Fodder Feature: A Few of My Favourite Things8 August 2018
I first met Jen Balcomb doing German in first year. German 5 was a bit of a train wreck, but what I loved most about the class was that I made so many friends out of it. We were all like newly born deer stumbling around UniMelb, struggling to find our feet after we bust out from the placenta that is high school. Our cohort quickly bonded over not knowing what the hell was going on. There’s something about late classes, old German literature and a very scary tutor that really fosters new friendships.
Aside from her very impressive collection of print shirts, what stood about to me about Jen in particular was her bubbly, larger-than-life personality and a knack for storytelling. So, when I caught wind of her foray into the world of radio, I knew Jen would be a terrific host.
Now as stale, beaten-down fourth years, Jen and I caught up to discuss her show A Few of My Favourite Things. Jen tells me how her first season on Radio Fodder went, talks about which episode she cries to, and compares herself to Oprah Winfrey.
Who is your #1 queen of music?
Definitely Florence Welch.
What made you want to host a show on Radio Fodder?
I knew a couple of people who had shows. Christian [Tsoutsouvas] had a show about linguistics, and Jack [Langan] and Peter [Tzimos] had Clickbait. They had me on as a guest a couple of times, and they said that it was really fun and they really enjoyed doing it. My uncle in Darwin told me that I have a voice for radio. So I thought, “Why not?” I also just wanted to have a chance to interview people I know that have interesting things to say, and give them a space to speak their truth.
So, you’re kind of like Oprah?
Exactly. Someone’s gotta do it now that she no longer has her show.
What’s the premise of your show? And can you tell me how you developed the idea?
Each week, I get guests on to talk about their favourite things. Most people have a favourite thing they’ll ramble about. I find that really interesting, and I thought it would be really fun to get people on to talk about that.
How have you found hosting the show? What have you enjoyed the most? What’s been challenging?
Because most of the people that come on are my friends, I’ve really enjoyed trying to challenge myself by having a few guests that I don’t know to test my ability to interview them. I’ve found that really rewarding. But with people that I do know, it’s always interesting learning more about them in a legitimated context. They really bare their souls. It’s like Oprah basically.
But I’ve found the technical side of it really challenging. You have to multitask, and I wouldn’t say that I feel like a digital native.
Overall, having a show gives the semester a different flavour when you’ve got something else other than uni.
And this was your first season on Radio Fodder. What were some of the highlights?
Having my girlfriend on was really cute because she listens to the show all the time, so it was really lovely for her to come and see what I do and be a part of it. Now that she’s away, I like to listen to our show and cry.
What’s some advice you’d like to give to the next batch of Radio Fodder newbies?
Ask heaps of questions. The Radio Fodder station managers are a wealth of knowledge and also so lovely. So, take the chance if you’re a bit of a technophobe like me to learn all the cool tricks.
We’ve heard all your guests share their favourite things. What are some of yours?
I’ll never tell. It’s the mystery of our age.
You can find Jen’s podcasts on Mixcloud by searching for “Jen Balcomb” or “A Few of My Favourite Things”.