Money Talks: Radio Hauraki’s Jason Hoyt on surviving as a performer – ‘I never had a Plan



30 Jul, 2021 11:00 PM

Radio DJ and actor Jason Hoyte. Photo / Dean Purcell

“I’ve never really had a Plan B,” says Radio Hauraki’s Jason Hoyt.

“There was certainly times where I thought : what am I doing? I’ve got to have an alternative because things aren’t working out”.

Forging a career as a comedian and actor was never going to be an easy option in New Zealand.

Hoyt started out in stand-up comedy and found his way to acting roles in Xena; Warrior Princess and Hercules in the 1990s.

But he’s now known to many New Zealander’s as a Radio Hauraki host and commentator with the ACC (Alternative Commentary Collective).

He’s been busy this year, launching new TVNZ comedy Talkback and returning to a regular weekly Drive slot on Hauraki with Mike Minogue.

“I’ve been fortunate in that there was always sort of something happening for me work wise. There was always just enough to get by.

“The further along in your career you get the more people get to know you and the easier it becomes”.

Through early years regular voice work for adverts smooth out the pay cheques.

“But it is a really, difficult gig,” he says.

Even when you got a job there was often a two month wait to get paid, he says. Something that was especially tough with a young family and a mortgage.

“My wife and I were talking just recently about: how did we ever survive?”

“Inevitably, you would spend all the money before you got it, you’d go over your over-draft and borrow money from people you knew.”

“I had many sleepless nights. I remember at one stage we’d missed two mortgage payments, I hadn’t had any work. It’s a massively insecure life in that respect.”

These days the entertainment industry is a bit more professional about payment, Hoyt says.

But those days of living week to week have given him some insight into the kind of trap poverty can be for many people.

“I have a lot of sympathy for people who are in that situation and are never quiet able to get ahead,” he says.

It was only when he started working radio and got a regular wage coming in that Hoyt was able to think long term about money.

“It was completely new phenomenon for me,” Hoyt says.

“And what that allows you to do, when you’ve got that consistency of money coming in, is then you can make plans.”

Money Talks

The Money Talks podcast series isn’t about personal finance and isn’t about economics, it’s just well-known New Zealanders talking about money and sharing some stories about the impact it’s had on their lives and how it has shaped them.

You can find new episodes in the Herald, or subscribe on iHeartRadio, Spotify or wherever you get podcasts.

Previous guests include: Kerre McIvor, Sir Michael Cullen, Shane Te Pou, Sharon Zollner and Theresa Gattung, and Matt Heath.

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