icon icon

Pariya Taherzadeh and Grant Maling: Finding Connection and Identity through their Stories

Radio Alumni Pariya Taherzadeh and Grant Maling

Radio graduates Pariya Taherzadeh and Grant Maling share how their formative time at AFTRS equipped them with the skills to embark on successful careers in the radio industry and finding the confidence to tell their stories.  

Radio and podcasting are powerful and immersive mediums, connecting presenters with listeners in a way that builds a sense of familiarity and presence over time. Because of its versatility and variety of channels, from community radios to podcasting and commercial radio, these platforms are accessible to a wide range of storytellers, reaching audiences in unique and impactful ways. 

Pariya’s award-winning podcast, Escape from Iran, awarded at the New York Radio Festival Awards, connects a simultaneously unique and universal mother and daughter story. Told in Jaleh’s voice, the piece explores Jaleh’s journey to provide Pariya with freedom and choices, immersing the listener in the faith and risks she took to give Pariya a new home. 

“My mum came to this country to be able to give me my freedom, to allow me to make a choice. She made the journey and risked her life, and I wouldn’t have made the most of it if I didn’t go ahead and do what I wanted to do.”

When Pariya was born, her mum decided to escape the turmoil set in Iran during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The uncertain and dangerous journey was a testament to Jaleh’s resilience and courage, with the generous help of strangers travelling with them in the same situation. 

At the beginning Pariya faced challenges to adapt to a new country and a new language, that led her to study social science and fall in love with podcast and radio, eventually leading her to pursue a career in the industry and becoming an acclaimed radio and podcast producer. 

Watch her full story below.  

Storytelling has evolved from oral tradition to become accessible in a rich tapestry of mediums, and audio remains one of the strongest enablers of connection and social bonding because of the intimacy and individuality of the human voice. 

“People know you, they want to talk to you, they feel like your friend,” says Grant Maling, reflecting on his radio experience.  

Grant, a Bidjigal man from the Eora nation, found his voice through Koori Radio, nurturing his identity and connecting with his love of speaking and sharing stories. Through audio, Grant found his confidence by talking about personal things and trendy topics, helping him juggle the act of growing up and facing homophobic and racist comments. 

“They say that talking is the best therapy, and that’s obviously what we do on radio. Now I am at a place where I am loving who I am and loving what I do and how I interact with people both on air and in social interactions.”

Only after a few years in Koori Radio did Grant consider radio and podcasting as a career path, leading him to study the Graduate Diploma of Radio and Podcasting at AFTRS. Grant’s new sense of connection developed into an experience like no other that gave him the knowledge and confidence that propelled him towards a career doing what he loves. 

If Pariya and Grant’s stories are close to your heart and exploring your creative voice sounds like the next logical thing to do, AFTRS provides a range of scholarships that recognise excellence and assist with the costs associated with higher education. Learn more about our scholarships here and speak to a Student Centre team member if you have any questions.     

You can also learn more about the Graduate Diploma of Radio and Podcasting. 2024 applications close on 7 November, so don’t leave your application to the last minute! Apply here.