Cheandré Llewellyn: “I live and breathe news”


“I live and breathe news. Some of my friends have joked that I am obsessed with knowing everything!”

With that kind of thirst for knowledge, it’s hardly a surprise that K rock and Bay FM’s Cheandré Llewellyn always wanted to be a journalist. But she had some early challenges to overcome.

Cheandré was born in South Africa and English was not her first language.

She tells Radio Today “I came to Australia when I was eight years old, and only then did I learn how to speak English as I was only fluent in Afrikaans.”

Cheandré grew up on the New South Wales Central Coast, and it was there that she embarked on her radio journey, working in the promotions department and volunteering as a co-host at her local community station.

Passionate about radio, Cheandré studied journalism at Macquarie University, and when an opportunity to work at Sydney’s 2SM arose, she grabbed it with both hands.

“I really started picking up skills in writing and reading as a cadet journalist. I also assisted as a producer on the John Laws Morning Show.”

On completion of her degree, Cheandré’s radio adventure took her to the Victorian rural city of Wangaratta, where she was able to focus solely on producing local news.

“I find that localism is such an important element of radio.”

She says this was particularly notable during the peak of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

“I had the flexibility to pick up the phone and build rapport with local sporting clubs, police, and local representatives. I also spoke to local business owners who were impacted.”

Next stop on the journey was Geelong, and her current role as journalist and newsreader at K rock and Bay FM.

So what does a typical day in the K rock/Bay FM newsroom look like?

“The best part of the work I do is that no day is the same – there is always something happening in your local town or around the country.”

Many radio newsreaders would be familiar with the question “What else do you do besides speak into a mic?”

There’s often an amusing perception among family, friends and strangers that somebody hands you a script or loads up the prompter, and away you go.

As Cheandré can attest, nothing could be further from the truth.

She spends the first hour of her shift writing scripts and searching for stories, be they news, sport or weather.

“At Geelong Broadcasters we report news for multiple areas including, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, and Mildura, where localism is a key focus. I usually have interviews lined up, which I record and edit for the bulletins.”

“I find that I do thrive under pressure, and being able to read the news live is really exciting. I love it.”

Cheandré recently covered the federal election, where she spoke to local candidates and politicians, and attended a press conference with former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Although we spend many days inside the newsroom, being able to get out and about and interview an important person that has come to Geelong is also critical for the news, because we can ask them questions that have been raised by the community here.”

Cheandré says there are many people in the industry who’ve had a profound impact on her career, and cites journalist Leigh Sales as someone she admires.

“I was privileged to work with John Laws at 2SM. I wrote editorials for his morning program and answered calls from listeners live on the show.”

Cheandré also worked briefly with 3AW’s Gail Watson and considers her a mentor.

“She encouraged me to become confident in my newsreading, and she also helped me with scriptwriting.”

“I also established a really good relationship with my content director in Wangaratta, Pip Enscoe, who gave me constant feedback and assistance.”

Cheandré says support from her news director Rob McLennan in Geelong has also assisted with her development as a journalist.

Her advice to others keen to pursue a career in radio journalism is to be open to change, and able to adapt accordingly.

“We are living in a rapidly changing digital world, with most things online now, and this makes the industry really competitive.”

“Don’t be scared about making a move. Your career can take you anywhere and relocating to a new town or city may be daunting, but it is worth it.”

“I would also suggest finding a mentor. Building  connections and networking in your local community can be valuable as well.”

“And lastly, it might sound corny, but stay true to yourself and be respectful to people. Most are very nervous or shy about speaking on air, so making them feel as comfortable as possible prior to going on radio is very helpful for an interview.”

Great advice indeed.

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