#544 – Anjali Rao On Broadcast & Journalism/
- December 12, 2019
Anjali Rao – Television Journalist
Anjali has spent over 20 years working in the top tiers of television journalism. After working as a presenter and anchor for Sky News and CNN International, Anjali won the top prize in the 2004 Amnesty International Human Rights Press Award and was named Best Current Affairs Presenter at the Asian Television Awards.
Anjali also hosted CNN’s flagship chat show TalkAsia, speaking with household names such as the Dalai Lama, Rihanna, Bill Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey, and is a regular guest panellist on The Project and Studio 10.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
– Short term memory
– Misrepresenting news
– Broadcasting your opinion on air
– Names and pronunciations
– Sweaty celebs
– Media consumption
– Riot Act on Audible
– Thinking about the audience
– The future of journalism
Anjali on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anjalinicola/
Riot Act: audible.com.au/pd/Riot-Act-Audiobook/B081VGWJLG
Anjali’s book recommendation: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/against-all-odds-9781760890957
Email us: email@example.com
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY. Find out more at https://bigmediacompany.com/
It's the daily Talk Show Episode 544. Is that what you said? 9644.
We're getting right. In the presence of a great guest, Angela. Yeah.
How are you with it like so I am terrible at remembering things. And so I've got a master of ceremonies gig on the weekend. Yeah. Which freaks me out. You've spent a lot of time on stage doing mc starik. You've done a lot of sort of, to camera live broadcast. Yep. Any tips on short term memory?
Absolutely none whatsoever.
So whenever I'm emceeing, I'm obviously using my max that the script is all that but I still haven't recovered from the nature of having my son 10 years ago. So I'm going to can barely remember where I live on my middle name.
So when you like on CNN and stuff, it's all teleprompter. You're not having to
be nice. It's not even that big. Lovely. No, it's not so on CNN when I was an anchor for six years, yeah, six years,
nearly forgot that
close, I was touching. So you have your script on the prompter, but half the time, you'll get you know, word in your egg. And Simon says dead go. And all the script disappears except for one word that says blank. And it's like you don't think I can see that it's blank. Thanks for letting me know. And it's just you and your mind. Until, but it's amazing what the human brain actually absorbs that you don't think that you've remembered or taken in? And then all of a sudden when you're sort of in a panic stations, and the adrenaline kicks in. You just you just go and it's like,
No, I did that. I knew that. And it was so what's, what's the scenario where that's happened where you've been interrupted, and you've been thrown? It's never good news. Oh, yeah, no, no. And so now what was the time Oh, you remember
there have been hundreds and hundreds of these scenarios. So God because I, you know, I did all through the
Asian tsunami and the, you know, they will financial crisis and you know, Middle East and stuff 911 I didn't do 911 because I just got home when 911 happened to switched on the telly. And it was saying that a small light plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. So I was at home at that stage, but the next day when I went and of course, it was just like, I think that was my very first breaking news that I ever did. Well, because we had to go, you know, World Tour blanket coverage the next day. Yeah, very, very first breaking news was 911.
And so you had you had the time to digest.
What did happen the last time I did, yes. But for example, you know, when the Asian tsunami happened, and I was anchoring on Sky News in the UK, which is very different Sky News here. It was, it was just regular, you know, Boxing Day, nothing happens. So everything was on the prompter, and that was sort of like nice and easy and all of a sudden it's like blank, and it said that nine people had been killed in tsunami. And then of course, the numbers just kept going and going and going. And by the time I left the studio that night, after eight hours of doing constant back to back interviews with God, any any person that you can possibly imagine, heads of state and all of this, there was something like 360,000 people dead at the end of my shift where it started at nine. Yeah, so and you just have to go and go and go, but because I'm from Asia, that was actually relatively easy for me, because I knew I knew what was what was what what was the lay of the land. I think you say for for Saturday night, Josh, you know, it's
Saturday during the day. So it's him saying it's a charity event at the Melbourne museum. It's friend in May. They're doing carols by daylight for kids with autism and all that sort of thing. So yeah, it should be fun. So the thing is, you have to remember like it, we can just act like drunks and just talk or whatever. Make sure gronk use that word you've never used grow our audience are called the gronk squad and so a gronk How would you describe it to?
You know the gronk? That leaves the toilet roll empty on the face it Yeah, it's like someone else's problem not my problem. Yeah that kind of an attitude I think we all embody the little bit you know so we all do things that serve ourselves more than others I mean with Carol's
is sort of a drunk drunk, right? Yeah go to raise money
carry cash from now on guys, but we're all trying to be better. We're all trying to be better girl.
Yeah, can I be one? Yeah.
Having to ask.
No, but yes, I feel like the presenting of information is different than just being a couple of gronk. Right and potentially, Tony
Well, I think as a as an anchor or as an news person. I think that it's like you have the information. I like You're an authority of the information whereas we're kind of lucky because we don't know anything, which is a safe space to be in. Yes, we can sometimes though stuff, and then other times not has that pressure feel like when you're like, I have to actually nail this. I don't want to misrepresent something that is something bad. That's
absolutely and you know, that's one of the hardest things about doing breaking news is that, you know, until you get sort of somebody on the phone, who you can talk to, or, you know, until they start rolling pictures so that you can quickly look at Wikipedia. You know, it's just, it's all in your head, and you're just thinking, please don't let me you know, stop this up in any way or say something that's wrong. So, for example, like doing breaking news, one on one, if you get, you know, information saying that there's been a blast or an explosion, you can't call it a bomb at all until you get absolute confirmation that it is because it could be somebody gas cooker or something like that. But that's a common mistake that I've seen plenty of banking. Make
Sure the word allegedly is quite, allegedly, reportedly
Yeah, exactly what
is portly there's an one that's like reportedly purportedly. Yeah, what is purportedly
reportedly, he just nailed it.
Really? Yeah. What when would you use purportedly? You're trying to be more pompous? Yes. I'd be a lot
that you know
Yeah. Just a bit coming from the ground.
