Frank is Still Going Strong as we Emerge from the Winter of '16

Frank Avis by | August 31, 2016 | 2010s

Welcome to hell: welcome to FM programming. Looking at the latest Sydney surveys, we are still playing "snakes and ladders" on the FM band with Smooth FM picking up strongly in recent months as the usual suspects battle it out for the 18-to-45 market.
Welcome to hell: welcome to FM programming.

Looking at the latest Sydney surveys, we are still playing "snakes and ladders" on the FM band with Smooth FM picking up strongly in recent months as the usual suspects battle it out for the 18-to-45 market.

The thing that interests radio veterans is the fate of 2UE as it moves into "lifestyle programming". The once-mighty UE is holding at 4 points as it battles for survival in this new era of intense specialisation. I expect UE's fate will be one of the hot topics when our radio reunion returns to Pymble Hotel in the near future.

I'll report back to you on how things turn out at our regular get-together.

Politics is such a nasty pursuit, full of power hungry parasites.

Thank God we don't take them seriously in Australia.

I woke up to read the headlines this morning, finding out that Lago - you may know him as Malcolm Turnbull - was on a showpony trip to China. There he was taking all of the glory for the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement. "The gains from this deal," he said, " were extraordinary."

True, Lago... True. So are the potential gains from the deals with Japan, India and if Donald doesn't win the Presidency later this year, the United States.

But mate... Mate... You didn't do any of them! They aren't yours.

These are all courtesy of Tony Abott... Remember him? The bloke you, Julie and Scott knifed in the back? Tony Abbott, the PM who stopped the boats, ended the carbon tax and finalised a series of tricky Free Trade Agreements?

At least Lago had the decency to publically thank the key negotiator, former Abbott Government Minister Andrew Robb. In politics I guess you've got to take any decency on offer.

I have to admit here that I am an "election tragic". I hate politics and politicians but I can't tear myself away from the TV screens when the voting is gathering pace. I'm stuck with CNN and FOX NEWS at the moment for the Republican and Democrat Primaries and then we have a double dissolution election here in Australia. So I'm there, poring over all of the results and wondering how large groups of people vote almost identically across a state. Or how voters suddenly make a right turn and vote totally against what they were telling the pollsters a week earlier. Decisions by mass audiences are extremely interesting as anyone who's worked in radio knows first hand already.

This year is really interesting for an aficionado like myself. It's almost impossible to make a decision between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Donald is so, well, so Donald and Hillary and the Clinton name are so damaged in the US marketplace that I don't know anyone who is willing to go out on a limb and make a prediction.

At home, it's again so interesting. Will the electorate finally realise that there is absolutely no point voting for the Greens, the Palmer Party, the Let's Kill All Cane Toads Party or the National Front for the Banning of all Foreign Languages in Brunswick Party? I'm going to wade in here and predict that the electorate is so stupid that they'll repeat all the mistakes of the last vote and we'll have all of these ding-dongs back in Parliament. I wish we could hold up a sign at the voting booth telling people to vote for a major party. Vote them in and if they let us down we'll vote them out again in a few year's time. Please no more of these weird and wacky minor parties.

Enough!

Voting night should be a lot of fun. Phillip Hudson in The Australian says Bill Shorten can become PM if he can just manage to attract an extra 30,000 voters. That's across the whole country... They have to be the exact number in some 21 marginal seats to roll the LNP .

The classical marginal of Petrie in Brisbane, for example, would go Labor if Shorten could get an extra 436 votes in 2016. Oh, I love this stuff. LATE ELECTION UPDATE. No, Bill didn't manage to win those vital votes and Malcolm has led the Coalition back into power with a slim majority. And yes, we do have a selection of boofheads who still managed to sneak into the Upper House.

Oh, and just think there's also the Brexit vote when Brits decide whether they'll stay in the EU or exit and get their country back. It's so close as I write this in what is a most complex affair. Eg. how do you judge intangibles like the dozens of US firms who operate from Britain at the moment because it is an ideal staging post to make exports to the European market. Britain is a part of the EU and facilitates easy trade for the Americans because they share a common language. There's no need to wade into the difficult territory of translating French or German. You just operate out of the UK who are used to dealing with the other Europeans. What would happen to those critical operations if the UK voted for exit? How do voters weigh up complicated stuff like that ?

Oh, just realised it's not just the US taking advantage of the UK's European connections. Australia has 1,500 of these companies also operating there. And IN LATE NEWS, the UK has voted sensationally for a Brexit, leaving the EU. So all those trading companies - thousands of them - will just close their doors and head into Europe. OMG... What a decision.

The thing about this vote is how complex it all is. I can see the advantages of LEAVE and I can see the advantages of REMAIN. I just can't see any room for agreement in the middle. Incidentally, I started watching Brexit on the BBC which I found to be really average and predictable. Then when the host started criticising the quality of the picture coming in from one of the OB locations I thought "this is getting a bit too precious" and headed over the Sky News UK which was excellent. In fairness I returned to BBC the following day for Post Brexit and found their coverage top class. So there you go...

A couple of highlights recently as I searched the vaults of YouTube.

A wonderful live performance of SO SAD (the song) by Gladys Knight, my favourite song of all time (the phrasing by Gladys is extraordinary and listen how The Pips are slightly ahead of her in the chorus, allowing Gladys to float into the lyrics) and a wonderful performance from Jim Croce in the remastered live performance of OPERATOR. This may be the most under-rated song of them all.

Get the latest remastered upload and watch and listen entranced to the subtle/complex vocal and guitar harmonies of Jim and Maury. These songs transport me to another place.

Quite a few colleagues from earlier years might say that this may well be an excellent idea... ie. to transport me to another place.

Finally, a bit of family history with the attached photo which shows my granddaughter Kara Terzis standing in front of her just-published psychological thriller "Frayed". She wrote this when she was 14-15, worked on it for a few years and has now had it published at the age of 19!

Kara Terzis author of Frayed

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I don't think we need to take up too much of your valuable time with the latest Sydney radio ratings. Enough for you to know that 2GB is obliterating everything else in the AM band with Jones and Hadley owning the 5:30 to noon arena — and quite a few other areas to be honest. KIIS is battling it out with WS FM and SMOOTH for control of the FM sector.


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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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