Frank Avis Radio Memoirs (and other stuff) 2014

Frank Avis by | January 29, 2015 | 2010s Music

There has indeed been a bit of a delay in the latest update with your author having had to solve a major computer glitch. He agonized over this complex issue for some months until his daughter arrived recently, took one look at the computer, hit + on the zoom and solved the whole saga in 18 seconds.
There has indeed been a bit of a delay in the latest update with your author having had to solve a major computer glitch. He agonized over this complex issue for some months until his daughter arrived recently, took one look at the computer, hit + on the zoom and solved the whole saga in 18 seconds.

There's little point adding further to my embarrassment. Let's just agree that it was lucky I got out of radio before computers took over the industry and indeed the world.

The summer and winter of 2014 has been quite exciting for the industry with the defection of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O from 2DAY FM to KIIS FM. This is like going to heaven if you're a Programmer because we get the answer to the great question: Can you take it with you? Your audience that is.

And the answer in survey 1 was "Oh yes... You can." K and J took a 6 percent leap in Breakfast while poor old 2DAY got a right royal walloping. I notice that the Superstars have since dropped back marginally allowing Jonesy and Amanda to go to no. 1 at WSFM. But by year's end they still seemed to be in possession of the high ground, holding the bulk of their audience while switching stations, which in industry parlance is called "doing a John Laws".

By the way, your reporter worked at both 2DAY FM and 106.5 in the 80's and 90's.

When I started at the latter at a gorgeous address in Neutral Bay it was still actually good old 2UW but $11m later we switched to MIX 106.5. Now the owners have switched again to KIIS FM, probably in tribute to its US sister station KIIS FM which has long been the no. 1 FM music operator in LA. Can't wait for WNEW in Darwin.

By the way AM remains the King of Brekkie with GB and ABC ruling the early hours overall but the FM'ers have the numbers that really count for the sponsor, owning the 18-40 demographic. Nothing new there.

Much of the AM audience, of course, is somewhere between 55 and death.

When you're a sponsor death is not an option.

I remember a while back revealing my all time favourite movie one-liners. Well I'd like to add another great line. This time it's from a TV series, possibly Law and Order.

Scene: A tough detective is in the face of this criminal he's interrogating.

Detective: You've got to admit your behaviour looks very suspicious.

Crim: So... Suspect me.

Anyone who watches as much TV as I do gets to sample a fair amount of ads, especially now that the cable channels can run commercials (how did that happen?) and it's quite interesting to follow the genre. For starters, my great hope for the year is that AAMI will bring an end to the long and insufferably dreadful romance between Rhonda and her Asian heart throb Kerplunk. May they now drive off into the sunset... Suitably insured of course!

I have to confess that I quite like a quality offering, especially where he writer shows a strong level of creativity.

I especially like the latest Jeep offering which pays tribute to the movies with an allusion to one of the greatest lines ever from JAWS.

Have you seen that one? A man is shown backing his new Jeep into the family driveway, watched by his young son who is magnificently cast with this lovely deadpan, "world weary" demeanour.

Little Kid: You bought a Jeep?

Father: I bought a Jeep.

Little Kid looks at the back of the driveway at the family's little dingy runabout, takes one more long look at the Jeep and says to father...

Little Kid: We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Or my most recent strong like... The latest offering from the NAB.

A man and woman are in a restaurant, agonising over a risky business decision.

Just then the restaurant owner enters and they ask him how he managed to do so well with his business. He responds, enigmatically, in another language. The waitress then translates his message which goes, "A ship in the harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."

The waitress exits stage left leaving the couple nodding to each other.

Now please allow me to create heaps of controversy with my TOP TEN POP SONGS OF ALL TIME...

1. SO SAD (THE SONG) by Gladys Knight and The Pips

I think the God of Music wrote this song in 1976 just for Gladys. Choose a Sunday afternoon with a little light rain falling. Get your coffee, grab a seat looking out the window and listen to her soar with "together... We belong together. Never was that one lovely word easier to say". Everything in SO SAD is just about perfect.


