Pamela Joyce is one of our favourite voices on Irish radio, and she’s worked damn hard to get to where she is today.
The popular presenter is Goss.ie’s latest Spotlight On cover star – and in this exclusive interview, she reveals how her life has changed since she landed her dream job.
For years, Pamela worked towards her goal of hosting the lunchtime slot on Today FM by the time she was 30 – and in January 2022, she achieved just that at the age of 29.
While Pamela has achieved so much at such a young age, becoming a broadcaster wasn’t always her dream, and her journey to success hasn’t been easy.
The Galway native originally wanted to pursue a career in acting, but after realising she didn’t want to live the life of a struggling artist – she decided to explore another avenue.
After landing an internship with iRadio in 2016, Pamela fell in love with the world of radio while she worked at the station for three years.
Realising radio was her passion, Pamela decided to do a Masters in Broadcast Production which required her to secure a short term placement in a radio station.
In May 2018, Pamela entered Today FM’s studio in Dublin’s city centre for what was supposed to be “a week of shadowing”, and she’s been working there ever since.
In 2021, she filled in on the Early Breakfast Show while Paula MacSweeney was on maternity leave, and was a huge hit with listeners.
Pamela landed her very own radio show that summer, and a couple of months later she secured the coveted lunchtime slot on Today FM, replacing Mairead Ronan, which she describes as the “the highlight” of her career so far.
Just over a year after she took over the lunchtime slot, Pamela won Best Radio Show at The Gossies 2023, proving bosses made the right decision to place her in the hot seat.
Despite having an overwhelmingly positive response from listeners, Pamela has also had to deal with her fair share of criticism and negative comments.
Last year, for example, she broke down in tears on her Instagram Stories when she received a “nasty” letter from a “former listener”.
In this exclusive interview, Pamela opens up about the highs and lows that come with being in the public eye, and finally getting the recognition she deserves.
The 30-year-old also discusses sharing her struggle with depression and anxiety, and reveals why she’s now “happier” than she’s ever been.
Read our full chat with Pamela below:
You landed your Today FM show over a year ago, taking over from Mairead Ronan in the coveted lunchtime slot. How has your life changed since then?
“It’s funny, so I was doing evenings when I moved to lunchtime. I had gone from early breakfast to evenings for six months and then I moved to lunchtime and I was like ‘ah sure it’s just a little bit earlier in the day it’s the same thing’, but it is not.
“It’s a totally different beast, but I’m enjoying it immensely I have to say, it’s so much fun and I finally feel like, obviously there’s a transition period where people are like ‘oh that’s not Mairead she must be on holidays’, so the show didn’t really feel like my own for the first six to eight months.
“But I really feel like I’ve come into my own now, and I’m really happy with the show and the listeners are amazing. It’s just so much fun and I’m definitely getting recognised more when I’m out and about, which I love I have to say.
“When I’m with my family they’re always rolling their eyes being like ‘oh for God’s sake, here goes her ego again because someone recognised her’. But I’m like love it, lap it up!”
“I’m definitely getting recognised more when I’m out and about…”
The lunchtime slot has always been known as a really big show. Did you feel a lot of pressure going into it?
“I don’t think so, because when I first started in radio over six or seven years ago I said to myself ‘I want the lunchtime show on Today FM by the time I’m 30’.
“That was what I was always working towards, so by the time I got there I felt like ‘ok this was the aim, this was the plan’, and then I got it and I was like ‘I’m the lunchtime presenter on Today FM, oh my God!’
“Particularly with the new lineup that was announced – so it was like Ian Dempsey, Dermot & Dave, then me, then Ray Foley, then Matt Cooper, and I was like ‘oh god I do not belong here, something’s gone awry’.
“The imposter syndrome was definitely kicking in in the first couple of months, but now I’ll stop and be like ‘Jesus, I’m the lunchtime presenter on Today FM, that’s pretty cool’.”
You won Best Radio Show at The Gossies 2023 in March – what did that mean to you?
