April 26th, 2009 at 08:13pm
The shock has worn off, but the disbelief hasn’t. 2CC have apparently fired breakfast host Mike Jeffreys. I say “apparently” because the actual mode of Jeffreys’ departure (be it dismissal, redundancy, quit) are not known, although given his rapid disappearance from the 2CC website (his profile, listing in the schedule and his podcasts are gone, although they haven’t deleted all of his photos yet…I did have to dig a bit to find them though), dismissal is the most likely option.
Update: I can now confirm independently of The Canberra Times that Mike was fired. The importance of verifying this independently of said newspaper is that the CT have had an axe to grind against Jeffreys for some time now, and I have to take anything which they say about Jeffreys with a grain of salt. End Update
The rumour circulating at the moment is that Mark Parton is taking over as breakfast host, although I can’t confirm it as tomorrow is a public holiday and Mike is therefore expectedly absent from the lineup.
Update: And now I can confirm it. Mark arranged an interview with Michael Linke from the RSPCA via Twitter. 6:50am Tuesday requested and agreed to. I also note Mark’s casual reference to Saturday’s Canberra Times, but a clear absence of any mention of the story about Mike Jeffreys which was in that paper. I think I need to go and wash my hands in bleach after linking to Twitter that many times. End Update
The rumour does make sense though, as 2CC have just bought the rights to the satirical series “How Green Was My Cactus” which used to air on Mark Parton’s old stomping ground, Mix 106.3…and quite frankly, I can’t imagine Mike Jeffreys allowing such an interruption to his show multiple times per morning.
As for why Mike and 2CC are separating, RiotACT are speculating that it’s to do with the recent defamation action against 2CC and Mike Jeffreys by (the now late) Koomarri CEO Margaret Spalding. (Personally, having listened to the broadcast in question, I think Mike’s comments were not defamatory, and were a reasonably held opinion backed up by a number of facts, but I’m not a lawyer). I doubt that the defamation action is the sole reason for Mike’s departure, especially considering that talk stations often receive defamation lawsuits…it’s just that most aren’t publicly well-known.
The rumours abound that certain senior staff at the station are not exactly best friends with Jeffreys, so I would be more inclined to believe that it’s a combination of the recent ratings result in which 2CC ranked second last in the listed stations and the publicity surrounding the defamation case, giving some people a good excuse to get rid of somebody they don’t particularly like. Obviously this is only a theory, but without further information, it’s the only logical conclusion I can draw.
So, what now for 2CC? Well if previously leaked information about Mike’s ratings are anything to go by, this is probably not the best time to let him go. Mike has traditionally rated pretty well for the station, even if the station overall has not. I struggle to see how 2CC can hold its breakfast share in the short term and I now expect the next survey to see another fall for 2CC, possibly far enough to put them in last place. This isn’t to say that Mark Parton can’t make his way in the timeslot…I’m sure that over time he will grow an audience of his own, but if I had to choose a replacement breakfast host it would be Mike Welsh, not Mark Parton, and I have a very good reason for this.
I am yet to see proof of Mark’s aggressive streak, he’s a “nice guy” of radio who can launch the occasional necessary tirade, but just doesn’t strike me as being aggressive enough to keep the local politicians in check. Welshie on the other hand has a good track record doing just that, and in my opinion would shed less of the existing Jeffreys audience than Parton. Don’t get me wrong…I like Mark, he’s a nice guy and he did a great job filling the 9am-midday shift over Christmas/New Year, but I don’t think he is the right person for a hard-hitting breakfast show.
Mike Jeffreys is THE strong conservative voice of Canberra Radio in the morning, and I think this has been one of their main draw cards. As far as I’m concerned, Canberra no longer has a strong conservative voice in the morning. In the long term this could prove to be a good thing for 2CC as this is a fairly left-wing town, but that will only work if they drop a lot of the 2UE programming…a move which would be a disaster for the conservative movement in Canberra, and would require a lot of rebranding and reworking of 2CC program lineup.
As for Mike Jeffreys, I’ll miss him. I’ve been listening to him for six years and he is, in my view, one of the best talk hosts in the country. I only hope that he resurfaces on radio soon…and perhaps with Alan Jones dropping back to part time next year, there may be a slot for him up at 2GB. In the meantime, I hope he starts updating his website again.
Also I should note that Mike Welsh is the only remaining person in the timeslot listed on the poster I made in 2005 for my school bag. For this reason, Welshie will be getting a signed copy of said poster.
I should also mention that I am now undecided as to what I will be listening to in the morning. As I said earlier, I like Mark, but without meaning to offend him in any way, I would probably prefer to listen to Alan Jones on 2GB Sydney or Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin (depending on timezone differences) on KXNT Las Vegas or James Scott on 1WAY FM Canberra at that time of day. I will give Mark a go though.
Update: I forgot to mention that “The Best of Mike Jeffreys” aired as usual between 6am and 7am today. If I had been thinking I would have recorded it like I did with the final “Best of John Laws”…I suppose I can always buy it from Media Monitors. End Update