I just listened to all of Andrew Moore’s new “Wake Up Sydney” show on 2GB and I have to say that I like the idea of the format, but it needs a bit of work before it can reach its potential.
Traditionally, overnight talk radio is a combination of very long shifts and lengthy conversations with callers. This works well to the extent that not a lot of people are listening overnight, and those that are tend to like the more intimate and detailed nature of the shows, however it suffers from the problem of the shows just being too long, making it far too easy for audiences to switch off.
Andrew’s new show strikes me as an attempt to revive the 3am “dead hour” in which calls tend to be scarce, resulting in long rambling conversations just to keep the interactivity going, by running a fast paced news oriented show where listener interaction isn’t crucial, but certainly helpful. The show appears to be aimed at people who start work early in the morning (presumably people starting work between 4am and 5am) who probably don’t have much time to call in, but would like to hear about what’s going on in the world rather than hear a caller rambling about something (not that all 3am talkback radio callers do that…but the 3am to 5am talkback block does tend to invoke a lot of “mildly incomprehensible calls about not much”, with the calibre of call starting to pick up from around 4:30.
I was impressed with Andrew’s show, especially the “remember when” segment where he chatted with 2GB’s “Money News” host Ross Greenwood about the history of ATMs and life before the ATM (I reckon that segment was pre-recorded…but only because I doubt that Ross would have woken up to chat about ATMs at 3:40…it did sound live though), and the two interviews on the subject of the Jakarta bombing. Between these segments Andrew probably read half of the AAP Newswire, a handful of emails, and took two or three calls (I have the honour of being the first caller to the show, which is a bit like having the honour of being the first person to set off the theft detector at Big W in Civic, although the latter was accidental).
The faster format does make the lower amount of interactivity very noticeable though, especially straight after a slower, more traditional overnight show. They probably both have the same amount of callers and emailers, but the faster format, at that hour at least, does make it feel like the host is carrying the show and filling time a bit with some of those news stories, as the listener contributions aren’t dwelled upon as they would be in a slower format. (Sorry, dense sentence, I’m tired and just want to make my point).
Ultimately I think the format has merit and is an interesting break from the traditional overnight show, and it will probably appeal to people who are waking up that early. I think it probably needs an extra interview or segment on standby to break the “newsreader audition” feel that bits of the show have, but with weekdays available to pre-record bits and pieces, I don’t think that will pose a problem. And to the same extent, a slightly news story heavy show on Mondays would be a good lead-out for the weekend…I just don’t think it will work every day of the week. Perhaps the solution is to have Harley Carnes and Adam Gilchrist (breakfast show US and UK correspondents respectively) on the show on a rotating basis?
Anyway, I liked the show. I think it, like any new format, needs a bit of ironing out, but I think 2GB have a winning format here…I just pity Andrew having to start work in the very small hours of the morning so that he is prepared for a 3:30 on-air start, and then having to back up with sport news on the breakfast show. Starting work at 3am or so for a breakfast show is bad enough, but starting at 1am or thereabouts is something which I would prefer to not think about.
Wake Up Sydney with Andrew Moore can be heard from 3:30am to 5am on 2GB