By Wendy Rush.
Midway through the afternoon is the time when ‘the three o’clock slump’ tends to kick in. You know the feeling; you start to flag a little, you reach for a coffee or a sweet treat or you wander out of your office in search of someone to chat to – desperately in need of a boost so you can keep going until it’s time to head home.
It seems that radio station Life FM has come up with a solution which involves all of the above. Coffee O’Clock involves coffee, plenty of conversation and the sweet tones of one of Australia’s only all-female radio duos Jayne Lochert and Sharon Smith. Rise caught up with Jayne and Sharon to find out more about them and the show, and why it is gaining in popularity.
Coffee O’Clock is a one hour chat show based on the conversations that happen over a cup of coffee – sometimes serious, sometimes fun and frivolous, at other times deep and life changing. The show came about after a brief discussion that Jayne and Sharon had in the corridor between their then morning and afternoon shows. Now thousands of women across South Australia tune in through Adelaide’s Life FM and stations in the Riverland and Limestone Coast.
Why is it so popular? Jayne and Sharon tell me that there is nothing like Coffee O’Clock on any other radio station at the moment “not that we’ve been able to find anyway!” The difference, it seems, is their focus on family-friendly and inclusive content. This means the kids can listen in to their conversations without hearing anything they shouldn’t and the show’s guests, interviews and themes appeal to a wide range of women. Imagine a radio version of television shows Mamamia, The View or Studio 10, with a Christian world view.
“While it’s a show for women, our ratings and callers prove the boys are listening in too” says Jayne.
Jayne and Sharon came to Life FM from different places and at different times, but it seems their paths were destined to converge and it is apparent that they have found a kindred spirit in each other.
Jayne had been volunteering at another community station and when she moved to Adelaide she knocked on Life FM’s door. This led to her hosting a morning show on the station for four years and, as a qualified teacher and mother of three teenagers, she brings to Coffee O’Clock an insight into what it means to have to juggle work, home and family while still finding time for ‘me’.
Sharon is an award-winning journalist with a background in investigative stories and has a gift for making her guests feel at ease. She feels just as much at home interviewing the Prime Minister or the Premier as she does chatting to the Premier’s four year old daughter – or anyone else for that matter. She has been associated with Life FM in a variety of roles since the station began broadcasting, including as a board member.
Sharon teaches journalism at Uni SA and is completing a Master’s degree. She has worked in radio, television and print media. “But a few years ago I felt challenged to tell my own story – not just other people’s – and Coffee O’Clock has given me this opportunity.”
Jayne explains that Coffee O’Clock has also given her a sought after opportunity. “Since I started in radio as a volunteer I loved it so much and worked towards making it my main income. Having met Sharon through Life FM I had prayed that I would be able to be mentored by her as she has such broad media experience. Coffee O’Clock has helped this to happen.”
Both agree that it is great to have the opportunity to work with another girl. “Two heads are better than one!” Some of the best parts of the show come about as a result of the spontaneous fun they have together.
“The best thing about working at Life FM is that we get to talk about things we really care about from the heart, rather than what some producer wants us to say” says Sharon.
Jayne continues “and the relationships built over the years with work mates that become friends – like Sharon”.
While they enjoy interviewing the odd celebrity, what they love most is talking to their listeners – from farmers to truck drivers, housewives and office workers. And importantly Sharon and Jayne share the same passion – the desire to let people know they are valued and that they are never alone, even if their only friend is the person talking to them on the radio. To let people know that change is possible if you’re not happy with where you are. And to “never underestimate the value of a good belly laugh!”
Off air, Jayne loves gardening, shopping and spending time with her family, especially her dog Charlie. Sharon loves baking and is overly excited (she says) about her new steam mop!
But it is their Christian faith that underpins everything they do and why they do it. Their aim is to bring the gospel to the airwaves in a fresh way. “Faith is believing you can do all things – even the tricky stuff if you truly believe God is on your side and helping you” says Jayne. “I hope that some of this sentiment transfers to our listeners as we talk.”
“It’s the reason I get up in the morning and do what I do” says Sharon. “Without it there wouldn’t be much point because there are so many other voices on radio from more talented people. It never ceases to surprise me how much God uses my flaws and faults to minister to others.”
As an ice breaker, Jayne and Sharon open their interviews with a ‘mug shot’ – they ask their guests to describe their favourite mug and what they put in it. I thought it only fair that they have the opportunity for a mug shot as well. Jayne? “Any mug that is clean and not half full of cold coffee!”
And Sharon? “I have many mugs that I cycle between. One of them is a pink coffee o’clock mug, another is a red mug with a cat looking out the window. My main criteria is that they have to be big!”
As children, Sharon aspired to be a journalist and Jayne wanted to be a teacher. It seems that whatever these ladies put their minds to they are likely to achieve. They have plans to expand their radio show to other states and regions, and there is even the possibility of Coffee O’Clock TV. Stay tuned, because I happen to believe they will do it. Together, Jayne Lochert and Sharon Smith make a formidable – and fun – team.
You can hear Coffee O’Clock on 107.9 Life FM from 3pm on weekdays, with the best of the show ‘Deja Brew’ on Saturdays at 10am. See more at: lifefm.net/coffee