTRS 2018.

 Jake loves to play sport and has competed in both the State and National Cups for Oztag whilst in his free time loves to go out bushwalking, exploring and to the movies.

My favourite show food…

The lamb ribs as it is something I have always enjoyed and remember from my younger years of attending the show.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

A Willy Wonker showbag with items such as the everlasting gobstopper and the never melt ice-cream.

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

A Genie so I could wish for more people to be at the show of course.

Jerome Comisari

Jerome begun his media career with the ABC. After several roles at the ABC Jerome settled in News Archives. In this role Jerome worked for various ABC flagship programs including 7pm News, Lateline, 7:30, The Drum as well as other audience favourites. The main role of this job was to select compile and edit archival footage to be used in various News broadcasts.

After a few years in News Archives Jerome felt the desire to gain more skills and challenge himself professionally, and with the support of his supervisors he left the ABC to complete the Graduate Diploma in Radio at AFTRS.

My favourite show food…

hot chips, strictly in a bowl though, no potato on a stick.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

It’s a logistical nightmare but if I had my own show bag it would have to be chocolate milk related… not quite sure how that would work yet though… 

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

One of my brothers, doesn’t matter which one they’re both good value.

Julian Virgona

Hailing from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Julian Virgona grew up in the loud and overly enthusiastic Italian culture, birthing his zeal for conversation before his first words. His first love was for Psychology and the Italian language, which he studied as part of a Bachelor of Arts, graduating in 2017.

However, while in the final year of his course, Julian started volunteering at community radio station, Student Youth Network (SYN), which helped him realise that his passion truly lies in radio. At SYN, he produced and presented the breakfast show, Get Cereal, as well as his original show, Front & Centre. Julian’s time at SYN shaped him into a dynamic radio personality who loves being behind the microphone in any way, with extensive experience in editing audio, digital content production, and panelling. As soon as Julian finished his degree, he dived right into the radio industry. Julian’s first major step was when he received the AFTRS and SBS Bilingual Scholarship, earning him a place in the 2018 AFTRS Graduate Diploma in Radio, as well as an internship with SBS Italian.

Julian relishes in telling deep and introspective stories, and having discussions with every fascinating person he meets. In his spare time, Julian also thoroughly enjoys photography, reading, travel, video games, and anything pop culture.

My favourite show food…

Nutella Donuts. 

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

an Italian journey through Sydney, complete with a bottle of passata and olive oil, a mini pack of penne, a prosciutto and mozzarella panino topped with a mini Italian flag, and a nutella donut.

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

My dog Lulu to show her how a good pup behaves.

 

Katie Fleming

Katie is a country girl who grew up in Goulburn before heading to our nations capital to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree focused on Event Management, Advertising and Communications.

A 2-year stint in London followed where Katie travelled to many corners of the world. Her professional career and attributes flourished as she focused on project, time, team and talent management before returning to Sydney in 2010.

All of these experiences led Katie to the Graduate Diploma in Radio at AFTRS. She arrives in the radio world with 9 years experience as an Events and Marketing manager working across public relations, telecoms, professional services and health.

Call it a career change, call it a mid life crisis, Katie is here and excited for everything that lies ahead.

Katie’s mother has been a music teacher for 45 years and her father is a Roy Orbison super fan, so a love of music is in her blood. She is also fanatical about the food and wine scene in her beloved Sydney and is ready to chat anything Harry Potter at all times!

My favourite show food…

Grapes are food. Grapes are in wine. Therefore wine is food. So, definitely wine.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

It would be a tour of Sydney for your tastebuds, full of all my favourite Sydney bites! Bourke Street bakery sausage roll, pear and rhubarb ice cream from Messina, a beer from Young Henrys and the insanely moorish chilli caramel pork belly from China Doll… mmm… 

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

My friend Pati because she loves fun more then anyone else I know and would make sure we rode every scary ride, ate every interesting food, met every fascinating person and had an absolute blast at the wine bar!

 

Leah Porges

Growing up in Sydney’s north shore, Leah’s passion for all things radio started in 2012 when she discovered Smallzy’s Surgery on Nova. Since then, she has volunteered at Northside Radio as a co-producer of the Thursday drive show and interned twice at 2UE as producer of the morning show.

Leah has completed a Bachelor of Arts – Media at Macquarie University and is now studying radio full time at AFTRS.

In her spare time she loves drinking coffee, patting dogs and catching up on Netflix.

My favourite show food…

Pluto Pup.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

It would be full of sushi – I’m not quite sure how that would work though. 

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

I’d love to bring my 16 year old beagle Toby to the show – he’d help with the cleanup! 

 

Maria Dimitrakas

Maria Dimitrakas is your gal for all things music and culture.

She’s spent the past two and a bit years at Sydney’s cultural hub, FBi Radio; as Executive Producer of Mornings, Producer of Thursday Mornings and more recently as a presenter, promoting the best Australian music, femme bops and appreciation of Kanye West.

Maria is a passionate advocate of mental health awareness after spending two years as a member of the Youth reference Group at Headspace Hurstville.

She is always open for a chat about intersectional feminism, superheroes, part-time veganism and aussie celebs.

Maria completed a short Announcing and Presentation course at AFTRS in 2016, Graduating from the Advanced Diploma of Radio Essentials at AFTRS in 2017. She is currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Radio at AFTRS in 2018.

My favourite show food…

Are the ones on display so expect updates on the cake decorating competitions and of course, the fruit and vegetable artworks (but seriously, that is all I want to talk about).

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

A bag with a giant picture of Simon Baker’s face on it and perhaps some Homus.

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…

We’ve established that I would take Simon Baker but I think it would be more entertaining if Cardi B came along.

 

Pariya Taherzadeh

Pariya is Sydney based, Iranian born, radio announcer, presenter and, speed dating host!

Pariya comes from a diverse background of industries including banking, criminal law and health. In 2014 she decided to chase her dreams of getting into media and entertainment. Throughout the next 3 years Pariya worked at Fairfax and Southern Cross Austereo. Pariya also presented her own show on Bondi Radio.

As the recipient the 2018 Selwyn Speight Diversity Scholarship, Pariya was awarded a bequest to contribute to study and living expenses whilst completing the Graduate Diploma in Radio course as well as a one year contract with the ABC.

My favourite show food…

Cheese burger pies.

If I had my own showbag it’d be…

It would be a ‘Shoe-bag’ preferably by Jimmy Choo – hopefully you can get it on layby. 

Who’d you’d love to bring to the Show…
Mr G or Jamaie from Summer Heights High! I’d definitely take them on the horror rides!