It can be hard not to let the head noise creep in when you’re on another mundane 12-hour shift driving a water cart, fixing a diesel hose for the one-hundredth time or twiddling your thumbs while you wait for your shift to end. But there are two blokes, sitting on a couch drinking beer who used to be you, and now they’ve recorded a podcast to make that mundane work a bit more entertaining.
Tom Dahl and Cam Lowry were fitter apprentices in Queensland at the coal terminal in Gladstone when they met and they hit it off straight away. They finished their apprenticeship, travelled around Canada for seven months and came back home to start full-time work at washplants as operators/maintainers.
“We have both been big fans of podcasts for years because we were either driving or stuck in a machine for hours. What we found that was even more entertaining than podcasts, was talking on the phone to each other after a shift – we’d talk for over an hour just about sh*t and make each other laugh,” said Cam.
Tom said that’s where the idea started.
“We were around the fire at Cam’s place, where normally every good idea is mentioned. Tax time was coming up and we were going to get a bit of a return so we thought let’s use the return to buy the kit that we need.
“I will never claim to have been as down as others so far as suffering from severe depression and I will never pretend to be an expert in the field, but one thing I do know is that when I am having a bloody good laugh I’m feeling pretty good at the time, so if we can provide that for people who are having a sh*t day, it might allow them to escape for half an hour and quieten down that head noise,” said Tom.
So they started a podcast called Alpha Blokes.
“That title we came up with in about ten seconds. It’s a bit of cookin’, huntin’, fishin’, all the alpha bloke stuff. When it kicked off, we thought we’d better be careful that we don’t come across as saying we are the alphas of the world and sh*t like that because you’ve got some pretty powerful dudes out there and here we are, two fat blokes sitting on the couch drinking beer,” said Cam.
“We turned it into being the alpha of your own life.”
The Alpha Blokes took off quicker than expected and before they knew it, the boys had built a community of people from all over the mining industry. The podcast got so popular, they decided to quit mining and take it on full-time.
That was five months ago, and now Cam and Tom have more than 200,000 followers on Instagram and more than 223,000 on Facebook. They’ve also brought producer Quinn Jackson on board which they say has taken the podcast to a whole new level with more than a million downloads each month.
Tom and Cam might not claim to be mental health experts, but they know a thing or two about blokes which is what helps them get their message across.
“Even my old man is a typical Aussie bloke who would never talk about his feelings, the same as everyone from his era. So knowing that was the way a lot of these blokes operate, we knew we couldn’t just do an episode every week for an hour talking about mental health because blokes will not listen.
“From the start, we knew we had to talk like they do, share a laugh and a yarn, push the boundaries a little bit and share a couple of wild jokes.
“When everyone is comfortable, you just throw in a couple of things like always finding time to be grateful for what you have got instead of focusing on the negatives.
“Before you know it, you’ve soaked that in and you’re back to laughing again. That’s a way for blokes to sit back and go ‘righto, it’s all good, other people are feeling the same way.”
It’s not just the mining life that Tom and Cam can relate to with their listeners, they’re both married with kids.
“Life is pretty hectic and that is another way to relate to people, we have the work stuff but we’re also having the little kids and trying to make sh*t happen,” said Tom.
The duo still can’t believe the community they’ve created. Cam said they’ve gotten messages recently from people who were at a Luke Combs concert wearing the merchandise and spotted others wearing it too and got chatting.
Tom said it was the same when they did a live show in their hometown at Gladstone.
“We had 400 people come from everywhere and it was a first for us being in front of people like that. What blew me away was that the people in that room the whole night, it was like a reunion or something, but these people have never met each other before.”
Tom said that’s the best thing about the podcast, bringing people together who can relate to each other.
“So the fact that they can listen to a couple of people who they can relate to and aren’t as politically correct at times, allows them to have an escape from a mundane role that they can get bogged down in.”
|You can download the Alpha Bloes podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast and check them out online.|