Lish Fejer has a warm, bubbly energy, which is immediately apparent as she enters the secondary studio at ABC Radio Canberra’s famous Dickson compound.
It’s the Thursday before Fejer’s first shift as ABC Canberra’s newest Breakfast host, which took place on 20 January.
She’s been busy shooting a promotional television commercial with the ABC’s own in-house production crew, rolling eight deep, who are down on assignment from Sydney.
“Let me assure you this is not a normal day at the ABC,” she quips.
Taking on the breakfast shift comes with a dreaded, notoriously early start. Despite identifying as a morning person, Fejer says rising at 3.30am will take some getting used to.
“I am a morning person, just when morning actually starts. 3.30am still feels like night, so it will test me, but I definitely have the energy.
“I’ll need to be very routine, it will be a relatively early bed time, a 3.30am alarm. I think the secret is to not even mess about, just get straight up. Don’t question it.”
Having called Canberra home for 30 years now, Lish Fejer first came here from a farm in the Snowy Mountains to do a science degree at the ANU.
Upon graduation she left town for a few years, but returned to participate in a Questacon graduate program called Questacon Science Circus.
“They get 15 enthusiastic science graduates each year, train them up, and then send them out around the country for a year.”
She has worked in the field of science communication as a presenter, speaker, writer and exhibition developer ever since.
“I’m intensely curious, that’s why I love science, and it’s why I love local radio, because I’m just really interested in what’s going on in our world, and also in people’s lives, and our community,” she says.
Fejer joined the ABC Radio Canberra team in 2010. Having done the Sunday Brunch shift on ABC Radio Canberra for the past six years, she brings experience and lots of pre-existing connections to the role.
Fejer’s excited by the prospect of her new gig allowing her to be part of the city’s beating heart.
“In the morning you feel like you’re in on something before the word’s got out … I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories, because we connect a lot more with people at breakfast time.”
Fejer’s keen to tell the “hyper-local” stories, “the little things that are happening in the small, proud, pockets of Canberra”.
“Canberra is such a wonderful community place. There’s so much going on here that we don’t know about, so we really rely on those listeners to tell us what’s important to them,” she says.
The biggest issues Fejer sees Canberra facing moving forward is how we as a city continue to develop while maintaining our ‘bush capital’ essence.
“I come to how our city grows and how we can keep that charisma and that culture, but also develop as a town,” she says.
“To keep up, grow our economy, grow our culture, and grow our community and still keep that very essence that is Canberra.
“We’ve just gone through six weeks of really intense smoke, and the anxiety, I think that just makes us love our town even more for the clean air, crisp blue skies, and cold winter days; and I think that’s also what we’ve got to maintain.”
Catch ABC Radio Canberra’s Breakfast with Lish Fejer every morning from 6-9am on 666; abc.net.au/radio/canberra