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Mel Homer combines coffee with celebrity chats

The beloved broadcaster combines her love of caffeine with celebrity chats

By Wendyl Nissen
When it comes to cafés, broadcaster Mel Homer is a big fan – and is quite at home in them when she has to work.
But her obsession with cosy places where you can enjoy a coffee is more about the fact that her name has been associated with shows called The Café for many years.
She hosted Three's lifestyle TV show The Café for four years until it sadly ended during the pandemic lockdowns and now she hosts another show called Sunday Cafe for Today FM.
"To be honest, when we started talking about the new show, it wasn't my idea to do it in a café," laughs Mel. "I couldn't see how it would work doing long-form interviews with four people and the noise of the café going on at the same time.
"But with the microphones and headphones we found that the background noise wasn't too bad, and was actually quite pleasant and comforting."
One guest she didn't get to meet over a cuppa, however, was the hugely popular Graham Norton, who featured on the show recently.
Mel has interviewed many high-profile celebrities, but it would be fair to say getting an interview with the popular Irish TV-show host and shareholder in Kiwi wine company Invivo is not easy.
"It came as a complete surprise," tells Mel. "I was MC'ing a three-day conference in Taupō, and I happened to check my personal emails to see a message from the team at Invivo saying they had some time for a chat with Graham Norton and would I like to talk to him?
"The catch was, it was going to be at 4.30pm in Ireland and 3.30am in New Zealand that very night... well, morning. Well, you
don't say no to a conversation with Graham, do you?
"So, there I am, no time to prepare and very groggy at 3.30am, sitting on the floor with my laptop perched on the bed at the Hilton in Taupō, chatting with Graham."
The video of the call is quite hilarious with Mel showing Graham her comfy pants and explaining that she had just got out of bed.
Getting a giggle out of Graham is the best, tells Mel.
Mel, 52, says when she was creating her radio show, she took ideas from Graham Norton's TV chat show, such as overlapping her guests so they could all have a good chat.
"He was just as delightful as you imagine him to be and incredibly enthusiastic about the wine he is creating with Invivo," she recalls.
"We chatted about where he was in Ireland and my plans to return there soon to trace my ancestry. And, yes, at times he did turn the tables and start interviewing me. There is also something very special about making Graham Norton burst into genuine laughter!"
It is clear that Mel, who is mum to sons Jesse, 21, Finn, 19, and Tom, 15, is enjoying the new career she created out of being jobless after The Café TV show ended.
With sons Finn and Jesse who is holding pup Pepper.
Mel had been hosting the show since 2016, but during the pandemic it became difficult to do it the way it had been done in a TV studio.
"It was such a shame that it was a victim of Covid," she muses. "Things were difficult for the team and they did their best to make it work. It was so much fun to do, but we had a really good run."
Then Mel's radio contract ended at the radio station Coast.
"So it all happened at once and I had no work. I thought, 'Okay, I need to do something', so I went and bought podcast equipment," she giggles. "I haven't used it yet."
Mel started doing freelance work for MediaWorks, where she was doing talk-back radio, which she had never done before, and some news reading.
"I went from panicking that I didn't have a job and wondering what I could do to being really super-busy with my freelance career," she tells. "And, actually, this is really cool. And it's so enjoyable."
Mel is now as busy as she's ever been with her weekly radio show, which requires a lot of research for her four long-form interviews, and a lot of MC work is coming in now the pandemic is easing off a little.
The bubbly star has one thing she would still like to fit into her busy schedule, however, and that's getting back to Ireland to search for her ancestors. Both Mel's parents have Irish ancestry and before the pandemic, Mel travelled to Northern Ireland. But she still needs to get to Southern Ireland to finish her research.
And she has an idea for a podcast using the classic Jaguar XJS convertible her mother recently handed down to her. "Maybe I should come up with a podcast where I just drive guests around in the convertible. I'd listen to that!"
  • undefined: Wendyl Nissen

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