Kim Hill, the Queen of National Radio, has scooped the pool at the Association for International Broadcasting awards in London.
She is believed to be the first New Zealand broadcaster to win the International Radio Personality of the Year award.
When NBR ONLINE spoke with her, the horse lover was washing down her steed Ollie in a Wellington paddock and had only just learnt of her success.
“I just got back from my ride to find a whole lot of congratulatory messages on my phone.
“I knew that I was a finalist but didn’t know when the winner was going to be announced and, to be honest, didn’t take much notice of it.
“But don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to be disparaging, but it’s very nice all the same – I rather hoped I might get a crown, but apparently not.”
In fact, it appears unlikely that 57-year-old Ms Hill will receive anything other than a citation and perhaps a trophy.
Not only that, she didn’t get to attend the glitzy ceremony in London where RNZ chief executive Peter Cavanagh, who was in the UK on other business, accepted the award on her behalf.
However, the kudos for her is immense and will give her the sort of international recognition and stature that others in her industry can only dream about.
But she’s not letting it get to her head.
“Who knows how close the vote was?" she asks out aloud. “You know, international broadcaster of the year one day and Mitt Romney the next."
Asked whether she could be in line to become Dame Kim, she says: “I know, I can’t wait, wouldn’t that be a hoot?”
But there again she says working for radio for much of her working life has all been a hoot, apart from “the bad days when I get hate mail”.
She admits that her sometimes “take no prisoners style of interviewing” polarises listeners which can result in a lot of invective coming her way.
“But I do welcome constructive criticism and God knows I deserve it a lot of the time. I’d much rather hear from people than not hear from people.
“I only give people a hard time if they deserve it, but no one’s bloodied my nose yet, Rod,” she says in reference to this writer’s long-ago bloody encounter with property tycoon Bob Jones.
So is there a soft side to Kim Hill?
“You’d better ask my horse – I think he knows there is.”
Despite her international accolade, Ms Hill says she has no intention of resting on her laurels.
“No, I don’t plan on giving the job away.
“I’ve got this perfect work-life balance and it means I can work my own hours and get out and ride, do gardening and do all sorts of other stuff which I could never do with a regular 9-5 job.”
So it’s back to the studio on Saturday for her weekly show, which runs from 8 am to noon.
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