The West

Pair bask in Sunrise
Melissa Doyle and David Koch

There's nothing quite like live breakfast television to keep presenters on their toes. They are expected to be up before dawn and be across everything from the latest Hollywood marriage meltdown to what's going on in the worlds of news, sport and politics.

A visit to the Sunrise studios in Sydney's Martin Place in early winter was a reminder of the fast pace of the show.

US rock band Train were performing in the plaza and the studio crew were getting ready to throw to Melissa Doyle and David Koch outside. Bands once performed right outside the Sunrise studio but noise complaints from lawyers working in a nearby building meant the live performances had to shift further away.

Unfortunately with only seconds to go, there was still no sign of the hosts, leaving Weekend Sunrise weather guy James Tobin to do the cross. As for Koch and Doyle? They had been stuck at traffic lights.

"You can't do much about the traffic and you can't jaywalk," Koch says after the show.

Live bands have become a staple of Australia's number one breakfast show and not just international acts. Koch is proud of giving many Aussie bands their first experience of live television.

Sunrise has been celebrating 10 years on air this year and the presenters known to viewers simply as Kochie and Mel seem in no hurry to trade it for anything else, despite the gruelling hours.

"We're not just doing a show, a TV program, we are a show that cares and makes a difference and hopefully achieves something; that's why I love it," Koch says.

"There's heaps I want to achieve in the next 10 years. We keep wanting to give young Australians a go, identify talent, give them a chance." Koch wishes more Australians understood indigenous issues and culture and the problems affecting disadvantaged youth.

"It's a reflection of how privileged so many of us are in Australia," he said. "We don't want to know what makes a young kid break the law, get into crime or get into trouble. We don't want to know his family upbringing, that he or she doesn't want to go home of a night because of fear of abuse. There are some very real issues in Australia we should care about."

Doyle describes each day's show as like having a great dinner party with friends. They both agree that as journalists they love waking up to breaking news even if it means everything they planned the night before goes out the window.

"There are times when we have walked in and done five hours, live, commercial free with no scripts, no nothing, no planning - just rolled with it," Koch says.

"They are shows that are the most fun and it reinforces 10 years of working together. It is frightening but we almost know what the other one is thinking and that can be scary at times but it works, it helps."

People see them as being so close, Doyle is often asked where Kochie is when she's out.

"The loveliest thing for us, is viewers don't look at us like other people who might be on TV," she says.

"We are not stars or celebs, we're their friends. And it is lovely the familiarity with which they greet us. It is really special; we feel really honoured people have taken the whole team into their hearts and family rooms."

Sunrise has been embracing the Olympics this week with Mark Beretta, Grant Denyer, Simon Reeve, James Tobin and Edwina Bartholomew in London, and an in-studio panel of Lisa Curry, Michael Klim, Samantha Riley, Jana Pittman, and Steve Moneghetti providing expert commentary.

The show also has a live audience, dressed in green and gold, to get into the Olympic spirit.

"We're not just doing a show, a TV program, we are a show that cares and makes a difference and hopefully achieves something…"

The West Australian

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