Yeah. Your accents quite thick. Where? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in said I was born in Hong Kong. Dad was Indian I knew it.
And mom is from Bendigo in country Victoria. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. So they met in Hong Kong. Mom was 24 years younger than dad and I They had always wanted particularly Dad, dad was like a very British Indian, and wanted any kids that he had to have like a proper classical British education. And so, at the age of 11, I was packed off to Hogwarts. I've never set foot in England in my life. And there I was at this school in sort of the middle of nowhere. Absolutely beautiful. It was the royal families weekend retreat in the 15th century. And it had it has actual dungeons. Yep. Which I I found myself in twice because I'm really bad. sleepwalker. No, yeah. So I found myself twice in the dungeon about three o'clock in the morning. And once you realise that you're in the dungeon, so it's like
stone walls cold. Absolutely.
Yeah. And it's pitch black, it's pitch black down there, and he had to get up. So there are four turrets because it was a castle and the staircases and were like teeny weeny like that so you have your, you know, feel your way up these turrets to get back to the dorm. It was like
stemming to the UK so we don't have anything as old as what it feels like.
Was this the school that I went to after that as the oldest school in the world? How old 527 ad was when it started? And it had been all boys forever like until since then, until the year that I went was the very first time they took girls. So it's really difficult to get into college. I did. Yeah, so they made it really tough. So the ratio of boys to girls very favourable. Yeah.
Does it make you a third that the whole third culture kid is that the thing that was What's that mean? I don't know. My mate. Nice on always talks about it's like, Is he in Chicago grew up in PNG, then something else?
Yeah, he's like an American accent. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Cuz he's got it. So what was your accent before you move to the UK?
Um, it was so there's the Hong Kong accent is sort of quite a light Hong Kong itself. It's like a mishmash of all sorts of colours. and ethnicities and stuff like that. So my accent was a bit fuzzy from mom and a bit American. Because you know we only had an American sitcoms and and then a bit British of course but when I was really little I had a really thick Indian accent. Wow Yeah. From
from moving my father from yeah these kids now having like Spanish accents from Dora the Explorer. Young kids are static like the speaking you know in little Spanish Okay, it's interesting the surroundings how it sort of influences Do you think living in these different places when you're sort of a young woman 18 you thinking? Like I've seen a bit already? Yeah, definitely. It's most 18 year old. Have you ever left home? I mean 97 still.
Yeah, cuz by then I've done lots and lots of travelling and stuff like that and because Hong Kong safe Transylvania people just like, came back and leaving all the time, you're exposed to so many different types of people in so many different types of cultures. And it really does sort of, you know, seep into you in that way. So I felt like I had a lot of world experience, but at the same time, I was really quite sheltered.
I think my mom, let me go to the supermarket down the road until about 15. They are still in the dungeon. dungeon.
But and then yeah, obviously going to boarding school has, you know, all sorts of different influence on me as well.
you've interviewed some very interesting and high profile people. Correct? How do you? How do you approach it from a questions point of view? Have you got a question to open or to break the ice?
It depends. So if I'm doing like a three minute interview that's in the news. Then if I have time to write them down, well, great, but if I don't, and particularly again, if it's breaking news, You have any time at all? It's it's just like, you know, you're just basically taking what you've heard from that person and going off the back of it sort of like what you guys do. But when I was doing my talk show on CNN, that was like the sort of celebrity weekly chat show, Oh, God, it was the best fun. In those instances, I would dig and dig and dig and dig for information on these people. Stuff that, you know, the audience wouldn't have heard of preferably. And so I'd have I'd have all that mapped out in my mind, because particularly in a talk show format, you want them to forget that the cameras there, forget that it's a show, and that it's just a conversation. And it will happen quite a lot that we became sort of so friendly and on such a level that they would say things and then I would have to pick up and go, right so what you're talking about is the time when you know, you murdered your mother or you know And so, yeah, in those instances, sometimes you just go completely off script. And it just it all depends.
I love, you know, watching your show real, where you can see all the amazing people. you've interviewed some hard questions in there that asking hard questions they had for a reason. They're not easy. Yeah, like speaking to Bill Clinton. I had an idea. You asked him a question that was? Yeah. Do you remember that? Yeah. What could you say? Because I'll
say I said, other things in your presidency, that you wish you could just unhappen which I
hate when I do these questions. Well,
you know, knowing when a friend does it to you, yeah. When he knows the answer, right is trying to get you to say it. Yeah. When you got the President of the United States, yes. Someone who has been and you're asking him a very targeted question, which is clean. What do you want him to speak to? Yes, all these mistakes. Yeah. Who go
He's a sneaky.
He's like, it's all the things that I didn't do. Yeah. So it's like
a complete opposite like, Oh, you know, I wish that I could have you know, made a difference in Rwanda. Yeah, yeah, mate. That's not what I'm talking.
And so what do you do in that moment where it hasn't gone the way you wanted to? What do you do?
Again, it depends on who it is. So with somebody like Clemson because I've met him before, I know that it's like trying to nail Custer to a wall, you know, as it is with with.
Exactly, so it's like, but every politicians basically like that, like they know exactly. Yeah.
We've done improv a few times on the show where we've had actors on and we just throw a saying, I think they It could be something fun in me being the producer. I'll feed you a line of some breaking news. God has been Mr. 97 is someone that you're going to interview? I'll give you the context of who he is.
My audition for CNN.
Yeah, okay. Instagram is shutting down. We have it. No, this is. So Instagram is shutting down. We have an influencer, who runs his business through Instagram to speak to how would the producer normally communicate that by the way,
you would have communicated it by going and breaking Instagram shutting down Go.
Then how would I set up?
Oh, so I would sort of go Okay, so we've just got some breaking news into us from
Reuters you can be
that Instagram the opposite The massive social network is shutting down. So obviously this is going to affect many, many people. And then you would say to me again on the phone, we've got you on the phone, Mr. 97 influence. Hey, so I understand that in order to pad this out a little bit for us, we've got Mr. 97 on the phone. He is an Instagram influencer. Mr. 97. Just, you know, tell us your first reaction to this terrible terrible news.