“It was funny because I was actually just so excited to be going to The Gossies and I kept forgetting I was nominated. I was just sitting there having the craic, my table was so fun I was sitting beside Grainne Seoige and Erica Cody, and then Martin King went up to present Best Radio Show.
“Now I did not in a million years think I was going to win it, I was just delighted to be nominated, and then he said my name and I was like ‘oh no, I’ve drank way too much table wine’.
“I got up on the stage and the strap on my dress has broken so I was like ‘I do not need my boobs to be exposed in front of Tommy Bowe, that’s for another time’… and I was looking down and I saw Muireann [O’Connell], Tommy Bowe, Dáithí O Sé, and like for someone who speaks into a microphone for a living, I stood in front of the microphone and I had nothing to say.
“But it means a lot, it means the world to be recognised and to be taken seriously and be nominated with such other wonderful shows and it meant the world.
“It was a great ego boost, and I swanned into work on the Monday and David Hammond from Spin Breakfast had intentionally gone around the office before I got in and told everyone to do a round of applause when I walked in, and the whole office erupted and I legged it straight out the door. But it was great, it meant a lot so thank you.”
As I mentioned before, Pamela has worked seriously hard to get to where she is today.
Telling me about the early days of her radio career, she recalls the insanely long hours she used to endure while driving across the country – but her determination and eagerness to learn kept her going.
After I note how tough it is to make a name for yourself in media, Pamela admits she feels guilty seeing some of her colleagues go through the same struggles now.
“People always told me you just need to say yes to everything. So there would be days where I would go in and I’d be working on Muireann O’Connell’s show quite a lot…,” she explained.
“I’d be in for 10, I’d work there until 4 and then I’d get the bus home, I’d collect my car and I’d drive down to Athlone and I’d be on iRadio from 9 until midnight and then I’d drive back to Dublin and be on with Muireann the next day.
“But it was all about learning and experience. I think a lot of people think ‘oh just put up the fader and start talking’ but there is a lot more to it than that, and even now I kind of get the guilt sometimes because I have such lovely working hours.
“I go in for around 9.30/10, and then I’m usually gone my about 2.30/3, and I get kind of guilty when I see my friends in the office for like 8am and then they’re there until 6 or 7. But I’m like no, no, I put the work in, I used to be on air at 5am, driving across the country doing 30 days in a row, so I’m gonna enjoy this while I can.”
You’re amongst an amazing lineup of talent in Today FM and it seems like you all get on so well. Is it actually like that in the office all the time?
“100%. People always ask me what Dermot & Dave are like, or what Ian Dempsey is like, and genuinely what you see is actually what it’s like. Like if I ever have an issue I’ll text Dave Moore and he’ll come straight back with advice, same with Dermot.
“It sounds so cheesy to say it but we genuinely are one big happy family, they’re like my big brothers. So I feel very very lucky to be in such a supportive workplace, and particularly Dermot & Dave, Ian Dempsey and Matt Cooper has always been very supportive of me from when I first started at the station five years ago on early breakfast.
“They’ve always been giving me advice or bringing me on air with them whenever they can, so I feel very lucky.”
While Pamela has been overwhelmed by the positive response to her show, she’s also faced some awful and unnecessary criticism.
Shortly after she took over lunchtime on Today FM last year, she broke down in tears on social media after receiving a cruel letter from a “former listener” that criticised her appearance.
Revealing how she reacts to hateful comments, Pamela admits its hard not to let them get to her…
Although you are a huge hit with listeners, you’ve also had to deal with some negativity since hitting the airwaves. How do you handle online trolls and nasty messages?
“I’m lucky in a sense that I don’t get too many, you’ll get the odd one on Twitter where someone will tweet ‘you’re rubbish’ or whatever. But you kind of have to just say, you know, not everyone is going to like you and if everyone does like you you’re a bit bland, which is not what I’m about.
