Radio – Suckers Never Play Me

Hang on a second, just let us get open the bumper book of media cliches… ah, here we go:

It’s been a game of musical chairs around Australia’s radio networks these last few weeks, as… well, a bunch of people we don’t really like all that much have quit. First, Tom Ballard has left Triple J breakfast. Yes, we’re big fans over here:

We’ve also been here several times before with Tom Ballard, who has stated on many occasions that he thinks comedy should be allowed to shock people and break barriers and so on. Fair enough, it should. But shouldn’t it also do that in a smart way?

Next up, Melbourne’s Matt & Jo have left their breakfast slot thanks (in part) to declining ratings. Somewhat hilariously, it seems like it might be possible to trace their decline in the ratings to Tilley giving up his equally hilarious “gotcha” calls, which reportedly he hated doing. But yeah, big, big fans here:

As a comedian, what kind of connection do you have with your audience when – and let’s not forget that Tilley is a top-rating radio jock, not some unknown comic – the general public (most of which have at the very least heard of you and your work) seemingly couldn’t give a shit about you after a major accident?

Also going out, though slightly closer to the top ratings-wise, is Nova’s breakfast duo of Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek. We’ve not been fans of them for so long now that we gave up saying how huge non-fans we are years ago, but this post sums up our feelings today as well as it did back in 2009:

Listen to any normal edition of Hughesy & Kate and laughs are way down the list of the shows’ features. You want dull personal anecdotes? They’re covered. As are phone-ins, competitions, stunts, celebrity guests, footy tips and some surprisingly biting interviews with federal politicians, but comedy? No, not with Dave Hughes on board.

Last and generally speaking least, Kyle and Jackie O are also shutting up shop and… oh wait, spoke too soon:

Sydney radio station Mix 106.5 FM are expected to make an announcement on Friday confirming radio’s worst kept secret: that Kyle Sandilands and his co-host Jackie Henderson will join the station in 2014.

The pair shocked the radio industry just over a month ago when they announced they were quitting Southern Cross Austereo’s 2Day FM, where they had hosted Sydney’s top-rating breakfast show for a decade. This morning’s show is their final one for the station. Mix 106.5’s owner ARN has been negotiating with the pair for months, with their new deal estimated to eclipse the $1 million contracts they were each on at 2Day FM.

Which is why most of these “radio musical chairs” stories are bullshit. Much as we clearly loathe most of the high profile performers on Australia’s radio scene – yes, much of the problem is the restrictive format they’re forced to work in (Personal chit-chat! Caller chit-chat! Don’t have segments that run longer than a minute!), but if you’re good at a shit format what does that say about you – there’s only a small number of people who can churn out pointless drivel and cackle away at borderline offensive contests for hours each day, and once you reach that level you tend to just move from young folks radio to parents-in-the-morning radio to oldies radio in a fairly seamless procession.

Oh right, Kyle Sandilands. It’s kind of a sideswipe, but this post pretty much sums up our feelings:

Take this to its logical conclusion and you have the likes of Kyle and Jackie O, who get around the fact that they are highly paid entertainers living a glamorous lifestyle which almost no one can relate to by inviting real people with sensational stories to tell on to their show.

He’s awful, but he’s the product of an awful system. Need we remind you that commercial radio is linked to public mockery of rape victims? Insanely dubious competitions? Crazily stressful work situations? The occasional suicide? That’s why we only mention commercial radio on rare occasions these days: no matter how much it likes to promote itself as a chuckle-heavy collection of bubbly fun types, there’s really not all that much to laugh at…

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1 Comment

  • urinal cake says:

    Occasionally when I’m in the car I’ll switch over to the popular Christian radio channel to hear there morning show. The show is better than you expect under some limiting conditions. Those guys deserve a hug paycheck but will have to do with salvation instead.

    The tributes to Ballard have been baffling.