"I'm Proud to be Part of That Change"

 Jacinta Parsons. (Image: Supplied)

Jacinta Parsons. (Image: Supplied)

Jacinta Parsons, along with co-host Sami Shah, will be replacing Red Symons in the iconic ABC Melbourne breakfast slot this year. We took five with Parsons, who started her career at Melbourne community radio station 3RRR before joining the ABC in 2015. By Grace Jennings-Edquist.

Congrats on the new gig! We can’t wait to hear the show. How will the new breakfast slot differ to its predecessor in this slot; are we looking at a younger audience, for example?

Thanks! We can’t wait for the new show either. I’ve loved radio since I was a kid and made many mixtapes recorded from my favourite shows – so it feels daunting and exciting to be making radio every day on the ABC. Breakfast with Red was a unique part of Melbourne for 15 years so, while we can never replicate his show, we’re excited about giving it a good go!

There was a headline that got a bit of attention recently because it wrote that Sami Shah was stepping into the slot, but didn’t mention you! A lot of people on Twitter thought that seemed pretty sexist. What was your first thought on seeing the headline?

  The headline in question. Image: Twitter

The headline in question. Image: Twitter

I was surprised when I eventually read the headline. Surprised because I truly believe we’ve moved on from women being ignored or underestimated. It’s disappointing that in 2017 a woman could be overlooked in that way. On the flipside, there was a resounding response to the headline with loud voices calling it out. It also reminded me how far we still have to go to achieve genuine equality and I’m proud to be part of that change.

You’ve been working on The New Music Show on ABC Radio, and no doubt you’ll bring your music knowledge into this new gig too. Which musician have you been most impressed by when you met them, and why?

There are quite a few who fit this category (and let me tell you, there are many that don’t) but Archie Roach stands heads above the rest when it comes to having a lasting impact on me. His dignity and integrity in telling his story is a masterclass in humanity.

Aussie broadcast media can be difficult to break into. What’s the biggest setback you’ve had in your journey to this great radio career you've got, and what’s been your proudest moment to date? Any advice you can offer to aspiring female broadcasters?

My biggest setback was all the years I thought I couldn’t do it and didn’t have the courage to walk into my local community station to put my hand up to be involved. Once I resolved that, it has been a long and winding wonderful adventure to where I am now. I would emphatically encourage any aspiring broadcaster to do what took me a long time and walk into their local community station and get involved – that, and to be yourself – more than anything, it is about being yourself.               

Jacinta Parsons and Sami Shah will co-host ABC Radio Melbourne's breakfast show from 5.30am to 7.45am this year.