“I’m very resolute on who I am as a person, and if you like it great, and if you don’t that’s not a problem, I’m not going to take offence. I remember when I first started in Today FM I used to go on Boards.ie like an eejit, and Dermot Whelan actually said to me ‘I’ve never once come away from Boards.ie and felt good about myself’, and I was like you’re so right and I haven’t done it since.
“I’d be quite a sensitive person anyway, for example all the texts that come in to the studio, I choose not to look at them and my producer will put up the applicable ones. Just for myself, because you know it’s easy to say its water off a ducks back and just ignore it, but it does kind of stay with you and makes me second guess everything I’m doing on air.”
“So I’m just like do you know what, if I don’t actively seek it out great, you’re obviously going to get the odd one like that letter that came in and things like that. But you just kind of have to say look that’s their problem, if they’re getting something out of being mean to you then that’s their problem.
“For example if they’re talking about me on air that’s fine, that’s an opinion thing, but in that letter they started talking about how I look and my weight and stuff like that, that really affected me because I was like ‘Jesus, that has nothing to do with my job, it’s not your place to comment on that’.
“Just because you’re accessible doesn’t mean that it’s free rein to say what you want”
“And I know, and there shouldn’t be, but there’s a certain degree that if you’re in the public eye that’s kind of part and parcel but just because you’re accessible doesn’t mean that it’s free rein to say what you want. Obviously say it to your friends or whatever, but I don’t think it’s a necessity to make sure that I know that you dislike me or that you think I’m hideous or fat.
“I think its gone a little bit too far, people feel like they have this weird autonomy over radio presenters and influencers and things like that, that they can just say whatever they want, and I’m just out here trying to live my life and if you don’t like it then just don’t follow me or don’t listen to the show.”
You’ve interviewed some incredible guests over the past few years, including Dermot Kennedy, Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi. Who has been your favourite celebrity to interview and why?
“I’ve been very lucky with the interviews I’ve had because they’ve all been very friendly and up for the craic. But I think I would have to say Niall Horan because being such a huge One Direction fan, it was like this massive pinch me moment.
“I was hoping he’d be as nice as he comes across and he’s actually nicer. He was so friendly and really up for the craic, which is exactly what you want. It was a Zoom call so the second he hung up I literally slid off the chair and was like ‘oh my god, I just spoke to Niall Horan, Niall Horan knowns my name’. So I was like I should probably retire, it’s not gonna get any better than this.”
I saw people commenting on the chemistry you guys had during your interview…
“I mean I didn’t start the rumour, Ireland started the rumour… I mean if he didn’t have a girlfriend maybe, but never say never. Never say never.
“I was actually joking with one of the girls she was like ‘oh, should I buy a hat?’ and I was like well it’s actually perfect because Westmeath, where he’s from, and Galway, where I’m from, both have the same colours so obviously it would be maroon bridesmaid dresses. Such psycho behaviour,” she laughed.
Speaking of celebrities, has anyone famous ever slid into your DMs?
“Absolutely not. But look the DMs are open, slide on in. But no sadly no one has taken me off the market but I’m optimistic.”
You mentioned before that you’re getting recognised a lot more now. As a well-known face in Ireland, how has that affected your love life? Has it made it more difficult to date?
“I wouldn’t say so. I moved to Dublin seven years ago, and I was like ‘great I’m going to find a boyfriend within six weeks’. And it’s been seven years, not a snip.
“You will get the odd thing on Bumble or something people being like ‘oh surely you’re way too famous to be on here’. And i’m like, I don’t care someone just love me! But no you do get the odd weird DM or creepy message, but if that happens I just block.”
While you’ve been so lucky with the people you’ve interviewed over the years, I’d imagine you’ve had some awkward ones too. Do you have a least favourite?
“Not really, I think people are so conscious of their public image, so they generally are very friendly and very nice when you’re chatting to them.
“Now I will say when I interviewed Lizzo, it was around the time her song ‘About Damn Time’ had just come out and there was the really famous TikTok dance to go with it… So for about three days before the interview I was playing the song on repeat practicing the dance, and I did the dance for her and I thought she was going to be blown away but she was just like ‘ok’.
