In conversation with Angie Greaves

angie greaves 2Angie Greaves is an Award Winning and Sony nominated icon of British radio with over 25 years’ experience. Angie currently presents one of London’s most popular afternoon shows; ‘Afternoons of Magic’ on MagicFM, and on Saturday evenings Angie can be heard presenting ‘Soul Town – the best of Motown and Soul’. Angie has won the CTO Caribbean Tourism Organisation Award for her radio show on British Airways and her services to travel and promoting the Caribbean as a tourist destination. Angie is a working mother and is keen to encourage women not to feel ‘down-graded’ if they decide to re-position their career in order to put their family first. Here is Angie in conversation with The3rdimagazine.

1) What attracted to you a career in radio?
Radio has got to be THE best medium. It’s instant, it’s fresh, it’s edgy, it’s funky and it’s exciting (I like to think just like me!!). It always fascinated me when I was a little girl at school that the box on the window ledge or in the car, or even in the bedroom had the ability to keep you engaged and whoever you were listening to became your friend. I was always a talker, especially at school, and I can remember spending many a detention outside my Deputy Head and Headmaster’s office, missing breaks because I talked so much, I was always in trouble for talking. So it’s interesting that I now get paid to talk whether on Magic or British Airways where I also do a show, or even a podcast.

2) Is radio a male dominated profession – and is it a good place for women to work?
I think media on the whole is a male dominated industry, but why look at that in a negative way? Why not see it as a positive challenge? Radio research once stated that women don’t like listening to other women on the radio, not sure whether that’s true or not, but I do know that there are certain times of the day when women listen to the radio more than men. Regardless of which sex is listening I see it as a great opportunity to engage with people; stay at home parents; people who work from home; people who drive for a living; where ever there are a pair of ears needing to be filled just fill them.

Women in radio are definitely on the rise and I’m so proud to be a Patron of Sound Women which is a platform giving encouragement to believe that you can work in any area of radio you choose, whether in front of or behind the mic, whether in technical areas, production, sales or management.

3) You were the first solo female drive time presenter in London – how did that happen and how did you feel about being asked?
Having presented the late night show, Mellow Magic, for three years, my Programme Controller at the time, Mark Story, who now runs a consultancy called Radio Story, called me into his office and told me he wanted me to present Drive Time. I always smile when I think about the day because my first thought was “women don’t do Drive on their own”, and then I stopped my thoughts. He wouldn’t have asked me to do the show if he thought I couldn’t do it. Sometimes we change gear as women and examine reasons why jobs are given to us, we dissect and psycho-analyse simple statements and I think sometimes that can affect our performance. So, yes, at the time of being asked to present Drive I was completely overwhelmed, excited and scared all rolled into one. But once I relaxed into the position, I engaged with my audience who engaged with me in return and the audience grew.

2012 was my proudest year, Drive Time hit just under 1 million listeners. A great moment, and a great achievement for any solo radio presenter – whether male or female!

4) Juggling a demanding career and a family is always a challenge – how do you manage them both?
I’d be lying if I said it was easy all the time, but what a learning experience! Hiring a Nanny is great and your kids will love the attention they get, but ultimately no one can replace a mother’s love and care. There were times when it was great juggling school, homework, clubs and work. But there were times when denial on my part kicked in. Daddy was there but I have 2 daughters and girls NEED their mum.

5) You chose to put your family above your career – what impact did that have on you, your career, and your family?
There’s no denying that we had some amazing experiences as a family because of the show I was doing, however, I couldn’t help noticing that my daughters just needed their mum! I was getting in at 9pm every evening and I needed to be honest with myself and the family as a whole and acknowledge the quality time that we were all missing. Conversations at 9pm after a full day’s work, school and after school clubs, can’t possibly be quality conversations. I hadn’t sat at the dinner table during the week with my family for five and a half years and the reality kicked in, something had to change. I can’t thank the management at Magic enough for allowing that change.

When is the right time to go to the boss and say you want to change time slots on the radio having been hand-picked to present a Drive Show? I did a lot of research and presented some facts about how I could work to engage with the Afternoon audience, and how that audience would welcome an understanding female. It wasn’t an overnight decision but it was a win/win decision.

I LOVE presenting to a different audience and the response and figures have been favourable. Not only do I love getting home at 6pm, my family love me being home at 6pm too. I get to take my youngest daughter to dance classes and whilst she’s there I’ve rekindled a passion and attend an adult tap dancing class. I’m also convinced that my eldest daughter passed all 10 GCSE’s because in the last 12-15 months we were engaging much earlier in the evenings and then she was doing her homework. And we are more content as a family because all four of us are home earlier.

6) What advice would you give women who are striving to build a career and a family at the same time?
If you are attempting to balance family life and career, you need to decide before you dive in what the percentage balance is going to be and stick to it, i.e., 40/60 work/family. Seek advice and assistance if you need to (Virtual Assistants are becoming more popular), you can’t possibly do everything on your own.

Try to realistically balance the scales of work and family, and be aware that your children may not necessarily know how to verbally “express” that they aren’t happy about your work pattern. Unbalanced scales resulting in you burning out at the end of the day (too many days in the week), means a change has to be made.

It can work, but it takes organisation and hard work, and that doesn’t come overnight. Ultimately be true to yourself, if it’s not working, it’s not working and making a change doesn’t mean you’ve failed, you just haven’t found the right format, but it will come!

7) How do you feel society treats women over 50? It wasn’t that long ago that 50 was considered old, but now we talk about it as the new 40. What are your thoughts?
I’m not sure how 50 is supposed to feel, but I know how I feel – Fabulous.
Yes you need to cleanse, tone and moisturise without fail morning and night. It pays to drink less alcohol and more water, and fruit and veg will definitely become the priority! We still don’t shout about it but we definitely don’t whisper about it with shame as was the case a decade ago!

50 is definitely the new 40 and it’s a positive thing to want to take extra care of yourself and being proud to look good and feeling fabulous. The energy levels are going up for many women and they explore life and aim to achieve so many things they haven’t achieved so far. I was once asked how I would feel about the fact that once I reached 50 men won’t find me sexy or attractive and won’t look at me as much as they did when I was 40 or 30. Just look at women who have become more confident and beautiful with age, take Helen Mirren at 70, Kandi Alexander at 58, Lorraine Kelly at 55 and Halle Berry at 49 – fabulous women. I think after a certain age confidence blossoms and there’s nothing sexier than confidence, and I once read that the sexiest curve on a woman is her smile.

8) How important do you think it is to empower women and what advice do you have?
Uplifting each other whether male or female is a must. But there is something about empowering women drawing together. Women are the heartbeat of the home, and it’s necessary to empower our daughters as they are the women of the next generation, so we want them to be upright and confident.

Attempt to be as positive as possible, positivity is so much nicer to spread than negativity. Grab opportunities when they arise, YOLO according to my daughters (you only live once).

Thanks Angie! For more information see:

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