Deeper Read: A Graveyarder’s Lament
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve regrettably had to suspend any programs with rotating hosts, in order to reduce the number of people coming in and out of the Triple R studios. This includes The Graveyard Shift, which runs from 2am to 6am every night of the week, and is hosted by a rotating roster of 180 dedicated broadcast volunteers. Jamie McCarthy has been one of those dedicated hosts for the past five years. By day, he works at the Royal Children’s Hospital as a nurse.
WORDS JAMIE MCCARTHY
Reasons why I like The Graveyard.
I like listening to new music, discovering gems that I haven’t heard, even exploring sounds that make me feel uncomfortable. I get to do this on The Graveyard.
I like preparing for a show, maybe even planning the first and last track. I’ll write an intro and a short list of tunes I want to play and then I’ll stop but not really, because for the last month I find myself thinking about what to play on the next one. It always ends up being like “playing” Superfluity on my own.
I like “pretending” that I’m a broadcaster when I’m on air. I say shit like, Have you heard this or that? I like this or that... Have a listen to this. I’ve even put interviews to air in the middle of the night!
I like getting the Graveyarder ring-around. “Have a great show,” Nik (in the office) will tell me.
I DON’T exactly like waking up just before 1am, but I do like driving into the studio, listening to whoever is on 3RRR, what’s going on in their show. I often do a show on Sunday night/Monday morning, so I take over from Kim Little, aka HNYMLK. I like hearing her voice on the radio.
I like setting up in the studio after my chat with Kim, we always come up with the same handover process (“I'll just give a wave, babe!”), I throw some CDs on the floor and pick out the first track, put my notebook on the desk, cue up the Graveyard intro, then I’m all good.
I like playing the Graveyard intro. Spooky noises, then I’m into it, say the intro, thank HNYMLK, first track, the journey has begun.
New songs, some old tunes, a phone call maybe. Put on a long track so I can put on the dishwasher (for Geraldine) and have a wee.
Before too long it is just after 5am and I give a weather report (I put in as many Biggsy sayings as I can, “Melbourne and surrounds... dodgy… sweaty in the gusset…”).
On the home stretch, I am usually running out of time and have so many CD cases on the floor and other ways to play tunes open; I can’t possibly get through them all.
I wave to the Breakfasters on their way into the studio, have a chat. Sometimes I forget to cue songs or there is a bit of dead air as I am getting tired.
Final five minutes, say goodbye, thank 3RRR, and play the final tune. I tell Sarah how much I’m over or under 6am it will end.
I pack up and am out the door before the Breakfasters theme has finished and in the car on the way home, listening to the first bracket of tunes and the 6.15am chat break.
I listen to lots of Graveyarders: Iain McNicol, DJ Grand Master Vicious, Rachel Connor, Hugo Spiceland, Stuart Bant. They're my people, they understand why I miss it so much. I get a kick out of hearing them do fills. I work night shift, I listen to their shows live or on Radio On Demand.
I always feel great after a graveyard. I’m not doing it for pay, I’m not doing it for notoriety, I'm doing it because I love it. I know I have less listeners at this time but it isn’t about them, it’s about me.
It just makes me feel great. The positive psychology impact of volunteering has been talked about on Radiotherapy. I am living proof, it does give my psyche a boost whenever I do one or have one coming up.
I know why we can't do it, but… I just fucking miss it.