“I felt like an absolute clown. Now she wasn’t mean or anything, but she was just like ‘no you haven’t got it girl, stick to the radio.'”
From the outside looking in, Pamela seems like the ultimate happy-go-lucky girl.
But last year, the 30-year-old bravely opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety, and dealing with panic attacks.
Speaking candidly on Doireann Garrihy’s The Laughs Of Your Life podcast, Pamela revealed she’s had “depressive episodes” since she was 20-years-old.
While you’re known for your bubbly personality on the radio, you opened up about your struggle with depression and anxiety last year. Was that difficult to talk about?
“I think it came up naturally in the conversation, and I kind of said to myself look this is a huge platform and I think you hear a lot about men’s mental health, which I think is really important, but I hadn’t really seen a huge amount of women talking about it.
“Back in the day, when I first experienced depression when I was about 20 or 21, I was absolutely mortified. I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my family, my friends, I was so embarrassed about it. But now, I would say 9 out of 10 people feel anxious, a lot more people than you think go through bouts of depression, and the more you talk about it the better it is.
“So if I’m feeling anxious or anything I’ll text or call one of my friends and say ‘I’m feeling a bit off, do you want to go for coffee or a walk’ or something like that. They’ll always be there for me, and my family and friends are always very supportive.”
“But as of now I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and hopefully it stays that way… I think it’s great now that there’s so much conversation around it and people are far more conscious of how common it is and how to deal with and to talk about it.
“And you might not experience it but someone you know might be going through it, and there’s a lot more conversation around how you can support and be there for them, which I think is really good as well.”
“I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and hopefully it stays that way…”
Alongside your radio career, you’re a social media star in your own right and are known for the hilarious content you post. Would you ever consider trying stand-up comedy?
“I did stand up comedy about five years ago, it was for a campaign and I was taught by Joanne McNally how to do stand up comedy. So we had a couple of writing sessions with her and she would give us feedback and then we had to perform it in front of people, it was so scary.
“I think now, because I was only 25 or 26 at the time, I think now I’d more happily do it but it’s a very scary thing. Because on radio or Instagram, you put up something you think is funny, but you never really know if no one else thinks it’s funny.
“Whereas if you’re standing in front of people in a room, they’re either laughing or they’re not. So I think, maybe in a few years it’s something I might look at doing, but I’m kind of like why would I put that pressure on myself? Ignorance is bliss!”
You’ve also tried your hand at TV presenting with your RTÉ series Influenced. Do you have any plans to return to the small screen?
“I would love it! For the first year of the show I decided to keep the head down and focus on radio, but I think I would like to wait for the right project to come along. So fingers crossed something nice and juicy will come along.
“I’d love to do something along the lines of Living With Lucy or something like that, kind of light hearted and fun things.
“I don’t think I’d be very good at Dancing With The Stars or anything like that, I think I’d be too stressy because you’re reading off autocue and it’s live. So something a bit more chilled to start, and then maybe the Late Late? Who knows…”
Speaking of The Late Late Show, there’s been a lot of talk about who will take over from Ryan Tubridy as host. Who would you like to see take on that role? Do you think it should be someone younger?
“I’m not quite sure you know. I don’t watch a huge amount of it, but I think it’s time… I think its such a stalwart of Irish-ness that elements of it need to stay, but I think its no harm to freshen it up a bit, slightly change the format.
“I would love to see a woman doing it, but at the same time I don’t want them to put a woman doing it just to have a woman doing it. I want to make sure its the right person. I think Doireann [Garrihy] would be amazing at it, I think Claire Byrne would be fabulous, I think Angela Scanlon would be fabulous… so there’s loads of options out there.
“Everyone’s just waiting and waiting for it to come out but I think a little bit of a freshen up wouldn’t be bad but I would like it to stay true to what it is.”
You mentioned before that prior to becoming a presenter, you wanted to get into acting. If you were given the opportunity, would you like to give that a go again?
