Yvonne Adele has turned into hot property on Australian radio and television. After working with Microsoft in Australia and the UK, she established her own consultancy business, advising high profile corporations and personal users on how to get the most from their technology investment. This has led to numerous appearances on television and radio and public speaking appointments.
Yvonne presents an informative yet entertaining program each afternoon that is a breath of fresh air to Melbourne radio. Femail recently spoke with the "Conversation Queen" herself. Q. Congratulations Yvonne on landing this wonderful newfound position with 3AK. You have been hosting your own program for some months now, can you tell us how this fabulous opportunity came about?
Yvonne: Why thank you! It is a weird, opportunity-knocks kind of story. My husband took me along to his primary school reunion, and the mother of the girl who organised the get-together was a big fan of Ms Megabyte. She works with the 3AK managers and had already suggested me, out of character, for a daytime slot on the station. At the party, she asked me if I would be interested - and I answered YES before she even finished her sentence. She then went to another room and called them, came and grabbed me and after speaking for a while, they decided they wanted to meet me. I told them they couldn't come and take over the reunion at that house, and that I'd be home in a couple of hours if they'd like to come over. Later that night, when they were on their way, we had to guide them in by mobile phone because I don't think they'd been that far into the suburbs before! Anyway, they interviewed me for an hour or two, then left, telling me they'd be in contact by noon the next day (Sunday). They called at 11:59am and asked me to come and sign the contract! Although it was very exciting, I had learnt enough by then to know that I had to hang out for the right deal, so between my media-savvy husband and myself, we brokered the terms of the deal all day over a few phone calls and finally went in to sign!
Q. We are accustomed to seeing you on the TV and in print media and now you have moved into radio. Is there anything you have found particularly difficult or challenging while making the transition to "radio jock''?
Yvonne: No - it's actually easier, because I don't have to do my hair or dress up, although when I was going on air with Jeff Kennett in the transition between his show and mine, I *was* dressing up because he always liked to describe my 'look of the day' to the listeners!. I must say, I do find it difficult doing interviews with people over the phone, because I need to read the facial expressions in a conversation.
Q. Was it always an ambition of yours to host your own radio show?
Yvonne: Yes! It was the only thing I actually wanted to do before I came up with the MS Megabyte concept. It's funny that it took 6 years to get there, and it just came out of the blue. Although I have had lots of guest spots as Ms Megabyte on various stations around Australia.
Q. How much research and preparation goes into each show?
Yvonne: I read the papers and listen to the news each day and also trawl the web. I'm trying not to concentrate on the standard news, because the breakfast and morning teams usually have that covered by the time I go on air, so my show has more of a magazine style to it. I try to cover things you may not know much about, like mental health issues, modern manners (with Ita Buttrose), family psychology, different cultures, country towns, etc. I spend a couple of hours before the show getting ready for it, and the producer spends about 4 hours.
Q. Who came up with the various segments of your show? Was there input from the station or were you able to 'invent' it all yourself?
Yvonne: I was given free reign to create the regular segments myself. I actually was really nervous about the content as soon as I got the job, but when they said 'do what you like, it's your show - whatever you feel comfortable with'; I just went 'PHEW'! And the feedback has been good, so I'm happy. The producer has a lot to do with the day to day running of the show, and slotting in relevant newsy interviews and also suggesting and finding people for the regular segments.
Q. Can you tell us more about your alter ego "Ms Megabyte" - how was she invented?
Yvonne: I was watching 'Healthy Wealthy and Wise' on TV one day and realised there was no computer/technology person and just stood up and said 'I want to be on TV'. So I used the name, which my friends had already nicknamed me for being such a geek and got out there, knocking on doors of TV, magazine and radio people until I got a break. That came in the form of Nene King and Australian Women's Weekly.
Q. Being a talk back station, have you had any unusual calls?
Yvonne: Yes - some people call to ask us the time, and one lady didn't know whether it was 8pm at night or 8am in the morning once. The other day, I had the resident psychologist; Judith on - and she mentioned the word 'dropkick' in reference to how a person might behave. A guy called up to say he wanted to correct her, 'it is Australian slang and it originated from football'. We knew that - I don't know what he was on about. Sometimes I hear Doug Aiton (9pm-12) say in reference to some of his calls 'is it a full moon tonight?!'
Q. Do you ever find it hard to get anyone off the line? How do you deal with this kind of situation?
Yvonne: Actually, I just talk over them. I have a hand signal for the panel operator, which basically means, 'fade them down' and I'll just start to talk over them, then move right along to the next thing or throw to a break. I think it's important to let everyone have their say, so I certainly don't mind hearing from people who have a beef or want to disagree with me - I save the 'fade down' for when people are repeating themselves, not making sense or are being racist or otherwise ugly in their comments.
Q. What is the most enjoyable aspect about Talkback radio?
Yvonne: Talking back! It is really quite nice to have a regular job to go to after 6 years of project based work. And it doesn't take up my whole day, so I have the precious time for the girls (Charlotte almost 1, Betty 9yrs) and very best husband in the world, and for working on my other projects. I'm trying to get a Ms Megabyte nationwide computer support service off the ground right now, in addition to my new computer book so there are lots of bits of time required for those things.
Q. You are affectionately referred to as the "Conversation Queen", can you tell us a little more about this?
Yvonne: "Conversation Queen" is just another way of saying chatterbox, which I absolutely am! My husband things it's great I have the opportunity to talk on air for three hours a day non-stop, although in this line of business, it's important to be a good listener too.
Q. How do you feel about your show's progress so far? Are you happy with the way it is shaping up?
Yvonne: Yes - I'm still finding my feet, which is good because I like a bit of pressure, but I've been changing the show around to suit both myself and the listeners. I want to hear from them via calls to the show or emails anytime so I know what's working for them and what isn't. It is hard to tell via the ratings because the end of this year has been all over the place in regards to 3AK and world news. Next year, I'll be more interested in the ratings.
Q. Now your daughter Betty has her own segment on Fridays, not a bad career move for a 9-year-old! How do you feel about this? And how does Betty feel about this?
Yvonne: Well, I asked her if she wanted to do it because she had just finished a term of Media Studies at school where they had created their own radio and TV shows. She loved the idea, and loves doing the segment. We do some research together on all the kids activities around Melbourne, then choose some of her favourites and she goes through them on air. I love her ad-libbing; it really makes the segment fly. 'Well, at Scienceworks, there is an exhibition on the human body and you can find out how burps are made... well, I wouldn't want to know that, but some people might, like BOYS', that sort of thing.
Q. Can you share with us what plans you have for future segments and any new directions your show may be taking?
Yvonne: I want to re-jig the book club segment where we choose a book a month, give away 15 of them to listeners and everyone else goes out and buys one... then over a few weeks, we regularly talk about the book. I also want to introduce a 'senior of the week' segment, because I think retirees have the most fascinating stories to tell. It is a very selfish thing to have your own talkback show, because whatever topic you have an interest in, you say to your producer 'get me an expert!' and you become well versed in that subject. And I'm open to suggestions, so bring them on!
You can tune into Yvonne Adele each weekday between 12 noon and 3pm on TALK 1116 3AK or listen online at www.3ak.com.au.
- Michelle Palmer
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