My friend Candy sent me this DM after I posted a question on my Facebook wall. “I have been yapping on about this for a while so I’m excited to see if anything ever changes… You madam are a unicorn!”
I’d asked my radio contacts “besides myself, how many women are their show’s anchor (not just the co-host)?” After a few peeps messaged me back, I realised that I could count all of the other ladies on one hand. That is why Candy called me a #Unicorn. I am rare.
“Hey Stampsy, what do I mean by anchor?”
Great question, you. They’re the person who leads the show. Sure, they do the time calls and introduce the song; but it’s more than that. They set the tone of the talk break and the tone of the show. In my case, at 4pm weekdays it’s my voice you hear first after the news.
So what I’m saying is that in the Australian Radio landscape, there are very few anchors with a vagina.
I’ve been at Krock now for almost four years as one half of the Drive Show, The Departure Lounge. When I first started, my co-host anchored because one, we had a female Breakfast anchor and “we didn’t want to unbalance the scales” and two, I was new and the panel was bloody scary, colourful beast.
For the first two and a half years I was the co-host. I loved my on-air husband Leigh and we produced a radio industry nominated show. I was comfortable, settled and didn’t think any further about where I sat in the studio.
When Leigh left for Sydney, I was put in an unfamiliar position; now I was behind the panel. Andy from The Block was my fill-in co-host for five weeks and he had less experience than I did when it came to weather updates and traffic conditions. While my contribution to conversations didn’t change and I continued to interview the big names, I had to learn a whole new skill set. I had to edit audio and fire off #zany sound effects. I also had to be three steps ahead of what we required for the show.
And I loved it!
Not at first, because I always thought my place was on the other side of the desk. I realised quickly that was the precedent set by management and radio industry’s expectation. But it didn’t have to be. I could change that. I could, and I would learn to be the best PERSON for the job!
I believed I would just be in the role until my new co-host Jamie would learn the buttons and then he would “just take over”. Instead he’s been wonderful, giving me the freedom to embrace the position and continue to grow in what is a male dominated role.
I don’t regret my time on the other side of the desk. Leigh was a fabulous anchor and taught me the art of patience, spontaneity and crafting an idea on the fly. But here I am now as an anchor and I realised I want to grow in the role, not just hold on to the position.
I’ll admit, I do like the control and the role of anchor does give me the ability to dictate the direction of our local show. But it’s more than my OCD for organised chaos and lists. I love how it challenges me in new ways after being in the industry for 15 years.
And I do I love that I am leading the way for a new generation of women to lead on AND off the airwaves. I look good as a Unicorn but I want to be surrounded by fellow mares, forging a new path.
Stampsy is on the socials so get around her @lee_stamps on Insta & StampsyKROCK on the book!
Stampsy is the Music Director and Drive Announcer at K Rock in Geelong