There's a bit of stuff going on the latest Sydney radio survey...

Frank Avis by | May 1, 2024 | 2020s Movies

There's a bit of stuff going on the latest Sydney radio survey, let me give you the drum. 2GB is hanging on to overall leadership but SMOOTH and KIIS – the FM-ers – are in hot pursuit, sharing equal second spot. In fact, Kyle and Jackie O are up to their old tricks again, taking over as number one in Breakfast, unseating GB's Ben Fordham. It's going to be on for young and old for the rest of 2024. When I came down to Sydney as a young boy in the 1940's my Aunty Glad was listening to John Harper on 2KY, the Labour station. When I left to go into country radio, ten years later, she was still listening to John Harper. Sydney loved this bloke... "'Arper 'ere". He came from the stage in 1932 moving straight into the 2KY studios where he stayed for over a quarter of a century. He was still broadcasting 'til just before his death in 1958, at the age of only 57. The man they christened "Old Gravel Voice" was the original "shock jock", famous for breaking records he didn't like on air and celebrated as the greatest of ad libbers. Some of these got him into a bit of trouble from time to time. They reckon he was sacked about twenty times in his career but always managed to be back in the 2KY studios for the next shift. This classic is part of our industry folklore... "You'll see all the girls at Bondi lying on their Dickies... Dickies, the best beach towel you can buy". John Harper – truly one of the greats from the Golden Age.

One of the toughest assignments in our trade lately is having to monitor US TV news, which – like the whole country – is divided Right and Left. And they absolutely hate each other. There is virtually no chance of any middle ground which gives you the Congress they have today in Washington. And let me tell you these differences are fundamental. They're not going to go away. News coverage gets worse and worse by the month. The major players really don't even bother to try to hide their bias anymore. It's turned out nasty over there. There is widespread pessimism across the country. Bret Stephens said it best in the New York Times: "Brokenness has become the defining feature of much of American life: broken families, broken public schools, broken small towns and inner cities, broken universities, broken health care, broken media, broken churches, broken borders, broken government."

I just keep going on and on about my long campaign to restore rural Australia, with special attention on underwriting the nation's train routes. We need to switch more and more freight on to our railways and off the trucks, returning sanity to our motorways. This is also a critical time for governments to make key decisions on where all these extra Australian immigrants pouring into the country are going to live. Remember one of the last warnings we had from former Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe was about "our choices... about where we live, how we design our cities... and how we invest in and design our transport systems". I now credit a most unlikely source, "Hut News" from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, in finding further support for my campaign in favour of our train network. The latest edition of the magazine quotes the former Editor of The Financial Review, Alan Kohler, in a recent address which sought to solve the nation's "great housing mess". His answer is TRAINS. In brief, let's stop packing more and more people into the big cities and start developing provincial centres 150 to 200 kilometers away, connecting the two with high-speed trains. Families buy an affordable house in say, Bathurst, and commute with high-speed trains to their jobs in Sydney. You're going to spend an hour driving or taking public transport in Sydney's peak hour anyway, so why not spend that hour on a fast train doing the same thing... And paying around half for your house. A bit of lateral thinking there from a noted financial commentator. I worked with Alan briefly when he did financial analysis for us at 2DAY FM. I suspect that channel nine's excellent financial specialist Chris Kohler is his son... It must be in the DNA.

For hundreds and hundreds of years humans have asked the question: What price does it take for a man to sell his soul? They've even written plays about it. Now, after all those years of searching, GOLF has finally given us the answer.

So here we are, just a month or two from one of the world's great sporting spectacles, The Olympic Games, and this time it's Paris '24, bringing back all those images from "Chariots of Fire" . Right on cue the international computer giant, Gracenote Sports, pounds away at all of its whiz-bang technology to come up with its famous four-yearly predictions... Australia will take home 48 medals overall, 15 of them will be gold. This would put Paris just short of the astonishing 17 gold medals we won in Tokyo... Wow! The one thing I need to point out before you get too excited... The IT experts are allowing for ten of the first-places to come via the pool. I'm listening to little warning bells saying that Australia can't keep depending on our swimmers to continue at their current winning rate... Surely, sooner or later they have to suffer a setback. These sort of histrionics can't go on forever, can they? So let's take a little pressure off the swim team and predict a more conservative seven gold medals. Can Australia make up the difference? Can we still hit 15? I'm immediately grabbing two on the water, rather than in it, from rowing, yachting, kayaking, canoeing – absolutely achievable. Add one in cycling and another strong possibility in equestrian and the Avis IT team already has us hitting eleven. We've got to sneak another four from a range of sporting possibilities – shooting, surfing, BMX, skateboarding, beach volleyball, surfing and hockey. I'll take anything we can get when it comes to the Olympics.

