Ra­dio’s Deb­o­rah Clay on her high-pres­sure role.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - as told to Alexan­dra Carl­ton

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”.

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