Posts filed under 'Radio Review'

Radio Review – Survey 2 2007 – Drive

Updated: I have been informed that the traffic reporter used by Mix 106.3 and FM 104.7 is actually from the Australian Traffic Network, not Mix and 104.7’s Gungahlin studios. The reviews have been updated to take this in to account, which has resulted in Mix 106.3 gaining a few points and jumping up to third place (effectively pushing 666 ABC Radio down to fourth), and FM 104.7 gaining to be equal 8th. I apologise for an inconvenience this error may have caused.End Update Summary

I was supposed to have this online at 9am? Hmmm, just a few hours late.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday August 9) I conducted the first of four radio reviews in this series, the 3pm to 6pm “drive shift” review. The order of stations in the roster for this review was 2CC, ABC Classic FM, 666 ABC Canberra, ABC Radio National, Mix 106.3, FM 104.7, ABC NewsRadio, 2CA and JJJ. This order was randomly selected, and the stations will not be permitted to hold the same spot in any future roster in this series. (For an explanation of the methodology behind the reviews, click here)

My detailed analysis of the three hours is below, however I shall start by showing you the overall outcome. All ratings are out of five possible points.

1st: 1206 2CC: (4.6)
2CC had a very good review. There were a few bits and pieces I didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, but overall they did very well.

2nd: 1053 2CA: (4.5)
It’s good to see a mix of music and talk at the top of the pile. 2CA played some very good music and Leighton Archer is a very good choice for the drive time announcer.

4th 3rd: Mix 106.3: (3.3 3.8)
It can he hard to work out where you stand with Mix 106.3 at times. There is a reasonable amount of good music, and Erin Miller can be quite entertaining, but they suffer from some rather poor music choices, and I can’t help but think that the traffic reports would be a bit more credible if the reporter was somewhere other than their Gungahlin studios. Updated: I’ve been informed that these traffic reports are directly from the Australian Traffic Network…in which case I congratulate Mix on having traffic reports with much better sound quality than the traffic reports from the same service which air on 2CC and 2CA. That being said, I have to admit that I think Warren Purchase speaks more clearly than the ATN presenter Mix and 104.7 are using.

3rd 4th: 666 ABC Canberra: (3.7)
Take Louise Maher out of the equation and they could have gained half a point, maybe even a whole point. They are doing well and they could easily be higher up the ladder in future reviews if the presenters are better than Louise Maher.

5th: ABC Radio National: (2.9)
Some interesting discussions worked in Radio National’s favour, but presenters who insist on talking at a pace which indicates they want us to all fall asleep and a rather poor 5pm news bulletin worked against them. It’s not a great start, but there is plenty of room for improvement, and I got the distinct impression that we will see (or hear, as the case may be) plenty of improvement.

6th: ABC Classic FM: (2.7)
I really don’t know what to say about this station. They obviously don’t use a compressor, and that is probably a good thing for the preservation of the dynamic range in the classical music they play, but it makes the station very difficult to listen to for an extended period of time, and probably impossible if you are in a motor vehicle. I’m not entirely sure that some of the presenters have any common sense, or trust that their listeners might have some intelligence.

7th: ABC NewsRadio: (2.5)
Parliament broadcasts are an essential service, but many politicians make dreadful radio. If the politicians could be slightly more interesting (or even be slightly more interested in what they’re talking about), and the NewsRadio people could try not to talk over the top of the politicians, they would have fared much better. Perhaps the non-parliament broadcasts will fare better.

8th Equal 8th: ABC JJJ: (2.4)
If they stopped playing “music” and turned in to a talk station, they would be much better off. Their choice of music is abysmal, but the talk components of the station are quite good.

9th Equal 8th: FM 104.7: (2.2 2.4)
The ads sound good, but the music, for the most part, isn’t great and the presenters aren’t much better. In their defence, the station clearly appeals to a lot of people who aren’t me.

There are still three shifts left for review, and any station could win it from here. The following is my detailed analysis of the three hours.

15:00 2CC – News with Peter Lusted, Fairly comprehensive coverage of interest rate rise. Story about Peter Beattie’s comments about John Howard. Mohammed Haneef’s Visa. Murray Darling Basin. Liberal criticism of ACT Government’s handling of local taxi licences. ACT Police comments about local street racing. Very comprehensive news service (5).

15:04 Classic FM – Enjoyable classical music. A tad too quiet for proper broadcast in parts and just a tad repetitive. (3.5)

15:08 666 – Good song (Midnight Train to Georgia), but mildly distorted, almost as if it is being fed to the studio equipment a couple decibels too loud. An enjoyable four minutes. (5)

15:12 ABC RN – Cooking and general food discussion with a restaurateur and a food book author. Something about eating lunch in a park, and the restaurateur thinks it’s a terrible thing to discuss in front of someone who hasn’t had breakfast yet. Awkward lengthy (5 seconds at least) pause following all of them trying to talk over each other. Very uninteresting anecdote about the author’s experience in a foreign restaurant. I didn’t know it was possible to bore people with a discussion of how globalism affects food…apparently it is. (2)

15:16 Mix – A song possibly called “Changes”, the base tune has been stolen from another song and the lead singer is relatively tone deaf. Station ID over the top of the intro of the next song (it works quite well in this case), the rather acceptable “Had a bad day”. I could listen to this without screaming if I was on hold. (4)

