Saturday, December 02, 2017

Bye bye Red

Just before the major ABC news bulletin at 7.45 yesterday morning, I thought I was hearing a joke, or something that had happened earlier in the programme that I missed. Did my ears deceive me?

Breakfast broadcaster Red Symons announced his retirement from radio. I would guess he was on a annual contract and it was simply not renewed. To quote him about the non renewal, "I did not ask and they did not tell me" (why).

The Age newspaper called it, ABC broadcaster Red Symons has announced he is hanging up his headphones, after he was sacked from his breakfast show.

His broadcasting style was unique. Not since the late Peter Evans has there been such a broadcaster. He endeared himself to many listeners, and while I haven't looked at radio ratings of late, I believe he was the second highest rated Melbourne breakfast broadcaster, but I am not sure if that includes FM stations. Young people don't generally listen to AM radio. (Later: generally third highest rated breakfast broadcaster across AM and FM in Melbourne, and once winning a survey period)

I suppose our ABC Radio knows what it is doing. R could not bear Symons when he began, but has become a similarly devoted listener as I am. R suggested that our ABC want  a national local radio breakfast programme, but I doubt that. I think the real reason behind Symons non contract renewal sacking is his age. At 68, he is getting on. He did blot his copybook earlier this year when interviewing a fellow ABC broadcaster, using his normal style of humour and had to apologise for what was perceived as racism. That was fair enough. But you have to understand his sense of humour to see where he was going. By playing the racist comment, he brings strongly held prejudices into the open and up for discussion. But, the person was offended and he probably went too far, hence the apology.

There is plenty of talent within our ABC who could replace him, but I suspect it will take me a long time to get used to anyone new. Because I am a shift worker, I have listened to all ABC Melbourne broadcasters until a few years ago. I have ceased to be such a fan, now only listening to Red in the breakfast slot, Jon Faine in the morning, AM, The World Today and PM at times.

I was less than impressed with the boss of Our ABC Ms Guthrie's announcement of a shake up. I am even more than concerned at what may happen at RN, where they make expensive radio programmes of very high quality. Most are podcast and the numbers of downloads, mine included, are extraordinary.

Back to Red. As he said, he had five years as a (mega) pop star, ten years in tv and fifteen years on the radio. Do not worry. I have other irons in the fire, so to speak. He was full of optimism as he spoke of his departure. This coming week will be his last on air. I think ABC Radio has treated him badly and made a mistake, but time will tell. Perhaps it has a cracker broadcaster set up to take over. If you are not in Melbourne, you can listen to him online next week, AEDT 5:30 to 7:45.

Pop star Red, of the band Skyhooks.




TV Red, Red Faces on Hey, Hey, It's Saturday.




Radio broadcaster Red, on ABC Melbourne.



I will really miss Red on the radio. Thank you Red for the laughs and the education over so many years.

The bitchy old queen, John Michael Howson, was also sacked today from a commercial radio station after suggesting greenies should hang themselves. No loss at all. I could add something personal about him, but I shan't.

28 comments:

  1. Well I never I didn't even know he was on the radio maybe not in Sydney but I remember him fro Skyhooks and Hey, Hey well he was a very different person.
    Merle...........

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    1. Yes, Merle, he is only on in Melbourne. Everyone our age knows him.

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  2. I heard a snippet of John Michael Howson's radio broadcast on the ABC's Media Watch this week and it wasn't pleasant.

    Breakfast radio still holds a special place for a listener in my view. You become accustomed to one broadcaster and it can be quite jolting when that broadcaster is replaced and even when that broadcaster simply takes a few days leave.

    I listen a lot to radio National and enjoy it but cuts to programming have affected my enjoyment. Programs are repeated more frequently. My listening pattern is such that I regularly hear the same 'Life Matters' program 3 and even 4 times in a 24 hours period.

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    1. Victor, JMH is quite horrible. Jolting is understatement when someone you are very used to and comfortable with disappears, but you do recover. Red's shoes are very big to fill, so that is why I think management has someone up its sleeve who may be good. Why don't download RN podcasts. It is the only way to listen to RN, in my opinion. Depending on who Symon's replacement is, I may start listening to RN breakfast.

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  3. Anonymous10:21 am

    "I suppose our ABC Radio knows what it is doing." You are joking, right? ANC managers never know what they are doing. Half of them become managers because they are failed broadcasters or failed journalists etc. - Ian

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    1. Love your work, Ian. One of my blogmates is an ABC manager and a more than competent broadcaster. While I don't know about his managerial skills, he is certainly good on air.

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  4. Never heard Red on the Radio or John Michael Howson for that matter, they don't get over here.

