10 Questions with Jennifer Hansen
Jennifer Hansen is one half of the More Music Breakfast Show on Melbourne’s smooth 91.5.
For the past 4 years, she’s partnered up with Mike Perso to help drive ratings success for smooth.
She answers 10 Questions from Radio Today.
How did you get your start in the media?
I studied an Arts Degree at Melbourne University, fully intending to become a journalist. 3GL Geelong offered me junior cadetship, but as I still had another year of Uni, I said ‘no’, putting my need to finish my degree first. Then two days later, I finally heard from Channel Ten (Melbourne). They asked me to come in for an interview and I was ecstatic.
Channel Ten was happy for me to complete my degree, so I managed to squeeze both in. I began reading news updates in the late 80’s, which progressed to the job of ‘filling-in’ as weekend newsreader. I became hooked on the adrenalin rush of reading ‘live’ to air and decided I wanted to be a full-time newsreader. It would, however, be many years, before that ambition was realized.
Ten years after I began at Ten, I was finally given the ‘main’ 5pm news-reading role with Mal Walden as my on-air co-reader. Mal and I went on to become the longest-serving news duo in Australia’s history.
How have you found the transition from TV to radio?
The only difficulty has been learning the technical side of the business. Pushing buttons is not my forte. Radio people do a lot more button-pushing than TV people.
Why do you think Smooth has clicked with listeners?
I think life is generally pretty stressful for a lot of people and Smooth offers listeners a place of refuge and comfort. The music puts you in a ‘feel-good’ space and takes away your worries while you tune out from the world.
We don’t talk on air for too long or shriek wildly and hysterically at bad jokes which can be grating. We’re aiming to lift people’s sense of well-being and put them in a positive space.
And you seem to have an easy relationship with Mike Perso…
We have a great relationship on-air and off. We have a lot in common – especially our love of food and wine. AND we’re both married to Fletchers. So many coincidences…
Mike was very patient with me when I began at Smooth while I was learning the ropes. My only problem is that our conversation flow is so natural that sometimes I forget we’re on air and start to say things I shouldn’t…
If you hadn’t taken up journalism, where do you think the career path would have taken you?
Medicine, acting or art.
What lessons have you learned from radio?
Not much that I didn’t already know from TV. Never say anything you don’t want the public to hear when in front of a microphone – even when you think you’re not on air because, with the flick of a switch, you might be.
Any advice for young would-be journalists/news readers?
It’s a jungle out there so take any opportunity you can to get a foot in the door. Work hard and listen back to recordings of yourself to hear your mistakes and learn from them. Hire a voice coach to improve your sound.
What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Magda Szubanski’s memoir – Reckoning. It’s wonderful – moving and honest – and beautifully written.
Dinner Party question; who would be your five special guests?
Robbie Williams, Bette Midler, Daniel Day-Lewis, the Queen, and Justin Trudeau.
Sum up radio in three words?
Challenging, exciting, mercurial.