Radio Personality Amy Aleha and the Seoul Entertainment Industry

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Amy Hayashi

Amy Hayashi, also known as Amy Aleha, is a TV/Radio personality as well as an experienced voiceover artist with a demonstrated history of working in the broadcasting media industry. You have probably heard Amy on her morning radio show on TBS eFM 101.3, This, That & Amy, which was formerly known as “Amy in the Morning”.

I sat down with Amy in her Gangnam apartment looking out into the spectacular view of Seoul and as we talked, Aleha revealed her insight on working in the Korean entertainment field. Below is the full interview through which Aleha comes one step closer to the public.

Please introduce yourself

I generally go by my first and middle name—Amy Aleha—but my full name is Amy Hayashi. A lot of people are confused when I tell them my name. Sometimes people can tell that I’m mixed (Irish and Japanese) but most of the time, people have no idea. What I can say is that I am from Canada and have lived here in Korea for 10 years.

What brought you to Korea?

I first came in August 2004 for vacation. I was still in college and was on my summer break. Some of my friends had been living in Korea and they wanted me to visit. After staying for just a week, I immediately fell in love with Korea; I loved the energy and I quickly felt at home, so I came back after graduation, left again for my Master’s degree, and then returned in 2008.

When did you enter the entertainment industry?

This is my third year working in entertainment. When I first got my entertainment visa, I did a lot of voice acting, commercials, and dramas and then I got onto an English TV show called “Bring It On” that was being aired on Arirang TV. The show did well and we lasted about 4 seasons; the first season was actually a presentation competition, which I won and then I zecame a judge starting from season 2. This opened up more opportunities for me within the entertainment network and eventually led me to hosting my own radio and television shows.

What’s it like being a foreigner in a Korean-dominated environment?

When I first started working, I was able to get by even with my basic Korean. But then I realized that all of the behind-the-scenes work is done in Korean. So, I’ve been studying more Korean and I’ve gotten more used to the work environment. The majority of what I do on air is still in English so that works well for me. But yes, there is definitely a language ceiling that needs to be overcome. Right now, in terms of the Korean broadcasting field, I’m kind of held back because my language is limited to intermediate Korean. I’ll just have to increase my Korean ability so that I can converse and debate in Korean more.

Tell us about your radio program, This, That & Amy

The radio show is on the number one foreign language radio station in Korea, TBS. It is a morning showing airing 10-12 a.m., Monday to Friday, as a 2-hour program where we talk about life lessons or events in the news. Guests come in and we discuss different topics depending on the day; topics range from entertainment, food, and even to simple things like personality quizzes. This, That & Amy is basically a daily morning show that helps your midmorning on a bright note with good music and a good conversation.

Which guests have you had on the program that our readers might know?

 Well, I had Flowsick on, which was pretty cool because he rapped live for us. We also had on Wouter Hamel, the Jazz musician; he comes to Korea for the Seoul Jazz Fest. Sometimes we have local DJ’s to come on the show, but I usually have weekly guests that are ready to discuss a specific topic.

What are some hardships that come with your job?

 A hard part for freelance work is payment—getting paid for the work I do, because with the advertising and broadcasting industry, you don’t usually get paid until the show is actually aired. So I need to always be on top of things and manage my budget.

What are the positive aspects of working in this field?

 People. The best part is the people I work with and get to meet while on the show.

What is your favorite segment of your radio show?

 That’s hard to choose because most of my guests are friends of mine; I feel so comfortable with everyone and the whole show. But if I had to choose I guess the Tuesday food segment with California Kitchen & Craft Pub owner Chuck Chun  is the most exciting. It’s always fun when he brings in food and experiments in the kitchen. Plus, I get to eat on the show, so that’s my favorite part.

What do you like to do in your free time and where is your favorite spot in Korea?

I work a lot but when I do get some time off, I spend it with good people; close friends. I chill at home or take walks by Yangje Stream or Hangang park with my dog.

My favorite place here would be Jeju Island. It’s so close but it doesn’t feel like Korea because of the waterfalls, hiking spots, and beaches. I also like the food there–the black pork is amazing. In Seoul, my favorite place is the Han River; I like taking my dog to mingle and run around or just relaxing at the riverside park when the weather is good.

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Any future plans?

At the moment, I want to start something new but I don’t exactly know what that is. The only rule I have is to follow my instincts. I love to host shows, so maybe hosting a TV show would be ideal, but beyond the entertainment industry (especially in Korea), being a woman in my thirties can be challenging to find new opportunities. If something comes up I will jump onto that but I can also make my own destiny  and I’m open to everything, so I will go with what feels right at the time. Easy breezy!

 

Without a doubt, Amy is a very hardworking, positive woman who is excellent at what she does. Check out her show on TBS eFM 101.3, This, That & Amy, which airs Monday to Friday from 10:05 am (Seoul time). For more information, follow Amy through her Instagram: @white_japan, Facebook: Amy Aleha, and Twitter: @white_japan.

 

By Amiira Ismail, reporter for The AsiaN

 

 

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