This 1955 classic from the movie "Unchained" will haunt you forever. Disregard the later studio enhanced, airbrushed hit from "Ghost" and just listen to the original, sung by Al as if they're dragging the lyrics straight out of his heart.

3. YOU SEND ME by Sam Cooke

Oh Sam, I know you came to a dreadful end but don't worry pal.

With this 1957 no. 1 hit you get to go on forever.

4. BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX by Glen Campbell

This 1967 icon is classically plaintive with those evocative Jimmy Webb lyrics, "By the time I get to Phoenix she'll be rising..."

5. NEW YORK, NEW YORK by Frank Sinatra

Originally penned for Liza Minelli but I'm afraid the Chairman of the Board already owns Chicago and pretty much owns New York as well. No one else can challenge for this 1977 masterpiece.

6. SUKIYAKI by Kyu Sakamoto

I have no idea what this Japanese joker is singing about but, from the moment I heard Bob Rogers play it on Sydney radio in 1963, I was totally hooked. And will be forever.

Not the only one, either, by the look of things. Kyu rode this to no. 1 on the US Billboard charts.

7. YESTERDAY by Paul McCartney

Ah, everybody's favourite. How can you fight the incoming tide? Just join the queue and agree that this l965 song is totally irresistible.


The "smooth one" just rolls through this like eating jelly. Well, we all wanted a spoonful of this in 1956. Loved it. Not convinced? Ah, you had to be there!

9. DIFFERENT DRUM by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys

Linda cruises through this Mike Nesmith 1967 offering and grabs a bit of R&R history.

Lovely, lovely song... Heart tugging lyrics... And yes that is a harpsichord you can hear in the background.

10. SEND IN THE CLOWNS by various artists but try Cleo Laine

Stephen Sondheim wrote it for Glynis Johns in "A Little Night Music" (1975).

Anyone who saw the original on Broadway is not going to forget... "Isn't it rich, are we a pair? Me here at last on the ground... You in mid air. Where are the clowns?"

It's been another rich few months in politics with the distinct possibility that the NSW Parliament will run out of members if the ICAC goes on much longer. This astonishing saga has already claimed a Premier who resigned after admitting he'd received a free bottle of wine. All very commendable I guess but if the rest of the world were to follow suit we'd probably be reporting the collapse of most other governments in the Western world.

And I'm truly stunned by the hatred for the Liberal Pm Tony Abbott. It's like watching US politics. Abbott seems to have met most of his promises: ending the Boat People madness, stopping the Carbon Tax, and controlling borrowing and spending. But the opposition from Labor, the Greens and other assorted political paraphernalia has been unbelievable.

I picked up a SYDNEY MORNING HERALD one day recently when the front page suggested the whole "boat people policy" had collapsed and that the Government was at the point of going south with the ducks. "My God," I gasped, "hundreds of boats have crossed our maritime border... We're under attack... Head for the Hills." Then I re-read the article. ONE illegal boatload of alleged refugees from Sri Lanka had been intercepted on the high seas and it looked as if Australia would have to take them to one of the refugee centres for processing. "It's the end of the world," they were screaming, especially one prominent lady Greens Senator. Actually No. The Government simply agreed to take the refugees to a convenient location so they could be interviewed by officers from their country of origin to arrange for their return home.

I'm sure Tony will make plenty of errors... Don't they all... But the critical issue we need to address is how a group of assorted clowns and buffoons actually managed to get elected to parliament in the first place, some with .0005% of the primary vote. One gentleman, apparently representing some obscure motoring association, is said to have arrived in Canberra not realizing Australia was a Federal State. Someone in his office had to explain what a Federal state was so that he didn't make a goose of himself in Parliament. No such assistance for the PUP leader, Clive Palmer, who actually seems to enjoy making an idiot of himself. Indeed as we go into the new year he looks to be turning it into an art form.

I repeat the advice I once gave to a dear old friend, the late Ray Sherry... "Never go into politics..."

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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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