If you’ve been tuning into Curtin’s fortnightly podcast, The Future Of, you’ll be familiar the dulcet tones of our host, David Blayney. But who is he really? We take a dive into learning about the man and the mystery.
“You’ve been listening to The Future Of, a podcast powered by Curtin University. If you have any questions about today’s episode, please get in touch by following the links in the show notes. Bye for now”, David signs off with the show’s signature phrase, unclipping his mic while the outro music fades.
The atmosphere in the room changes as the red recording light dims. The ‘off record’ conversation is always livelier and more relaxed.
It’s been another successful recording of The Future Of, the Curtin podcast featuring our researchers as guest experts on topics about where the future is heading in different fields and industries.
Now the sole host, David began as co-host to the effervescent Jessica Morrison when the podcast began in late 2019.
“One of my lecturers – I won’t gratuitously namedrop him – asked if I’d be interested in hosting,” he explains.
“So I auditioned for it and someone else auditioned for it, and they were clearly better,” he jokes, “but they couldn’t do it because they were doing industry placement, so I guess I sort of parachuted in by sheer luck and I’ve just been doing it ever since.”
David is a Curtin student, studying a double degree in journalism and accounting. While modest about his talents, he was put forward by his lecturer because he showed great promise in broadcast journalism. But what drove him to pursue journalism in the first place?
“I thought journalism was a good choice because it wasn’t just a job or a way to just fill eight hours a day, but an opportunity to make a positive impact in the world.
“As a baseline I don’t want to be making the world a worse place,” he laughs.
As for where the accounting comes in, David says he opted for the double degree as a bit of a “contingency plan”, should a career in journalism not eventuate. But the choice was more than just a failsafe.
“I thought if I had a second degree, that would mean that I’d have a better chance of getting a job first of all, or if I got a job in journalism, it would inform the journalism better so it would mean that I’d be more specialised and more qualified.
“I’m a generally curious person. I like to learn more about the world and what happens. How things work,” he says.
“I’m interested in how businesses operate and how that sort of stuff works.
“And I’ve always found politics kind of interesting … unfortunately.”
His thirst for knowledge is evident during his interviews. As David chats with researchers both during and after recording, it’s hard not to be impressed by the vast amounts of knowledge he somehow manages to retain beneath his dark wavy mop of hair.
“You need to know a little bit about every topic that you come across in order to be able to cover it well,” he explains, mentioning that this is one of the aspects he enjoys most about hosting The Future Of.
“It is interesting being able to learn about what we’re learning as a society, as an institute,” he says.
Though he admits he doesn’t listen back to every episode because he finds listening to his own voice “a bit gross”, there are a few highlight episodes he tuned in for and shared around.
“One episode I did listen to was the one with Glynn Greensmith about how the media handles mass shootings. But that’s because he’s the most interesting man in the world. He could literally read a phone book and I’d be enthralled by it,” he says.
“The one about seeking asylum as well. I found that one quite interesting. I think it busted a few misconceptions.”
While his favourites tend to be, as he describes, some of the darker topics covered, he says one thing he really enjoys about the podcast is its hopeful tone and getting to report on good news.
“A lot of people are very concerned and there’s a lot of uncertainty today. We don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know what’s going to happen. But it’s very encouraging to know that every day we’re getting closer to making the world a better place with research being put into practice,” he says.
“It’s encouraging to know that good things are happening, because, god, we learn a lot about bad things that are happening, don’t we?”
Looking to his own future, David’s goals are simple and commendable.
“Ideally I’d like to get a job where I’m at least making something of a positive difference or at least making a positive difference to someone else,” he says.
Asked what his advice to his younger self would be, his answer is simple: “Pull your bloody head in,” he laughs. But for everyone else, he has some true words of encouragement to sign off on.
“I know this is a cliché, I know this is like some LinkedIn blog spam, but really do take every opportunity that you get. Obviously sometimes people are in a position where they can’t take up an opportunity, so when you can, remember that you’re very lucky to have that opportunity and take it up.” He says.
“Never forget that in many respects you’re so fortunate and you’re so lucky. I know I never do.”