Hayley Bath is an absolutely fantastic human. Which is lucky because she needs to be on the same wavelength as Wellington!
We met at a function last year, and immediately clicked. I love her sunny, no bull personality which is understanding and thoughtful. Simply put, I wanted to be her buddy. Even better, she was a recent Resident of Wellington, meaning I could act like a know-it-all and tell here where I liked to go and what to do.
Hayley Bath's job is the Daytime Presenter at The Hits Radio Station. She’s known for her voice, first and foremost, and her bubbly character, matching her on air persona. On air, from 9am – 3pm, Hayley is the person you may not have met, but you’ll have definitely heard.
How did she get here?
She was born at Middlemore Hospital, and grew up in Pukekoe surrounded by onion and potatoes filds. “I lived their my whole life before moving to Wellington for university. Mum and Dad bought a bankrupt windows and doors factory. All us kids used to clean the factory and mum worked in the office. It cleaned us out financially during our teenage years, so there wasn’t a lot of money, and eventually my parents sold it because it was killing them. My mum started teaching children with learning disabilities and my Dad started working as a builder again, until he nearly chopped off his thumb and half his palm. So that put a stop to that. He now runs a charity in Auckland”
Not for Hayley was the typical pocket-money fodder. “I used to raise Calves” she explains over fries a chicken soup at Floriditas, a world away from her former life. “I would feed them milk and take them up until they stopped drinking milk, and then I would get $60 per calve I raised until they came off it. It used to be cheaper than owning a yearling. Our life was quite rural, surrounded by space and horses and livestock” Hayley says.
Hayley Bath had a passion for clowning at an early age, leading her mother to put her into speech and drama classes at Pukekoe High School. “I could never join the school productions because I always had to have an after school job in my family and I knew I had to pay my way through Uni eventually. So when I was at high school it was great to be able to have roles and perform” Hayley remembers.
She knew she was keen on radio, but had heard of family friends who had done the degree and not gotten jobs. “So I decided to do acting instead because I knew that there were more opportunities” she says. “I auditioned for Toi Whakare and did a TERRIBLE Lady Macbeth. And I played Lady Bracknell in some kind of re-jigged modernized version of The Importance of Being Earnest. My drama teacher told me I was unlikely to get in, but I did – and I even did some voice overs for Radio New Zealand while I was there.”
After finishing her degree, Hayley acted for a few years and then went overseas travelling. She was sitting in an airport in LA and suddenly decided to write down everything she enjoyed, before crossing everything out and deciding on Radio. “And after that I got Glandular Fever! I couldn’t do anything for a year” However, all hope was not lost for Hayley. “While I was sick I met my husband Chris, and he engaged me while I was bed ridden” Hayley says.
The pair then we went to KeriKeri to help some friends renovate a café. “I then moved to Tauranga to do Radio School. Fortunately, someone had just pulled out so we uprooted our lives to start the course. Because I was an older person, I didn’t want to do the Broadcasting School in Christchurch”. Hayley never finished the course because she was offered a role as an intern in Auckland at Media Works. Before long, a role came up for her job with NZME, Media Works Competition. “Everyone has horror stories about Radio. I was quite lucky though, and things have fallen into place. I am 27 and because I have good training from Toi Whakare, I’ve been fortunate in how things have worked out.”
What is the most challenging thing about being on the Radio?
“It never stops” says Hayley. “You never get a day off. You have to go out late sometimes to socialize with clients and then the next day you need to be at work, upbeat and energetic. When you go out, you have to be the face of the station, so I can’t sit in a corner. You have to be interested in people to work in Radio.” Hayley has had to keep going, in times when in a different job you would leave work. “My husband almost died because he electrocuted himself and I had to go on air and be professional. It can be super tough.”
The best thing?
“The listener” Hayley enthuses “You are in their living room, and so we have this amazing connection. They just open up to you so people have called me about their miscarriages and surgeries and family problems. You just know one another. It can be very funny because people know you, but you don’t know then, but then it is amazing when people come and say hello!”
How does Hayley find Radio as a medium to communicate to an audience?
“You’re with people all through the day” Hayley says. “As they say, Radio is the audience of one. You may be the only person who they contact all day. When I worked on my night shift, I would have people who would call up at the same time, every night, and just talk to me. I’ve also had some odd people like a girl who rang me up, stoned, to tell me that she was going to take a rabbit into a pub! I was like, “Okaaaaay”!”
How is the world of gender diversity on the radio?
“I love my boss because he put two females on a show together” Hayley says. “I think he’s at the forefront of radio in New Zealand and is making real change.”
What TV or shows does Hayley watch?
“I watch lots of reality TV and TVNZ On Demand because I need to know what my audience is watching. The trashy TV is all the go. Otherwise, I like to watch documentaries.”
How has transitioning back to Wellington been, after leaving it so many years ago?
“I’ve stepped out of this crazy Auckland lifestyle and I’m more chilled out, more relaxed. I’ve seen my husband more in the last 4 months than I had in the last two years.”
“I love that everything is close and you can walk down Cuba Street and be in a swanky bar and the next moment be in a bookshop. Have you been to the Hawthorne Lounge? I love the Hawthorne Lounge! It’s all these nooks and crannies that make Wellington amazing.”