22 December 2023

Good morning South Coast, meet the woman behind the microphone

| Sally Hopman
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Woman sitting behind desk with microphone

Kimmi Saker where she feels most at home – behind the microphone at 2EC radio on the South Coast. Photo: Supplied.

Few people know the South Coast like Kimmi Saker. She lives, breathes and talks it working for radio 2EC for almost 30 years.

For her Kimmi’s Brekky Bar audience, she takes on legend-like status as the voice they go to when times are good and bad. But for her, it’s all in a day’s work.

That day starts while the rest of the world is still asleep. As breakfast announcer, she’s awake by 4 am. “I don’t even need an alarm clock anymore, my body clock is so used to waking up at that time.

“I probably annoy people because when I wake up, I am always instantly happy,” she laughed. “I don’t know how to be any other way. Even at the weekends when I don’t have to wake up early, I always do; I’m not very good at going back to sleep.”

It’s this positive attitude that has drawn and cemented her listeners to her early morning program, especially in times of strife.

One of the worst of those times for the broadcaster was in 2019 when the New Year’s Eve fires erupted along the South Coast. “From that day we were in emergency mode,” she said. “We dedicated our programs to what was going on, to getting information out. People were panicking … people who you had a relationship with because they’d been listeners for so long and our job was to provide information.

“But I’ve got to say it was hard. We were in the studio so we couldn’t see what was going on outside. But I’ll never forget going to work that morning; it was already over 30 degrees and very windy. Our journalist rang to say the fire was really moving.

“I’m usually the sort of person who stays calm, but I remember I got really upset. The journalist told me to have a good cry, keep my emotions to one side and just get on with it. So that’s what I did.

“I went on air at 6 am and we told people to head for the beach.”

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At 9 am, when her program was over, Kimmi heard that her sister and brother-in-law’s property was in danger so she raced to their home to help.

“There was fire all around us,” she said, “but we managed to defend their property. They had a pool and were very well prepared. But it’s still surreal thinking about it now.”

After the immediate danger was gone, Kimmi and her brother shared a beer in the garage. “That was hard-core,” she told him. “But as long as you’re OK, I’m OK.

“He said to me: ‘Yes, but there were a couple of moments back then when the wind changed …'”

For Kimmi, it’s all about compartmentalising her life – “and dealing with what’s at hand without collapsing into an emotional mess”, she joked.

Born in Moruya, she spent her school days in Bega and enjoyed a great family life at Moon Beach and Mumbulla Mountain.

She got her first taste of radio, 2BE in those days, on work experience after school, even hosting the midnight to dawn program during the school holidays.

After attending the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1986, she secured her first full-time job that year in Griffith. And a radio career was born.

Cat snuggling up to woman in sunglasses

The voice of the South Coast, Kimmi Saker at home with her beloved cat, Little Boy Boo. Photo: Supplied.

Kimmi manages to combine her love of radio and communicating in general with her passion for community – her community on the South Coast.

Just recently, she led a campaign which raised $176,000 for the Cancer Council. It involved her learning a dance routine which “blew my mind”, so much so that she has since joined a cheerleading team.

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What comes after a working life on radio? “I don’t plan to retire any time soon,” she said, “but there is something I’d like to do, maybe alongside working on radio.

“I want to be a funeral celebrant. I do a lot of events as an MC, it’s sort of like that. As a spiritual person, I’d like to be part of the celebration of someone’s life.

“I can’t imagine not doing radio, but if it comes to a point when I can’t do it anymore, I’d like to be a funeral celebrant – or maybe I could do the two together,” she laughed.

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