Yellow Warning Issued The Radar Is Back

How Can Anybody Listen To 666 ABC Canberra?

February 21st, 2007 at 05:06am

Yesterday I decided to try and work out why 666 ABC Canberra rates well in this town. What is on there that is worth listening to, is there interesting discussion and debate of current issues, events and affairs? Are the presenters particularly interesting? What about the callers?

My plan was to listen for an hour between 10am and 11am…here’s what I heard.

News, bad song, droning on and on and on and on about a dead author with some local author, promo for Clean Up Australia day with really bad jingle set to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, presenter being smarmy about breaking the news of James Hardie chairwoman Meredith Hellicar resigning…a whole fifteen minutes after Lawsie broke the news (yes, I flicked back to 2CC during the bad song), another bad song, chatter between presenter and sport reporter who somehow managed to be at the Canberra Capitals breakfast whilst answering phone calls from the public about Basketball, and attending the Brumbies training session, whilst taking more phone calls from the public (does he give out his mobile number or something) and somehow making it back to the studio to take calls from ABC sycophants who claim that commercial radio don’t provide sport scores. Promo for a CD of the bad music they play on the air. Interview with a shareholders’ association representative telling us all how wonderful Meredith Hellicar is. Promo explaining that the ABC will play the emergency siren if there is an emergency. More bad music.

It was 10:45 and I had heard enough. It was the worst 45 minutes of radio I have endured in a looooong time…and that Alex Sloan couldn’t keep a straight face if it was superglued…and she t–a–l–k–s…..s–o…..s–l–o–w–l–y and constantly says um and er. I don’t mind the occasional um and er, but when they become a vital part of every second sentence it is downright annoying.

All the while, Lawsie was focussing on real issues, such as basic services for schools which seem to be sadly lacking in so many places, and the crazy outsourcing system which NSW schools have to go through to get things repaired…adds about 30-40% to the cost of the repair and they end up with the local repair person anyway. (Yes, I had to flick back during the bad music to save my ears).

So why do people listen? Clearly it has something to do with the sheer amount of people who are either Chief Turnip Stanhope admirers, require warning signs on clothing to remind them not to iron shirts while they are wearing them, or both. The other 666 listeners have me baffled as I can’t see how anybody else can put up with that crud for any length of time.

Clearly they come from a different planet and don’t visit this one…which begs the question, if Chief Turnip Stanhope lives on another planet, why must he issue directives for this one, seeing as he is never here?

I may try them again on a different shift with a different presenter (not breakfast…Ross Solly, combined with morning presenter Alex Sloan represent just about everything that is wrong with talk radio)…perhaps Drive has some decent programming, surely it couldn’t be any worse than the assault on my ears and intellect that came through my radio yesterday morning!

Perhaps while the ratings period is still on I will randomly review an hour of each radio station in the ratings race, now that would be some fun (and possibly burn my ears out…but fun).


Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials,TV/Radio/Media

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  • 1. John B1_B5  |  February 21st, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Alex Sloan talks slowly ? Gees, I don’t agree with that Samuel.
    I reckon she talks too fast !
    What is really annoying about Alex is her constant laughing (even at her own ‘quips’).
    Sometimes she laughs so much it sounds like she’s going to have
    a seizure at any moment !

    I had a listen this morning to a half hour segment on ‘ferrel animals’
    with Dr. (somebody) , and there was a lot of chopping and
    changing from… (I can’t remember) to fish with herpes – all pretty
    boring stuff !

    I think there’s still an element of thinly disguised ‘snobbery’ on
    the ABC, where they like to portray themselves as being more
    ‘upmarket’ than say, 2UE or 2CC.

    As I’m constantly saying – the station has REALLY gone downhill
    in recent years (in MY estimation anyway).

    Why does 666 rate so well in this town ? Damned if I know !
    One reason could be the latent snobbery that many Canberra residents possess. They probably think that by listening to
    the local ABC radio station, they are a few notches above
    the others (no matter what sort of drivel the ABC dishes out).