I'm so disheartened. I mean, to be honest, it's it's what I make my living out of. It's how I put food on the table for my family. So yeah, I'm destroyed. I can't believe it's happening.
Yeah. Is this something that you ever could have prepared for?
Now? I mean, everyone talks about the diversification of your audience and all that sort of stuff. But I didn't really think that through in an episode of stuck to one platform being Instagram because it was so popular.
And what do you think that this is going to do for those idiots out there who are influenced by you?
We saw last second I have no direction where they're gonna go. It's it's unfathomable. It really
is. This is just shattering news. Oh my goodness. And if you've just joined us, we've just had a break.
Shutting down, possibly 20 people could be
editorialising can you do like so obviously you framed up his audiences being idiots, which probably correct. How much of that are you considering in? When do you apply your opinion versus when don't you write as an anchor?
Yeah. So you basically can't at all It depends on the network. So for example, something that's sort of sees itself as you know, right straight down the middle like CNN. You can't express any sort of opinion or emotion or anything like that, though. I did once cry on air. And I didn't get told off for it because everybody in the newsroom was crying. But over here, you are sort of you know, shows like you know, the project studio tab and stuff like that, you know that I've anchored on you are expected absolutely to just bring all your emotions and you know, let them out on air, which is actually quite difficult to get used to when you've been told you know, no editorialising You must never
well how do you also transition one of the things with the project specifically as a format that always gives me anxiety as a viewer is the transition from the you know, deep story of someone who's died to something a little bit lighter now? Yeah, is there any tricks in how to do that in a tasteful way? Um,
yeah, basically just breathe and take a beats and then you can sort of it doing light and shade is actually quite difficult and it takes a lot of practice and doing it sort of to turn the ship around
showing on break is a good transit, like if you can go to
really serious or you know, really, really obsessing on where there's just no way that you can come back from it. Then you can go some great but that's not the anchors decision. Ever. He said, we're going to break and the producer hadn't told you, oh my god, lots of trouble. So bad,
so bad. And so the sort of formatting the stories, and so they just put the light and shade in there, you can run with it.
Yeah, but it it also depends on how you yourself can work with that. And a lot of the time it is acting, you know, you've got to they can put something in a script, but it's not going to work unless you're actually, you know, fully engaged in that doing segues and tiny but it's, it's actually quite difficult to do.
How do you like what are your towels when you're in those states? Like, how do you visually show anxiety? Have you worked out that fear
how I visually show anxiety, I never show anxiety to my knowledge, but it's, you know, when you're sort of sitting at the anchor desk, because you're never meant to sort of show that you're disrupted in any way. So you've just got to be, you know, super calm and confident with sort of like, you know, Swan sometimes I think we've been called that. Because up here, it's like all poise and composure and underneath we're pedalling like, barberie. To just you know, keep it going. Yeah,
certain focus then like is like focus on your breathing focus on this specific bit right now.
Yep. Yep, absolutely. All of that. And it's, I don't think that it's anything that anybody can teach you. You just you know, you the single you float that that
you feel like you're running slightly ahead of time, you've seen what's happening ahead of time. And so that way you can be bit more in the moment I found from doing radio. I found like, it built a muscle of being able to preempt sort of what's going on what I need, so I felt like I was sort of like lag behind but in the present Yeah, seeing what was about to happen yeah, live TV. That's I mean, that's another bowl bowl game because you thinking visually
Yeah, absolutely and also with live TV and particularly sort of rolling networks you often don't get the chance to see your scripts fast. So the first time that you ever see any of it is when it's there and the world is watching set and that sort of can be a bit daunting sometimes when you know massive great time name comes up that you've never seen that's like that Not phonetic and they go until next Tuesday.
God give it a crack.
I found out that if you say it like you just look at it and go but inside if you say it slowly and British Lee everybody despise it. They just leave you
know, I appreciate that. Because I know I think that it's it would be the area that would freak me out the most is pronouncing of of name. Yeah,
like the first time I saw type Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is like,
I said, I can't remember how I said it. But God, it was not good. But I'm Genuine that Icelandic volcano was erupting and all the flights all over the world. All got shut down and it was like one for like a week or something. So everybody on air on every network was calling it the Icelandic volcano. And I was like, No, I'm actually going to find out how you say this insane word and I'm going to be known for pronouncing the name of the actual sodding volcano.
Okay, so the volcano itself can even say volcano has a
name. Yeah, say I mean, like, you know, all mountains and stuff. Hundreds. So it's a shuttle. Yeah, quick.
It's like sort of 25 letters. And it's all vowels. Can you say it again? Yeah, yeah,
yeah. Could I effect?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Could you flatter? Yeah. Good. Yeah. So this is Yeah,
yeah. How did you remember what did you write it out? medically,
yeah. No, my producers whenever that car survives out Flint phonetically, so I just look at the way that it actually was. And I was like, just pretend it's not there and just say it from your head. So then all the weather presenters when they were on air would just come up and do their bit and just go, Oh, you say
things that you fixate on say like words or whatever, like I find that I can get into like someone's name or whatever. And that almost becomes a bit of a head fight because I'm so focused on it that I'm bound to get it wrong. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. All the time. All the time. I've had so many screw ups on our God,
it feels like you don't have like a real clear solution which, sorry.
What you're describing like it just live no script that that's someone's hair. All right. Most people yeah, that's they couldn't handle sweating.
You have much of a sweater.
I am not i'm not and it drives my train absolutely crazy. Yeah.
I'm not sweating. Sweating on the inside is Some people are like I used to be a PT people sweat from the knees like wouldn't sweat. Here the knees would sweat because that really puzzled people.
But just think about like, with with their people you worked with that if you are a big sweater, like can you just is it just a makeup sort of thing? Or?
I can't say that I've ever worked with an anchor who's a big swears? Because I think I think you know, that's all.
And so you'd like Yeah.
