A Breath Of Fresh Air

Getting to Know A Breath of Fresh Air

Sharmaine Spencer, 4th November 2020

We sat down with one of our new program makers Sandy Kaye so you could learn all things about her program on the Community Radio Network, Á Breath of Fresh Air' - 'which is a light and breezy mix of music and interviews with some of Australia's best musicians and artistic icons, delivered across three parts.

Sandy Kaye

What is your favourite part about making A Breath of Fresh Air?

When I was a child, maybe 9 years old, I used to wait for my parents to go out on a Sunday afternoon. I would quickly arrange the lounge furniture and grab my mother’s single-rose vase to use as a microphone. Then I would proceed to interview all my favourite musicians whom I imagined were seated on the couch. In my mind I chatted to The Beatles, The Monkees and so many more.

I loved music then and I still love it today. I find the people making the music fascinating and I have such fun reaching out for them and engaging in a warm, friendly chat – for real. I love to find out how they’re doing, what new music they’re producing and how their lives have unfolded.

Why did you start making the program to begin with?

I’ve been a regular contributor to several radio stations around the country for many years. My segment was always based on talking about what music is coming to town, interviewing one or two of the acts, a movie, show or tv review and any additional music and entertainment news. When Covid hit, a few of my stations had trouble filling their schedules as volunteers were unable to use the studios so they asked if I could blow out my segment to an hour to assist them.

I rose to the challenge. Learned how to edit on my computer, how to record to produce highest quality audio and how to make my program sound as slick and professional as I possibly could. It’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve done it and I am really proud of the product I’m now putting out.

Introduce us to your team members, who puts together the show? Who can listeners expect to hear when they tune in?

I’m a very lucky girl because I have a couple of fabulous guys (and a little dog) who support me and contribute greatly to the show. The first is Allan Craig who is a veteran broadcast journalist (ex- ABC TV and ACA Network 9). Allan brings his editorial judgement and script writing ability to help me tailor the program to our intended listening audience. Allan can be heard at the end of Segment 2 every week discussing the latest streaming or movie releases.

The second is Ricardo Branco Rogoski, a young, freelance audio engineer who lives and works in the south of Brazil. Ricardo has taken on this project with an open heart and made it his own. While he mixes and masters, he is learning a great deal about 70’s music and about Australia and says he “loves working on our show.”

The third, and possibly the most important team member is my little dog, Charlie who sits patiently week in and week out while I bash away at my computer or record interviews and voice-overs from my home studio. Charlie literally is a breath of fresh air – my inspiration, my companion and my most staunch supporter. 


Sandy's Dog, Charlie

Tell us a little bit about the structure of the program, explain to us the three parts of 'Á Breath of Fresh Air'

Each week listeners will be taken on a journey that includes new music releases in Segment 1. We chat to those music makers, be they international or home grown.

In Segment 2, I highlight some of the music events that (thanks to Covid) we’re now able to watch from the comfort of our own homes, as artists all over the world take to the new ‘live streaming’ platform. I often chat to these musicians too and make sure that audiences know how they’re able to purchase tickets to these events.

Segment 3 features milestones – birthdays and anniversaries. I choose my favourite artists of the week, play their hits and often chat to them to congratulate them on their special occasion.

What has been your favourite memory working on the show?

Oh, there are so many already, and the show is only 6 months old! I have loved chatting to the legendary Paul Williams. Interviewing Gordon Lightfoot has definitely been a highlight as has my 3.30am chat with Dion di Mucci from his home in Florida. (Remember The Wanderer?) I have so many great artists lined up to speak to in the future, I feel like I’m creating the best memories ever – every single day!

What are the top 5 interviews you have had this year and why?

Wow, that’s a hard question.

1. A couple of weeks ago I spoke to Noddy Holder from Slade. He was so relaxed and jovial, it felt like I was in the pub having a drink with him, chatting with an old friend. He told me a great story about how, during those heady days when the band was constantly on the road touring, he used to carry a tool kit everywhere he went. He needed it, he said, because no matter what hotel room he was in, there was always something not quite right. Either the shower curtain didn’t hang well, or the TV didn’t work properly, or a door handle was loose. So, he used to fix these things in his downtime between performances. While other bands were throwing TV’s out of hotel windows, Noddy was leaving these places in better condition than when he arrived. How funny!

2. I spent 30 minutes on a zoom call with John Oates recently – from the biggest selling duo of all time, Hall and Oates. I hadn’t realised that John has a massive vintage car collection and he told me all about the cars he keeps and the racing cars he used to drive. Again, we chatted as if old friends and I learnt so much about the man behind the musician.

3. My interview with Chicago guitarist, Keith Howland was also a lot of fun. Keith has been on the road with Chicago for the last 25 years and got the gig after he plucked up the courage to gatecrash a closed audition in Los Angeles. He had been an avid fan of the band as he grew up in the mid-west and couldn’t believe his luck when he was asked to join the group. My interview with him showed me that dreams can come true if you want things badly enough.

