Humans of the Wheatbelt - Terry Siva

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

I work for triple M radio here in Northam and have lived here now for fifteen months.My parents are from Burma and I was born in Subiaco. After leaving school I studied Electronics at North Metro TAFE. I realized that Electrical Engineering was just too hectic and I was working full time so I tried to study just part time, later dropping out.I had a variety of jobs during this time including working as a pizza delivery driver, gardener as well as being a machine operator at Perth Mail Centre. I applied to join the Navy but was turned down because they wanted me to complete my electrical units at TAFE. This was all before I got into radio.

I've loved radio since I was about 12. The immediacy it delivers and the impact it can have in the community is tremendous. I did a short broadcasting course at Murdoch University and volunteered for community radio for 89.7 for two years. At that time was attending another broadcasting course at North Metropolitan TAFE.

Once I finished I thought I'd go on an adventure and attempted to do the Bibbulmun track. I completed 135 kilometers of the trail before I had to give it up due to illness. I made it as far as North Bannister. I'd still love to complete the rest of the track down to Albany....one day!

After attempting the track, I lived in Albany for a few months working in a supermarket and voicing radio commercials on the side.I moved back to Perth and I started doing work experience with RED FM and then was able to do casual early morning shifts for six months.

I was broadcasting to remote areas of Western Australia, reporting on cyclone warnings. When you are doing those types of shifts you have to appear calm so as not to panic the listeners.

In 2008 my breakthrough came in the form of a job offer in Geraldton by WA FM. I loved it up there. I also had to do some creative writing, working on commercials and production as well. I stayed in Geraldton for 2 years and during that time I graduated to doing breakfast radio on Spirit in 2009. I have been doing breakfast shows ever since.

A year later, I decided I wanted to try my hand somewhere else and moved to Far North Queensland to the town of Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. This is an area that used to have a significant tobacco industry until 2004. There was never any shortage of good fruit such as bananas and mangos or seafood like barramundi.

I was in QLD when Cyclone Yasibattered the coast and was on the radio during this major weather event. That was very hectic and we were lucky that the weather system made a southerly turn, otherwise the city of Cairns and surrounding areas would have received significant damage.

The heartbreak that comes out of major disasters is overwhelming. It's one thing to see on the news but another to actually live it and have people ring you for help with things like finding accommodation. Even though we didn't get a lot of damage in our immediate area, the days and months after Cyclone Yasi were pretty somber and the recovery took quite a while in North Queensland.

In September 2011 I had a health scare and it taught me to slow down and look at life a bit differently.

In 2013, I received a job offer to return to work for RadioWest (Now Triple M) in Albany and surprised my parents by moving back to Western Australia. I worked there until 2018 when I made the change to Northam.

One of the best times in my life was when I visited my parents' home country, Burma. It was very overwhelming but very rewarding to see where my parents lived before, they moved to Australia. Three years ago, I travelled to Europe and saw the sights. The Eifel Tower was nice, and the Coliseum was very interesting.

What I love about Northam is the weather. It is always bright and sunny and even the winters aren't too cold. Being in radio in the wheatbelt I enjoy learning the stories that come out of the smaller communities out here. It is good to get out to those areas and get involved in the life out there. I also enjoy the shows out here. The agricultural field days and the festivities.

It has been suggested to me more than once that I should do a radio broadcast from a hot air balloon over Northam and it could happen in the future. It is great to be a mouthpiece for the community. It helps get awareness out there for important local issues.

Locally, I get involved in a couple of sporting committees. I always find being involved in not for profit organizations helps me away from radio and keeps me busy with the chance meet lots of interesting people.

My inspirations in life would be my two close friends who live down South Josh and Andy. They have been great mentors to me and they have been masters of reinventing themselves. Josh in particular transitioned from winning awards in radio to being a successful children's book author. Andy was working in a variety of roles before being successful in radio and then moving onto his own creative business.

In the future I hope to travel more, overseas and in Australia.

If I had advice for anyone out there looking to succeed in life or just to be happy it would be following your heart in everything you do and never get pressured into doing things that just aren't for you. Get involved in your passions.

Human - Terry Siva

Interviewer - Anna Cornish & Tom Gratis-Roh

Photographer - Tom Gratis-Roh

Written by - Liam Cleak