If you're susceptible to anxiety, you shouldn't be just shouldn't be in TV. Lots of guests do,
because I know I'm used to it. What about celebrities? You have any anyone that you remember?
sweaty? Oh, yeah, just
out of out of context. We're talking about swingers?
Yeah, let me think.
Bill Clinton know he's he's pretty used to being in the public eye.
Yeah. Maybe a little bit.
Rihanna was now she was like super poised. And God she was good fun and she was absolutely fantastic. We just got on really, really well. Yeah, I can't think of any switches.
Is it a? What do you kiss hug or hug?
No, that one was a almost a proper kiss hug. But she's like an Amazon woman. She's about seven foot tall. She Yeah, well, I know, which I had never anticipated. But that was an interesting one, actually, because the chris brown thing had had happened and the only person that you've spoken to publicly about it was Oprah. And that was I think that was about two weeks before I did my chat show with her. And I walked in and her people would just hideous like they usually are. And so I went up to the minder handler was having if I go Hello, I'm Angela and she was like the words Chris and brown will not be mentioned.
I know. I just lost
Biggest entertainment story of the year, and she started going absolutely bonkers. But Rihanna walked in at that man,
so do shut up
with the accent, it's real quick.
And yeah, she didn't look impressed. But then riana walked in so she, you know, sort of pulled back. And we just got on immediately big hug. And just she was fantastic. Oh, we love your hair. And it's like, oh, yes, it's good. And so when it came to talking about the chris brown stuff, she brought it up. She didn't. I did. I was going to, but so she started it. And I just thought, Oh, yeah, fantastic. Because she was talking about her new album, just like, you know, this. It was really difficult because I was going through a really difficult time in my life when I wrote this song. And I was like, and obviously you're talking about, you know what happened with Chris Brown. And she was like, yeah, yeah.
People were just like,
you can see it happening.
I can see my peripheral vision. It's like you're not here. You are not here. It's just me and Ariana.
And so at that point, if they signed over permission for you to use this footage, prior to meeting is if we get it on camera, it belongs to us.
All right. So there's plenty of times that, you know, somebody said something that they wish they hadn't,
really because we never get guests to sign releases. And then we've we've had a moment of like, how should we be doing that? I don't know. If they do that. We really
should probably start doing that.
So you don't like do you have a handful of releases and you're just getting signatures anytime you have someone on air?
That's the producers job. Yeah, I'll just show up and do my act.
Yeah. Yeah. Is that part of the I guess the safety around the riana thing? Going in that like it's all good?
Yeah, it's it's all of that but you know, I'm not that I've read the release, but I'm sure it would say basic that you know, this is our show. We own the content. Whatever happens on camera is owned by us. And you know, particularly something's already public record. Yeah, of course you can ask. Yeah,
absolutely. Are you a boundary pusher?
Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. rather ask for forgiveness. Yes, exactly.
I think it's a good approach. I mean, it's a it do you think it has to fit to your character? Every found other news anchors that aren't that they want push it?
Um, yeah, there are plenty of them out there because it can be you know, quite a daunting thing depending on who you're speaking to. And if you don't push, you will get your ass kicked
it Do you not have the visceral response when you ask the tough question, because I feel like
if I've been told off by, you know, by celebrity, which has happened, it's when this hideous Kevin Spacey I could imagine him
realise, yeah, yeah, it's on YouTube.
Yeah, so what happened was so weak is one of those guys that we got on fine off camera. And then as soon as the red light goes on, they're just, you know, little celebrity and you're the evil journalist sent that to skewer them. So, and he didn't want to talk about anything to do with films. anyone to talk about the fear. So job, Kevin, nobody
that was walking away from Hollywood was that was that? Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. So partway through the interview, I was asking him a question about
so he given this interview to GQ Magazine, I think it's, like years before, and they had asked him about his sexuality, which was always you know,
a topic that you know, he'd often get asked, and not that I ever would, but he,
he was given this interview and he's like, Okay, I'm gonna pair it up once and for all. So he did to GQ magazine and he said that he was straighten that he had a female partner but she didn't like the Limelight, blah blah. So when the article came out, they completely was like no nudge, nudge wink where you say you are, but we know you're not sort of thing. So I was asking him about his reaction to the article know that he's gay and oh my god, he just it was the weirdest thing. It was so weird set with you. He thought I was going to ask him whether he was gay. Yeah.
And he goes,
I'm in the words of Morgan Freeman. The words Morgan Freeman had never been mentioned.
My darling, I'm surprised the journalist of your calibre care about such trivialities? And I was like, I'm gonna be sitting
is waiting to use that line.
Yeah, exactly. And then, you know, imagine my surprise when eight years later he comes out but I was made to go to his trader and apologise to him for a question I didn't know who makes you do. That was his, his publicity people
and if they like if you don't apply gize anyone else who we handle? You're not gonna have access? Yeah, yep. Yep. Is it cutthroat like that? I've been watching the Good morning was here. Oh, yeah. Yeah. You said like it like the behind the scenes of TV. Is it drama and all that sort of shoot? Gotcha. Yeah,
absolutely. It was particularly dramatic at Sky in the UK, because every single thing that is breaking news, everything, you're constantly juggling, you know, maybe five breaking news stories and they're all different ones. And you've got to sort of, you know, weave your way around. And God you'd have to leave your talkback open so your earpiece is they never turn it off. So all you can hear is like 16 people screaming in the control room, and you have to figure out which one you actually need to listen to them which ones
are just noise I would melt down
our people was like throwing up in the list is crying. It was Yeah, it was absolutely was full on really It's the most stressful job I ever had.
Did you ever have a moment where because I seen the show where like the weather guys having an affair or whatever they're talking and I'm like, they've got lapel mics. I'm like, surely the sound department's hearing all of this?
Yeah. With it in Everland with a microphone. Yeah.
Was there any? Any a time where you had your microphone on and you forgot?
