Koalas. Kangaroos. Emus. Sydney Opera House. The Hemsworths. Hugh Jackman. Cate Blanchett. Keith Urban’s Nicole Kidman.

Who doesn’t know them all?

Servo (petrol service station). Arvo (afternoon). Avo (avocado). Barbie (barbecue). Brekkie (breakfast). Brolly (umbrella). Slab (carton of beers). Snag (sausage). Dag (nerd or geek).

I’d treat you to Maccas (McDonald’s) if you’re not Aussie and you knew all the references above before this post.

Yet beyond Accadacca (ACDC), Tina Arena, Kylie Minogue, the Bee Gees, INXS, John Farnham, or Jimmy Barnes, there are heaps of Aussie musical talents deserving a spot in the limelight and raring to share their craft with our world.

This is where OzNow Radio – an internet-based radio station featuring purely original Australian music 24/7, fee-free, ad-free, and (mostly) announcer-free – comes in.

Let’s take a peek at its story.

THE FAMILIAR FACE BEHIND IT ALL

Elena Di Fiore, more popularly known as “Ellie D” in the Aussie music scene, is OzNow Radio’s lady boss. She appeared in several media outfits and pages in the past and had an ABC segment just yesterday. Her portfolio even includes involvement in the ARIA Awards – the Australian equivalent of the Grammys. She calls herself a “Radio Boss,” but I believe “Wonder Woman” or a similar superheroine title would be more apt.

“Why?” You may ask.

Image of Ellie D. Used with permission.

One: How could someone with three kids aged two years and below manage to find time for other things? Yes. I’ve got three boys. Yet my youngest is already more than two years old, and his older brothers are already in their teens. Given that, I barely can do all the essentials, much more so the extras.

Two: She has three passion projects that she began in a short period. That’s like being Flash, I might say. One start-up is already a huge undertaking. Imagine having three.

Three: We can surmise that, like all human beings, Ellie also has other tasks and responsibilities beyond, beneath, and in-between those above. Well, such powers that allow you to do all of this exist in books, yet do they in real life?

Plus, there’s more to Ellie D’s story than what initially meets the eye.

NOT AN EASY START

Ellie spent twenty years of her life as an HR Consultant whilst also involved with announcer roles on community and internet radio stations. It was in 2016 that she came up with her brainchild. She was appalled at how Australian music wasn’t getting enough airtime. She came to believe that something had to be done.

It wasn’t easy to turn her vision into a reality, though. “More recently in 2019, I was volunteering at a community radio station in my current hometown and was bullied out for being too innovative and using too much initiative,” Ellie recounted in an interview published at The Chrysalis BREW Project. “After waiting ten months for mediation, I received a call from the community broadcasting authority letting me know that the perpetrators did not want to meet for mediation,” she continued.

Yet, Ellie was not deterred. She turned life’s lemons into a scrumptious pie, albeit in a figurative sense. Acting on a well-meant recommendation for her to start her station, Ellie turned her plans for OzNow Radio into fruition on March 2021. The rest then became history.

GOING BEYOND THE ORDINARY

As former director of HR Management Consulting, Ellie’s involvement in the music industry could easily come as a surprise to someone who didn’t know her beforehand. Yet, this woman proved to be extraordinary in more ways than one.

Given the prior hurdles she had to go through, Ellie would have already chosen the easier usual path. Yet, she did not.

Firstly, she could have chosen to generate community funding. Yet that would have meant sticking to mandates, requirements, rules, policies, procedures, and all other restrictions that would put her project in a constrictive box. She didn’t want to risk being kept within the confines of expectations not necessarily consistent with what she envisioned for her station. Thus, she chose self-funding.

Next, she would have stayed in a common “comfort zone” and remained happy with local Aussie exposure. Yet she believed Australian talent deserves global exposure. Hence, OzNow Radio’s internet radio format became a no-brainer.

Last but not least, OzNow Radio was created to be more than merely ordinary. “Our station doesn’t have any advertisements–this sets it apart from most online streaming services and traditional radio. Accessible via the web player and a variety of apps, OzNow Radio provides a 24/7 listening experience with only original music by Australian music artists,” said Ellie in the same The Chrysalis BREW Project interview.

MORE HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

While it was in 2016 that Ellie first conceptualized OzNow Radio, the station’s strongest foundations only came a few years after. She already knew that 25% or even less of Australian community radio airtime was devoted to locally-grown music. Her blueprint was ready. Yet she lacked the technical skills to carry out the nitty-gritty.

2020 came. Ellie then had a chat with a long-time Twitter friend, Joel. As luck or blessing would have it, Joel suggested the idea of creating the internet radio station. He did not know Ellie had already thought of the concept beforehand and only needed the technical know-how to make it happen. Joel, as an experienced Radio Manager, filled in that skills gap.

Ellie had since started learning the ropes. Yet, Ellie stresses OzNow Radio wouldn’t have materialized without Joel’s help.

What testaments has OzNow Radio accomplished so far? “Positive feedback from listeners and appreciation from featured artists,” Ellie told me.

This organized go-getter now has networking and partnerships for her passion projects highlighted in her to-do list on one of her Instagram posts.

WHAT’S COMING UP?

OzNow Radio patrons and future listeners have a lot to look forward to. A program called “New Music Tuesdays” and a Sunday night radio with announcers are part of its line-up. Dreaming big, Ellie is rolling up her sleeves to tackle a Big, Hairy, and Audacious Goal (BHAG) – hosting OzNow Radio music festivals in the future.

Will she make this vision happen? Ellie has her sights and efforts focussed.  Those who truly know her will know what such means.

OZNOW RADIO

OzNow Radio exists for one specific purpose, perhaps among many others. It’s primarily designed to allow a diverse internet world full of music lovers to benefit from Australian content in the following ways:

  • Australian artist wishing to take advantage of OzNow Radio’s promotion opportunities can do so for free at this time.
  • Local music fans can become acquainted with something they have missed out on in the past.
  • Music enthusiasts elsewhere in our great universe can explore new music in a personally and culturally enriching way.

Access OzNow Radio through its website (oznowradio.com.au) or streaming apps like MyTuner.

Know more about Ellie D via her site, elliedofficial.com.

Check out Ellie D and OzNow Radio on Instagram via @elliedofficial and @oznowradio.

Do you want to reach out with a post idea or simply to connect? Visit my personal website, esperanzapretila.wordpress.com.

This post is based on a post I published earlier on The Chrysalis BREW Project entitled “In the World of OzNow Radio’s Boss: An Interview with Ellie D.” What do you think of it? I’d love to know your thoughts. Write your comment below.

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