15:20 104.7 – Gotta love tone deaf musicians…on the plus side, these ones aren’t screaming. Station ID followed by a rather grating bit of hip hop. I counted five uses of one swear word, although I did struggle to understand a lot of the rest of the lyrics. (0.5)

15:24 NewsRadio – Parliament. It’s amazing how politicians, supposedly confident public speakers, can use “um” and “ah” constantly during pre-written speeches, and manage to sound completely uninterested in everything they are reading out to the house. That being said, parliament is a rather amusing thing to listen to for a short duration. It also contains the most sloppy panel operating on the wireless. Incorrect microphones open, incorrect microphones closed, the speaker mumbling under his breath. I’m certain that the politician who spoke for the entire four minutes doesn’t remember how she started her speech. (2.5)

15:28 2CA – Ad break: Buddy Holly special, Charlotte Pass ski resort, Dolphin bathrooms. 2CA ID. The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”. A pleasant and relaxed ad break followed by a pretty good song. The only thing to count against them here is the fact that The Bee Gees do annoy me slightly. (4.5)

15:32 JJJ – A rather polished and well produced bit of techno music (“Easy Love” by MSTRKRFT apparently). Sounds better on headphones than it does on speakers, although not quite as good as it could. That’s not JJJ’s fault, picking an overly long repetitive song is though. (Disclaimer: I don’t recognise most of the music played on JJJ, so I’m relying on the JPlay website which Mick linked to a few days ago for the song lists.) (3.5)

15:36 2CC – Ad break: Cheesecake shop, Repco service, Exquisite Jewellers Holt, Rivoland Tiles featuring Mike Jeffreys, Precision Panel. Short music return before Mike Welsh mentions that a caller has complained about the signs for the Scrivener Dam bridge works not being far enough back from the roadworks to warn drivers to use an alternative route. Psychology segment talking about “Brain Snaps” and the reasons behind them. Quality programming. (5)

15:40 Classic FM – Dramatic classical music with inaudible gaps and just a bit too much dynamic range. I suppose we expect this from Classic FM, in which case I have to wonder why people insist on using it as telephone hold music, telephones do not convey the dynamic range as well as the radio, and as a result people end up with lengthy inaudible segments. Every time you think this piece of music will end, it continues. They must only go through a handful of tracks each hour. Somewhat uninteresting. (2)

15:44 666 – Something about a movie and a lot of giggling. The presenter starts pondering why some people vandalise things and others don’t…the studio guests start discussing the logistics of vandalism. They should be careful how they phrase things. “You egg people’s cars…that’s OK”. Not what they meant, but it comes across poorly. More giggling and they wish they had a psychologist…perhaps they should ring 2CC, they had one on a few minutes ago. They have one sensible person in the room who seems to understand basic peer pressure and adolescent mental development, but the rest are speculating rather poorly…to their credit they are almost silent during the logical person’s explanation, but they do insist on asking silly questions. (3.5)

15:48 ABC RN – Discussion about how a technical stage production company has a certain level of freedom of expression by using their own custom software to help handle various bits of their productions, and other production work they do. Surprisingly interesting. (4.5)

15:52 Mix – Can’t say that I’m impressed by the song which ends just as I turn over to this station. It is followed by a station ID which includes their Tuggeranong repeater’s frequency. The next song, Cold Chisel’s “Flame Tree”, isn’t particular impressive either…I just find the song rather bland and tuneless. (1)

15:56 104.7 – The music hasn’t improved much here either. People who claim to be musicians but insisting on constantly changing from singing to shouting in the same sentence annoy me. Promo for Scotty and Nige breakfast show, and the humourorus highlight in the promo wasn’t even remotely funny. Ad Break: Government Workplace Realtions ad, Kaleen Indoor Sports, MacDonald’s Name-it burger, ActewAGL GreenChoice. The ads saved them. (2.5)

16:00 NewsRadio – More parliament. This politician is talking about India and nuclear weapons. Whilst she is avoiding the use of “um” and “ah” (mostly), she does not sound even remotely interested in her speech. She decides to ramble on about how we need a referendum on every decision the government has made in the last four years…and then something about climate change, this seems to encourage the ums and ahs. An uninteresting politician doesn’t help. (2)

16:04 2CA – Sport segment of the news (with Peter Lusted), AFL, Rugby League, Olympic preparations and US Baseball. 2CA Traffic with Warren Purchase. Very comprehensive although there isn’t much happening. 2CA weather with the announcer, Leighton Archer. There isn’t much to say about the weather except that it was presented well. Promo for “Snow Stars” competition. Very good song Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”. Sounding good! (5)

16:08 JJJ – The less I know about this track (“An Englishman In Ibiza” by Disco Stu) the better I think. Horrid and repetitive. Actually I think this track (definitely not a song) might be a language lesson…although I’m not sure what language the English components are being repeated in. I’m sure it sounds good when you’ve had a bit too much to drink and probably injected something illegal…but I, thankfully, don’t fit in to that category. (0)

16:12 2CC – Mike Welsh talking to John Lehmann, Editor in Chief of Bulletin Magazine about the federal seat of Bennelong. Not the most exciting conversation, but it got better towards the end. Traffic with Warren Purchase, comprehensive coverage of traffic flow. (4)

