To celebrate World Radio Day, Women in Media reached out to radio superstar Sabra Lane to discuss her role and experiences.
What’s your current role?
Presenter of the ABC’s current affairs program AM. I also curate the regular newsletter “The Bright Side”, putting a spotlight on solutions journalism at the ABC.
How did you get into radio?
I found myself at a career crossroad in 2005, but I’d always harboured a dream to work for AM and current affairs.
Initially, however, I couldn’t find a job there as I had no radio experience. To remedy that, I freelanced for an ABC radio breakfast program and enrolled in night school to gain a certificate in audio engineering and recording.
By the end of that course, I could mic up a rock band! It meant burning the candle at both ends, yet when I completed that qualification I gained a temporary job, which morphed into a permanent offer at “RCAFF” radio current affairs.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
There are many interviews and programs I’m proud of as well as the work I did as President of the National Press Club, so it would be hard to single out one.
I am proud of the number of younger journalists I’ve helped over the years, it’s satisfying to ‘give back’ and help them gain confidence and new skills.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?
I think knowing when to interrupt interviewees and pull them back to answering questions and not waffle on is a challenge.
You’ve really got to listen carefully to the interview, because the answers might prompt the next question either in what they say or omit.
That’s not an easy thing to do … and to do it in a way that is respectful to the interviewee and audience. Sometimes I still struggle with that, especially with the tight time constraints on interview length.
Who has influenced or mentored you?
Many great news leaders.
At Channel 10 many moons ago, news director Grant Heading. The late, legendary, Ian “Cookie” Cook was a terrific mentor, he had a wicked sense of humour. And political correspondent Chris Uhlmann.
And my mum has always been my rock over the years.
What is something no one knows about you?
I hate ironing. My extreme challenge is: how many months can I go without needing to get the ironing board out.
How do you wind down after work?
A bushwalk or time out with my Border Collie X Bobby… (sometimes together) both are an excellent way to decompress and blow out the cobwebs.
What are you reading at the moment?
King of the Wilderness: The life of Deny King by Christobel Mattingley.
What does the immediate future hold?
A lovely cappuccino and a teeny nap – sometimes essentially for those 4.15am daily getups.
Describe a perfect day in your role
A cracking interview that helps drive the news agenda and keep people accountable, with a great mix of stories in the bulletin, a good belly-laugh with colleagues while producing a smooth, informative and interesting program.