I didn't, but I know plenty who have Yeah, yeah, that was those CNN anchor he was. She'd been doing it for years. And she was in the bathroom bitching about her sister in law, who she'd just been on holiday with. And it went out live. She spent Christmas apologising to the whole family on I think she got divorced in the end, but yeah, it was not good. But that tells me that she didn't have friends in the control room. Yeah, because they could have easily just turned off.
You can see the opportunity
for me, I get ahead news push to my phone and just got too much for me. So I turned it off. But it's your job. not totally off. How do you switch off from something that it's it's more than a job right? It's a lifestyle.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. switching off for me has actually always been quite easy. Which I think comes down to the fact that I can sleep anytime, anywhere, no matter what noise, what light anything is going on. So I mean, staying awake is my issue.
What's your what's the best location you've ever fallen asleep in?
Probably the dungeons.
Well, I can't stay awake on planes ever. I'm just out like light. So you know, that means that sort of when I wake up, I basically processed everything and I'm ready to just you know, carry on. Say the times that I have really taken it home with me, have usually been one I've done breaking news on natural disaster, because when you do that, you don't know how many days, weeks, months even it can go on for. And it's just this constant intake of these horrendous horrendous stories. And weirdly, the worst one for me, I think was the earthquake in Haiti, which I think was about 2009 2010. And I'd never been to Haiti, I didn't know anybody from Haiti. And every single day I would cry my eyes out when I got home. It was just so horrendous just seeing this, you know, destitute country, but we also see all the raw footage that comes in that the public doesn't see. And I'm often asked why do you Why do you have to edit just you know, we're not babies just show off. That's right. You do not want to see this. You really, really don't. and stuff like that watching the raw footage of you know, collapsed buildings, but you can see, you know, like a kid's arm just like hanging out, but there's no way to get to them. And you can see that you'd see hands moving like this. People will live under the Trouble, but there was no way that anybody could ever get to them. And stuff like that really stays with you.
What's your media consumption like now?
Um, I do not watch news in this country, because it's just said,
but I do read news. Good news, do you think I'm just
you know, looking outside our borders would be a start. That'd be great. Yeah, if we could get some sort of more international news, that'd be fantastic. But I'm news that involves a bit of everything, you know, bit of politics, business, showbiz sports. And that's why you know, I love reading news.com every day because it's got all of it. And you know, I am quite partial to the daily fail. The Daily fail is great.
So from a network point of view, if you were to listen to watch one station, you had to have it on all the time. Like I always feel like when I'm overseas in a hotel room, I always put on like saying and or whatever just because I just feels like you're connected in some way. Yes, the guy, what would be your channel that you'd have it on? If I was a abysses anywhere in the world,
I would probably do. I really like NBC.
Because that's just got a bit of everything. And it's entertaining to watch. I find things that are sort of, it might sound weird, but sort of to down the rabbit hole of news or not, that's not really my thing. So when it's just a bit too serious, I love the light and shade. And my favourite thing even as an anchor was was never the main story. It was always the stories that you find around the main story. So like, you know, I particularly love looking at psychological aspects and stuff like that, because if I hadn't done journalism at uni, I would have done psychology. So all that sort of peripheral stuff is what I really like. And something I NBC kind of covers that off
some times that watch CNN, but sometimes it's just too, you know, in your face. In the UK, I always wonder sky.
Yeah, I don't know if it's our age or if it's the time and the people that I'm consuming on media, but I've never thought more about left or right. And more attaching it to news outlets and media outlets. Yeah, this is lovely. And this rightly or Was this something that was a thought when you were in these big media companies sometimes. So cnn was easy in that way because it was straight down the middle,
which now is, you know, getting less and less popular because people want to be outraged. And you can do that really, as somebody you know, showing polarising views. But when I was working for you know, Murdoch networks, yeah, I mean, it was definitely you encouraged to be more on the rights. Yeah, definitely. And so how do you
reconcile that, you know, seeing in down the middle, I could imagine it pretty Easy to sort of go. Yeah, it's a we're in the middle. Yeah. But when you are off to one of those songs,
but also everyone says they're in the middle of
the middle is easy, because it's like, yeah, 5050 Yeah, I could take that not I like that. You know, so yeah. How did you actually reconcile when it's Did you? Did you? Are you working out way use way more? So being amongst
that? Yeah. So the thing about me is that I'm actually fairly apolitical it. If I was in the UK, I'd always vote conservative. If I was in the US, I'd always vote Democrat. And here is my God, I can see why they threaten you with a big fat fine if you don't get because people just wouldn't go. Let's just get some decent politicians and it might show up, you know, and I did make that argument once the first time that I got here, and I didn't videos make me and say, they find me and I wrote this. 35 bucks. like 75 or something like that. Yeah, that time I didn't have 75 cents. So I wrote an angry letter. And I wanna I want my cake. Yeah, cuz it was like I think that's funny. Yeah he kind of Roy actually Yeah. What did you say? I was like
How dare you find people
but not coming out to vote if you had anybody worth voting for perhaps we would bloody hell North Korea is laughing at us
your fines being waived? I think it was just too much too much. I'll just keep painful then it won't deal with me
handwritten was that a digitally wrote it?
I did. So like that's worse. I mean, how are you with admin Do you like admin do I like had been does anybody like it? I think there's a lot of it. Like there's there's a certain type that's like, I'm type I like I'm a real type A.
I'm always putting it off. Yeah, I'm definitely a procrastinator when it comes to admit.
Yeah. Do you think that how much of the You the voting stuff? Was that the fact of just fucking doing admin versus she yeah she politicians.
Yeah. Well, it could be that too. Yeah, it could be that it's all a bit it's just I'm just not a fan of it. I find that that sounds terrible and you know people can give me a yell at me like it's a democracy blah blah blah, but it's like, if I don't want to vote them to make me
and so the the audible series that you're on right act is all about being a conservative radio stations. What was it? 363 66 Yeah. And so you play a character, Michelle?
