Gretchen Miller (presenter/producer Into the Music, producer 360documentaries, Hindsight) thought radio would be the best ‘real job’ possible when she finished her Bachelor of Music in composition in the 1990s. She then spent the next decade travelling around Australia and around the world, writing music and working in print journalism. Her first radio break was as a 6 month artist-in-residence at ABC Audio Arts, in 1999.
Since then she’s worked in every unit across RN from Late Night Live to All in the Mind but has settled to her great delight in the features unit. She makes documentaries using poetry, sound, music and story telling as their building blocks. Gretchen has a passion for stories of the landscape and environment, and her work in this area has been played on radio stations in Europe, and performed live on stage at the Studio, Sydney Opera House. ‘The Ghost Songs’ was a finalist in the Prix Italia International documentary feature category in 2008, and Birdland won gold for environmental documentary at the New York Radio Festival.
Gretchen has in the past few years developed a kind of radio generated through social media and listener call outs, and enjoys the rapport developed with the contributors, who bring unique and original writing and ideas to the airwaves. She’s been experimenting with the form through various projects: Trees I’ve Loved, Birdland, City Nights, The Rivers and Ariadne Projects, all of which you can listen to via the RN website.
Hi, what’s your name?
Where do you hail from?
Who do you work for?
Tell us a bit about you – how did you get to where you are today?
I came to the ABC originally as an artist in residence via the Australia Council – 6 months to compose and write a one hour program – luxury! That was in 1999, and after that I kind of refused to leave, using my previous work as a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald as leverage to get me into daily radio – Late Night Live was my first target, and after that I worked all over the network filling in where I was needed, all the while making radio documentaries to air on Radio Eye and the Listening Room (now combined into 360documentaries). And finally I scored a permanent position in the arts and features unit.
What are your career highlights?
Working here, really – one long career highlight. But putting my radiophonic arts work on at the Sydney Opera House a couple of times was pretty exciting. Editing a book for release next year is also pretty cool.
Who or what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?
The view of the sky, the sun streaming onto the bed (ok, the cat gets me up in the morning. My son knows better…).
Which other storytellers do you admire?
So many – Sherre Delys, Natalie Kestecher, Jane Ulman… and that’s just at my workplace
What do you plan to share at Storyology?
How to approach a story as a radio story – how to write for radio, how to create a sound world for the story to sit in – how to listen, and how to interview.
Where can we find you?
Website/blog: abc.net.au/radionational – just search for my stuff
LinkedIn: Gretchen Miller – lots of links to recent projects and programs here