16:16 Classic FM – A light and mildly interesting piece of classical music, and the dynamic range on this one is much better for radio than the previous attempts. (4.5)

16:20 666 – They’re playing music…it was good when it started out as a piano solo, but the poorly recorded tone-deaf vocals on this one are truly appalling. Tim James live in the studio apparently, and the sound quality can be forgiven because a microphone collapsed. Tim James starts telling the host Louise Maher about his charity work. Louise then moves to News Headlines with Julian Abbott…no local news even rates a mention except for the current temperature despite half a dozen national and international stories getting a rather lengthy reading. Promo for the Australian Rugby Championships. Louise starts chatting with ABC TV Newsreader Virginia Haussegger about the interest rate rise…it does help to read the right figures Virginia, especially when you’re a prominent newsreader…Kudos for noticing the error though. (3)

16:24 ABC RN – Discussion about the global economy, and whether the governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating had more of a positive impact on our economy than that of John Howard. The rather slowly talking presenter insists on breathing on the microphone constantly…otherwise it was pretty good. (4)

16:28 Mix – The tail end of the sport, followed by the weather and a studio based traffic report which just didn’t seem to have the same immediacy as the traffic reporter on other stations (Updated: Not entirely sure why…maybe the studio sound quality makes the report sound less like it has come from an actual reporter). Promo for Mix 106.3’s changing playlist based on the feedback of listeners. Ad break: Capital Ink Services, Harvey Norman, Andy’s Auto Gas, Rubelli Furniture, Rydges Priority Guest, Rolfe Subaru, ACTION Bus Service Outage Announcment. Pretty good. (4 5)

16:32 104.7 – I don’t know and I don’t want to know that this is…it certainly isn’t music. I do have some advice for the alleged artist though…if you don’t want to be in love, you don’t have to tell us about it. Particularly well produced station ID. This song is at least bearable…U2’s “City Of Blinding Lights”. (3)

16:36 NewsRadio – Parliament, and finally a politician who is interested in what she is saying, Senator Milne. Unfortunately her time is up just after I tuned in, and Senator Ron Boswell stars telling parliament (whilst the NewsRadio voice over person talks over the top of him to introduce him) that the Greens hate logical debate and are very naughty…or something like that. He then talks about how we will keep track of any uranium that we send off-shore. Plenty of “um”s and “ah”s, but surprisingly interesting listening to Senator Boswell accusing everyone else of being disorganised. (4)

16:40 2CA – A good song along the lines of “wrap me in your arms like I know you can”. 2CA “Super Memory” ID. Grass Roots’ “Midnight Confessions”, quite a good song. Leighton Archer back announces some songs and announces that all the “Snow Star” songs have been played and to keep an ear out for the cue to call to win a holiday in the snow. Leighton then talks about what’s planned for tomorrow’s breakfast show with Larry Appley. (4.5)

16:44 JJJ – Well, this (“It’s Not Over Yet” by Klaxons) is slightly better than whatever they were playing last time, but it is still absolutely dreadful. Announcer talks about how terrible it is that someone in that band broke their foot and couldn’t tour Australia (hooray!!). Promo for JJJ segment Top Shelf. (1.5)

16:48 2CC – Mike Welsh talking to ACT Senator Gary Humphreys who doesn’t think the Greens have a decent framework for running the country. Mike then summarises the conversation. Ad Break: Neil Diamond imitation concert, Grantley Perry and Sons Funerals, Millennium Audio Visual, Sassy Lassy Lingerie. Mike Welsh ID. Mike introduces traffic. Warren Purchase provides another good traffic report. (4)

16:52 Classic FM – If medieval knights danced in public, it would probably be to this. The presenter informs us all about the title and conductor of the music, and then introduces the next piece of music by daftly trusting an automated Internet translation of its title. The music unfortunately didn’t warrant such a lavish introduction as it is a rather strange and boring repetitive bit of piano music. (3)

16:56 666 – Louise Maher talks to Robin Poque from the ACT Olympic Council about some money the ACT Government is providing to the athletes in the form of a grant. Louise then asks who will be going to the Olympics, to which the guest reminds her that they haven’t been selected yet. Louise then questions whether $80,000 is enough, and seems to insist on interrupting answers…the guest doesn’t seem overly impressed about it but tries to get on with his answers. The questions are, unfortunately, very poor, and very scripted. Louise then mentions the temperature, says they will examine the interest rate rise after the news and announces five o’clock a few seconds early. Promo for fishing segment on tomorrow’s breakfast show. The guests were interesting, but they had to work around Louise’s poor style of interviewing.(3)

17:00 ABC RN – News with Julian Abbott , headlines, Interest rates rise report, Pro-Labor report about how marvellous Labor’s performance (and how poor the Liberal’s performance) was in Parliament today, House prices rise with soundbite from housing affordability person talking about how hard it is to rent a property, share market rises, Currency report, Labor announces how much money it wouldn’t spend if elected, finally some local news with the local timber mill fiasco. A fairly unbalanced news bulletin with minimal actual content for the time spent. (1.5)

17:04 Mix – Sport segment of the news with upward inflections at the end of each sentence. Finance report with Will Cameron from ABN Amro on the phone who does a pretty good job. Weather clearly pre-recorded with a very obvious cut in it. Traffic from the studio Update: ATN (a minor elocution lesson wouldn’t hurt). “Feel Good Vibe” station ID. Good song though, Roxanne by Sting and The Police. (3 4)

17:08 104.7 – Announcer introduces “Top Five at Five”. Song from Rihanna “Shut Up and Drive”, I can’t say that I’m enthused about this song, but it would be acceptable for a short period on hold. 104.7 Top Five at Five ID with Sponsor mention (but do they really think “Making the time of the day and the number of songs the same” is a clever promo?). (2).

