Drive is just a really nice way to live

Hughesy and Kate go two on one with Peter Saxon

radioinfo: Seriously, were the early starts the main reason you quit Breakfast at Nova 100?

Kate: Well, 12 years of that. And also the desire to see what else is out there.

Hughesy: The early starts were restrictive. And just being solely in one market is restrictive, And I love working at night as well. And after 12 years working at night was compromised by working in the mornings

Kate: A comedian is a nocturnal creature and I’m a nocturnal creature. The rub with breakfast radio is that it rarely seems to be done by “morning” people – except perhaps on AM stations.

radioinfo: If you’d been offered Drive at Nova, would you have stayed?

Hughesy: I don’t know. It’s a good question. Look I was…

Kate: You were very keen for me to do drive

Hughesy: I really wanted to go touring, to be honest 

Kate: He wanted to do stand up

Hughesy: And I did that for two or three months overseas as well so I was really keen… with a young family as well, it’s tricky touring all the time 

radioinfo: Now you’re doing Drive, is it all you’ve cracked it up to be? Do you find it a comparatively cushy gig?

Kate: Yes, yes, yes! It’s a great gig – like it’s really good!

It’s a good atmosphere in the radio station in the afternoon. People are leaving and they’re happy. Morning people turning up for work…

Hughesy: It’s really fun. It’s a couple of hours. You get to hang out with a mate for a couple of hours in the afternoon. You hopefully get to make each other laugh . Then you’re at home at 6.30 tucking the kids into bed

Kate: On another level, not to overthink it, but some mornings when you wake up and because breakfast is more news oriented because it’s easing people into the morning of what they need to know – some of that news is brutal… like psychologically brutal first thing in the morning. You don’t really have that in Drive. You’re liberated from a lot of the news cycle stuff aside from the stuff you can hopefully weave into some gold . Drive is just a really nice way to live.

Hughesy: It’s a good atmosphere in the radio station in the afternoon. People are leaving and they’re happy. Morning people turning up for work…

Kate: Yeah, bludgeoned

radioinfo: When did the conversation with ARN to bring you over to KIIS commence?

Hughesy: In the middle of last year I think

Kate: You were away still and I decided you know what I’m not even going to talk to Hughesy about it till he comes back. 

Hughesy: I had to talk ‘round to think about it

Kate: I didn’t even think about it for three weeks. I was like, there’s no point in even thinking about it. I stayed at home with my children and I was very relaxed… depressed. 

radioinfo: What do you mean depressed?

My husband said, you don’t have to work – which like no man had ever said to me

Kate: I have four children and I’d made a commitment for that year that I wanted to be at home with them, so I was doing a lot of  heavy lifting and it was very enjoyable. I really respected myself for doing it but also a little piece of me died while I was doing it, which I think is just shorthand for “mother” really.

radioinfo: Was it like a work versus family crisis?

Kate: No crisis and not “versus” but when I had an opportunity to do a year and my husband said you don’t have to work – which like no man had ever said to me because Im modern  – I went, so I’ve got a year…  

It’s not very often that you get to have a year being a stay at home mother. I had all my children when I was doing breakfast. I had all four of them in that time and I had all four of them in six years. That was very intense and there was a rhythm in the family and it was fine… but I had the opportunity!

Hughesy: When we decided to do it it was late in the year. Like we didn’t decide before November.

radioinfo: What happens? Does someone from ARN call your agent and say…

Hughesy: … what do you reckon… any interest? And you go, hmmm. Maybe…

But they were great.

Kate: Really great. Duncan (Campbell) is just beautiful

Hughesy: Duncan was like, ‘We appreciate your work and we’d like you to work for us…’ It was very low pressure 

Kate: I was quite blind sided by it (the offer) at the time because I just wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t thinking about going back to work. I wasn’t looking for work at all.

radioinfo: You’ve had a fantastic start in your new shift on your new network – you’re number one in Drive nationally after just four surveys. Is it what you expected?

Hughesy: Well, you just hope…

Kate: We didn’t expect… nor did we not expect but we always tried to put the show before any expectations, if you know what I mean. 

The essence of what the show is and the essence of our interaction with each other and our enjoyment of the show, we put before the numbers.

Hughesy: We’ve been in the survey game for a long time and you cannot, you just can’t buy into it because all you can do is enjoy yourself on air and  the numbers just happen. And they fluctuate. You find in Drive, you’re up in one survey in one market and you’re down in another market. It’s a very inexact science

I’m very competitive but I am learning to temper my competitiveness. I think I’m maturing, as a person

Kate: If you were just numbers driven it would drive you crazy wouldn’t it?

radioinfo: It certainly drives Duncan crazy.

Kate: But he’s got a different job to us

radioinfo: By nature, how competitive are you guys?

Hughesy: I’m very competitive but I am learning to temper my competitiveness. I think I’m maturing, as a person

Kate: You’d hope so

radioinfo: How old are you now?

Hughesy: I’m 44. So Im looking to enjoy the moment rather than live in bullshit land – if you know what I mean. Not just with radio but with anything I do

Kate: It was like when we were still doing breakfast… and I remember going, ‘you know when you talk about your work friends? Theres no such thing as work friends. There’s just friends. It’s sort of like that. 

People might separate their life from their work but our work is our life. Which is not to say that we don’t have a life without the work but the work is such a part of our lives that we don’t have that sort of division. 

And that makes it very fluid and beautiful so that means as rich as your life is, is as rich as your show is. And as fulfilling and challenging and stimulating and entertaining your relationships are that’s how your show is. I know other people obviously have different approaches  but thats how it works for us.

Hughesy: You really just want to enjoy your time. SeriousIy, I really just want to enjoy my working time. 

I used to worry about; will I still be well known, will I be more well known or less well known? Am I popular this week or what’s my Q Score? Fucking ridiculous! Seriously, it’s insane!

Kate: You see, I’ve never really worried about that stuff. I’ve had times when I intended to but I’m very distractible and then I forget. It works quite well like that.

radioinfo: So with Hamish and Andy starting up in your space, how does that impact on you?

Hughesy: You can’t let anything like that impact on you. You honestly have to have the fun that you’re having. I don’t think it makes an impact.

radioinfo: Do you know the guys, personally?

Kate: Yes, we know them. They’re lovely. 

Over the years I’ve realised that focussing on what other people do gets you absolutely nowhere

radioinfo: In the old days there were great rivalries between presenters. I guess they still have rivalries between AM presenters but not so much FM, where most seem to be friends. Why is that?

Kate: You know what I think? It’s got a lot to do with the fact that radio now has become the domain of comedians. And in comedy we all work together so we all see each other all the time. Before it was more tribal. Whereas now, we are all the one tribe. We just happen to work for other people. 

Hamish and Andy, Hughesy and me, Kate, Tim and Marty – we’re all comedians. We work together all the time. We brush up against each other. We’ve known each other for a long time. We see each other outside of work. We see each other at parties. we see each other at funerals. It’s a different dynamic.

Hughesy: Also, over the years I’ve realised that focussing on what other people do gets you absolutely nowhere. Sure, I’ve done it over the years with different radio teams being on opposing stations. I focused on what they’re doing, on what’s going on over there. And it’s absolutely counterproductive and doesn’t make your show any better or make you better. What we want to do is be relaxed. You’re not playing tennis.

radioinfo: You’re playing golf.

Hughesy: Exactly. We’re playing golf. That’s a good analogy.


 Peter Saxon

Tags: | | | |