Aussies Tuned In


Aussies Tuned In, by Greg Tingle - 17th December 2003


Australia has some of the greatest radio stations in the world.

The population of Australia, 20 million, most of whom have access to a radio or two, have a diverse choice of radio stations to listen to, ranging from talk back, to funky, classical, rock greats and beyond.

The last few years have seen the variety of stations and sounds increase from what was already an impressive list.

Sure, there's some duplication, but it's all in the name of variety. It's about personality, and the right programming.

In recent times we have seen new players enter the mainstream market - Nova (DMG Group) and FBi Radio, not to mention occasional shake-ups like the recent proposed 2UE (Southern Cross Broadcasting) and 2GB (Macquarie Radio Network) merger, "Virgin" radio and the list goes on.

All of these developments certainly keep the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) on their toes.

It's hard to argue that the consumer isn't enjoying more variety than ever and reaping the benefits. But what does this do to the advertisers? Could there be too much diversity, and not enough dollars to throw around? Even the struggling 2SM continues to stay in the market, and on-the-air.

Australia's culture and geographic layout lends itself to diversity. Each major city has half a dozen serious "players", and then you have the regional radio stations, catering for the "locals", where incidentally many a radio announcer, affectionately know as "jock", got their break in the business.

Every demographic is catered for, "fogies", "funksters", "metal heads", "radicals", "drongos", "SNAGS", "DINKS", and ever other nuclear and not so nuclear mixture.

Every station battles for earlobes and they all search to create the magical mix.

When you're driving the car, and most likely stuck in traffic jams; you're listening to the radio, probably not appreciating the Australian radio scene. With the press of a button you can switch from AM to FM, conservative to new age, even programming in foreign tongue. Gym goers, joggers, caterers, and labourers are some of radio lands hardcore consumers. It's longer necessary to fork out hundreds of dollars for the latest in CD's. Your radio does it all. That's got to be a good thing.

It's difficult to escape the power of radio. Radio stations are employing cross marketing techniques, like TV advertising, print, bus sides, backs of taxi's, web cams, e-mail campaigns and more.

We know it's a cut throat game where numbers are considered paramount, like the good old fashioned "bottom line", and sometimes the "body count" of "used by date" DJ's, making way for the next digital receiver or company merger - all in the name of progress. Again, the public wins.

Thank god for Australia's national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), who carries a wide selection of programming including talk back, groovy mixes, News, Radio National (too many programmes to list), and more. The ABC is known to take digs at itself, in all forms of media, and the radio medium is no exception.

Then you have the political game of media, with "big wigs" like Tony Bell, John Singleton, Bob Carr, "The Parrot" and Richard Branson pulling strings, sometimes very discreetly and in recent times, in a much more public fashion - on-the-air in prime time!

Don't forget the new breed of broadcasters like Media Man Australia and The Basement now enjoying the power of reach via the Internet, and minimum government intervention.

Now that's what I call diversity in radio.

Could Australia learn a thing or two from it's US counterparts? When it comes to radio, perhaps not. Australia is unique, and we have created our own culture. This is certainly evident across the radio spectrum.

Consider this. With "switched on" radio station moguls delivering what the Australian public wants, we will continue to be tuned in to some of the greatest sounds and programming in the wired up world!

Disclaimer: Greg Tingle is the director and broadcaster of Media Man Australia. Greg has been featured on Radio 2UE, ABC Radio, 3AK and is also a face of Australian television.

Links:

Article: The Great Aussie Promoters

Article: Ratings Stunt or Fair Comment

Article / Presentation: The War of the Ratings

Article / Broadcast: Talking Television with Greg Tingle

Article: Defamation: Who Needs Protection?, by Greg Tingle

Commercial Radio Australia

Australian Broadcasting Authority

Southern Cross Broadcasting

Macquarie Radio Network

DMG Group

The Basement

RadioStarr.com

Media Man Australia: TV and Radio Links

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Interview - Doug Mulray, The Basement

Interview - Phillip Adams, ABC, Radio National

Interview - Tim Richie, ABC, Radio National, Sound Quality

Interview - Derryn Hinch, 3AW

Interview - Christine Alvarez, FBi Radio

Interview - Billy Munro, Legendary Australia DJ

Interview - Ben Starr, 2CH

Interview - Steve Ahearn - AFTRS

Interview - Phil Tripp - IMMEDIA!

Interview - Bessie Bardot

Interview - Dr. Gary Forbes

Interview: Gary Cook, Friends of the ABC

Interview - Donald Robertson - Australian Broadcasting Authority

Interview - Eric Rhoades - Radio Ink

Interview - Evan Ginzburg - WBAI FM

Interview - Bob Levy - WJSE

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Interview: Dan Kennedy, Media Critic & Writer, The Boston Phoenix

Interview: Danny Schechter, MediaChannel

Interview - Derek Wilding - Communications Law Centre

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