Kayley Harris Celebrates 15 Years on Breakfast! | radioinfo

Kayley Harris Celebrates 15 Years on Breakfast!

Friday 18 June, 2004
Kayley Harris - 15 not out!

WSFM's Kayley Harris has notched up an incredible 15 years as breakfast co-host on the Sydney classic hits station.

Assuming the industry adage is correct - that "a week is a long time in radio" - Harris has proven that right - over and over again - 780 times, in fact, over 15 years.

Somehow, the mother of three has managed to juggle family life, endless commitments and the week in/week out drain of crawling out of bed at 3.30am to become the longest serving female breakfast co-host in the highly competitive Sydney market.

For 12 years, she teamed up on breakfast with Hans Torv, who left in late 2002 and now heads up the Gold Coast based Hot Tomato radio operation with his brother. In more recent years, Brendan Jones stepped into the Torv shoes and 101.7 WSFM's 'Hans & Kayley Show' became the 'Jonesy & Kayley Breakfast Show'.

To celebrate the 15 year milestone, radioinfo has put 15 questions to Harris - one for each year:

radioinfo: "What's the date of your 15th anniversary?"

Harris: "I honestly can’t remember, but mid June is the closest I can pinpoint. It was a long time ago!"

radioinfo: "Anything special planned for the day (on air, or off air)?"

Harris: "On air, probably not a lot, as we’re focusing on our major promotion at the moment – J & K’s Million Dollar Birthday Wheel. Off air, I’m planning a BBQ with radio friends I’ve known since the '80s."

radioinfo: "Will you be extra suspicious of Jonesy on this day for any 'surprises'?"

Harris: "I’m always suspicious of Jonesy – possibly a 'Kayley' bloopers tape."

radioinfo: "How does it feel to notch up such a significant achievement, especially in the dog eat dog Sydney market?"

Harris: "Very proud – radio isn’t known for its longevity, particularly breakfast, although it doesn’t feel like 15 years."

radioinfo: "What's the secret to your longevity?"

Harris: "Flexibility – being able to adjust to changes the station implements including format and staff – I’ve tried to re-invent myself in the past 18 months. You need to stay in touch with your city and its people (our listeners)."

radioinfo: "With other high profile women coming and going from radio (Wendy Harmer; Amanda Keller), what makes you different?"

Harris: "Nothing – Wendy and Amanda are both extremely talented women and I admire both of them. I guess the time was right for them."

radioinfo: "How much longer can you take the early starts?"

Harris: "I’m a morning person so it’s not too bad, as long as I continue to love what I do, I can go indefinitely, or unless I become incontinent!"

radioinfo: "Can anyone ever get used to them?"

Harris: "Yes, but you have to commit to looking after yourself and being fair to the people you work with. No one wants to come to work at 3am and be faced with cranky, tired people."

radioinfo: "How do you juggle three kids and one big kid (ie: your husband)?"

Harris: "You need to be very organised and I’m blessed to have a great support group of family and friends around me."

radioinfo: "It took 12 years to shake off Hans Torv - how long do you think it will take to get rid of Jonesy? Is he still on probation?"

Harris: "It was difficult for both me and the listeners to adjust to someone new, particularly after 12 years, but our audience loves Jonesy and he’s taught me a lot too – he’s one funny dude. I put him on probation every morning!"

radioinfo: "What lies ahead? What does the future hold for Kayley Harris?"

Harris: "I believe your future can be planned, but you also need to be prepared for whatever happens. I’d love to stay with WSFM, as I love the station, it’s heritage and listeners – we have the most loyal listeners, and they’ve been a part of all the major moments in my life."

radioinfo: "WSFM has just undergone a major tune up? Does Kayley Harris need a 15 year service to keep going?"

Harris: "I’ve tuned up physically in the past six months and tried to stay fresh with a new wardrobe (first in 20 years!). You can always improve yourself by learning from others."

radioinfo: "With the new DMG FM station due on air in Sydney by Christmas, do you see this as a threat to WSFM and your breakfast show, especially considering the speculation that the new format will target a 40+ audience?"

Harris: "DMG is a threat to any station in Sydney until we know their format, but WSFM has never been in a better position to take them on – I know this is gonna sound corny, but our listeners have told us what they want. We’ve listened and modified the product to meet their needs. We’ve completed independent research projects, which confirm the listener feedback as well."

radioinfo: "Where do you see radio in, say, five years? In 10 years?"

Harris: "In the States, the latest technology is satellite radio, which gives listeners the opportunity to pay for commercial free stations. The industry needs to balance what its listeners want with its advertising requirements."

radioinfo: "Where do you see Kayley Harris in five years? In 10 years?"

Harris: "Hopefully, at the forefront of radio in this country – and still loving it."

Kayley Harris started in radio 24 years ago (only a short time after women journalists were actually allowed to read news bulletins!). She says the days of 'weather and traffic girls' are, thankfully, long gone. In fact, "the industry now expects a lot more from us and we need to be assertive".

Reinforcing how things were back then, Harris began her career in the early '80s at (the then) 2UW as a secretary to the Program Director, before getting the chance to produce the Baz & Pilko breakfast show. The big breakthrough was in 1989 with her first on air opportunity on the (then) 2WS breakfast program.

WSFM Program Director, Graeme Edwards, has paid tribute to Harris: "Kayley Harris is an experienced broadcasting professional, strongly aligned to WSFM heritage in western Sydney.

"Her years on breakfast at WSFM have allowed the listeners to witness the transformation of a young lady’s life from single girl to married with her own young family. At the same time, they’ve shared her succession into Sydney's Queen of the airwaves."

Kayley Harris' 15 year record will be tough to break and should stand for many years, especially if she doubles it!

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