“Ah definitely! Part of the reason I love radio is that it is quite performative and I’ve always loved performing and entertaining, so I’d 100% be up for something if it came about.
“I kind of thought about going back to theatre or musical theatre but I’m kind of afraid of it at the same time. But look if they want to cast me in Succession, it’s not a problem… I’m a horrible person I could be one of the Roys!”
You’ve already achieved so much by the age of 30, what has been the highlight of your career to date?
“To date I would say definitely getting the lunchtime show was the biggest pinch me moment. Because up to that point I kind of just felt like I was dabbling in radio, even though it was my full time job and I had some great time slots…
“But when I got that, I was like do you know what I think I’m kind of proud of myself. I think as Irish people we tend to not congratulate ourselves or say I’m proud of myself and I’ve worked really hard. Now I’m under no illusions, a lot of this is timing and being in the right place at the right time.
“But I’m a firm believer in working on yourself and working on your skills to be in the best position you can so when a new role comes up you are the obvious choice for it. So I definitely would say that was a career highlight.
“Another one a few weeks ago, I did a Q&A with Neil Jordan and Liam Neeson for their film Marlow. So I got to do the red carpet with them and sit up on stage and ask them questions. So yeah there’s been some really good moments and hopefully plenty more to come.”
Has there been any low points you can think of?
“I think before when I was doing early breakfast on Today FM, the first time I was doing it, I felt very lucky to be doing it but it’s a very kind of isolating time slot.
“So I was living in a house with three of my friends and I had to go to bed at like 7pm when they’d all be sitting down to watch telly and bond, and I’d be getting up at the crack of dawn to go into work. And then I’d come home and go for a snooze and they’d all be gone to work and it was probably quite lonely I’d say.
“And because you’re tired as well you don’t really want to do anything so you’re just sitting there watching telly, you might go for a walk, you’d go for a big nap and feel like s***e when you wake up. So that was probably quite isolating but at the same time it was a means to an end, and I’m glad I did it because I learned loads and it got me to where I am today.”
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?
“I would say back yourself more. It’s only in the last six months to eight months that I’ve started being like ‘no you’ve got this, you’ve proven yourself, you have the skills and experience necessary’.
“Before I probably would have checked with my producer like ‘oh should I say this here?’ and I’m like ‘no, you know what you’re doing you do this every day’. I would just say back yourself more and be more confident. I’m always very self deprecating, and while its funny and I like it, just yeah back yourself because you’ve got it girl.”
Wrapping up my interview with Pamela, I commend how much she’s achieved at such a young age.
Intrigued to know what she’s planning to do next, I ask what’s left on her bucket list.
Pamela delivers a refreshing answer that contrasts the intense “go-getter” society we live in today, as she reveals the promise she made to herself last year.
What’s left on your bucket list – professional and personally?
“It’s funny because I’m the type of person who sets a goal, and the second I achieve that goal I don’t even give myself a beat to be like ‘well done, you did it’, it’s like what’s next? what’s next?
“So when I got the lunchtime show I made a promise to myself to just bloody enjoy this time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy,” she added, before joking: “Personally I would ideally like to find a filthy rich husband, but that’s a little bit more out of my control. So any single, hot, rich men… slide into the DMs.”
One last question, where do you hope to see yourself five years from now?
“Oh that’s a big one! I think the trajectory I’m on now, I’m pretty happy with. And if it continues the way it is, I think I’ll be very happy. I would have, a year ago, thought about career, career, career, but I think I’ve had a change in perspective lately.
“I always would have thought success was the biggest measure. But I think my vision of success has changed, and I just want to be happy and have a nice life and to continue to have the wonderful friends and family that I have.
“I feel very lucky to have all that I have, so if I even have a fraction of that in five years time I’ll be very, very happy.”
With happiness on the agenda, we suspect there’s much more to come from Pamela in the future.
From her lonely days driving across the country, to landing one of the most coveted slots on Irish radio – we’re glad she’s finally getting the recognition she’s worked so hard for.