Yes. What's the deal with Michelle? here so this is my very first acting gig. Never. I've always wanted to act. And so when this came along, it was just like, too good. So Michelle, is she is a woman of colour. British, right? They were ago. Yeah, yeah. And she was a journalist in the UK comes over here and can only because there's no diversity which is true. Also can get is producing a far right wing radio show at midnight. And she is the producer of an absolute knob called Campbell parks played by Mark Humphreys who is just fantastic. And so it's sort of parodies those, you know, right wing radio shows that you know, we all know and love. And they decide to book Campbell decides that he wants to boost his numbers by putting on a
memorial for the Granada riots.
Which I actually discovered in breaking news in real life at Sky and my co anchor was from America. And he absolutely just insisted on calling it cronulla nullah right saying it's not made, it's written. And so anyway, they put this thing on and it's about how he had suddenly becomes incredibly famous. And so they get moved from, you know, the crappy slot at midnight till 2am to, you know, the highly coveted breakfast slot. But then he, Campbell, sort of after the Granada riots Memorial March is sort of he's very famous, but not in a good way. So he sort of has to leave the country and it's about what happens while he's gone. And it's the funniest thing I've ever heard. I think I'm on it, I'm on my third or fourth, listen all the way through. It's absolutely hilarious.
It's such an interesting format, because it's sort of like a this immersive experience like it really is because I guess orderable you could easily like I'm a nonfiction junkie, very self, you know, that sort of thing. And so this is completely like something that different in that in that format. What is that like? Being Behind the Scenes of creating something like that,
yes, I've never done anything like this before. I mean, I've done radio and stuff like that. But this was totally different. Because it's all you know, scripted, obviously. And but you're you're not in a studio. So we didn't, we went to the United sun for a loss of it. In the studio behind the mic, we were like that we have a funeral scene. And so you actually, you know, went to the park around the corner, and we let the sound out there sort of like recording I see that you can get all the ambient sounds and you know, if I sort of storm out of the room, I'm actually getting up from the chair and slamming the door and sort of you know, pounding the desk
into that is there any moment because Danielle, which was working on it, like is there any point where you just like guys, we need to be hit? Can we just do it in the studio? Or did you enjoy it?
We all loved it. We absolutely loved it. And so, you know, when it's like, Michelle gets into an Uber, so I'm actually outside in the street getting into somebody's car did not know. Actually, yeah, cuz that's, I think that's something like that. 9296 characters that they guys wrote, and there's this one guy, that's British guy, he plays about 12 of them. And I've never lost so much of my life. He just goes from one accent to the other all around. So he was playing sort of a my Uber driver, and 11 easy bus driver, there's no accent that he can't do. We were all just absolutely cracking ourselves laughing. So, you know, it's like getting to the bar and he'd be like, Michelle and slam the door. And, you know, say we're always going to say, you know, I need to go to the church or Lady of consolidated debt, and say he'd and then he'd sort of like chat to me in the Lebanese accent, but just always, you know, going in between every single one it was absolutely brilliant. It was so good for you
channelling the the experiences you've had having all these you know, working in businesses that politics and shit that's going on now.
It's all a bit real doesn't matter.
It was completely real. That's
how I felt. Yeah, you were thinking. This is I've had this experience or
oh my god completely, but as soon as I read for the role, and my agent thought he said, you know, do you think that you can play this as a British accented woman of colour? Who's a journalist take? Have you got this ad? Yeah, gotcha. It was. So when I read the role, it was literally scripted for me, it really, really felt like it was. So and the guys had no idea that this was actually my background.
And so how, like, do they allow you to have the script in front of you? Because I guess it's a different type of format, where it's like, it's all that what's kind of going through the speakers
are acceptable. Yeah,
yeah. He's running shorts would be okay. Or did you actually get did you get into character? Like, how much of it is actually performing the same?
Oh, God, all of it? Yeah. All of it. Yeah. I mean, and the great thing was that I was the only non professional actor. The rest of them all knew exactly what they were doing. So that already sort of, you know, got their head around the character and stuff. Like that, but yeah, you've really got to sort of absorb who you're playing. And you know, sort of believe in it yourself so that other people do. It was proper acting, and I loved it.
It was great. What's your relationship with nerves? Like, when you're on live TV? Yeah. Is there still nerves? I'm
there. I think if there wasn't that would mean that I didn't care. I think a modicum of nerves is healthy.
So I'm often asked because I MC all over the world.
When I'm about to go on stage, people do often asked me if I'm nervous, you never know.
I don't think I can do this.
Have you ever had a moment of panic?
God? Yes. All the
time. So what does that look like? Because even Tommy and I were at the NGV doing Insta stories, a lot of levels of stuff, literally talking to our phones, as I don't know about my performance. Like I freaked out, yeah, the idea of recording on the phone. How do you get like, do you verbalise? How you feeling? Do you have to hold it in? How do you make sure that everyone else doesn't freak out?
You never let on that you're nervous. You have to be sort of the, the voice of confidence, like you know exactly what you're doing and saying, but inside again, like when it's breaking news, and you just think, I don't know anything about this, but then you sort of somehow you just get through it. And I
think that if you sweat
Yes, giveaway the
giveaway. I mean, like, taking the action, solves the nerves problem a lot of the time. Yeah, the hobbit is if you take the action, then it's the new fumble, or you get on that sort of spiral. Yeah. Does that happen? The spiral where you just can
do Yeah, yeah, those those wants a stupid, crazy news that I did at Sky, the UK. Like I said, Everything ever that's breaking news, like even things that just do not warrant it. A tree. Yeah, right here. The train had derailed and no one was injured. And so that was breaking news. And we had to go live with this thing for hours and hours and hours. And there was nothing to say like I was interviewing, you know, some dork from you know, I love trains.com. And all of a sudden, I had a complete and total brain fart. It was just like, I like nothing to say. I've no words. And so I just threw to weather and the weather person was
countries like Dan Harris talks about that. The author of Tyson happier he, he's a news anchor. And he talks about the moment where he has a complete meltdown, but then you watch it. It never looks as bad as it feels. It feels
like Yeah, yeah, I'm the worst ones and when you have a laughing fit, and you can't Yeah,
how do you control that? You don't
you don't you just pray for an outbreak. Said the worst one I have from the sky. And I was with my wonderful co anxious. I'm crying Steve and he said, we were we've been on air for four hours, I think it was like from 6am to 10. And we were so close to the end, we were only like 10 minutes out or something. And it had been really uneventful. Like nothing was happening. It was just super easy that day. And for summary, I told him a joke in the ad break, and he just lost it. And then when we came back, neither of us could hold it together. And so they are producers like like, you know, effing and blinding light, you know, Tourette's and was getting together and of course, that made it much worse. And so we ended up with it said, you know, and paragraph Steve paragraph and I would read my power and lose it in the middle and pretend I was having a coughing fit, and Steve would have to pick up up in the middle of my paragraph and continue reading, by the time we got to the end of whatever the story was, we were doing one word each. And we had our chairs back. We could look at each other. And so Murdoch never ever switched off like he always he watched everything, every single thing on Sky. And we were absolutely petrified that we were going to get, you know, a call on the red phone and make miraculously that day. He wasn't watching. It was like, Oh my God, we were so close to losing our job. What's the red phone? Does? It's like the bat phone.
