Radio news

Countdown to Carols

22 December 2020

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight will once again be simulcast complete with audio description, on the Vision Australia Radio network from 7pm on Christmas Eve.

In the hour leading up to Carols, Vision Australia Radio will be broadcasting the Carols by Candlelight preview show, ‘Countdown to Carols’, which you may have heard on the radio over the past two weekends.

If you missed one or both of the episodes, or can’t wait until Christmas Eve and want to hear them now, both part one and part two of the show are now available as podcasts.

On the program you'll hear Vision Australia's Stella Glorie interviewing long-time friend of Carols by Candlelight, David Campbell. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions, we’ll miss hearing his voice this year but we’re excited to have him back in 2021.

Also on the show, Sam Colley speaks to Vision Australia CEO Ron Hooton, and Jason Gipps interviews Belong Mobile head of brand and marketing Kelly Schulz to hear why they are getting behind audio description and Aussies with a print disability.

Reminding us about the reason for hosting the event each year, we speak with Vision Australia client and Carols by Candlelight ambassador Sam Valavanis and Alex Harris, the mother of another Carols ambassador, August.

In an already challenging year, Alex has had to accept her son will have minimal vision through life, and she talks about the emotions and challenges August and her family have encountered following the news.

“We just felt very lost and very alone, it’s just a situation you can’t really expect anybody else to understand, we really needed help,” Alex said.

“Vision Australia made us feel like we weren’t alone and there was someone who could answer our countless questions, we felt like we had a person and an organisation that would help us provide the absolute best for August, and that was just invaluable for us,” she said.

Popular Carols performers Chris Sebastian and Dami Im also join the show to talk about the experience of singing at the event, and what they know about blindness and low vision.

During the chat, Dami and Jason discuss the impacts 2020 has had on performing and overcoming the challenges that have emerged.

“I think it’s going to be a bit weird for us performers, I’m so used to looking out on the lawns and seeing everybody, that’s something I will really miss but having said that these Carols are like a miracle in itself.

“Especially in Melbourne to have this kind of celebration, I’m still grateful that it’s able to happen and I’m able to be there, so I’ll do my best to imagine you all there through the screen,” Dami said.

You can tune into ‘Countdown to Carols’ from 7pm on Christmas Eve for the one hour pre-Carols program featuring all these interviews, music and more. This will be followed at 8pm by the entire event audio described live on your local Vision Australia Radio AM/FM service, on VAR Digital (DAB+) and online at

Carols By Candlelight is the largest annual fundraiser for Vision Australia’s children’s services – supporting kids who are blind or have low vision, and their families, to live the life they choose. Vision Australia is truly grateful to all who give over the festive season, if you would like to donate please visit the Carols by Candlelight donation page here.