Presenter Clare McKenna: “I love telling people’s stories, I’m so lucky to get to do that”

Clare McKenna Pic: Supplied

Clare McKenna is no stranger to the world of presenting, she has been working across radio and TV for 15 years.

However, when she decided to go freelance eight years ago, she knew that she was ready for a change. Not only did her new path allow her to have more freedom in her personal life, it gave her freedom in her professional life too.

One of those new paths is her podcast, Changemakers. The show has returned for a third season where she speaks to people who are effecting change in our society.

Clare took some time out to chat to VIP Magazine, telling us that she had always longed to create a podcast.

Clare McKenna Pic: Brian McEvoy

“Radio and TV is great but you usually only get to have around 15 minutes with somebody. And sometimes it can be really challenging to get the proper story,” she explains.

“I love people’s backgrounds and what has led them to do the things that they do. A podcast allows for that, you can have 45 minutes to an hour with somebody.

“I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen. I kept seeing people, like my friend Georgie Crawford put her story out there and I was thinking, ‘What’s mine?’

“But I have always been obsessed with change and our relationship with change and what gets someone to stand up and do something rather than just moaning and giving out about something. I’m always interested in what that spark is.

Clare McKenna Pic: Supplied

“And once I had that idea I knew I wanted to create my podcast.”

Working across Newstalk and Ireland AM, she has mastered the skill of an interview. But the freedom of a podcast allows her to get really in-depth into these topics and allow people to “settle into” the conversation.

Although she brushes off compliments that her podcast is successful, she admits that she hopes people enjoy it because it can help them see that change doesn’t have to be a struggle.

“It can be overwhelming to think how you are supposed to help change the world,” she admits as her podcast is all about change.


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A post shared by Clare McKenna (@claremckennapresents)

“But I hope the podcast shows people that they can be part of the change process. The tipping point of change is just 10 per cent of society.

So if 10 per cent of people believe in the same thing that will spill over into all of society and we start by having conversations. I hope it never comes across as preachy.”

One of her guests this season is Pat Kane of sustainable brand, reuzi who explained how she began to make her life more eco-friendly. Clare tells us that it wasn’t some over-night miracle, in fact, Pat and her husband slowly but surely became more sustainable by taking it one step at a time.

“I always think one of my skills as a presenter is to allow people space to tell their stories.”


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A post shared by Clare McKenna (@claremckennapresents)

She also admits that she feels a responsibility to make sure that she creates a safe space for those who come onto her podcast.

She explains in her latest season some of her guests have “shed tears”, she goes on to say, “You feel very responsible of making people relive trauma but it’s ultimately to show where they came from. I like to make them feel that they’re in a safe space.”

Of course, Clare must be one of the busiest women out there. Although she laughs off this claim.

“I juggle a lot, but I still have plenty of time. I make sure that I have plenty of time with my kids, I get my walks in, I have quite a lot of freedom in my working life.”


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A post shared by Clare McKenna (@claremckennapresents)

She teases there are “a lot of things in the pipeline”.

Before she tells us, “I love people and telling people’s stories so I’m so lucky to get to do that.”

If her podcast, her weekly Newstalk show and her monthly voiceover gigs weren’t enough, she also is currently back in school.

“I am currently studying to become a life coach and I love being able to have that time.”

While freelance may seem like a nightmare to many people, Clare really takes it in her stride, “I spent enough time doing the nine to five waiting for the day to end. Now I have the freedom that every week is different.”

She jokes that sometimes she wishes she had someone else to do “the grown-up stuff” she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Changemakers season three is currently out on all streaming platforms

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