Growing up, Brooklyn Ross spent most of his time in country New South Wales. His big city commercial radio career also had its roots in the regions, beginning at 2EC and Power FM covering the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley. This was also my first job in radio and where my 15 year friendship with Brooklyn began.
Brooklyn’s first news boss was About Regional’s Ian Campbell who taught him the ropes before heading off to the ABC. Much has happened in Brooklyn’s career since then.
After 5 years of 4 am starts on the ‘Kyle & Jackie O Show’ the biggest names in FM Sydney radio have just resigned for another 5 years and Brooklyn is along for the ride.
“I can’t believe I’ve already been on the show for 5 years,” Brooklyn says. “It doesn’t feel like work to me, I love my job.”
Brooklyn is proof regional kids can go places…
Where was your very first radio gig?
I was lucky enough to dip my toe into radio while I was still at high school, and managed to score a volunteer position at Moruya’s community radio station 2EARFM.
The studios are just up the road from the high school gates, and I used to think it was crazy that the school didn’t have a show of its own on-air. So one day I plucked up the courage to walk in and ask why the high school was being ignored – and I was instantly offered a show of my own!
I was probably 15 years old, and I managed to round up enough other kids at school to produce a one hour show each week.
How did you turn 2 weeks of work experience at 2EC/Power FM into a full-time job?
I was just 18! I managed to get the attention of 2EC’s Ian Campbell (A very important-sounding bloke I’d be listening to for years on the radio) by sending him some very amateur local news bulletins I’d produced and read for 2EARFM.
My few years of volunteer work at the community station allowed me to do pretty much anything, and in the mid-year break of my first year at university, I went back and became the 2EARFM Newsreader (a position I invented for two weeks).
I emailed Ian to get his feedback on my bulletins, and within a month I was covering for him on leave – PAID – at 2EC!
Ian switched to the ABC six months later, and I dropped out of uni and took over full time.
What inspired you to be a journalist?
It’s hard to remember really, but my love for it really developed when I started working fulltime at 2EC.
I was able to try my hand at many different roles, including music announcing and station promotions. But I found news reporting to be the most rewarding, exciting and varied role.
No day ever came close to being the same. The mayor and local MP wanted to have drinks with me, no matter how much I criticised them on-air.
I loved deciphering complex news and delivering it as quick and interesting radio updates, and I’ve never lost my passion for that.
How has working in regional NSW shaped your career?
Working at smaller radio stations allowed me to practice my skills as a bona fide journalist. I wasn’t just covering the stories that everyone else was talking about – I was creating those conversations from scratch.
Most radio markets will have other sources of news to reference, like a daily local newspaper or website. But the Far South Coast only had a few weekly and bi-weekly papers, leaving the “local news” as a blank canvas every other day.
Having worked for some of the biggest radio stations in Australia, where you are covering the national stories that dozens of media outlets have been reporting on, I appreciate what a unique experience regional news was.
I got a call from you 5 years ago while you were holidaying in Thailand. “I got a job with Kyle and JackieO!!!!!!!!” you said.
I remember feeling so proud of you, from Bega to this, it’s such an achievement! We spoke about your mastery of visualisation and how learning that method early on in your career was a vital tool in landing your dream job.
What advice can you give other self-starters who are still on their path to the top?
I had to call you Elise, because you once taught me the ‘law of attraction’ and I never forgot it.
There’s an incredible power that comes from believing in yourself and visualising your goals, and I certainly did that to land my job with Kyle and Jackie O.
While I was working in regional radio, I once took a trip to Sydney and was shown around the Kyle and Jackie O studios. And I just knew I had to work with them!
I believed in it, focused on it, and told all my friends that I’d be their newsreader one day (which generated many LOLs). But the day I was told the job was mine, I had to thank the person who gave me the courage to believe in myself!
My advice for all self-starters is to believe in your idea, believe in your success and follow the path that presents itself to you.
Why was Kyle and Jackie O your dream job? What’s do you love about working for them?
Kyle and Jackie O have been Australia’s top radio brand for almost two decades, so naturally, I was drawn to be a part of it. They started their breakfast show with a gay newsreader, Geoff Field, and the openness and courage displayed by all around the issue was so inspiring. It’s radio on the edge, but I don’t think I will ever have as much fun at work as I do with them.
How much better can your career get?!!!
Right now there’s nowhere else I want to be! It’s a dream job and I’m just living the dream.
How do your parents feel about your fame?
They are both pretty chuffed, I think! My mum used to drive me to and from 2EARFM in Moruya while I was in high school, and still listens to KIIS and Kyle and Jackie O even though she’s not in Sydney (she uses the iHeartRadio app).
My dad does the same and has called into the show a few times. They probably don’t like how personal it can get on the show sometimes, but I haven’t had any complaints yet.
What about love, babies and settling down – they say. How are you going to fit career into the next stage of your life?
Yes I definitely want kids and a family, and it’s something my partner and I have started talking about. Sydney is a tough place to live, so I’ve actually bought some land to build a family home on – just in case!
When you visit your dad in Tathra, what’s your favourite thing to do?
You can’t go past a night out at the Tathra pub!