The new University of Otago Radio One station manager — also known as Tina Turntables — wanted people to see the station as a safe place to be creative and make mistakes that you could learn from.
"We want potential volunteers to know that you can make mistakes on air and it’s OK.
"Everyone has to start somewhere."
Ms Simons was formerly a staple DJ on Auckland’s student station 95bFM for 11 years with her soulful show Back on the Goodfoot.
At the same time, she toiled as a freelance director working with the likes of comedian Rose Matafeo and musician Don McGlashan.
It was an honour to follow in the footsteps of former Radio One station managers Lesley Paris and Sean Norling, who left this year after 13 years in the role.
After moving to Dunedin in 2020, she landed a bi-weekly Thursday drive show on Otago Access Radio called Pull Up To My Bumper, which was a celebration of queer and women’s voices in music.
Raising other people’s voices and helping them to realise their potential had been the uniting theme of her career, she said.
"When I was growing up, if you were a woman obsessed with music, you were labelled a groupie — that was the only role.
"So for me, it’s all about empowering women’s and queer voices in music.
"Radio is such a great way to literally amplify new or under-represented voices."
With a history of both audio and visual content, Ms Simons wanted to use the studio space for more than just radio broadcasting.
She planned to create more video content to keep up with changing consumption habits.
Radio One has operated since 1984 — alumni include former Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins and Wallace Chapman and Bonnie Harrison from Radio New Zealand.