Remember KIIS FM newsreader Krista Thomas? The headlines surrounding her departure from KIIS claimed she was fired from the radio station because she was “too opinionated for a woman.” The 26-year-old journalist was promised a job for 2015, but was instead fired two weeks before Christmas 2014.
She told Confidential, “I feel I built up quite a rapport with listeners over the year so it is disappointing and I’m sad to leave,”. She cleared, though, that while she didn’t always agree with host Kyle Sandilands on air, she knew that the controversial radio jock had “nothing to do with her being fired”.
We spoke to the (now former) KIIS1065 news reader before she was fired, and her advice still remains as valuable than ever.
Tell us about your job as the new KIIS1065 news reader?
I start work at 4am every morning, sourcing news from online, papers, television coverage, press releases, etc. My news on KIIS106.5 is geared towards a certain audience, so it has to be written in a very conversational tone, uncomplicated, and of relevance to the listener.
During the show I’m reading every half hour, doing news updates at a quarter past, or a quarter to the hour, and interacting with Kyle and Jackie on air.
After the show wraps up, I work on prep for the afternoon guys who look after news during the drive shift on KIIS.
I love radio. Every day is different, and it’s a lot more fast paced. Everything that goes to air has to be timely, so content that has just happened, is still happening, or has happened overnight. I also have a lot more freedom to be myself. A lot of journos in print or TV are forced to keep their personality out of their work. For me – at least on KIIS – my job involves a combination of the two.
Tell me how you got that all elusive ‘foot in the door’?
I studied at Wollongong Uni and one of my third year subjects required me to do an internship, so I picked a radio station in the Southern Highlands called 2st. It’s owned by Grant Broadcasting that also owns PowerFM on the South Coast. Fortunately, they took me under the proverbial wing and I was eventually hired there as the afternoon journo across both 2ST in Nowra and Bowral as well as PowerFM.
A day in the life of a news reader, can you tell me about the times that aint great?
The hours are rubbish! Getting up at 2:30 every morning is a definite struggle, but I always tell people I’d rather get up at that ungodly hour and love what I do, than work a 9-5 gig that I hate.
Have you ever told anyone NOT to pursue a career in journalism or media?
Yeah, I’ve told plenty of people that! Some people have an unrealistic idea of what it means to work in the media. They think it’s all parties, big salaries and hanging out with celebs. It’s not! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are definitely huge opportunities doing what I do, and I’ve been able to meet some incredible people, but that’s not what’s driven me in my career.
As a fresh face in the media industry I wanted to ask your take on the changing nature of the media industry and what this means for journalist students. Do you think the decline of ‘physical’ products such as print and magazines, and the acceleration of electronic content means that opportunity for graduate journalists is on the decline, or the opposite- becoming more accessible?
Good question. When I was at Uni, I always thought to myself, “Nah, I won’t stay in journalism, I’ll move into the communications arena because the journalism industry is too hard to break into.” The reality is though, if you want something bad enough, you can ALWAYS make it happen. One of my favourite quotes is, ‘the only difference between people who succeed and people who don’t, is that those who succeed don’t view obstacles as a reason NOT to do things, they see them as an opportunity to prove how badly they want it.’
A lot in life isn’t about what you know, it’s who you know. So I think it’s important to create networks early on, establish relationships with people, and continue following up with them until you can get a foot in the door.
What did you study, and where?
I studied Media and Communications with a Journalism Major at the University of Wollongong.
In relation to your study and career choices, is there anything that you ‘wish you had of known’?
Everything that I’ve learnt from the industry has been from hands on experience. You’re simply not taught the practical skills in University. So if I could talk to an 18-year-old Krista, I’d probably tell her to make sure she interns wherever possible, and learn first-hand how things work. It gives you a big step up when it comes time to find a job if you’ve already got experience under your belt.
How does it feel hearing your voice on the radio?
It used to weird me out when I first started, but I don’t even think much of it anymore. I do wish I could get rid of my bogan twang but that’s probably not going to happen!
And finally, how many times do click snooze before you get out of bed?
Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, until I finally look at the time and realise I should of left for work 5 minutes ago!