Sanity returned to the radio market this winter

Frank Avis by | August 2, 2019 | 2010s

Radio, the Federal Election, ABC television and Brexit.
Sanity returned to the radio market this winter, something the industry isn't exactly famous for I'm thinking, with 2GB finalising a 2-year deal with the King of Brekkie, Alan Jones. The two parties celebrated with another massive win in the Sydney ratings. Jones hit 17.6 in Breakfast while GB went to 14.4 overall, ahead of SMOOTH, KIIS and WS FM. A couple of old stagers are hanging in there, with 2CH at 3.4 and UE/Sports still desperate to crack the 1% barrier. Just when I was silly enough to mention "sanity" in the industry, normal service was immediately resumed with Chris Smith walking out of 2GB after the station's decision to do some major changes as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Chris was going to shift into nights with his afternoon show replaced by a syndicated show out of Melbourne, as I understand it. Very interested to see how that works out. Syndication doesn't have a good track record in Australia, especially when it involves Sydney and Melbourne. They really are different markets and you definitely need to speak the patois to win over an audience in Sydney.

The federal election followed the trend of the NSW poll earlier on with voters opting for solid economic management along with a personable party leader. The victory by ScoMo should actually be a major watershed for the defeated Labor Party if they choose to analyse the unexpected result. What Labor, the Unions, GetUp and all of the left-leaning morons who frequent the political periphery need to understand is that 2019 marks the end of the old "class warfare" campaign. There is no longer the battle between THEM and US because most of the US have now become THEMS. Average workers are building up a superannuation retirement package of $250,000 to $450,000 - often even more. Your Jo Blow tradie is no longer oppressed by the top end of town. He's going to retire with a nice little bank balance, thanks very much, as well as paying the mortgage on a house worth $750,000 and running a two-car household. So, don't tell your average family that you're going to start taxing the well-off to redistribute the money to those down the bottom of the ladder. Because a lot of your old labor voters are now sitting happily well up the ladder and really not interested in having to pay higher tax. As ScoMo kept repeating over and over again - Australians just want to get their hands on more of their own money to do with it what they will.

There was also a lot of chat about the opinion polls and how they didn't get it right. Actually, they did. You just needed to read the polls properly. The overall polling, giving Labor a slight lead, was seriously inflated by one of the more baffling election trends. This is what happened. There was an anti-coalition protest vote in – of all places - several of the LNP's strong electorates. So, an electorate with a 12% buffer showed a swing of 8%, which inflated the ALP's overall result. But that swing didn't transfer to areas where the Coalition was defending a tighter lead. The election smarties just threw the overall polling in the bin and concentrated on 12 to 15 swinging seats and when they dissected those the result was showing a narrow LNP victory. The experts at Coalition Campaign HQ started to make positive predictions a week out from the vote, suggesting they could get up as a Minority Government. I'm told that, by Wednesday night, just before the election, the numbers crunchers were actually hinting that Morrison could be returned in his own right if the cards happened to fall the right way. I went to bed around 10 pm on election night when the result looked pretty much decided and as I drifted off to sleep I thought I'd give the ABC radio coverage a go for half an hour or so. The minute I tuned in they were interviewing Dr Kerryn Phelps, the Independent who'd taken Wentworth from the Government at the last federal vote. All the interviewers wanted to know was whether Phelps would support a new Morrison government, assuming she would have the balance of power. Would she bring ScoMo down? "Hang on," I'm thinking, "Wentworth is really close and I'm not sure Dr Phelps is going to make it this time round." Sure enough, the late votes turned against her and she didn't survive. I think there were a few ABC experts who were shattered by Sunday morning. The only joy amongst the lefties was the defeat of an ex-PM Tony Abbott who went down in Warringah after one of the most vile campaigns in recent memory. How would you like to wake up on Sunday morning as the new member for Warringah knowing part of your campaign was to mail dog shit to the home address of your opponent?

Just read a letter to the Editor this week where the writer suggested the ABC, as we know it, be shut down and redesigned. The main ABC responsibility as the writer saw it would be in the provincial regions while the city stations would cease to be publically funded, being re-established to operate as per PBS in the USA. If there are so many people who think the ABC is wonderful then they can pay their hard-earned cash to keep Aunty afloat.

Overseas, it's official with Boris Johnson replacing Theresa May as the UK Prime Minister, challenged with negotiating Brexit. And I'm completely lost on how this will facilitate Britain's departure. Boris will enter the fray telling the world that the UK will leave in October with or without an agreement with the EU. Parliament will respond by repeating its earlier vote making it clear Britain will not be allowed to leave unless Johnson secures a satisfactory deal with the Europeans. Which is where Theresa May came in. The political merry-go-round will just start up again.

We're getting nowhere! Professor John Carroll of La Trobe University reminds us how the UK has managed to survive various crises through history - The Spanish Armada, Napoleon, Battle of Britain and Dunkirk amongst them – but wonders if the Brits can keep this record intact.

"The success of the Brexit gamble depends on the vitality of whatever national resources endure."

And one of my favourite TV quotes of the day comes from Line of Duty, the British police drama.

"That's the problem with corruption enquiries. There's always the danger you'll find some."

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About me

This is the history of radio newsman Frank Avis who worked in the Australian electronic media from 1954 to 1996.

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