Amanda Lee is CD for hit929 in Perth. Mark Hales caught up with her for 10 Questions. They talk her career, where it all started, what got her into radio and the best lesson she learnt when she was made redundant.
Mark: You have been in your role as the new Content Director of Hit 92.9 Perth for over 6 months now – how’s it all going?
Amanda: It’s great - I am loving every minute! It’s definitely challenging and I’m learning more and more every day. It’s nice after years of Music & Operations, doing the nuts and bolts of the station, to have the space to be creative again.
I love working with Heidi, Will and Woody – they are such a creative, talented and fun show to work with and are truly committed to making funny and entertaining radio each day. They really have immersed themselves in the digital side of the business, which is great for when we want to create unique video content each week.
The Product Team have really worked hard on creating a positive and creative environment – my team are all super talented, have lots of energy, are passionate about creating entertaining content and at the end of the day, just want to have fun!
Mark: What other stations have you worked at and in what roles?
Amanda: I’ve pretty much done a lap of the map.
I started off at SUN FM (Star FM Shepparton) as the Breakfast Host/Promotions Manager, 2DAY FM as the Hit 30 Assistant Producer/Casual Announcer, NOVA 100 as Announcer/Producer/Assistant Music Director, then to Adelaide to NOVA 919 as Music Director. After that, I went to Perth as 92.9’s Music Director/Operations Manager, then to FOX in Melbourne as Music Director and then Assistant Content Director, and here I am back in Perth at HIT92.9!
I certainly know how to pack up an apartment in record time after all that.
Mark: What got you into radio?
Amanda: I wanted to be a TV Presenter so I looked at ways that could get my foot in the door to head in that direction. I did a radio course at Melbourne Radio School and on completion sent my demo out to every possible regional station and I got the gig at Sun FM … the rest is history.
Sure, along the way I lost my passion to be on air. I fell in love with scheduling music and then found my way into the programming side of things. My radio career certainly has taken some twists and turns but not for one minute has it been boring.
Mark: Any jobs before radio?
Amanda: After finishing Uni, I was so lucky to get a job with Working Dog as Production Assistant on the Channel 10 show, The Panel. What an adventure that was! It certainly set me up for radio in terms of chasing guests, working with talent and producing a live show. I learnt so much from the Working Dog team, who I have so much respect for and I am really grateful I had the opportunity to work with them.
Mark: What is the best lesson you’ve learnt during your career?
Amanda: Gosh, I think I am still learning. I think personally for me it was not making radio my life. There was a stage in my career I did that, then I got made redundant and I was really knocked for six as I lost the one thing I loved getting up and doing each day.
It was a great lesson for me and gave me wonderful perspective for all the roles I have taken on since. Plus, I think you have to have a life to keep creating great content each day and not get stuck in that bubble. It’s important that you’re living in the real world so you can be the best possible form of yourself in your job. Wow… that was a very deep Oprah moment!
Mark: Describe a day in the life of Amanda Lee?
Amanda: Well my rock n’ roll Music Director days are well and truly over! It changes from day to day but typically I am up at 5am to have a look at what people are talking about on social media and shows like Sunrise/Today. I check the breakfast run sheets, clear my inbox, then I hit the gym whilst I listen to breakfast.
Once I get to work, I check in with the workday guys, do post show meetings with breakfast and then mostly meetings or meetings about meetings – ha!
I get out around 5pm and spend some time with my better half, before watching some very trashy TV shows for a bit of mindless viewing. Then, being the Nana I am these days, I’m well and truly asleep by 10pm.
Mark: Who are the radio people and radio stations you enjoy listening to away from work?
Amanda: I’m really loving the Game Changers Podcast right now. I’ve learnt so much from some of the guests on that podcast, especially Chrissie Swan and Sam Cav, and I really enjoy Craig Bruce’s interview style.
When I can, I also listen to KIIS FM in LA, specifically how Ryan Seacrest’s show is programmed.
Not necessarily radio, but I do love listening to Beats1 for what new and hot in the world of music as well as the different styles of the Beats1 hosts.
Mark: If you weren’t in radio what would you be doing?
Amanda: Probably a lawyer and maybe in media law. During my Uni years, I wanted to be a little Ally McBeal (pretty sure the Gen Ys won’t know who that is, Google her), but I found my law subjects a little dry so went down the Journalism/Media path. Sometimes, I think about going back to Law and doing it on the side but then I definitely wouldn’t be having a life!
Mark: What has been the most challenging / rewarding part of your new role so far?
Amanda: Most challenging is probably that I am a bit of a planner and sometimes your plans don’t go the way you hope. It’s just about being flexible and moving onwards and upwards.
Most rewarding is working with such a passionate and talented team, collaborating together on executing great ideas and seeing them get excited when we do epic shit (thanks Gemma Fordham)!
Mark: (Complete this sentence).... in 5 years from now I will be......
Amanda: Hopefully celebrating a significant birthday with all my best mates somewhere fantastic in the world… and yes, it will be a year-long celebration!
Mark: The future of radio is.......
Amanda: …….hopefully more females putting their hands up for Content Director roles!
I’d really love to see more females going, ‘yep you know what? I can do that gig’ and that we as an industry support and develop them for those roles.
Sure, it’s challenging, but if you put the right support network around you, not be scared of stuffing up but learn from it, and ask for help when you need it, you can absolutely do it!