  • 2. John B1_B5  |  February 21st, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Adopting a ‘broadbrush’ view, people from the following groups are more likely to listen to ABC 666 than (say) 2CC –

    Commonwealth Public Servants
    Accolytes of the Church of England
    Commonwealth Bank Managers
    Rotary Club members
    Employees & volunteers at the Australian War Memorial
    ACT Public Library employees
    Staff at The Hyatt
    Real Estate Agents
    People in the wine business.

  • 3. Samuel  |  February 21st, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Some generalisations there John, but I think most of us see your point.

    Perhaps I just caught Alex on a bad day…she was talking rather slowly yesterday.

    As I said, for reasons of fairness I will review 666 again.

  • 4. tuggers  |  February 21st, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Samuel that review would be very enlightening, especially as your loud objections to any station other than 2cc/2ue and secondly 2ca are well known. Are you a John Laws sycophant in the same way you accuse those not listening to your choice of entertainment are?

    In your appraisal, please also include how much time per hour each station has dedicated to advertising, you can include ABC promos, as long as you also include the advertorials and mentions by the commercial announcers. Can you break it down to an amount each hour as we know there are peaks & troughs Please also examine the quality and length of time for news breaks broadcasts. All this will make an interesting comparison.

  • 5. Samuel  |  February 21st, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Well I don’t claim to be providing an unbiased review. It’s purely my opinion and my tastes, other people may have a different view and they are more than welcome to them.

    It’s a bit like a movie review…if they were all unbiased and not based on opinions then all the reviewers would agree on everything…the reviews would also be quite worthless as they wouldn’t provide much in the way of reasons to see or not see a movie. (eg. one reviewer might prefer fast-paced action movies whilst another might prefer slower romantic films…without those opinions the reviews are worthless).

    For the remainder of the reviews I will be setting up a recording of each station. These will be one hour long, one station per day, with stations chosen in a random order. Times spent on advertising (including promos) and news will be noted. I will not be including this review of 666 as it doesn’t take the full hour or any of the other measurements again. It was a spur of the moment decision and hardly useful in the series of reviews.

    Ground rules for the reviews will be published tomorrow morning.

  • 6. Samuel  |  February 22nd, 2007 at 12:46 am

    Are you a John Laws sycophant in the same way you accuse those not listening to your choice of entertainment are?

    Apologies for not noticing and replying to that question. No, I wouldn’t describe myself as a sycophant as I can come up with an opinion on my own without hearing what John Laws has to say. I also disagree with him every now and then (one thing he said on Monday put my nose out of joint for example). I am a regular listener, but if he is wrong in my view then I am not afraid to say it.

  • 7. davky  |  February 22nd, 2007 at 8:02 am

    I find 666 dull and unprofessional. However, I find 2CC painful to listen to – constant ads, desperate pleas for talkback callers, poor research (lack of resources.)

    666 provides a good local service – twelve hours of local programming daily, compared with six at 2CC. Even if I don’t listen to 666 much, at least they provide some kind of all-day journalistic service.

    As you said, Sambo, its all a matter of taste though.

  • 8. John B1_B5  |  February 22nd, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Well yes, it all comes down to personal preference.

    There’s absolutely no point in trying to twist somebody’s arm in an
    attempt to force them to listen to the station WE think they should
    be listening to.
    All we can do is make comments on the various stations in our
    area (ignoring stations on shortwave and the internet) and leave it at that.
    In the final analysis, people will vote with the tuning dial, and in a democracy, that’s the way it should be.

  • 9. Samuel  |  February 22nd, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I could almost close comments there as I think that just about sums it up!

    One point though, I heard at least six mentions of the 666 talkback number in that 45 minute period, so it’s not as if they don’t cry out for callers too!

    I think it has to do with two things for both stations:
    1. Drum the number into people’s heads
    2. Inform new (and also forgetful) listeners of the number. 2CC have it a bit harder than 666 because they have 2UE’s open line number during the day and have to emphasise the changeover.

  • 10. Craig-Dubious  |  February 27th, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Still, when all is said and done, I’d rather listen to Alex Sloan than “ole gravel voice” on the 2CC Drive Show.


February 2007

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