Today is the first day of the metropolitan radio ratings, and as such (in most cases) the start of the normal presenter schedule.
Today is also the first day for the new morning show host on 2UE. Nobody will ever replace John Laws and I think 2UE have made sure that the new host will not be attempting to do so, by shifting the focus of the show from being a national program, to being a New South Wales and ACT based program.
The new host of 2UE’s morning show is Steve Price who, in my opinion, is one of the best commentators on Australian radio, and an excellent choice to present a hard-hitting news based program. Steve has been involved in Journalism for the last 35 years, including many years with 3AW in Melbourne (as Executive Producer, Program Director, News Director and Drive presenter). He moved to Sydney’s 2UE in 2002 initially as Breakfast host and then as Drive host.
As a Canberran I have not had the opportunity to hear an awful lot of Steve Price, but have felt very privileged to hear his program during the multitude of times I have been in and around Sydney over the last couple of years. Steve has also appeared on 2CC co-hosting election coverages in the last few years.
Handing Steve the morning show is an excellent decision in my mind. Being the person to follow-on from John Laws was always going to be a tough ask, however I think Steve is the right person for the job.
I’m not as convinced about 2UE’s choice for the afternoon show though. Channel Ten newsreader, fill-in presenter for John Laws over the last few years and “listener favourite” according to 2UE, Tim Webster is taking over the afternoon show from John Stanley who has been hosting it for about the last decade.
I like Tim as a fill-in presenter, but I don’t think I could put up with him on a permanent basis. He just seems to be too “wishy-washy”. He certainly has his opinions, but unlike other presenters he just doesn’t seem to be capable of really getting to the bottom of an issue and getting some sort of resolution…perhaps that’s just because he hasn’t had a show to call his own.
My main concern is that an afternoon show with Tim Webster will mean the show becomes more news based and less fun. I certainly don’t want Tim to copy John Stanley’s format, but I don’t want him to drop all of the fun and entertainment that John had on his afternoon show either.
I suppose I will just have to wait and see if Tim grows on me. Unfortunately if his summer morning effort is anything to go by, this is going to be an arduous year of afternoon radio. Please prove me wrong Tim.
The big pity for me is that 2UE have moved John Stanley to Drive, which means he will not be heard in Canberra any more. I wish John all the best with the Drive show, he has previously had success in that timeslot and I’m sure he will do a good job, but Canberra will be a poorer place for it.
When I returned to listening to 2CC in 2003, John’s show was something I looked forward to. It’s been that way ever since. It starts with Mark Knopfler’s theme from the Local Hero soundtrack, and continues with John’s smooth voice for the next three hours. I will particularly miss John’s conversations with entertainment reporter Peter Ford, and the Thursday segment “What Drives You Nuts”. I will have less opportunities to take part in John’s show, but I won’t let the broadcast barrier in the way, I won’t be a stranger to John or his new show.
A quick thought for 2CC, if we’re in the mood for change, then please break up those ad breaks a bit during the afternoon show. During the ad breaks in Sydney, 2UE take the opportunity to run traffic reports and live-read ads. As a result, the breaks can be quite long…a minute of news headlines on 2CC around the half-hour would, admittedly, be more work for the newsroom, but would make those long breaks a bit easier to listen to, and improve 2CC’s credentials as a news leader. Even if the newsroom were to pre-record the headlines at 25 past the hour, it would be well-worth the effort. This would be a good idea for the morning show too in my opinion.
Breakfast on 2UE has a bit of a change, with Mike Carlton’s co-host Peter FitzSimons being replaced by Sandy Aloisi, making it the first time 2UE have had a female co-host in a regular weekday timeslot (or not quite…it’s the first time during a daytime slot. Davky notes in the comments that Deb Elsworth aka Ella James was Malcolm T. Elliott’s co-host in the late 90s). It’s not the first time they’ve had a regular female host on the station (although I can’t work out why Psychic Sharyn still gets four hours each week), but with all of the female co-hosts filling in for various people lately on 2UE, I’m not surprised that they have finally taken notice of their listeners and appointed a female to a regular slot.
Personally I would have preferred Peter FitzSimons and Sandy Aloisi, as I’m just not a fan of Mike Carlton and I don’t think he will ever have a chance of defeating Alan Jones in the ratings…but so be it.
On that note, I would like to congratulate Channel Ten’s Bill Woods and Deborah Knight who did very well filling in for Glenn Wheeler on the weekend afternoon show. These two work very well together and deserve a regular slot somewhere on the schedule.
I will be interested to hear the intro music that Steve Price, Tim Webster and Stuart Bocking choose this year. Steve Price has been using the Hunters and Collectors track “Holy Grail” (also used by Channel Ten for their AFL coverage) as his intro on the Drive show…hopefully he will keep using it. Tim Webster has not had the opportunity to have his own intro, having either used a standard “Tim Webster, keeping the dream alive for John Laws” intro or one of 2UE’s summer intros, and it’s about time Stuart got his own intro after having used last year’s summer intro music all year.
Speaking of 2UE’s summer intros, 2UE used the (not so great in my opinion) Joe Cocker cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s hit song “Summer In The City” as the basis for their intros. The bit they used works quite well, but the rest of the song is certainly not a highlight of the Joe Cocker catalogue. For the sake of radio posterity, here are Tim Webster and Glenn Wheeler’s 2007/2008 summer intros.
Download MP3 
Incidentally, I was watching the webcam when Glenn Wheeler “boogied” to the summer intro (as mentioned in the audio), it was quite amusing and I sent him an email to express my amusement.
And while we’re here, good luck to Ash Keenan who has resigned from the Australian Traffic Network. Ash was their traffic reporter for 2CA and 2CC following Dennis Leigh leaving last year. At this stage I don’t know who will take over, or who will fill-in, although I will hazard a guess at Mike “frame in the plane” Frame being the fill-in traffic reporter. (Update: Nope, we have a Dwayne Strauss presenting the traffic).