17:12 NewsRadio – Parliament again, a politician tells us all how farmers can look more professional and talks about how one particular family could be the last family farmers in existence. A clever accidental mix of “farmer” and “family” at one stage…”farmerily”. I’m not sure what a “thote” is though…could be a “thought”. Politician is really uninteresting and not in the slightest bit sincere. (1)

17:16 2CA – I recognise this song but can’t put my finger on the title…it’s a remake of “Every Night” by Paul McCartney…can’t work out who is singing though. They are venturing close to strangled cat status with these last few “oooh ahh” bits. 2CA’s mini-series Captain Kremmen of the Star Corps promo. Ad: Boney M concert (sponsored by 2CA). Kremmen of the Star Corps begins, this really is a very interesting serial and it’s a pity I have to leave it. (4.5)

17:20 JJJ – Interview with someone about…not entirely sure to start with, but it appears to be about the Portable Film Festival. They play a sound clip and annoyingly laugh over the top of it. The conversation isn’t particularly interesting but it’s an awful lot better than the music they’ve been playing. Not surprisingly for this station, the presenters ramble on about something completely unrelated (hovering public transport), then start a bad song (“D Is For Dangerous” by Arctic Monkeys), announce the station’s name late and then almost fade out the song. (3)

17:24 2CC – Mike Welsh introduces Anita Quigley from the Daily Telegraph who is on the line to talk about the Catholic Church’s proposal that they give priority to Catholics in Catholic schools. Anita seems to know a fair bit about the subject and the conversation is quite enlightening. (5)

17:28 Classic FM – A rather slow piece of music…not really an ideal choice for the journey home from work unless you want to fall asleep or have barricaded yourself in your office following a really really bad day and need an audible tranquilliser. The announcer then tells us how precious the recording is and how marvellous it is (surely we can decide for ourselves?) and then we have something which sounds like it may have been recorded in a Catholic Church at some stage. Roughly as tranquillising as the last piece. (0.5)

17:32 666 – Where do these people find this bad music? I can talk in a not quite semi-musical tone over the top of a looping guitar at a low bitrate as well, but I choose not to. It’s mildly distorted, so yet again they are feeding it to the equipment a bit too loud. Apparently it was called “As You Do Now” by Susan Vega or something like that. Kieran McKekkney (a female Kieran?) joins Louise Maher from Parliament House. Kieran provides a fairly good quality and impartial analysis of the interest rate rise although does get talked over a bit by Louise. Thankfully Louise kept out of the conversation for the most part. (4)

17:36 ABC RN – The presenter (New Zealand correspondent Peter Lewis) is talking about Maori affairs and playing sound grabs from various Maori representatives. The story is relatively interesting, but Peter Lewis might as well be in the chamber at Parliament House as he doesn’t sound remotely interested in the topic at hand. The studio presenter then introduces a story about genetics affecting intelligence, and then interviews Charles Murray, the author of a book about this subject. Mildly interesting, but the presenters really do speak far too slowly. They sound ridiculous talking at that pace when everyone else they talk to on the air talks so much faster. (2.5)

17:40 Mix – It’s a song 2UE have used in some of their promos, “In Love Again” by Rogue Traders, I like this song. Presenter Erin Miller back announces the song, and then talks about how she likes to think about Pyramids, and how she would like to see the pyramids in Egypt…it’s an effort to introduce a competition where that is the prize. Traffic report from the studio. (4.5 5)

17:44 104.7 – This song would sound good without vocals (reflections of the sun…or something like that)…why do people who can’t sing insist on doing so? Traffic from the studio (Updated: ATN) with the same person who does Mix 106.3 traffic, brief but does the job, but again, it doesn’t have the immediacy of a real traffic reporter. Ad Break: Green faces, MacDonald’s Name-It Burger, Harvey Norman. (4)

17:48 NewsRadio – Parliament, a politician tells us a story about a pensioner who has a hard time buying beer, and then talks about cheap electronics being used to calculate the pension. The NewsRadio presenter talks over the top of the middle of this politician’s speech to re-introduce him. The politician then says that his pay, and that of his colleagues, should be set by an independent body. Not exactly riveting, but interesting enough. (3)

17:52 2CA – 2CA Station ID. “Lady Love” not sure of the artist, good song though. Leighton Archer informs me that it’s Lou Rawls, and then he gives me hints about the songs coming up after the news. Promo for Larry Appley breakfast show featuring entertainment reporter Peter Ford. (4)

17:56 JJJ – Someone talking about how worried they are about being underpaid at work, followed by the presenter saying that if you have similar concerns you should ring the Workplace Ombudsman. Then it’s on to a story about how the Beijing Olympics are a year away and an interview with somebody using it as a launching platform for their protest about Tibetan Human Rights. Mildly interesting, and much better than their attempts at playing music. (4)


2 comments August 9th, 2007 at 12:59pm

Radio Review: FM 104.7

Oh this will be fun…a review of a station with a playlist filled with music which doesn’t come close to my tastes.

