She’s the newest voice on Belfast radio station Citybeat but the question is…how did Cate Conway get where she is today?
We get the low-down on her career path…
Where did you grow up/go to school/university?
I’m from Carryduff originally and went to school in Ballynahinch then I did my A-levels in what was known as Downpatrick Tech back in the day. After that I studied Business Information Management at Queen’s and spent a year at university in America too. (Memphis and Louisville)
What was your first ever job?
When I was 14 I worked in a newsagents on Sunday mornings. It was my first understanding of what it meant to be employed and get paid. I loved it because I got to be in charge of the paper boys and fill ‘quarters’ of sweets from the big jars.
I think I got paid £1.25 per hour back then and I thought I was great. At one point I was working there and in the local supermarket in the evenings. I loved working and making money. I used to see things I wanted to buy and figure out how many hours I needed to work to get them. One of my first ‘big’ purchases with my £1.25 wage was a pair of Levi 501s which I think took 28 hours work.
What is the best thing about your job?
Stephen Clements! I love working with him. He is an incredible broadcaster with an unbelievably quick sense of humour. He’s always a few steps ahead of himself in terms of thinking of ideas and jokes and working the desk at the same time.
I never really know what’s coming next with him which makes my job a lot of fun. It certainly doesn’t feel like work to spend 4 hours chatting to him and listening to great music. I also love the fact that I quite often get to meet and interview celebrities!
On my very first day in the job I interviewed Will Young and 2 days later it was Jason Donovan. Later that week we did a telephone interview with Caprice! Not a bad start in a new job eh?
What have been your main challenges?
Early mornings and early nights. I get up around 4.30am to get ready for the show which starts at 6am. I don’t mind at all but it has been a bit of an adjustment to shift my day back by a few hours.
I usually end up having my lunch when I would ordinarily have been having breakfast. It’s a good thing I’ve always naturally been a morning person!
What personal qualities have helped you to succeed?
My biggest fear is being bored. It’s a strange ‘quality’ but I need to be challenged constantly or I get antsy. I need to always be thinking about new ideas or creating things. So working at Citybeat is perfect for me.
I’m thrown into unusual situations with a moments notice and is unpredictable. Firstly on air I have no idea what Stephen Clements will say next which keeps me on my toes then at any moment I could asked to interview a celebrity or head out and about with the PR team.
Who has influenced you most during your career?
One of my oldest friends works for NASA.
Yes! Actual NASA, in America. He’s from Ardglass and started his degree in Astrophysics at Queens as a mature student after doing a few other jobs. When he got the job in Goddard Space Centre in Washington DC, I was amazed and so proud of him.
Seeing that happen for him made me think ‘hmmm if he can do something like that, what can I do?’ and I put plans in place to change career myself.
What do you define as your greatest success?
Quite honestly it’s getting the job at Citybeat. It combines all my favourite things. I get paid for talking to the city of Belfast and meeting celebrities. Having a job you love is the best thing in the world.
How do you switch off when not working?
My husband is very calm and easy going. His calm nature helps me switch my brain off and relax. Apart from that I love TV comedies! I’m a big fan of shows like The US Office, Peep Show and of course Alan Partridge!
What would you be doing if not in your current job?
If I wasn’t in my current job I’d be a chef! I love cooking and talking about food. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I really like shouting too so I think I could give Ramsey a run for his money.