Radio presenter, publicist, social media manager, musician, record and zine label co-owner and all-round top bloke, Kurt Eckardt joins us this week for a Week In The Life Of. And if you thought Kurt was busy enough, he’s currently in the middle of Radio Festival with PBS FM. Located in Melbourne, PBS FM is a community radio that supports a diverse range of music, in particular the under-represented. Not only does Kurt manage the social media for PBS FM but he also has his own segment Homebrew with Maddy Mac that airs every Monday 3pm-5pm.
We were fortunate enough to steal Kurt away from his busy schedule and get a glimpse into what a working week looks like for him. Take it away Kurt…
A job description in your own words
It’s a bit tricky wrapping it up as I work across a number of roles! Music, radio and social media human? I work as PBS FM’s social media coordinator two days a week, and freelance as Death By Stereo in publicity and social media management including looking after that side of things for The Old Bar and The Carringbush Hotel, as well as helping local indie bands get the word out about their new releases.
I also co-host Homebrew with Maddy Mac, an all-Australian radio program on PBS which goes to air every Monday from 3pm – 5pm. Alongside this, I play in post-punk bands Hearts and Rockets and Astral Skulls and run a DIY music and zine label and events collective called Psychic Hysteria.
A brief daily journal over a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Well, it’s Radio Festival time at PBS so it’s all a bit topsy-turvy! We’re in the middle of our annual fundraiser, so we’re all hands-on deck. This week I kicked off dropping into The Breakfast Spread on Monday at 7am to spend a couple of hours with Milo, helping to spread the word about PBS memberships. Then a couple of hours in the PBS office scheduling social media posts for the next couple of days. At 3pm, I’ll head into the studio to present Homebrew!
Tuesday is my typical main day working for PBS, so I’ll get my head around what I need to do online for them for the rest of the week and try and get ahead on the next week’s posts, focussing on upcoming interviews and on-air specials. Typically, I’d do this from home, and work from 10am through to 7pm or so before switching gears to work on some admin for my label.
Wednesdays I get up and schedule a few days ahead for posts for The Carringbush Hotel and The Old Bar’s social media accounts before heading into The Carringbush for lunch and to take some photos. I’ll catch up with the owners and managers most Wednesdays to see how things are tracking. Wednesday night, I tend to dedicate to scheduling posts for my label and Hearts and Rockets and try and squeeze in a band practice or some music-writing time.
Thursdays are PBS again. This week I’ll head into the office to not only oversee the social media side of things, but I also default to mailboy as I have a van! There are hundreds of packages that are waiting to be dropped around at the post office, which feels like my second home throughout Radio Festival.
Friday is dedicated to Homebrew, as by that stage we usually have 300-400 emails waiting for us loaded with new music to check out. While it’s a volunteer role, and one driven purely by my passion for local music, I do have to treat the preparation like a job or it would never get done. I listen to each and every Australian track sent through to our show email, and download ones that I will then consider further for airplay. Later in the day (or over the weekend, if I’m too busy), I will dump all of those tracks into a playlist and separate the ones that I would hope to get to on the show the following Monday or in the weeks following. That work in progress playlist is up to about 30 hours of unplayed music at this point, there’s simply too much good music being made in this country at the moment for a 2 hour weekly music show!
Then, Friday night, I’ll usually either play a gig or head along to one to check out some of our amazing local talent in this fine city, often with my camera in hand.
Challenges and accomplishments in your week
Time management and finding downtime are my main challenges. Especially with freelance work, or working on my own projects, there’s always something else that could be done – it’s never 100% finished. I always promise myself that at X time of the day, I’ll stop working at my computer and read a book or go for a walk or play some music, but I often skip it to try and get ahead on what’s on my plate work wise. I’m my own worst enemy.
Accomplishments usually come in the form of a win in getting one of our label’s bands heard, whether it’s an interview or airplay on a radio show. Every single play, mention, interview, or review means the world to bands like ours so it’s always really exciting!
Highlights of the week (pros of the job)
I love being self-managed and self-motivated. I work really well at home and love being in control (for the most part) of my day to day. Being able to take a laptop with me and work anywhere is really liberating, though I do love working at home in my office, with an endless supply of coffee.
My dog Bonez is my saviour, though – she’s obsessed with going for walks, so that’s my only absolute constant: a daily walk around Preston with my best mate. It’s the highlight of my day.
Lowlights of the week (cons of the job)
As above, the feeling that I’m always working. Because most of my work is online and to do with social media, I am constantly checking all of the pages that I manage for comments and messages and stories to share and checking that everything is going live when it’s supposed to. There’s also an expectation that you’re always available, which I think it’s an issue more broadly in the age that we live in but it’s especially apparent when you’re at the other end of Messenger or an Instagram message.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field
Volunteer! Get involved in your community. Take the initiative to teach yourself skills. I recommend getting as much experience as you can across as many aspects of what you want to do as you can. I’m not formally trained in anything to do with any of my current roles but have taught myself or learnt how to take photographs, learnt basics in Photoshop and Illustrator, learnt to film and edit videos, to DJ and host radio and have practiced enough to understand interview basics. There are loads of ways to learn at least the basics of these. My way around social media management and scheduling, music production, and the list goes on. I genuinely love all of these things, so it’s never been a chore and I feel so lucky to be doing what I love day to day!
One other piece of advice if you do end up doing what I do – make time for yourself that isn’t dedicated to work. Actually, that’s good advice for everyone! I might even take it myself one day.
You can catch Kurt on PBS FM Mondays 3pm-5pm!