4. Blues guitarist Walter Trout is another person I really enjoyed getting to know. I caught up with him in a small fishing village in Denmark where he is hiding out, avoiding the pandemic. He told me all about how he had met his wife who had attended one of his concerts there some 30 years ago. He said he had looked out on the sea of people in the crowded venue and their eyes just met. He tripped over the microphone, she made her way to the front of the stage as the people parted to let her through and he asked her to go for a walk with him after the show. He recalled that he knew within minutes that she was going to be his bride and they would grow old together. What a romantic story!

5. Finally, chatting with Dave Getz from Janis Joplin’s band, Big Brother and the Holding Company was also a real treat. Over a glass of red wine, from the comfort of his Marin County home in California, Dave recalled so much about the psychedelic days of the 60’s when free love, drugs and music reigned supreme. Dave told me about a young Janis Joplin who had come from Austin, Texas, dressed like a pauper and obviously from the wrong side of the tracks. He says her voice was like no other and the difference she made to the band, immeasurable. He almost cried when talking about her drug addiction and how she started believing her own publicity. His sorrow at her subsequent death was so heartfelt.

Noddy Holder

Noddy Holder, from Slade

What releases are you most looking forward to in 2020?

I’ve written a lot about some of the international superstars of the 70’s and 80’s. Some of the heroes from my youth. But there are many local musicians that I’ve chatted to too who have opened up and shared their lives and feelings with me. Some of these with new releases include Andrew Farriss from INXS who’s solo album which has just been released, is fantastic. Gary Beers, also from INXS has a band called Ashenmoon and I’m looking forward to their next release. I’m also looking forward to the new release from our very own Human Nature who’s on stage performance was such a pleasant surprise. These guys are seriously impressive.

What is your favourite sort of content to spotlight on the program?

A Breath of Fresh Air highlights new music whether it’s local or international. I choose the music I like to listen to, music that I really feel IS a breath of fresh air. I also like to give the audience news as to something they can watch at home – usually a livestream performance that’s happening that same week.

I like to bring my interviews to the audience too. I love nothing better than to share my conversations so that people feel like a fly on the wall and get to learn something that perhaps they didn’t know before, from the person I’m chatting to.

What makes you most excited about joining the CRN?

I am really quite proud of ABOFA. I continue to work extremely hard – researching and producing it weekly, so my aim is to get it to as many people’s ears as I possibly can. Because I truly do think that many people will get something out of, and enjoy the program. The CRN is a great vehicle to reach many community stations in the country, and they can really assist me reach the people who will get the most out of the program, and I am most grateful for their support.

Who is A Breath of Fresh Air made for? Who would get the most out of a program like this?

ABOFA is made for everyone with an interest in music and the machinations behind the people who make the music. It’s especially suited to the over 50’s who have grown up with many of the artists we feature but young people will also enjoy it as it does cover a wide range of genres and decades. It should also appeal to those looking for information and insights into who’s playing where and what good movies, shows and TV shows are out now. ABOFA is a music/entertainment magazine with a smooth feel. It’s easy listening no matter where the listener is or what he or she is doing.

Dave Getz and Janis Joplin

Dave Getz with Janis Joplin

What can a station get out of the program?

So far, I’ve had lots of great feedback for the show. People seem to be really enjoying it. It’s professional and slick. It’s warm, friendly and intimate. And it’s informative. All the things I believe good radio should be. I’ve had a long career both in radio and TV and I hope this has stood me in good stead in terms of knowing what an audience wants. I know if I was the audience, I’d be listening.

Does a station have to use all three parts of a show? Or use them at the same time? Can they spread ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ throughout the week if they choose?

ABOFA comes in three separate segments to total 52 minutes. I’ve designed it that way to allow stations to customise it and make it their own. Each station is able to add their own ID”s, announcements etc between segments but the three segments should be taken and run as a whole, as one really flows on to the next. It is a weekly package that stands alone albeit in 3 parts.

Is there a way listeners can get in touch with the program?

Every week at the end of Seg 3 as I’m signing off, I give the listener my facebook page address – sandykayepresents – in the hope that if they would like to get in touch with me, that’d be great. I love hearing from listeners and indeed, have heard from quite a few over past months. I always take their feedback and comments seriously and have even asked the questions of my guests that some have put to me. I’m hoping to build a landing page soon too so that I can provide details for any of the information I give out – in case someone has missed something. ABOFA is blossoming from its infancy and humble beginnings and I really want to take each and every listener, and each and every station, with me, along the journey.

What can we look forward to hearing on the program over the next few weeks?

I have interviews coming up with Gordon Lightfoot, Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Paul Williams, Peter Frampton’s son – Julian, Iva Davies – Icehouse, Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits), Ann Wilson from Heart and lots, lots more.

Please give A Breath of Fresh Air a trial run – I really do think your listeners will love it!


Sydney Band, Icehouse

For CRN subscribers:
  • Broadcasting on CRN on Tuesdays at 04:00 am AEST/ADT
  • One episode distributes each week, delivered in three parts
  • DDN equipped stations can capture the program by ordering 'A Breath of Fresh Air pt 1, A Breath of Fresh Air pt 2 and A Breath of Fresh Air pt 3'
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email [email protected]
Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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