Radio presenter Meshel Laurie‘s departure from Australian Radio Network’s 3pm Pickup show late last year caused the broadcaster to refresh the lineup 2017.
The new team of presenters for the show, Rebecca Judd, Yumi Stynes and Katie “Monty” Dimond, recently assembled in a room for a photo shoot by the broadcaster. Mediaweek was told it is rare to have the three presenters in one room at the same time. This is simply because of the way the show is set up.
Dimond and Judd present the show on Mondays. Then from Tuesday to Friday, Stynes takes over the hosting duties alongside Dimond.
“We decided to mix it up a little bit. It has been an all-women’s show from the get go,” Dimond said. “There wasn’t a lot of over-thinking. It was just like, ‘That sounds good. Let’s go with this.’”
“We’re not anti-penis…We are quite pro-penis.”
ARN first introduced the 3pm Pickup to its listeners in 2011. Since then the show has had a number of presenters come and go. Initially it was hosted by Stynes and the current Nova 100 brekky co-host Chrissie Swan. After about a year, Stynes moved to breakfast at Mix 106.5 in Sydney (now known as KIIS 106.5). Jane Hall replaced her on the 3pm Pickup. After three years on the show, Swan left ARN in December 2014 when her contract was not renewed. Katie Dimond signed on as host of the national show in 2015. She was paired with Zoe Marshall, who was then replaced by Meshel Laurie.
The current revamped lineup marks two things: the continuation of Dimond as the primary host of the show across the five days that it is on air, and founding host Stynes’ return to the show.
“When I first started, I didn’t feel like I could contribute in terms of producing. Now I have a stronger opinion about what content I want to see on the show, how to achieve it, and what I think is funny,” Stynes said. “This is because of the maturity that comes with experience.
“We have been in media for so long in various roles that we know what works. We have stopped being in the junior position of a young woman being told what to do like, ‘Stand here, smile and look good.’ We’ve become confident content creators all in our own rights. Bec does amazing things with her homeware line and Monty has her own website [called Show and Tell], which is kicking goals. I have been doing heaps of writing. So from our different disciplines, we bring a lot of confidence.
“In 2011, we were a bit more passive. Now, you have three women with really strong opinions.”
Asked about the setup for Dimond being the only five-days-a-week presenter from the trio, she answered: “That’s because I love being in the spotlight and I demand all the attention.” [Laughs.]
“This is my third year of doing it now, so I have the experience in the time slot. However, it’s about keeping the consistency as well as having the same voice every day of the week.”
In her long radio career, Dimond has worked across multiple time slots and networks. She said hosting the 3pm Pickup is very different from hosting a primetime slot like breakfast and drive. “Not being at the bookend of the radio is nice. I feel like we have more freedom. I also have two young boys, so not doing a slot that has a lot of pressure on it is quite nice,” she said.
As the name of the show connotes, the 60-minute show is aimed at parents who are in their cars at 3pm picking up their children from school. Dimond confessed that the show does lean more towards females, but said there is content in the program relatable to men as well.
“We’re not anti-penis,” she said, laughing. “We are quite pro-penis.”
When creating the content for the show, the trio agreed that they have to keep two demographics in mind: parents and children.
Stynes said: “When Bec and Monty are doing the show together, I am often in the car. So I get to listen to them and I can say that a part of me is jealous because I want to be in the studio with them, and a part of me is loving just listening to them – I laugh, I snort. I find it really funny. You know how you hear that expression, ‘no filters’? But there are definitely filters because we are assuming that there might be kids in the car. So we don’t want to talk about anything gross or swear.
“There is stuff that they’d be talking about and I can go, ‘Oh my God! That is my life.’ For example, when Monty was talking about her son being afraid to go to the toilet with the door closed. I was just like, ‘It’s not one of my kids who does that, but that was me when I was young.’”
The creative ideas about how to fill up the hour on air come from everyday incidents, the three hosts agreed.
Stynes said. “We are basically talking to our friends. That is what makes it so easy and natural. We go, ‘Okay, what interests us? What do we want to talk about that we know the women listening would want to hear as well?’
Judd added: “On the weekends, when you are hanging out with your girlfriends and you start talking about interesting stories, that’s when you think, ‘Oh! This would be awesome for the show.’ You know those sorts of stories when you start hooting and hollering? You think, ‘Yes! This is gold! I am going to use it on air.’”
TV v Radio
This is Judd’s first job in radio. Since 2011 she has been the presenter of a Victorian-based TV travel show on Nine called Postcards.
“It’s a completely different voice that you are using compared to TV,” she said. “For example, when I am on Postcards, I am either asking all of the questions or am being asked all of the questions. So it’s always one-way traffic. But this is actually having a conversation [with others], so I have never done anything like this where there is so much back and forth.
“That is different, but I feel like I am finding my groove now.”
Being married to Hit Network’s Hamish and Andy EP
Dimond is the partner of Sam Cavanagh, who is the longtime EP for Hamish and Andy at Southern Cross Austereo.
The network competitiveness does come home, Dimond revealed, but in a good way.
“We’ve always been competitors. When I was doing drive at Nova, I was right up against Hamish and Andy, whom he obviously produces,” she recalled. “We used to have moments where we’d go, ‘Buzz that’, if a topic that we were both interested in came up. We’d buzz it so it wouldn’t go on both shows. We still do that if something comes up, because you don’t want to hear it repeated across different shows.
“I respect his opinion so much. He is a pro, obviously, with so much experience. His opinion is the one that matters to me the most. I used to get him to listen to things and ask, ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of that?’
“Now, I don’t care as much,” she said, jokingly. “We’ve had to find boundaries occasionally. Otherwise all we would do is talk about work. Now we have kids, so we talk about kids and work.”
Competition from The Hit Network
Southern Cross Austereo recruited The Project’s Carrie Bickmore and former Nova 100 breakfast host Tommy Little to host the 3pm-4pm time slot on The Hit Network.
Asked about their thoughts on the high-profile competitors, Dimond said: “Even though they are competition, we are all mates as well. Over Christmas I hung out with Carrie, and I know Tommy from way back. It’s a very small industry. Even when you are up against other shows it’s not that fierce competitiveness, which I think is nice.
“We wish them luck. The more great shows there are on radio, the better it is for everyone.”