This review is of FM 104.7 from 2pm-3pm on the 27th of February.

  • 2:00pm: No surprises…it’s a song I don’t recognise and seems to contain a fair bit of yelling.
  • 2:02pm: Announcer informs me that we are having an “ad free 50” and that a song from the television show “Ugly Betty” will be on soon…then he takes a call about a desperate and dateless ball which the station is promoting, possibly even running…the background music doesn’t help me understand the caller who is on a poor quality phone line. Three bands participating in the night are named and I only recognise one of them.
  • 2:03pm: Hmmm, this station is voicetracked (more or less automated) as the call ends just as the vocal section of the song starts…song is passable, much better than the tripe on 666 ABC Canberra, but I wouldn’t have a clue who is singing it.
  • 2:06pm: Promo for breakfast show and ad free 50 (9 seconds)
  • 2:06pm: That tune sounds familiar, “Let Me Entertain You”, the chorus is the highlight of the song as the rest isn’t very melodic. It’s the best song so far though.
  • 2:10pm: Promo for Skyfire (13 seconds), overlaps the vocals of the next song, somebody isn’t paying attention to their automation.
  • 2:11pm: I’m not entirely sure that the music in this song has any relation to the lyrcis, or that the singers are capable of singing…something about closing (devine references) doors…I think.
  • 2:13pm: And there I was thinking an ad free 50 would be fifty songs without ads…instead it’s just fifty minutes according to this promo. (5 seconds)
  • 2:14pm: I’ll take a guess at the title of this song being “slave on a minimum wage”…it’s a strangely catchy repetitive techno piece…there is definitely no singing involved in this song.
  • 2:16pm: A competition to give away tickets to Skyfire.
  • 2:18pm: At long long last we have a song introduction…couldn’t quite catch the name of the band, but the title was “How to save a life”. This band were either drunk or under the influence of some other substance during recording as I fail to see how anyone could slur that many words in such a short amount of time…the transcript would be amusing “aartosayaliff…”.
  • 2:21pm: Another ad free 50 promo (9 seconds).
  • 2:22pm: This song sounds familiar, not that I can work out most of the lyrics, does anybody even listen to lyrics any more? If so, why do so many bands make it so difficult? I have absolutely no idea what the song is, and I have no idea why I recognise the music…random collection of noise as far as I’m concerned.
  • 2:25pm: Station ID (4 seconds).
  • 2:25pm: This is WIN Television’s favourite song…Pink’s Stupid Girls. WIN have a bunch of time fillers called “WIN Presents” which are basically mini-documentaries about songs, unfortunately I have spotted that particular episode at least four time in the last few weeks between WIN News late Edition and the start of Quizmania.
  • 2:28pm: This station loves the promos…ad free 50 promo (9 seconds).
  • 2:28pm: Song with poorly forced fake accent…the lyrics would be understandable if they weren’t drowned out by the music.
  • 2:32pm: Back to the Skyfire competition, caller doesn’t win the tickets to Skyfire, but does get a pass to Questacon…they must have been desperate for sponsors. Also going in to the draw for a whole heap of things including a twelve month pass to the currently “closed indefinitely due to storm damage” Dendy Cinema.
  • 2:35pm: This song is by “The Sugarbabes”, if you can call it a song.
  • 2:38pm: Station ID (3 Seconds)
  • 2:38pm: I think this song is supposed to be by “Evermore”. It amazes me how many songs so far have contained references to body parts and various things which can be done with them, most of which are commonly promoted in spam emails.
  • 2:42pm: Promo for Skyfire (13 Seconds)
  • 2:42pm: Ad break: Very long Skyfire promo, Canberra Comprehensive Car Care Centre, Club Lime, Telstra Shop, Planet Max, Flight Centre, Broadcast Services Australia, Lenocks Volkswagen, Matisse Hair and Beauty, Tralee Housing Dvelopment, and a strange promo for FM 104.7 SMS…doesn’t tell me why I should send them a text message though. (5:50)
  • 2:47pm: Another song, more of those references…rap, I think I’ll pass.
  • 2:52pm: Song ends, announcer says goodbye and starts a song by a group with an explicit name (references again), the music is stolen from something else but I can’t work out what.
  • 2:54pm: Ad break: Promo for 104.7 webstream, ANZ Frequent Flyer Visa Card, ACTSport’s Clubsport winners (or something like that), SOHO Designs, Night and Day Locksmiths, Murrays Coaches, Gen Tech Automotive, House of Heroes, The Funny Shop. (4:12)
  • 2:59pm: Intro for “Nige’s radio Show” followed by “Nige” previewing the show.

And that’s where the hour finishes…no news in that hour, that’s a worry.

Advertising: 10 minutes and 57 seconds
News: None!