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    1. Margaret, I haven't heard JMH on radio either, but I know very well what he is like.

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  5. I was saddened and definitely surprised to hear that Aunty ABC would dump Red in such a way.
    Poor old ABC just does does not seem to be what it once was.

    As for John Michael Howson, I was surprised to learn he was still alive!

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    1. Rozzie, Our ABC walks a fine line. I think it can ill afford to alienate its older support base.

      Yes, he is alive. I saw him at my birthday celebrations, which was a coincidence.

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  6. I shall! John Michael Howson was on a commercial radio station, not a proper ABC station. However even commercial radio stations have to have standards of decency. Howson was unforgivable.

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    1. Hels, and he does have form for being outrageous, and extremely right wing.

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  7. Anonymous2:43 pm

    Hi

    I only hear Melbourne radio when I am briefly in Melbourne a few times each year. That will not hold me back from offering my expert commentary.

    I thought Red was a bit of a smarty pants at other people's expense, he liked his own cleverness but often had nowhere productive or kind to go with it and his interviewees shut down on him.

    However I LOVE Jon Faine, he is like a determined little ferret after those poor scared pollierabbits. However a friend in Melbourne tells me if I had to listen to him constantly I would find his incessant rudeness hard to take.

    I don't really like the extreme right wing commercial stations and think they probably do a lot of harm. They sort of tell the bigots that it's OK to hate other people for no reason other than a bit of bigotry makes you feel good.

    Cheers Marie

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    1. Hello Marie. Nice to hear from you. He is as you describe but also self deprecating, meaning he is a smarty pants and self critical about himself too.

      Only a couple of times have I found Faine to be surprisingly rude. Once was with Kathy Jackson. He turned out to be quite right with his rudeness to her, as the courts are judging her.

      Those right wing stations are Sydney's specialities. I wonder why?

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  8. These people have a way of being snapped up by other broadcasters, who then benefit from increased listening figures. Maybe that'll be the case with your Red.

    I mostly listen to the UK's LBC through the net. It is mostly phone-in programmes, and could be worth a few mins of your time.

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    1. Cro, I wonder if you've ever listened to Steve Allan on LBC. He is universally the bitchiest male presenter on UK Radio.
      The station won't dare put him on Live during the day, but of course he is funny to listen too, but he is only on very late at night. That keeps the Lawyers at bay.

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    2. Cro, he did indicate he had other irons in the fire and he is 68 and not poor.

      I used to listen at times to Absolute Radio, mainly the talk fest Frank Skinner hosted. I loved the show. I will check out LBC, whatever it is.

      Dee, I am curious about this Allan person. I may have a listen.

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    3. I listen to him every morning from 5am to 5.30am which is when I get up. It's amazing he's never sued, but I suppose that if you tell the truth there's nothing to sue for!

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  9. Red is only 68? I thought he was older. I remember Skyhooks and that seems so long ago.
    It's possible that as a star performer, money is an issue, a new man might agree to work for less $$$, which is a shame, since Red is so good at what he does.

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    1. River, it could be about money. Skyhooks don't seem too long ago to me.

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  10. I've never listened to Red on the radio, but years and years ago I used to love listening to Peter Evans...and "Nasty Neighbour Norton!" Flash from the past! I even named a cat of mine years ago, "Smocka".

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    1. Ha Lee. You remember him well.

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  11. I thought about you as soon as I heard that on the news yesterday Andrew, I know the ABC is your favoured radio station and wondered how you would feel.. now Know ☺ if it was an age related decision that sucks!

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    1. Grace, you are right about it sucking if it is age based, but I can understand if they say they need to build up a younger listener base.

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  12. I really enjoyed Red on the radio. Whilst I haven't listened to him a lot in recent times, I will still miss hearing him on the wireless. What a shame to see him go.

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    1. Fen, he became a bit of an institution in a fairly brief time.

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  13. Well maybe they will find a new voice that is witty and wise, for your breakfast show. The newscasters on morning TV here are falling like flies as their deplorable power habits with women (sexual assault and harassment) finally come to light and finally get reaction. Only women left on some shows as the pigs are slaughtered so to speak, put out to pasture where they should have gone long before but no one had the guts to get it done. Bye bye Matt and Charlie and the list is so long.....And bye bye Red on the Radio. I bet it was more about age though than anything, forget the oldsters who listen its all about attracting the young who need pretty things even behind the voices.

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    1. Strayer, ABC audiences are notoriously resistant to change of radio hosts. You may have heard there is a similar exposure of the same sorts of creeps here. Yes, I think it is an age thing for Red.

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