Kate Stevenson is executive producer of Melbourne’s top rating breakfast radio program, 3AW Breakfast with Ross Stevenson and John Burns; and co-hosts food and travel program A Moveable Feast on the station each Saturday morning with Ross Stevenson. She and Ross also filmed two seasons of A Moveable Feast for Channel Seven from 2017 – 2018. Kate also sometimes presents the 3AW Breakfast program, most recently with the Ten Network’s Stephen Quartermain. Kate Tweets at @MissKateStevo.
What aspects of working in radio do you enjoy the most?
I adore everything about it. The spontaneity, the immediacy, the ability to cover stories live no matter where they happen, the portability (we can take the program anywhere in the world with minimal kit and fuss), our fabulous audience who break the news as often as our presenters and journalists do, and the collaborative nature of 3AW Breakfast in particular.
You work mainly in breakfast radio, famous for punishing early starts. How do you keep yourself motivated?
It’s easy. We have a ball every day. I laugh every day. I’m challenged every day. Clearly I get tired, but I never dread getting out of bed in the mornings and getting to work – maybe just a little weary by mid-afternoon.
You work as a producer on breakfast radio and as a presenter on a food show – how do these roles differ?
Tremendously. Producing breakfast radio is hectic. It’s exhilarating. It’s high-pressure. It’s challenging. It’s fun. But interviews are short, most of the time carried out on the phone, and sometimes thrown out the window because of breaking news.
Presenting A Moveable Feast is a huge change. It’s a small team, just Ross, myself and producer Mark Davidson, so also a hell of a lot of fun, but not as fast-moving. We have a good ten minutes at the start of each program just to talk to the listeners about food and travel topics, and then only two guests each week live in studio. It feels so indulgent to sit back and really converse with interesting people from the worlds of food and travel.
As a journalist, who do you look up to and why?
Working in breakfast radio we largely start again each day, covering and breaking the news of the day, so it’s a little harder to really delve into the bigger stories and spend extended time and energy on them. I guess for that reason I really admire investigative reporters like Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie at The Age for the time and dedication they put into their stories. I love the storytelling prowess of print journalists like John Silvester and Andrew Rule. I grew up wanting to be a foreign correspondent and have enjoyed reading about the lives and careers of people like Neil Davis, Kate Adie, and Mark Colvin.
For a press release to grab your attention for the breakfast show slot, what should it contain?
Honestly – probably apart from being a story you’re confident would appeal to 3AW Breakfast, a good start is a mobile phone number that someone will actually answer at six o’clock in the morning. You wouldn’t believe how many pitches arrive in our inbox at 5am, but then are completely uncontactable for the duration of our program.