News: None in the hour, it might have been run before 2pm and after 3pm but I wouldn’t know, and I find the lack of news disturbing. There wasn’t even anything to suggest that the station might have a news bulletin, there wasn’t even a mention of the temperature!
Empty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (0)

Talk: There wasn’t much, but the talk that was there sounded good, nowhere near as rushed as it did on Mix 106.3, although it was obvious to anybody who takes notice of these things that the hour was voicetracked. The presenter was friendly and got along with the two callers quite well…not so sure that he knew much about the music though as he barely mentioned it.
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarEmpty Star (3.5)

Music: Not even close to my tastes, I don’t think there was a song in there that I would listen to if I had the choice, but I’m sure it was of interest to the majority of the target demographic (I’m part of it but you wouldn’t know it). I’m also concerned about the amount of references to various body parts and things you can do with them. I’ll give them one star for effort, and another for doing better than 666 ABC Canberra.
Full StarFull StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (2)

Overall: Whilst I didn’t really enjoy any of the music, I wouldn’t run away screaming…for most of the hour it was a pleasing noise which surprised me. The ad free 50 idea is interesting, but I have to wonder if it comes at the expense of the news. I wouldn’t voluntarily listen to this station if given the choice after what I heard here, but it’s not too bad.
Full StarFull StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (2)


6 comments March 19th, 2007 at 12:19pm

Radio Review: 666 ABC Canberra

The backlog is long, I’ve been slack, people have been pestering me, and after speaking to a “Pete” on the phone yesterday afternoon (he knows who he is…isn’t that a strange expression, of course he knows who he is, that why he was able to tell me!) who was particularly convincing…it’s time for the radio reviews to resume and 666 ABC Canberra just happens to be next on the list. The is their first radio review in the series, although I have previously reviewed them informally.

This is a review of 666 ABC Canberra from 5pm-6pm on Monday the 26th of February.

  • 5:00pm: News, Sport, Weather. I didn’t know that the ABC started news bulletins in the somewhat commercial style of playing a news related quote…apparently they do…followed by headlines and then the stories. There’s a strange hum on some of the reports which sounds like the reporter is sitting on a microwave though, and it is quite distracting. The newsreader also seemed to stumble over words a lot…I probably just caught her at a bad hour. Chris Kimble (spelling?) did a good job with the sport, but those word stumbles cost the newsreader a lot of time and the weather turned into a two liner. (9:58)
  • 5:09pm: Drive with Louise Maher (8 second intro). Louise summarises some local news issues and eventually starts a traffic report which only includes two breakdowns on the Tuggeranong Parkway…no information about traffic flows whatsoever, perhaps they should learn to use their Australian Traffic Network subscription properly…or do they not pay enough for access to that kind of information?
  • 5:12pm: Louise promotes an upcoming interview with Pauline Hanson, but talks with an anti-Hanson (and anything which isn’t one of the big three political parties) Queensland professor first.
  • 5:14pm: Louise talks to Pauline Hanson, tries to convince her that everything the professor said was gospel, asks Pauline for her policies (she’s running for the senate, they review decisions, not make them), then asks if she will be working with One Nation Party senator Len Harris…who just happens to not be in parliament any more, Pauline corrects her and she sounds absolutely shocked and struggles to come up with a question, eventually settling on who Pauline would like to work with…Pauline re-emphasises the fact that she is running as an independent. Louise then moves on to illegal immigrants, effectively telling everyone to vote Labor in the process, and then asking Pauline for her views…a subject she Louise quickly moves away from after trying to talk over the top of Pauline…we move on to what Pauline thinks of John Howard and Kevin Rudd…that’s funny, no talking over the top of Pauline while she explains why it will be tough for John Howard to win the next election, some failed attempts to talk over the top of Pauline Hanson when she disagrees with Kevin Rudd’s ideas…and then it’s back to how wonderful the professor is. After the interview it was interesting to hear Louise emphasise the word “again” in the sentence “Pauline Hanson, the former leader of One Nation, who has announced today that she will be standing for parliament again (pause) this time as an independent for a Queensland seat in the senate”.
  • 5:23pm: Louise mentions open line and SMS numbers and the temperature.
  • 5:23pm: Promo for “666 Community Choir” (30 seconds)
  • 5:24pm: Louise runs through the traffic again…same as before, but asks people to ring the 666 open line if they spot a traffic problem, which is a bit counter productive. ATN provide traffic reports to more than just the ABC, and on some other stations people are invited to call them direct, one does have to wonder if the ABC’s busy producers find time to give ATN traffic details that are phoned in.
  • 5:24pm: News headlines with newsreader (I’m not going to try and spell her name) without word stumbles, well done! (1:07)
  • 5:25pm: More promos for upcoming interviews, and time for (quite literally) a chat with Nick Bright from the weather bureau, a couple minutes later they get to the weather, unfortunately it’s a really uninteresting blow by blow description of which wind will cause various types of weather over the next few days, the capital city summary is much better, and then Nick provides the sunrise and sunset times, followed by a braindead statement from Louise “They days are getting shorter aren’t they?”…that should be fairly obvious Louise, happens for this half of the year every year…choice quote from that segment from Louise “You should know not to believe me”.
  • 5:29pm: Promo for “keeping the capital in touch with the country” or something like that (30 Seconds).
  • 5:29pm: Louise promises to play some music this week from The Triffords, babbles about her recent visit to the coast and how she saw birds while she was there…and then her threat comes true and The Triffords start playing…typical ABC Canberra music I’m afraid, not even worth mentioning.
  • 5:33pm: Louise then threatens to play another one of those songs tomorrow…glad I won’t be listening!
  • 5:33pm: The time for another Louise, chief political correspondent in Parliament House Louise Yaxley (spelling?). The two Louises discuss federal politics. Interesting discussion about how few people in the seat of Bennelong actually know who Maxine McKew is, followed by more anti-Hanson chatter, and a replay of something Peter Costello said in question time…if there was a reason for it, I certainly can’t find it.
  • 5:38pm: Time for a “delightful” piece of music from Gary Lewincamp (or something like that)…delightful isn’t quite how I would describe it…how about terminally boring repetitive guitar solo which goes on for about three minutes too long.
  • 5:41pm: News headlines including a whole heap of quotes without attribution (2:11).
  • 5:43pm: Finance report with…wait for it…Commsec! Yes it’s a plug for the Commonwealth Bank on your ABC…ahhh the irony of it all…this gets classified as an ad I’m afraid as the ABC have their own finance reporters and don’t need to use brokers to tell them what’s going on. (1:28)
  • 5:44pm: Promo for “PM” program (43 seconds)
  • 5:45pm: Louise mentions phone number and SMS number, and repeats parts of her opening remarks of the hour.
  • 5:46pm: Interview about world paragliding championships with Godfrey Winness (spelling?)…the peculiar statements from Louise continue, surprised that people from Iceland can paragilde, sadly the topic is interesting but Louise makes no attempt to do anything other than read from a list of questions and force Godfrey to sound like a PR robot.
  • 5:52pm: Louise mentions that she will talk to the creators of the film “Happy Feet” shortly, and launches into another song…something with an untuned guitar and a mumbling singer…does this station hire tone deaf people to choose the playlist?
  • 5:55pm: Not a minute too soon, but a few too late, the song ends and Louise announces that “Happy Feet” winning an Academy Award is “the best news from the Oscars”…and then talks to Greg Smith from animation firm Animal Logic who, not surprisingly, animated the film. It’s really quite funny how Louise doesn’t talk over the top of people she likes…another interview wasted, it was a whole heap of self-praise and “we’ve set the new standard” for Animal Logic…pity really.
  • 5:59pm: Not a pity however is Louise Maher signing off for the night and giving us a 10 second promo for the news, PM and the quiz which follows it.