Actually, is there a red phone?
There is a red flag and really yeah, direct line to murder.
Yeah. can use it one way or it can you pick it up? Murdoch? I think it's
actually thinking of our audience because obviously like if you've got audiences in different countries, how am I thinking about that?
All the time, all the time. And particularly when they are you know, Different countries and there are sort of cultural sensibilities and that sort of thing. You're absolutely terrified. But so when I was done, I've got a 10 year old son. And when I was about to burst I was I think it was on my last day before I went off maternity leave. And it was in a top of the news top of the hour, like when you're really serious stuff is happening. And it was the latest Afghan death numbers. And I just did the most massive bub, the right in the middle of talking about these huge death numbers. And it oh my god, there's nothing you can do. But you can't put it back in and sign.
Excuse me? I'm sorry. Sorry.
I still tell off is it my little boys like you did that to me? Everybody in the newsroom just lost it and we basically had to go through an outbreak right off the top story.
Yeah, new media versus old school media. How do you view it as a broadcaster?
Um, well, the thing that mostly sort of sticks out to me about that is that in days of old media, it used to be really, really pleasantly difficult to get through to any anchor. And now it's my God, everybody's got an opinion and you're going to hear about it. And you know, when you're trying to do live news, and you have to have your phone by you for obvious reasons. And you know, somebody, you pick up your phone and you see a nasty tweets, it's like, make Come on, you get up here and do it and try and juggle 50 different topics and doing a three and a half hour live broadcast, really, but you can't unsee it. And it's actually so nasty now out there. Because if somebody sends you a mean message, they'll make sure that they tag you show, your network and all of the other angles that you work with all the hashtag for maximum
damage. I put This effort into something productive life. Exactly. It seems like it's a real effort to be a troll.
Yeah, Yeah, it does. Let's just be sort of so draining being nasty all the time. It's um,
yeah, I mean, it's even like email stuff. If you work hours, it can just trigger the feeling. And so I get it. Yeah, yeah, you can see it now. How you do you just turning it off. So we need to have it on? Yeah, of course you have to. Because you know, you never know what. So most of the stuff is really nice, but you don't remember the nice stuff. And what about young women wanting to move into journalism? Now? I mean, there's still university courses degrees in journalism, right? What's the future of it? If they wanting to do something, they see a career like yours and they think that's what I want. Is it still there?
Yep. So when, whenever I'm asked by somebody, it's like, you know, I want to do what, what you do so you know, I'm going to start Taking journalism uni I always say, Well, my first piece of advice would be don't study journalism, it doesn't matter. Anybody can be a journalist with you know, you can be a lawyer or you know, have a medical degree or whatever, they actually want you to have different strings to your bow journalism. I mean, when I was doing journalism at Union London, all we learned about was like, you know, what happened with the press and Fleet Street, you know, big while you can. And, sort of it's, it's good getting sort of, you know, practical sort of experience. But, you know, I didn't even get that. So, if I was going to uni now, I would take psychology, definitely. And you can still be a journalist, because they want you to bring a different side to it. If you understand the news, right. You just have to be human being really, but if you have, if you can come at it from a different side that makes you much, much more valuable. And I think now because the whole job journalism industry is changing so rapidly that it to even have something else behind you that if it all falls over, you have you have another qualification that you can, you know, rely upon?
Yeah, like, that's a good perspective.
Amazon with Audible, they're obviously getting into the content game in a big way. How, how does that affect what you and the people around you are doing from an industry point of view? Does it change anything or they just just like another network?
I reckon it's just like another network. I mean, that's springing up all over the place. And, you know, everybody gets their content now from you know, so many different sources as well. So I mean, you know, when I host on Studio 10, we're pulling things from you know, women and Mamma Mia and stuff like that. And so it's just another content provider, but you know, a valuable one.
You're listening 20 podcasts. So yeah,
right act for the fourth time.
So that's it. I mean, that's another interesting thing. Right act is, it fits in this different realm. So you get it on Audible. Did you see it as a podcast or what it had? How do you describe it?
Yeah. So at the beginning, I wasn't sure whether it was I don't think anybody will show whether it be sort of, you know, radio play, like in the old days, or whether it would be, you know, an episodic podcast. But I think that the way that it, it's sort of turned out is just absolutely perfect for the story that we're trying to tell. God, it's funny, I know, said that. I just I keep thinking of little quotes, and I'll just be sort of, you know, walking along, whatever. I'll just spontaneously his myself laughing.
Was it all written out? Was there any improv?
Yeah, there was plenty of improv. Yeah, yeah. Particularly by Dan Elliot. Yeah, as you can expect, yeah. So and Dan plays the boss of the network nuggets.
And he's just, oh, you know, his his catchphrase like bull Tara. I want balls.
Terra. Terra. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. So he was a good contact. I know and I have a lot more to come on Campbell these bulls won't add themselves.
