Guest blog: ABC presenter, Kate Wood

I have always been fascinated by radio, especially the voices that have kept me company on the long hours of driving tractors at night or lengthy car trips between the farm and the ‘civilised’ world!

I don’t get to hear Kate on the radio, very often – she used be down in my ‘neck of the wood’ (sorry, bad pun, but I had to…), but when she was, I’d be in stiches, as I was listening. She’s as straight as they come, loves country music – many of the same artists, as I do, and is generally a wonderful person for radio.

Here, she talks about her job, but she also has a blog, which you can find here: http://katescountry-movingsouth.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Twitter, here: @Katescountry.

Take it away, Kate!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Busselton in December 1981 and was adopted by my fabulous parents about 8 weeks later. I grew up in Perth then Bunbury, and I still consider Bunbury to be “home”. I’m getting married in January to Daniel, a Toodyay farmer-come-cattle exporter. I love red meat and seafood and white wine. I support the West Coast Eagles passionately. I also have a thing for country music, especially Dolly.

1.      How did you become a presenter, especially since you’re a journo,too?

I’ve worked at the ABC in some capacity or another since 2004.

I started doing work experience with the ABC’s Country Hour while I was at university and that soon turned to paid casual work!

I then worked in Bunbury as a Radio Producer for a few months before heading to Karratha as the ABC’s Rural Reporter.

We’ve moved around a little bit since then, I’ve worked for the ABC in Broome as the News Journalist (My favorite job and location of them all!) and in Bunbury and Perth as a Radio Producer.

I also had a short stint with B-H-P in Port Hedland and then with the Department of Agriculture in Perth. Neither job really did it for me the way working in radio did.

I’ve always been willing to try my hand at something new- I’ll give anything a go once, which stands you in good stead at the ABC when there are so many different roles to be filled!

Reporting will always be my first love, however I am loving my current role as Breakfast presenter in the Wheatbelt, as I get to indoctrinate the region with my love of Dolly, Kenny and Willie!

3) What’s the bit of your job?

The fabulous characters I’ve met and the new life experiences I’ve had are by far and away the best parts. Living in the north west of the state was a real turning point in my life, I was constantly challenged by new experiences and I just fell madly in love with the wonderful “bushies” and eccentric characters with amazing stories to tell.

I also really enjoy emergency broadcasting. I’m not a sadist and lord knows we don’t need them, but working through cyclones and bushfires is quite the experience. It certainly makes you feel as though what you’re doing is worthwhile.

My favorite moment in the job? When Rio Tinto and Gina Rinehart announced they were going to develop the Hope Downs Iron Ore project near Newman. They flew a group of corporate types and journalists out there and we sat on this hill, it was just the redest dirt, the bluest sky and spinifex as far as the eye could see. They’d set up tables with white table clothes and they had a caterer serving a gourmet lunch and they were serving Verve Cliquot champagne and I just thought, it can’t possibly be any better than this!

4) What study did you have to do, to get where you are?

I started an Arts Degree at UWA in European History and English Literature. When I left school. YAWN. For the life of me I couldn’t work out HOW the degree was ever going to equip me for a job. So I bushed the degree and went back to Bunbury to work in the pub!

A while later I saw an advertisement for a degree in Broadcasting at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, and it read like it was made for me! I applied, got in and the rest is history!

It was the Work Experience that got me where I am. I did numerous stints of unpaid work at the ABC in the early days and that’s how I landed my first job. When you’re on work experience, work hard, look interested and learn as much as you can. If you are dismal during work experience, it won’t matter what degree you have, you won’t get a job!

5) What does a normal day for you entail?

I’m usually at work around five o’clock every morning ready to be on air at 6.15am. In the morning I check the radio and newspaper news to see if there’s anything important I should have on my show, I prepare the weather information and sort out what music I’m going to play that day.

I’m then on air from 6.15 until 7:45. When I come off air, I start preparing for the next day’s program, finding stories, lining up interviews. The rest of the day is spent on the management side of things, writing reports, paying bills, speaking with the community and answering complaints! (Although in the Midwest & Wheatbelt they are few and far between!)

6) Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

I met both former Prime Ministers on a number of occasions and meeting the Chinese Prime Minister was quite interesting too! I’ve met lots of musicians; I especially liked Kasey Chambers and John Williamson. Likewise I’ve been able to meet lots of sports people, like Cathy Freeman and Shane Warne. (I was very upset he didn’t ask me for his number).

7) Where do you want to be in ten years time?

In ten years time I hope that I have a beautiful family and I really hope that I’m in a position where I’m able to be a stay at home mum.

I would like to keep my fingers in a few pies and I hope that I can pursue writing more vigorously in coming years. I would love to write a book one day, and have started a few times, but the inspiration comes and goes!

While I’m not desperate to have children just yet, I’m really excited about the prospect of having a family and being the best mother I can be. Hopefully I’ll be a pretty good wife too, but I am a lousy cook so I’m going to have to work extra hard in other areas!

It would be nice too if we were able to return to Daniel’s family farm to bring our family up, it’s a bloody great place for kids and he speaks so fondly of his childhood there.

Fleur: Thanks, Kate as a PS, Kate was married recently and by all reports made a beautiful bride! She also didn’t stop smiling, from the photos I saw!

Comments 2

  1. Lovely interview, ladies. ABC Radio is such a life line in rural areas. Up here in Nth Qld we’d be lost without the wonderful voices, especially during times of emergency. Four weeks after Cyclone Yasi and the ABC is still doing outside broadcasts from areas that continue to struggle. It must give you immense satisfaction, Kate! And congrats on your wedding 🙂

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