“It’s been a whirlwind of a year”: Lauren Phillips on celebrating one year of Jase & Lauren in the Morning

Jase & Lauren

• “I think I’m oversharing more than I ever imagined that I would, but that’s because I feel really safe and lucky”

It’s been one year since former TV presenter Lauren Phillips joined Jason “Jase” Hawkins on Melbourne’s KIIS101 breakfast show to make Jase & Lauren in the Morning.

The duo, who wake up with Melbourne listeners every weekday from 6-9am, were joined by Magda Szubanski on yesterday’s episode as they celebrated their first year on-air together. 

Mediaweek spoke to Phillips on the show’s first birthday about overcoming the initial challenges of the show and what’s in store for the next 12 months.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a year, there’s been a lot happening in the last 12 months, so it’s nice to get to this milestone and feel like life is returning to normal again.”

Reflecting on the past 12 months, Phillips said starting a new show amid Melbourne’s harshest lockdown came with a unique set of challenges.

“We put three people – who hadn’t worked on a show together before – in an environment where we couldn’t go to the pub and have a beer and catch up after work.

“It took us about five months of being on air before we could actually socialise together, so it was a really tricky start to the first six months of our show. I think we all just had a sigh of relief that we’ve gotten through the first year.

Jason Hawkins Lauren Phillips

Jason “Jase” Hawkins and Lauren Phillips

Phillips works alongside co-host Jase Hawkins as well as news and sports reporter Clint Stanaway. The trio come from varying levels of radio experience, with Hawkins’ radio career dating back to answering the phones at Triple M in return for free cans of Coke before working alongside Kyle and Jackie O.

Before Phillips stepped into the role, Hawkins co-hosted the breakfast show with Polly “PJ” Harding for six years – three in New Zealand and three in Melbourne. Phillips took over PJ’s role when she returned to her home in New Zealand.

Moving from TV to radio

Prior to her on-air gig, Phillips worked as a TV presenter at Nine for 15 years, with stints on Nine’s travel and lifestyle show Postcards as well as Mornings and A Current Affair. Her most recent television gig was presenting the weather on Weekend Today, which she continued for five months while working on the morning show.

She said her transition from eyes to ears was a challenging adjustment.

“While you definitely have a personality in TV, coming to radio is completely different. All of your security blankets are stripped away from you, there’s nothing scripted; it’s much more raw, it’s much more personal.

“Over the past couple of years, I’ve become more and more private about my life, and it was definitely a challenge for me to open up. But I suppose that’s part of the process of starting a new show, making sure you trust the people around you and the people you work with.

“After the shock of the first few months, I really settled in, and now I think I’m oversharing probably more than I ever imagined that I would – but that’s because I feel really safe and really lucky in this job.

When making the transition to radio, Phillips said co-host Hawkins was a big help in calming her nerves amid changing roles and moving across the country.

“Jase called me when I was first looking at taking this job, and he put me at ease straight away. He has just been a supportive hand on my shoulder the whole time, which is really nice.

“We have an amazing friendship, so the biggest positive to come out of it for me is that we’re great mates. We really enjoy each other’s company, which is really important at four o’clock in the morning.”

Making a difference

The duo get the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of everyday Aussies through their various on-air competitions and giveaways.

I think one of the most amazing parts of this job is that we get to create life-changing moments for other people. We gave away $100,000 yesterday with our KIIS Noise, and seeing a young couple come in who are trying to save for a wedding and gifting them with that was just extraordinary.”

Some of Phillips’ other highlights from the year include bringing families together through Mission Made Possible and giving $50,000 away through their word association game, Word Play.

“There’s a whole lot of fun that we get to have on the show, but creating those moments for people that otherwise wouldn’t have them is by far the best and most rewarding part of this job. We get really emotional in here because it’s an absolute privilege to be able to do that for people.”

Instagram story: @jaseandlauren

Building trust and looking onwards

Born and bred in Melbourne, Phillips said she has been a local radio consumer her whole life.

“Melburnians are smart people – you can’t just pull the wool over their eyes and tell them that they love you, you’ve got to earn that respect and that trust. So it’s a process, but I’m really enjoying it,” she said.

In the latest radio ratings, KIIS reclaimed the fifth spot in the Melbourne commercial radio market after gaining 0.9 points in Survey 4. Breakfast with Jase and Lauren gained 1.1 points in the daypart, while the station remained at #1 in the 18-24 demographic. On looking to the future, Phillips says she wants to continue to connect with and impress the listeners of Melbourne.

“I think proving ourselves is definitely one thing because I know that takes a long time. We’ve got the first year under our belt, and not only is it a new show, but Clint and I are also new to the industry as well. It’s about learning the right skill set, which we’re slowly learning.

“It’s not an easy job. It’s really hard and I’m super lucky to be doing it.”

Listen to Jase & Lauren in the Morning on Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1 from 6-9am weekdays or on the iHeartRadio app.

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