I see that Alan Jones continues to defy the "great sock crisis"...

Frank Avis by | October 23, 2019 | 2010s

Radio, Alan Jones, Graeme Turpie and Ian Nicholls, Brexit, Richmond AFL and TV.
I see that Alan Jones continues to defy the "great sock crisis" leading 2GB to another blockbuster result ahead of the FM brigade — KIIS, Smooth and WS FM. Which leads GB (now owned by Ch 9) to a massive decision... What will they do when Jones retires at the end of his latest 2-year contract? This has always been the great issue when you base a station policy around a superstar. The easiest answer I guess is to replace from within which is what GB is apparently planning to do. The history here is not good especially if you're talking about replacing Breakfast. The records show over and over again that a good ratings record in one shift doesn't necessarily transfer to another time of day — especially if you're dealing with the critical area 5-9 AM. The other route is to employ another superstar... But first you have to find one willing to get up at 3 in the morning. And radio superstars are a bit thin on the ground these days.

The big headline from this survey period is the "What! Are you kidding me?" record-setting $40M contract which KIIS has signed with Kyle and Jackie O, paying them about $8M a year — EACH! The other development is that the ABC has apparently done a survey to find out what people want — wow there's a breakthrough — and has learned that average listeners have little interest in politics. Gee... If only Ita Buttrose had called me I could have saved her thousands. I've been surveying people about this since the '70s and the result has always been the same. NORMAL, BASIC, ORDINARY AUSTRALIANS DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT POLITICS. "Just tell me what I need to know," they keep saying in focus groups, "Just tell me what is pertinent to my life." Delete the rest. Politics is only of deep abiding interest to those in the bubble... The pollies, their hangers-on, journos with a vested interest in keeping politics on the front page and academics and other special interest groups. But out there in "real land" — right across the civilised world, normal people don't give a stuff.

Allow me now if you will to take you back — way back — to the Golden Age of Radio, introducing a couple of veterans — Graeme Turpie and Ian Nicholls — who started their careers back in the 50's, a time when Giants ruled the airwaves and we boasted a vibrant Provincial broadcasting system from one end of the country to the other.

Graeme Turpie, "Turps", started off as a young journo at 3BO Bendigo (where I first met him) and worked his way around via Radio Australia, 3DB-HSV 7, Bendigo Advertiser as Ch of Staff and News Ed.

Ian Nicholls — "Nicko on the bizzo" — kicked off at 2LF, Young (where we first met up) and then proceeded to sample UZ, DB, XY, HT (Hobart), MP, GL, KROCK, BAY FM and 2LM Lismore.

Finally — around 65 years later — these "old stagers" have settled down and it seems fitting that they're both working together at the end of their careers on Seniors Citizens Radio, KLFM in Bendigo.

All I can do is salute a couple of the originals who at the age of 80 are still pulling a shift on radio.

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Can't help you on the Brexit front, I'm afraid, even as we approach the final days of October when the UK has to leave with or without agreement. The complication now is that the British Court system has apparently decided to supersede Democracy, imposing ITS will on the Parliament. Good luck with figuring that out.

Now that Richmond has won the 2019 AFL title — and could win a few more over the next 5 years by the way — it's perfect timing to reflect on the greatest Tiger of them all, Captain Blood Jack Dyer. I didn't know what charisma was 'til I worked with Jack. I was lucky to spend a year or two with the Living Legend at the old 3XY. One day I'm driving in Melbourne, a car pulls alongside and Jack Dyer yells out to me "Frankie"... We have a brief chat before the lights turn green and Jack drives off. I get this feeling that maybe that's the last time I might get to see him so I yell out, "I love ya, Jack." Couldn't help myself.

Not much to report on the TV front where we're alarmingly short of intelligent, well-made crime thrillers, thus forcing me into watching re-runs of Lewis and Vera. Still, better that than having to sit through Murder She Wrote and Murdoch Mysteries (a stilted production with all the panache of a well-meaning amateur theatrical). Should mention that I have seen a decent series in recent weeks, a French production called "The Crimson Rivers", a quality piece with very intelligent/complex scripts. So, I guess I can't go crook really. I just have to get used to reading subtitles.

I do have a new commercial which has been grabbing my attention. The latest Jim Beam does a very nice line in humour paying tribute to Spartacus, the old movie. This time a really threatening guy walks into a bar and asks for Eugene. Eventually, everybody in the bar fronts up and announces himself as Eugene. So the big threatening guy then announces that the real Eugene has left his wallet somewhere and he just wants to return it. Cheeky.

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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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