HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
Radio’s Deborah Clay on her high-pressure role.
I’ve always been fascinated with stories and trying to figure out what makes somebody tick. As a kid, had books piled up around my bedroom detailing the world’s most venomous snakes, spiders and sharks – plus anything by Roald Dahl, Jane Austen and later, Tim Winton. I can remember being sprung by my mum for reading under the bed covers with the torch.
Since my first on-air shift, I’ve read tens of thousands of bulletins. I find the combination of interviewing and the live radio environment interesting and exhilarating. I love the variety that comes with being a journalist. Monday kicks off nice and early with an appearance on Seven Network’s Sunrise talking about the hot topics of the day for Newsfeed, a segment hosted by Kochie. I’ve been a regular contributor on the show for the last four years. After that, I head to ARN and anchor drive news for KIIS 1065 and WSFM 101.7.
The ability to respond and adapt to breaking news while always maintaining a sense of empathy is a measure of your skill set. Whether it’s an interview or reporting live from the field, I take the time to absorb the environment, listen and observe. It helps me convey a story in a way that is unique and descriptive.
There are female news directors at each of the four major commercial radio networks in Australia. That’s a profoundly optimistic statement about the state of play. I’ve had positive experiences and have been surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds in the country. All of them inspire me to bring my best each day. Still, the gender pay gap in Australia remains a concern. Companies will have better outcomes and a more vibrant culture if they embrace diversity in the workplace. Thanks to advocacy by trailblazers, awareness and acceptance of that message is growing.
It is my role to draw out the talents of my team, and what I have noticed is that it’s often fear that holds people back. In the past, I probably wasted valuable time second-guessing what people thought of me. I don’t do that much at all anymore – it means I end up present in the moment.
The cliché of people showing up to work in radio in their pyjamas is outdated. Radio is a professional yet fun environment where you are rewarded for interesting ideas, putting in the time and, of course, knowing all the lyrics to Katy Perry’s “Chained To The Rhythm”.