Phoebe Humphrey: “It feels surreal to be where I am today”
It’s funny the way life pans out sometimes.
Just as the world of news can be unpredictable, so too can life: We never quite know what the universe has in store for us.
ARN journalist Phoebe Humphrey says it feels surreal to find herself now working at the same radio station that provided the soundtrack of her childhood.
Growing up in Ocean Grove on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, Phoebe listened to music from the 70s and 80s.
The radio was often tuned to Gold 104.3 – back in the days when its tagline was ‘Good Times and Great Classic Hits.’
Her parents owned a local business and now – working the Brekky shift at Gold 104.3 – Phoebe keeps the same kind of hours as her dad, a baker.
Phoebe tells Radio Today “It’s ironic – I never thought I would end up working the same shift times as him, but here I am also setting alarms before 4am!”
Phoebe always knew she wanted to work in the media.
During her high school days, she enjoyed writing and English-based subjects and became the first person in her immediate family to go to university and get a degree.
“Once I finished high school, like a lot of people that age, I actually had no concrete idea of what I wanted to do.”
“I think coming from a family that has a trade background, university brings up a lot of questions about job prospects, especially choosing a pathway like journalism, that at the time had this reputation of being a ‘dying field.’”
Undeterred, Phoebe enrolled to study Journalism at Melbourne’s RMIT.
She credits her tutors with some memorable quotes including ‘PR will pay you more money – but journalism is more fun.’
Phoebe’s interest in radio grew when she began volunteering at SYN 90.7 during her uni days, working as a newsreader on the community station’s flagship Breakfast show and reporting for the news and current affairs program Panorama.”
“Being able to gain and enjoy the experience of radio at a community level allowed me to grow my confidence and get my foot in the door when it came to paid work in the industry,” she says.
When Covid hit, the vast majority of Phoebe’s final year at uni was conducted online.
“This meant a lot of our internships were cancelled or made remote, cutting a lot of potential job opportunities,” she says.
Upon graduation, Phoebe applied for hundreds of media roles, getting knocked back many times before landing some casual work at Melbourne’s SEN 1116.
“I worked there as a weekend Breakfast newsreader for a few months, learning the ropes of radio reporting and broadcasting.”
One day Phoebe received a message from ARN’s former National News Director Deborah Clay.
There was a potential job opening. Would she be interested in starting a conversation?
Phoebe decided she had nothing to lose.
She began working at ARN in November 2021 as a casual journalist – mostly holding down the weekend shift – before later applying for a full-time position.
Today, writing and presenting news on Gold and KIIS 101.1, Phoebe thrives on the unpredictability each day brings.
“It might be a slow news day or you might get a call on your way in to work letting you know that the Queen has died (coming from personal experience).”
“It’s fast paced, and due to the nature of Gold and KIIS, sometimes we can add a little fun to our writing depending on the story, which I think helps bring a human element to news.”
Before working in Breakfast radio, Phoebe admits she wasn’t a coffee fan.
“I didn’t get when people said ‘Don’t speak to me until I’ve had my morning coffee,’” she says.
“Now, I get it. A good coffee never goes astray to get the morning started.”
Phoebe says good time management skills and being able to remain calm under pressure are key.
Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t hurt, either.
“Your body clock shifts, so it’s important to get an early night, even if you feel like a bit of a grandma hopping into bed THAT early.”
Phoebe works closely with Patrina Jones from The Christian O’Connell Show.
She says Pats has a wealth of experience to share.
“I always learn from Pats – how she would approach a story, what other angle we can look at a story from, and I think most importantly how it will impact our listeners.”
“Pats puts our listeners first and understands how a story will be received by the Gold market.”
Phoebe regards Pats as having been critical to her growth at ARN.
“She is always open to offering me guidance and feedback, to continually improve my work.”
And the respect is mutual, with Pats telling Radio Today “Phoebe is carrying the flame for the next generation of radio journalists and newsreaders.”
“An RMIT graduate success story, she embodies all the elements of a future news leader – super calm with a natural instinct: qualities that can’t be taught.”
“She is refreshingly real and not just chasing her 5 minutes of stardom. We are so blessed to have her on the team!”
The first person Phoebe met from Melbourne’s ARN newsroom was Alan Baskin.
“Alan set me up in the studio to record my first demo and was the person I have sat alongside in the newsroom. He is another person with a wealth of experience and an incredibly invaluable person to learn from.”
Senior Melbourne journalist Rachel Storer has also been an important influence.
“She is so incredibly skilled and good at what she does, all while doing it with a smile on her face,” says Phoebe.
Having already achieved a great deal at the age of just 24, Phoebe says she has plenty more to look forward to.
“It’s been surreal to have even come to be where I am today, especially so early in my career.”
“Our News Department expanding into podcasting with ‘Your News Now’ has been exciting, and I would love to do more in the podcasting space in the future.”
“But for now, the main goal is to just continually improve, expand my skill set and be able to deliver to the ARN market as best I can.”