When Andy Berridge was in grade school, he always thought he would go on to study economics. However, Berridge ended up in radio, becoming a swing announcer at X92.9.
Berridge became interested in radio at a young age, first hearing his voice broadcast in the halls of Terry Fox Public School, located in Brampton, Ont.
“In Grade 6 in my elementary school, I did the morning announcements and that’s the closest thing I did in radio as a kid,” said Berridge, adding it was also the furthest thing from what he wanted to do as a career.
“I wanted to go to school for economics to become a business teacher. I always had [an] interest in business and liked the classes.”
Unfortunately, after failing Grade 11 math, Berridge decided to leave his original plan behind and instead revisit an old hobby: He started doing the morning announcements again during his senior year of high school.
From there, he decided he would pursue broadcasting.
Shortly after graduating in the spring of 2015 from his broadcasting program at Humber College in Toronto, Berridge found himself getting his first job in Halifax at a radio station called C100 FM.
Although grateful for his fast employment, it became difficult to maintain a reliable income as he was only working part-time.
“In Halifax, my hours got cut, and so I started applying for more jobs around the country – it was just no after no.”
After steady persistence and determination, being rejected by around six other stations, Berridge finally got his big break.
“I get paid to have fun and I think that’s amazing, that’s awesome. Finding something that you love doing and it doesn’t feel like a chore, it doesn’t feel like I’m going to work.” – Andy Berridge
He applied for a job at X92.9, Calgary’s alternative radio station in November 2016, but was first met with rejection. However, a month later two of the former members of the X92.9 team, Tyler and Lynch, were planning on leaving. The station reached out to Berridge, telling him that there was a possible job opening and to keep sending in his content.
“I kept sending them stuff and they hated what I was doing on air, but liked some of the video stuff I was doing because I was vlogging in Halifax,” said Berridge.
His current boss, Christian Hall, reached out to him saying he liked the personality in the vlogs and believed that Berridge would be a great fit for X92.9.
After six months of communicating back and forth with Berridge, the station finally offered him a job as a radio host.
Berridge is currently recognized as “the new guy,” snatching the coveted title from former X92.9 radio host Tyler Middleton. As time went on, Middleton became a big hit and moved on to work at 102.7 The Peak in Vancouver.
After his experience at the X92.9, Middleton has some useful advice for Berridge: “I’d say three things to Andy: One, trust your gut – your passion for your job will shine through and people will connect with that passion, even if they don’t like every break you do. Two, listen to boss man. Christian Hall, the boss at [X92.9] is a very smart and creative radio programmer. Use the most of the freedom he gives you.”
With his last point, Middleton becomes sentimental and it is clear he loved his time spent at X92.9.
“Three, enjoy it. Calgary is a great city with amazing people, and X is a very special station that truly is like a family atmosphere. So soak it in, don’t take it for granted, and enjoy.”
Berridge, who has been with the station for four months now, couldn’t be happier.
“I get paid to have fun and I think that’s amazing, that’s awesome,” he said. “Finding something that you love doing and it doesn’t feel like a chore, it doesn’t feel like I’m going to work.”
Even though things are going well, Berridge is forced to consider the future of radio and what that means for his career. He explains that two sides are forming in society, one side believing that radio is dying and the other saying that it’s doing fine.
“There is a firm belief that streaming is going to take over as more and more people begin to listen to sites such as Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud and other things similar, and I think there’s some truth to that,” said Berridge.
Andrew Beckler, a more experienced colleague of Berridge’s, said there’s an increased difficulty for people who want to get into radio.
“If I have any concerns, it’s that there are fewer jobs available for both those entering the industry and those at the top. Andy’s position — overnights and weekends — simply doesn’t exist at a lot of stations, and that used to be the proving ground for young talent.”
Beckler explains how, though the industry is not what it used to be, it is still an attainable career.
“More stations are having hosts pre-record shows from out of market, which means fewer live hosts on the air. There’s still great jobs to be had and money to be made, but the competition is stiff.”
Despite the unknowns when considering his future, the young radio announcer has some very laid back words of optimism, “I’m having fun right now, I’m not worried about the future,” said Berridge. “I’m mostly just living in the present. Just go with the flow.”
Berridge also expresses this unique standpoint in his radio show. He continues to focus on the importance of capturing the moment and living in the now.
“I don’t talk about shit that happened yesterday and I’m not trying to predict what will happen tomorrow, I’m just talking about what’s going on right now. That’s what matters.”
For Berridge, the future of radio is quite a mystery, so he chooses to simply just do what he enjoys and hope for the best.
“I love what I’m doing; I don’t question it.”
Editor: Sarah Kirk | firstname.lastname@example.org