Radio Presenter Dani Pola knows a thing or two about hard work – from very early on in her career life, Dani was passionate about radio and after a couple of stints in Perth and the Central Coast, she has landed her dream job doing breakfast radio at the all new Hit 107 in Adelaide. TBS chats to Dani about moving on from the Big Brother stigma, building a relationship with her new co-host and what she thinks about women crying at work (yes, we’ve all been there).
Congrats on the new gig at HIT 107 Adelaide! You have a new co-host in Amos Gill, how do you go about building a relationship with him to create the on air chemistry?
This is going to sound made up but Amos and I had a great chemistry from the get go. He came on my show in Gosford to fill in for 2 weeks and from day 1 it really worked. He is really easy to get along with and has a performance background so he gets it. The things we’re working on right now is the building of breaks as he comes from a comedy background and I a radio only background. I’m trying to understand his view on how a break should sound and he is the same with me. Sometimes there are some differences but we’re finding our happy medium and our unique sound.
You come from the Big Brother alumni but it’s been up to you to create your journey in radio, what do you think about the talk around ‘what Big Brother contestant will turn up on radio next?’
It’s an interesting one. Firstly people forget that the Fitzys and Chrissy Swans that are huge stars now started in smaller markets and worked really hard to make it to the top. I think the ones that last have to have some sort of passion for the gig otherwise there is no way you will push through how hard it is to get out of bed at 4am, to do shows with minimal support and the mental strength of giving yourself time to develop. So yes, I think it would suck for someone who has been working up the ranks to see a Big Brother evictee like me get the late nights show on 92.9 (which was my start 6 years ago) but I pressed on. When I had horrific air checks where I walked away head spinning thinking I was terrible I picked myself up again and kept hustling. I promise you an ex Big Brother contestant that doesn’t want it as much as any other radio person will NOT make it.
Who or what inspires you? When you’re having a really challenging day, who or what encourages you to toughen up and get on with it?
Firstly I’m a very vision oriented person. I have had a vision of what I wanted to do and although things haven’t gone accordingly sometimes (time mainly, I can be a bit impatient) when things got/get tough I regroup and focus on the vision that I have for my career. I have been so blessed to have met some amazing women in radio that have been rocks for me. In Perth, it was the beautiful women I met in radio like Jess James (TV and Radio presenter) and Carmen Braidwood (96fm Brekky) who I would go to for advice or a stiff drink. Stacey June and Heidi Anderson we’re amazing for me when I was in Gosford too, the hours I spent on the phone to Stacey are unbelievable! And so many others but I don’t want to turn this into some weird Oscars speech! But the biggest person that I always think of when things get tough is Craig Bruce, Head of Content of the Today Network. The advice, airchecks and radio wisdom he has given me is brilliant and of course the opportunities to move forward in my career. When things got/get hard I honestly think to myself “I can’t let that dude down”. And lastly but SO importantly RUNNING! Running has saved me from throwing in the towel so many times ha.
How do you find content each day to bring to the show?
I put everything into my phone ALL the time. Even when I’m drunk and can barely stand I’m putting some nonsense in my phone. There is content everywhere and this is actually one of my favourite parts of the job. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I can find 3+ angles on one story. Actually I want to have relations with angles, they bring me so much joy. I also ask my girlfriends what is happening in their lives, listen and watch everyone and everything. I have actually become so much more interested in people since starting radio. People have so many interesting stories. I have a new rule that in every social situation I have to have something in my phone at the end of it shit or not (BTW I don’t always stick to this rule, I’m only human!).
How important is work/life balance in your role?
Ummmmmm in the spirit of honesty at this point in my life I don’t really have one – I can’t remember the last date I went on! Mid-week outings take it out of me for the rest of the week and I often choose DVDs on the couch or a solo run over going out because I’m exhausted come Friday. Which really isn’t good and my aim now that I am in Adelaide and I’m in an actual city is to have a social life again and hopefully have sex again. That would be really nice actually. (Sorry that was a bit of an overshare!)
What do you think about women crying at work? Some consider it a weakness… what do you think?
This is an interesting one… I’ll start with… I AM A CRYER. Is it right? Is it wrong? I can’t answer that. I’m doing OK so far and part of my job and what makes me good at it is that I’m connected to my emotions and how I feel and think about things so I don’t want to shut this off. I think there is a time and a place for everything. I have never met anyone that didn’t feel better after a good cry. I’m not going to cry in a boardroom but I’m going to cry on a 1 on 1 if my soul really needs it. BTW Men cry too! Imagine a world where it was OK for Women AND Men to cry when they needed to? Would we have lower rate of depression? Would people be better connected? Would creative environments thrive? I would think so, without the blockage of holding back your true emotions like it’s a bad thing or a sign of weakness I can imagine creative environments would come to life. I’m a crier and proud! It has taken a lot of strength to make some of the choices I have made for my career in the last 5 years and all of them I have done solo. Of course I’ve needed a good cry sometimes and some of those happened at work. But the next day I showed up positive and ready to face the day’s challenges.