How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 231.



Usually radio stations are programmed to appeal to their target audience. That isn’t always the case. I found that out in my first on-air gig at 2PK, Parkes in the Central west of New South Wales, Australia in 1993.

There was a broadcasting regulation that meant that if the town you broadcast from didn’t have a daily newspaper, the radio station had to broadcast funeral announcements. In a previous Craic, I mentioned how funeral announcements were almost my downfall.

The radio station didn’t mind having to announce funerals on the air, it was extra income. They charged the funeral directors for the live spots. If you’re doing a breakfast show, going from fart jokes to the announcement of someone’s death is a difficult transition.

What I couldn’t understand is why they had to be broadcast at 7:40am. In Australia, Breakfast radio shows get their biggest audience between 7:30 and 8:30. I asked if they’d thought about moving the funeral announcements to a different time, outside of peak listening.

I was told that they tried that once and got a lot of complaints. I said, “From who? People who tune in at 7:40 to find out if they’re dead?” I was told that the complaints came from people who listened to the local ABC station. There wasn’t much on the ABC at 7:40 but the time they moved the funeral announcement to on 2PK was at a time when the ABC had a popular feature on. The people complaining didn’t like to miss this feature when they flicked over to 2PK for two minutes so they moved funerals back to 7:40.

That’s right, 2PK was being programmed based on feedback from people who weren’t 2PK listeners!

I just checked and found this online that shows the funeral announcements on 2PK are still done at 7:40.

Well at least they won’t get any more complaints from disgruntled ABC listeners.

Craic on!

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