Kochie is one of Australia’s most well-known morning TV stars, waking in the early hours of the morning every day to entertain viewers. But while he’s kept a busy schedule for 16 years, he’s admitted the stress he and his co-stars go through is nothing compared to emergency workers and people out saving lives.
In fact, he’s admitted it’s “a bit of a bulls*** job”, and should be seen as an “absolute privilege” rather than a right of life.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, the Sunrise star, 62, revealed he’s battled stress himself, but manages to keep himself “stable” by not socialising with his co-stars or people in the TV industry out of work – instead focusing on friendships he made from his past career, and parents of kids his own children met at school.
“Every life and job has stress in. Let’s not pretend there’s no stress in our lives or job. I’m really lucky that I have a really close family and extended family, and for my personality, that’s my rock,” he explained.
“Sunrise came to me fairly late in life, so I’d actually had a real job. I’d been running the family business and knew the ups and downs, I knew television was sort of a bit of a bulls*** job.
“It’s not like saving lives or working in emergency services, that kind of stress is huge. People in TV can get so carried away, it’s ridiculous, they can live in this bubble. That’s why I don’t socialise much in TV circles, I’m lucky that I’ve got a lot of other different outlets that I rely on and give me that stability.”
Slamming any TV star who takes their role on screen for granted, Kochie said it’s important to remember how lucky they are to be able to do something they love every day – rather than “a job we hate on a production line somewhere”.
“At the end of the day it is a privilege,” he added. “It’s a privileged life that 99.9 per cent of other Australians can’t enjoy, and rather than see it as a right of life, you should see it as an absolute privilege… Of course stress is there, but it’s how you cope with it and think of life.”
While Kochie said he gets on brilliantly with his co-star Sam Armytage, he keeps his ‘no socialising out of work’ rule with her too.
“Sam is a totally different person to me, with a different personal situation and I think that’s why we get on,” he joked.
“We don’t socialise out of work, because we see enough of each other at work – even though she and [my wife] Libby get on like a house on fire. When we do get together as a group, everyone gets up because we have a similar set of views and values. I’m really lucky that I do this job with someone like Sam.”
Despite enjoying his role on Sunrise for 16 years, Kochie has no plans to leave any time soon – but admitted it’s largely not his choice either way, as it lies completely with the viewers at home.
“You can think you’re the best person on TV, but if you don’t impress the viewers, it’s no good. While the viewers will have me, I’m delighted to be there,” he said.
Asked if he would advise people who love to keep busy to work past a ‘typical’ retirement age, he added: “Keep working, but you can change your work schedule to cope and give you flexibility. Some people want to retire, and I can see that and good on them, but there are others who want to keep busy and doing things.
“I’ve got an uncle who’s 94 years of age and he retired from his last job three years ago. He’s been chancellor of a university, chairman of a bank, governor of South Australia. I’m a bit like him, I’m fascinated with people, I love talking to people and getting involved in different organisations.”