Humans of the Wheatbelt - Keith Taylor

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 always thought that home is where the heart is and when my Partner Rhonda and I found the little place in Beverly, overlooking the river, we knew this was it.

We have a happy home with our baby, a little girl schnauzer called Pippa and we just love the community where we live. I have found that country people do genuinely care for one another.

Rhonda and I are involved in pistol shooting and have competed in Darwin and Norfolk Island and are members of the Northam Pistol Club. I always thought that maybe there was somebody out there just for me, but I never believed I would actually find that somebody, but I have. Rhonda is my soul mate and we share everything together.

At this moment from previous marriages I have four children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. It has been a fortunate life.

I got into radio a very long time ago, when I was a young boy. As a child I was unwell and spent a long time in hospital and bed-ridden. It was then that I listened to the wireless that we had. I was fascinated by it and with my gramophone and my one record I would entertain myself by creating my own radio station. This was the beginning of my passion.

I was born in Perth grew up in Rivervale and moved to Melbourne in the 1950's to attended a radio school. In 1962 I moved back to Perth and began my first paid job in radio for Radio 6PM. I was then recruited by a station called 6KY which is now known as 94.5. I worked there for two years. Losing my job at 6KY I next worked for 6PR which in those days was an unrated radio station. It was at 6PR where I truly learned what radio was all about.

Eventually I moved to Tasmania where I worked in Radio before becoming involved in black and white television news broadcasts. It was during the devastating bush fire seasons over there and I remember interviewing people while everything burned all around us. I have been terrified of fire ever since. That is something I will never forget.

Later, I was given an opportunity in Brisbane to work for Channel Seven as the main newsreader. I distinctly remember in 1967 working on the story of the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt.

I have found that working in radio has given me a great opportunity to travel a lot. Eventually I moved to Wangaratta in Victoria and managed the radio station there for five years and after that I moved back to Perth for the last time where I worked in the now defunct Railway Investigation and Security Section. During this period I became a volunteer at Community Station Curtin FM and later was offered and accepted a full time position with that station where I remained until retirement in December 2014.

In February 2015 I moved to Beverley and became involved with Voice of the Avon 101.3fm as a volunteer presenter and later also took on the role of Station Manager.

Now I am the President of the Committee of Management for 101.3 FM, The Voice of the Avon here in York and it is right where I want to be. What drew me towards community radio was that, for me commercial radio had changed. And wasn't what I wanted to do anymore, and community radio reminded me of what broadcasting used to be like back in the 60s.

Being a radio announcer means that you can become a huge influence in people's lives and that is not to be taken lightly. One must be very careful what they say and how they say it.

Some of the best moments of my life have been when I have inadvertently helped a person through their daily struggles through them simply tuning into the station and my voice being a comfort to them through dark times in their life.

On more than one occasion I have been approached by people who claim that the broadcast has actually saved their lives. That means more to me than I can say in words. It has been a privilege to share in people's lives through radio and I believe I am living a fantastic life and I am very blessed.

If I had any sage advice to give to a young person coming up through the ranks of radio and even just in life in general, I would say to always be aware of your audience and maintain honesty. Accept the fact that the people you are talking with are the important ones and try and find a way to relate to them and above all respect your audience.

Human - Keith Taylor

Interviewer - Kate Sofoulis

Photographer - Anna Cornish

Written by - Liam Cleak