Advertising: 3 minutes and 22 seconds
News: 13 minutes and 16 seconds

News: It is important to note that this is the news bulletins and updates, not the chatter about the news. It was actually quite well balanced, which is much more than I can say for its TV counterpart, lots of detail and quite good. I was a bit concerned about the amount of dead air between stories and after audio clips, and that weird humming noise on some of the reports was very loud and disturbing, not to mention that the weather reports were overly brief and they had a few too many unattributed audio quotes. It was a good effort, but the problems have dragged the score down from what could have been a perfect five.
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star (4)

Talk: Louise Maher has an amazing ability to only ever talk over the top of people she is disagreeing with, and not allow any consideration of ideas which differ from her own. She also seems fairly inept at interviewing anyone on anything outside of politics. The traffic reports fall in to this category as they were never mentioned in a news bulletin and Louise only ever made passing references, and never told people where the queues were building, not to mention there were only two traffic report.
The number of calls and text messages Louise received was fairly indicative of how interesting her program was.
Oddly, it could have been worse…that’s about the only thing that saved Louise from a worse score.
Full StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (1)

Music: Tone deaf!
Empty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (0)

Overall: A really bad hour on the ABC I’m afraid…even overly giggly Alex Sloan in the morning (see the informal review) was better than this tripe…the news was really the only thing going for the station. Whilst the average of those scores is closer to 1.5 than 2, I’m willing to give them a 2 simply becuase of the time spent on the decent news service.
Full StarFull StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (2)


6 comments March 16th, 2007 at 10:25am

Radio Review: Mix 106.3

Mix 106.3 were the first station to have a review period, from midday-1pm on Thursday February 22. Here’s what happened:

  • 12:00pm: Sport section of news (includes two seconds of sponsor notice). Seems fairly informative.
  • 12:01pm: Weather (5 seconds of sponsor notice) It’s the weather… (Recorded portion of news bulletin lasted 1:40)
  • 12:02pm: Program intro “Retro Lounge” (three seconds of sponsor). I’m not really sure how many times we need to hear “Retro Lounge” before we know what show it is, but between five and ten seems to work for Mix. After a bit of an intro including a couple events of the year we’re about to name, we head back to 1983 and Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, the song is OK but it’s very repetitive and very very long (well, it seems long…probably the repetition)…I certainly wouldn’t recommend this song for high rotation, but once in a while is fine.
  • 12:05pm: Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”…now there’s a good song!
  • 12:09pm: Presenter Karina Rappel starts talking and seems to know a little bit about the artists in the songs…research pays off for this presenter, she is proving to be a good tight presenter so far.
  • 12:10pm: Nick Lowe’s 1986 song “I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock And Roll”. An up-beat song…not quite my cup of tea but certainly seems to put one in a good mood none-the-less…this is one of those songs that would easily drive me nuts and then grow on me.
  • 12:14pm: A station ID and another song…there was a forward announce of the artist earlier, but I don’t remember who…I’m struggling to understand the lyrics of this song…wait, starting to recognise bits of it…still struggling with lyrics…picked up a couple and Google helps me remember the forward announce…it’s Icehouse’s “Don’t Believe Any More”. This is pure junk and certainly doesn’t fit in with the rest of the hour so far…next!
  • 12:19pm: Karina back announces the song, it was from 1984…plugs an interview on “tomorrow’s” breakfast show and stumbles over a sponsor (10 seconds)…at least their live! Song intro starts while Karina plays the secret sound twice and invites callers…and the song is from Billy Joel…and I can work out for myself what song it is if you won’t tell me “Only The Good Die Young”.
  • 12:23pm: Ads…at last! Promo for “Summer Six Pack” program, Easy Rid Pest Control, Harvey Norman Fridges, Cusacks Beds, Go Gecko Property Sales, ActewAGL, Royal Canberra Show. 3:08 in total.
  • 12:26pm: Secret Sound (4 second sponsor), four people all wrong. Minimal interaction with callers, we must have a tightly scheduled hour.
  • 12:27pm: 2 second mention of sponsor, the weather, oh, and that sounds like a song starting, better mention the artist…”Tears for Fears” I think…the song is absolutely dreadful anyway, and for the record it is actually Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels”.
  • 12:31pm: ID on top of the intro to a good song…it’s Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”.
  • 12:35pm: ID on top of intro again…(we need a back announce and soon) and the song is (apart from really bad) I wouldn’t have a clue, the lyrics are virtually indecipherable except for the chorus…seems to be “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins.
  • 12:38pm: Karina is back, and we have a back announce for the last song…some babble about Tom Cruise…forward announce of two artists, live-read promo for their “Workday Rescue” (20 Sec).
  • 12:39pm: (39:50)Ad break: Promo for breakfast show, Fuel Tax Credits, really bad ad for Mayner and Cochrane, the jingles get worse with The Canberra Times Classifieds, Rebel Sport, Dr. Drains, Tuggeranong Hyperdome. 3:46 in total
  • 12:43pm: ID and song: KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes”. I like this song but it’s a relatively slow and boring song, coming out of a really bad and boring ad break…the next song better be good if they want me to stay interested.
  • 12:45pm: ID and song: ELO’s “It’s A Living Thing”. My prayers have been answered! A brilliant song, it probably should have been first out of the break but it’ll do where it is…it may have just saved the hour.
  • 12:49pm: Karina takes a caller…can’t work out whether or not this is a promo for Powerball, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it was an innocent call.
  • 12:50pm: Hmmm, a song…it sounds like Men At Work…and it is, with “Be Good Johnnie”…not their best by a long shot…and for some reason reminds me of “Boris The Spider” by The Who…the whole “be good be good be good be good be good be good” thing is wearing very thin, this better be a short song.
  • 12:53pm: Saved by Karina who starts talking over the end of the song…and announces the end of today’s “Retro Lounge”. (7 second sponsor). Another Powerball mention, seems to have something to do with the breakfast show and one of their sponsors (10 seconds)…quick mention of upcoming news bulletin, next host and another round of the secret sound…and then…
  • 12:53pm: Ad break: Bing Lee (is the voiceover done in an echo chamber?), Sears Morton Furniture, Webster Advertising, Merryville Estate Murrumbateman, AFL NAB Pre-Season Cup, Canberra Airport. 2:59 in total
  • 12:56pm: News (a tad early?). They’re calling it “complete news”…this will be interesting (5 second sponsor). It seems very concise but does have a good local emphasis, bit concerned about the newsworthiness of some stories though. (5 second sport sponsor). The review hour finishes before the sport does. (Recorded segment of news bulletin lasted 3:05).

Advertising: 10 minutes and 58 seconds
News: 4 minutes and 45 seconds

News: Seemed fairly comprehensive and local, would have gotten a four but it lacked any reporters and there were some stories in there which probably shouldn’t have made the news bulletin. It’s a good effort and a three would be too harsh.
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarEmpty Star (3.5)

Talk: The talk programming isn’t overly relevant on a music station but it does hold the hour together. Karina appeared to have done her research and she started off well, but a lack of proper song “artist and title” announcements, and the second half of the hour feeling very rushed in terms of talk didn’t help. The first twenty minutes got her a five…pity the hour goes for sixty minutes.
Full StarFull StarFull StarEmpty StarEmpty Star (3)

Music: There was some stuff in there that I thought was absolutely atrocious, but there seemed to be a logical format for most of it, and I could put up with the bad stuff knowing that something good was probably just around the corner.
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star (4)

Overall: It wasn’t bad, but overall it did feel like an mp3 player working through the playlist. A couple little fumbles from Karina assured me that it was live, but there wasn’t enough room in that hour for Karina to move…perhaps the time she lost on that strange Powerball caller made all the difference, but it sounded rushed and I did feel like tuning out a couple of times. For what it’s worth, the first twenty to thirty minutes were far better than everything else.
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarEmpty Star (3.5)


13 comments February 26th, 2007 at 06:00am


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