Friday, August 22, 2008

Talk back calls

The Olympic Games don't interest me much. ABC Melbourne radio is broadcasting them at certain times. I normally only ever switch between JOY, our local gay FM radio station and ABC Melbourne on the AM band, that is our taxpayer funded local radio station that is not dissimilar to BBC radio. I will say that ABC's broadcast of the Games is first class and a certain commercial television station should take a lesson.

But I have been doing some dial hopping, looking for something to entertain me. I caught Hughesy and Kate on NOVA breakfast. Quite entertaining. I like Dave Hughes' laconic sense of humour. I caught some nice soothing music on ABC Classic FM but what I have rediscovered is ABC Radio National. You do have to pick and choose your programs, but wow, can they make the driest of subjects interesting and I have learnt rather a lot in the last couple of weeks. Even its talk back callers seem to be more sensible than you would normally hear on radio.

One day I bravely tuned into 3AW and after what I heard, I worry terribly that they are such a high rating radio station. The advertising is intolerable, five minutes of ads in a row, for retirement villages, funerals, the Grey Army, whatever that is, financial advisors oozing with sincerity. And then there is Ernie Sigley. He was mildly amusing years ago when he was on tv, but really, he is not a proper radio presenter. I can't really say much more without sounding like a terrible snob.

Which brings me to a few rules for talk back callers.

Do not waste time and ask the presenter how they are. If they were sick, they probably would not be there and even if they were, they would be moaning about how ill they are.

Nor should you thank them for taking your call or thank them for the opportunity. The producer decides whose calls to put to air, and in ABC Radio's case, they go to air in order, if they are relevant to the subject.

Do not have your radio on while you are on hold and waiting. Because of the delay, you will miss your cue and upset the whole works.

Have a clear idea of what you want to say before you call and listen to what the presenter is actually saying and not just get out what you want to say. It is their show.

The one that is bugging the most at the moment, is when people say, 'Can I say that on national radio?' or, 'I can't say that on national radio'. Except for Radio National, you are not on national radio, only local radio.

Since the name changes from 3LO to ABC Melbourne and 3AR to Radio National, it should be obvious that ABC Melbourne means just that, although it does get into the country, interstate even. ABC Victoria means just that. Radio National means what it says. Radio Australia is our propaganda international service. Not too hard really.


  1. YES!
    That is one thing that shytes me right up the wall -
    "Hello, thanks for taking my call, how are you? Long time listener first time caller, ohhh I'm so nervous" arrrrgh!
    3AW is an old boys' club full of patronising egos filled with tepid air.

  2. And it doesn't matter what they say after that Jayne, you mind is already set against them.

  3. I reckon those rules should apply to everyday conversations as well. It'd save a lot of time having to be pleasant to people you bump into but hardly even know in the supermarket etc.

  4. I listen to one AM radio show, and that is via podcast.

    The large majority of the callers who call in are complete dickheads, most with loony rants and don't know when to shut their wordholes so the hosts can talk.

    Really fucks up what could be an interesting, educational program.