It's a long time since I drew up my original list of Top Ten Movies. Time now, I think, to revisit some of those that didn't make it.

11. "The Wizard of Oz". What boofhead would come up with a Top Ten List and omit "The Wizard". Guilty as charged... I'm your boofhead. This is an iconic Hollywood treasure as Judy leads her team along the Yellow Brick Road.

12. "North By Northwest" – I know the aficionados will be yelling out "Rear Window", "Vertigo" and "Psycho" but this is the ultimate classic Hitchcock: a wonderful crime drama and the greatest performance in Cary Grant's illustrious career. Know what? Grant didn't even get an Oscar nomination and nor did Alfred the Great. What was going on there in Hollywood?

13. "Henry V" – Olivier takes us from backstage out on to the battle field in Shakespeare as he'd never been done before (or since). You think you're not into the bard? Well, just settle back in your seat and let him work his magic with the greatest poetry of the English language.

14. "The Red Shoes". If anyone asks you to describe the ballet, just get them a ticket to see "Red Shoes", up on the big screen. This just oozes ballet: It's extravagant, totally over- the- top and absolutely stupendous.

15. "Sense and Sensibility"... An Asian directs Jane Austen and it's a masterpiece? How did that happen again? There's no flaw in this... I even love Hugh Grant.

16. "A Streetcar Named Desire"... Marlon was apparently superb on Broadway. Well, he must have been pretty good if he bettered this effort on the silver screen because this is one of the most powerful films I've ever seen, capturing every brooding nuance of Tennessee Williams (and he's got a few nuances I can tell you).

17. "Red River"... I keep mulling over all those John Ford/John Wayne western classics but just keep getting dragged back into "Red River". Yes, it's in good, old fashioned black-and-white but you put John Wayne, Montgomery Clift and a wonderful Walter Brennan muttering away in the background together and you've got yourself the greatest cattle drive in history.

18. "Singin' in the Rain"... A joyous, feel good musical with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds dancing themselves into a frenzy. And who doesn't adore Kelly's masterpiece where he does actually go singin' in the rain?

19. "Rebecca"... Hitchcock is well into his gloomy phase here with Olivier taking Fontaine home to his dark mansion where the new wife runs into Australia's Judith Anderson, a very nasty piece of work indeed.

20. "Moonstruck"... Ok, call me a hopeless romantic. Send me insulting emails... Don't care. From the moment the Met's prop van is seen sidling around the streets of New York and we hear Musetta's waltz song I'm totally gone on La Boheme, Cher and that moon... Which just seems to be hanging a couple of metres above the skyline... Like you could reach out and touch it. La Luna!

Oh, and so you know I'm the only person in the civilised world who didn't like Openheimer. It won everything... Even the bloke who cleaned the floors in Studio C won an Oscar for Best Broom. But I didn't connect with the movie. It just didn't grab me... Totally uninvolved.

Kay Cottee

And let's pay tribute to the intrepid sailor Kay Cottee.

"The night seemed interminable, the rain squalls passed over again and again... We were only eight miles off the coast and I couldn't see a thing... We had almost made it... I got on to the radio to yell, 'I'm going for it now – I'm heading straight in.' Dad was the first to answer, 'Go for it Darling...' There were dozens of ferries, luxury cruisers, put-putts and tiny runabouts... To the sounds of a canon, horns, cheers and clapping of thousands of hands and my own hiccoughing sobs we crossed the line at 1232 hours on fifth June, 1988. 189 days at sea – 21,000 nautical miles."
First Lady by Kay Cottee, 1989

Kay was the first woman to sail around the globe, solo, non-stop and unassisted. She is an absolute Australian hero.

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


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