Q&A: ABBY COLEMAN – Radio & TV Presenter

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Do women in the media have it harder than men? How do you deal with a comment like you’re an ‘attention seeking sl*t?’ Brisbane’s B105 ‘s Breakfast Host & Weekend Today’s Weather Presenter, Abby Coleman answers these questions and more in a brilliant TBS Q&A. 

A new show for 2015 – how is it going?

Yes, Labby left this year for a gig in New Zealand so it’s now the “Stav and Abby Show” plus Tim Arnold has joined us as Anchor and Executive Producer – it’s been like having a new shiny toy, an analogy I’m sure he will love. There has been an emphasis on fun and we are loving this year so far – passionate about improving and doing things differently so here’s hoping our listeners are thinking the same. Also this year,  Donna Puechmarin has returned to Brisbane as our Content Director and whilst I’ve always loved our previous Content Directors (no disrespect to them), it has been special to have a female boss to relate to and bounce ideas off.

You are also the fabulous weather host on Weekend Today – what do you prefer TV or Radio and why?

I really don’t have a preference – I simply like new challenges. I used to host a children’s TV show when I was 20 so it’s nice to get back into it. The Today Show is live and I love the adrenaline of having one go at getting it right, the same way you do on radio. I constantly want to do it again as I get frustrated if I have made a mistake or thought I could of done a better job, so that thirst for wanting to improve is a joy for me. I did ballet quite seriously (before I took up eating) when I was younger and it was about getting constant feedback so you could improve so I guess that’s where I got it from. If you didn’t get criticism it meant you weren’t good enough for the teachers attention.

For those who are radio hosts, how did you go about getting into other forms of media like TV and Print?

For me it’s always been about contacts. I believe everything you do is an audition for another gig, for example, the Channel 9 gig came about from meeting the Executive Producer when I was doing red carpet interviews for the Logies.  Also, I think always be professional and be great to work with – it’s amazing how small the industry can be as I’ve worked with camera men I met ten years ago –  it’s the crew and producers who spread the word of what you are like to work for. I have dappled in Print – writing blogs for different websites and I have wanted to get my own blog up and running for a while but I’m dyslexic and my confidence in writing needs to improve. If you want to get into print though don’t be afraid of emailing editors – everyone’s emails can be found online these days so send them your work and offer to be a guest blogger

What is your brand? What’s your advice on personal branding?

I never think of myself as a product or brand because I’ve never sat down and worked out a strategy. I studied marketing at uni and I learnt that the brands that succeed are the ones that have a clear mission statement and never do anything that deviates from that. So I guess in saying that I know what I will and will not stand for.

You have two gorgeous children now – how do you fit it all in with TV/Radio and being a great Mum/Wife?

I’m not really sure I do it successfully. Being a working mother is hard no matter what industry you work in. I maybe get two of the three aspects right at any one time. My husband and I are lucky we have never complained about each other’s workload and are just committed to making it work. Currently my five month old is teething and after getting to bed at 9pm I can be up four times a night breastfeeding or settling him and then the alarm goes off at 3:30am I seriously think “WTF am I doing?” But it’s all about perceptive – I’m lucky I have a job I love. I have worked in many crap jobs and been in situations like living in Sydney and not being able to pay my rent so it has made me appreciate my work now. My tip for sleep deprivation is simple – never calculate how many hours sleep you are having – it will only make you feel more exhausted. I’ve also given up mothers guilt when it comes to work because my two beautiful boys are happy and loved – my husband and I parent them 50/50. I do wish I had more time to exercise as it seems my fitness it the first thing to go and I think confidence comes from looking and feeling your best.  When I finish breastfeeding, I’ll get back into doing 30 mins of exercise at 3:30am before work – I know it’s insane but it’s over and done for the day and it makes me feel more alive for the start of the show at 6am. My husband has clued onto the fact I say yes to working on weekends to get out of housekeeping – I seriously am the opposite of a domestic goddess and if I have any spare time you can find me on the trampoline with my son not cleaning a bathroom!

Do you think women in the media have it harder than men and why?

No I’ve never thought so. It’s different for males and females in the media but never harder in my belief. I think a lot of emphasis is put on what we wear and how we look but let’s be honest, we females do that whether we are in the media or not. If you’re a female and think it is harder then yes it will be but I’ve never lived in that mentality. I grew up with two older brothers and I gave myself the impression I ran the household!

Being a Radio and TV presenter, you can’t please everyone, how do you overcome criticism?

Honestly….. I don’t read Facebook. I post but I don’t read public pages like our radio station’s Facebook. I’m not sure my bosses would be happy with that but I could get hundreds of lovely comments but the only one that will stay in my head and annoy me is “Abby is an attention seeking slut.” I get deeply offended and upset – I will not apologize for that or try as I have in the past to be thick skinned as that is not true to who I am. I am however blessed with a very short attention span so get over things extremely quickly – give me a couple of hours and I have managed to laugh at it. Most people who are very vocal online are very weak in person.  I would prefer to read my personal Facebook page which is a gold mine for radio content. If I get criticism for my opinions then I see that as constructive – I am never going to give a view that isn’t entirely my own and I welcome others to either agree or think differently.

What’s in store for 2015 for you?

Survive! Lol! Stav and I are working with a team we love and are fierce about improving our ratings on the breakfast show. I would like to continue to do the weather for Weekend Today when possible as well as the what’s making news segments throughout the week. I’m also a Marriage Celebrant and would love to develop a TV show around that in some way….. maybe in my spare time 🙂

Hear more from Abby at her Twitter here

About Author

Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee started her career in the media 10 years ago working for various companies including Working Dog, Southern Cross Austereo and NOVA Entertainment. During this time she has been an Announcer, Promotions Manager, Producer, Music Director and Assistant Content Director. Amanda created The Broad Side as a support network for women in media to discuss and share their obstacles and successes in their industry.