GOLDEN YEARS: Craig Brown.
GOLDEN YEARS: Craig Brown.

Golden voice of Craig Brown

A LIFETIME in marketing and sales has set up retiree Craig Brown to delve into the world of volunteer radio.

Each week the 69-year-old presents his Golden Years program on Sydney's not-for-profit Radio Northern Beaches station 88.7FM.

Craig has the perfect voice for delivering a smooth program of music and interviews. It's clear, relaxed and confident.

"I continue to use all the (professional) skills that I have picked up along the way," he said.

He comes from 25 years working on large accounts for several big name Australian advertising agencies before moving into working for the Welsh Government in Australia.

"I identified Australian companies that were looking to have a physical footprint somewhere in English-speaking Europe," Craig said. "From there I got a group together that looked likely to go to the UK and I sold those companies on considering Wales as a destination for some sort of operation."

When three years ago a random conversation turned to the idea of him volunteering at 88.7FM, Craig headed off to do the station's training workshop to find out how a radio station operated.

The opportunity captured Craig's imagination, so he threw himself into developing a one-hour program where he interviews people who fascinate him and includes that person's choice of music.

Not all his interviewees are high profile, many are everyday people with a fascinating story to share. "Mostly I wander around meeting people," Craig said. He also looks to his local community for ideas and recommendations for people across genders and ages.

"There's nothing more stimulating that talking to young people and finding out what they are doing," he added.

It's quite a commitment. He can easily spend up to seven hours to prepare for one interview.

Firstly, Craig gets the interviewee to supply their background information. "I like to start with the parents as I find if you understand their parent's background it changes the way you discuss them and their family," Craig said.

He then records his interview face-to-face using his mobile phone. Luckily, his partner's eldest daughter runs the digital help service Grandaids so she was able to help Craig learn how to use the latest technology both on his iphone and then on his computer to bring the interview and music tracks together in readiness for emailing to the radio station for them to share it with listeners.

"It's been a learning curve," Craig said. "I know, you have got to get with it or stand on the sidelines."

The radio work has also led him into recording people's story.

"Having a person's view of their own life and their own journey, there is only one person who can do that, and so many think 'I wish I got pop in his own voice tell his story'," Craig said. As a result he now creates a unique recordings for families.

Away from the radio Craig runs a one-man business Helpful Drivers which transports local elderly people to medical appointments and social outings. "I had been looking for something to do that would give back a bit through the community," he said. And he enjoys listening to his client's stories.

"One of the guys I drive around was in the bombardiers in Germany. My latest client was head of oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and now he is going to treatment there. Both of those gentlemen are in their 90s so they really have a wealth of knowledge to impart."

"It's not something I am forced to do," Craig added. "It keeps me active and I am learning. Having a real purpose, something to do and something that helps other people, and keeping abreast of everything is part of the secret," he added.

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