So yeah, that was that was plenty of improvement also by Mark Humphries as well.
Yeah. 2019 favourite book? Oh,
God, that would probably have to be. I'm also reading recently. I can't remember what it's called. But I'm and I'm going to get my ass kicked for that. But it's by the
by the guys who rescued the boys from the Thai cave. You remember that, you know huge, huge story. So I read it because I had this fantastic MC gig. That was two weeks in Lisbon, followed by two weeks in Bangkok followed by two weeks in Miami, where I was in interviewing them on stage. And so now we're like best buddies. And so in order to prepare for that, obviously I had to read the book and it was just so compelling it was I mean so many things that that you would never little details just like oh I had no idea about that. So yeah that was that was fantastic star wars against all odds against all odds
yeah the story did the Elon Musk thing come up?
We allowed to talk about it on it on stage Yeah, so we were going to but then we didn't because we just thought let's not give him any air Yeah, any any more time So no, we just kept it straight down to you know what happened? How the rescue when was it covered in the book? It only a tiny bit. Yeah. But because nobody wanted to, you know, give it any more oxygen Really?
So do you think it was like I guess news can get the headlines happening and it allows for this like Wait to become the story of God. Do you think was that an example of the wrong thing becoming the story?
Sure. It was, you know, it was such a red herring. And you know, I think when it when it all came out and there was sort of like this nasty little playground spots, you know, between between the two of them, it was just like
billionaire and some heroes.
Yeah, exactly. It's like, Hey, can we just like, you know, bring the focus background to what's actually happening, rather than some sort of, you know, imaginary thing that never will. So,
yes, as cheapest Do you get good at knowing what's PR rah rah versus what's actually I think we all knew that was, yeah, station, the bleeding over here.
But then what about the people working on the front line in the media and in the news that have to, you know, that they're getting to Where's the ball tearing stories? Yeah, you need to lead with that.
Yeah, absolutely. So then how do you I always say, I read somebody From some journalists, I think how the fuck any live with yourself. Yeah. How can you be spinning this bullshit? Well, there's
a lot around twit like, it seems like sometimes shows are just like writing out random tweets. Yeah, like I've always found that interesting which is like, you know, especially like I sort of understand when Donald Trump says something outrageous that's news, but there's always there's a funny thing we can see in the newsroom. That's it guys. We need different opinions. So then it's just random like like, john who no one.
Yes, he thinks this oh and a Vox pops are the lowest form of journalism.
Many projects voxpop Oh, wow. Yeah. Now, what about the relationship between studio and on the ground? To on the ground, people think studios scam and vice versa. Is there a little bit of that?
Um, no, they didn't, in my experience, they don't because they're, they're two extremely different things. So on I did much more in the studio primarily because I had two shows, you know, one was the news Monday to Friday air conditioning
on that, yeah.
And the other one was my talk show that I travelled around constantly for. So I, but also, my thing has never been sort of, you know, wearing a Flak Jacket in the trenches, but thank God, you know, lots of journalists are totally into that, which is fantastic. You know, including my great friend, he Remington, who is in riot act, and he was my co anchor at CNN. His
book is so interesting. Yeah. Like, just like growing up like he was an alcoholic, super young and really, really,
yeah, amazing. But he said he loved all that sort of, you know, getting down in the trenches sort of thing. But I think the journalists that are really good like him that can do both. They're as comfortable in the studio as they are out there. You know, in amongst all that there's plenty of times that I have done it but yeah, it wasn't it wasn't really my thing. But I think journalists just they respect what you're good at, like what your what your particular focus is towards and yeah, we don't tend to sort of get what and what's
that for you Do you think what is your focus or your sort of main skill?
For me it would be interviewing because and that's why they gave me my own talk show was because I just I'm fascinated by other people and you know that used to drive my parents mad when I was growing up so just like Why can't you just love River Phoenix for his movies? Why do you have to know every single thing about him? But that's basically how I made my my you know livelihood is knowing everything possible about these celebrities that and I just find it completely fascinating. So dungeon really makes sense.
podcasting into the interview format has sort of gone gangbusters within this of podcasting. Is there anything that you think podcasters could take from traditional media and the way that they're formatted?
I think that, like what you guys are doing is just fantastic. You guys have fantastic interviews you have a bunch of you. Yeah.
Well, we try and like we position it as a conversation rather than an interview. Yeah. So then it takes a bit of the pressure off.
You're leading with the we're curious and want to know more about you. So it's like, if you actually have those things and some information, yeah, there's a lot that can be explored. Yeah, that isn't just a question. 12345
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I've always been sort of fascinated by you know, what, you know, very famous people do, but you don't know who they are, as, you know, human beings. And for me, that's always been my main thing. I just I love that.
How do you crack the shell?
Sometimes you don't and sometimes you just have to admit defeat, say particularly with I've always found politicians and sort of a list athletes are like that. They are very very difficult to crack. And we know custard
that's my thing. I like I made it I love it. I really can use it but you have only royalty. Yeah, now
the sheet to a blanket nine other star. That's when it sticks. That's beautiful. It's the opposite. Oh,
yeah, that's really lovely.
Being very on brand with why we finished this. So, right act is the audible original series.
It certainly is.
There's a bunch of how many episodes how many episodes?
Yeah. And so it's great. It's like, I think 40 minutes or something per minute.
Yeah, something like that.
So they're quite good. Like it's one of those bite sized that you can't like with normal audio books or like on all As a platform yeah you end up just running like there's no sense of progress yeah right like about it is that there is that progress as well? Yeah finished
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And there's like you know, the promo forward for what's on the next episode and I mean God when you have you know, characters name like plugger and tugger and stiffy and fingers and butt crack nuts that sack you know, your executives By the way, you know, it's just really hard to say no to that sort of a
rhyming named in that we've got
the idea of like the international execs at Amazon listen it like in like, the history we've been Yeah right. To daily talk show hi the daily talk show.com is the email address you want to send us an email if you like the show. reviews on Apple podcasts are always appreciated otherwise cinema guys say guys