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Jess Farchione: A bubbly Connoisseur of life

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Jess Farchione believes she has the best job in the world.

And, it’s hard to argue with her.

Not only is she one member of the hugely-successful Nick, Jess & Ducko breakfast team on Newcastle radio station HIT106.9, and a popular Instagrammer in her own right, the bubbly announcer’s now the QT Connoisseur for the city’s latest five-star hotel.

QT Newcastle general manager Michael Stambouldis admitted they were “searching for an afficionado – of the finer things in life – for all the luxurious touches and comforts the venue has to offer”.

So, understandably, Jess was “over the moon” on being considered “The One”.

“I have been a consumer of the QT experience for many years,” she said.

“When we go visit family in Melbourne at Christmas time, or we duck down to Sydney to see a show, my husband Angus and I have always chosen the QT because of its complete individuality and quirk.

“I used to work in the five-star hotel space and it was very much about uniformity and brand standards and, if I’m honest, quite stuffy as opposed to a space and team like the QT’s that lean into character, fun and eccentricity.

“An opportunity to be a part of that family in such a cool capacity was too good to pass up.”

QT Connoisseur Jess Farchione. Photo: Amber Sherwood

It’s easy to see why Jess was keen to embrace the “quirky” role as well.

“In the QT Newcastle’s words, the QT Connoisseur is part-reviewer, part-party maven, chief tasting officer and vibe check specialist,” she said.

“I have the pleasure of hosting a 40-person party on their Rooftop, taking over a whole floor of rooms to fill with friends and family, as well as a whiskey tasting on the Rootop.

“But, the best part: sampling the seasonal menu changes at Jana restaurant alongside executive chef Massimo Speroni.

“What’s not to love?”

Despite the latest “demands” on her time, Jess has no qualms about juggling the QT Connoisseur gig with her radio and Instagram commitments.

“Breakfast radio comes with the absolute blessing of a wonderful work/life balance,” she said.

“We are on air from 6am until 9am and, after planning for the show and meetings for upcoming campaigns and promotions are done, I am lucky to be out of the studio and looking for content in the real world by about 11am.

“So, I have plenty of hours left in the day to commit myself to this role.

“Similarly, the way I use Instagram very much fits organically into my lifestyle.

“I don’t stage photoshoots (except for my very handsome dog).

“It’s more a snap here and there of whatever it is that I’m doing in the moment (usually eating, drinking or putting together a cheese board).”

Jess’ career on the airwaves stemmed from an early involvement with community radio.

She simply “went along to check it out and basically never left”.

“I love telling stories,” Jess told the Newcastle Weekly.

“From a very young age around the dinner table, my parents encouraged us to share our highs and lows, the drama from the schoolyard, to share and question and express ourselves.

“So, it is the most natural thing in the world for me to do.

“To find a profession where that is literally the job description – share yourself fully and openly, make others laugh, engage and connect through shared experience and opinion… what a dream come true.

“I always thought of the people on the radio as these faceless celebrities, until I realised, ‘hey, they’re just people like me who love to tell stories and make others laugh. I could do that’.

“And, the journey’s been nothing short of surreal.

“I am very grateful to do the work I do.

“It is an honour that the HIT family chooses to wake up with us and the best feedback we get as a show is ‘you make my mornings better’.”

Jess Farchione with HIT106.9 cohorts Nick Gill and Nick Allen-Ducat.

Jess is also quick to praise her on-air cohorts Nick Gill and Nick Allen-Ducat.

“Every day, I laugh – more often than not, until it hurts,” she said.

“Nick and Ducko are two of my best mates who I most likely would never have crossed paths if radio didn’t cross them for us.

“We are different in a million ways, but our values and our shared goal to brighten the mornings of the HIT family are fiercely in line.

“There have been so many memorable moments from interviewing some incredible celebrities.

“A personal highlight for me was (singer/songwriter) James Blunt in 2021 and asking him to sing at my then-upcoming wedding (he did say yes, but probably because I put him on the spot); to giving away life-changing sums of money (most recently, $10,000 to an incredible single mum named Hollie who smashed our game Alphabucks); to coordinating unbelievably fun events like Newcastle’s biggest human whirlpool in the Newcastle Ocean Baths with more than 200 participants; which was a total success.

“However, nothing beats those laugh-til-you-cry moments with Nick and Ducko when it just feels like three mates piling on and enjoying each other’s company.”

Jess Farchione. Photo: Amber Sherwood

The former Victorian, who was awarded Best Newcomer On-Air (Provincial) at the ACRAs following a successful stint at Shepparton’s hit96.9, is now happy to call the Hunter Valley home, too.

“The love of my life was waiting for me in Newcastle,” Jess said.

“I met Angus after being in Newy for six months.

“And, I could not believe a man like him even existed, and that Newcastle had kept him warm and waiting for me, so I love Newy for that.

“We’ve since bought an absolute dream home, welcomed the most handsome pooch in the world into our little family and are so excited for what the future holds (hopefully a couple mini Angus’).

“But, beyond my darling Gussy, Newcastle immediately just felt like home.

“I don’t know how to articulate that feeling of finding your place in the world clearly.

“However, I just felt like I belonged here.

“I have found a group of friends here who have filled my life with so much joy, love, and excitement.

“My work is incredibly rewarding.

“I have my favourite spots to eat and drink and play – and I just can’t see myself anywhere else.”

So, what does the future hold for Jess?

“Working with elite brands like the QT Newcastle is absolutely something I would love to continue,” she said.

“I enjoy nothing more than being a bridge between experiences like this and the HIT family.

“One of my favourite things in the world is being asked for a recommendation or an opinion on what someone should do for an anniversary dinner, or a girl’s weekend away or even simply what my order is at Mayfield West Kebabs and Charcoal Chicken.

“I want to create more content for people to explore our amazing city and to draw more of them to Newcastle and the Hunter to sample what we have to offer because, after five years of research, I can confidently say what we have to offer is EPIC.”

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