You know, some people like to listen to talkback radio for a pastime; I tend to come across it as part of my work. Not only talkback radio; also television shows and similar. Just the other day, we'd come across a Today Tonight item about chicken that glowed green. It was awesome; I didn't catch much of it, but I can just imagine how it would have went. They would have started off with quick soundbites of each of the people being interviewed, with creepy electronic music playing underneath, then cut to the reporter telling us how it all started, in the deep, accusing voice that tabloid reporters have ... you know the drill. I love that emotionally manipulative tabloid crap; if I'd seen it on the telly, I would have been having nightmares afterwards of being mobbed by radioactive chickens.
But mostly it's talkback radio we get to listen to. As a result, I've been building up quite a repertoire of radio announcers. And I feel that I can make an announcement about these announcers that will surprise no-one: commercial radio is the best. It's true, the ABC does do a good job, and the ABC presenters somehow manage to cover a ton of issues, but they're ridiculously boring. Give me a tabloid presenter any day.
Here in Melbourne, what have we got? Neil Mitchell. He's been presenting on 3AW mornings for ages. Neil Mitchell is crap; for a 'hard man', he tries way too hard to get his 'hard-man' image across, and he tends to mumble. Maybe the whiskers act like mufflers to his mouth, or have grown into his brain, or something.
Jon Faine does the morning show on the ABC. Faine is smart and intelligent and pisses me off. His voice is disturbingly high, he tends to talk over, lecture, or talk back to his talkback callers. He's also a smart arse who tries too hard to sound smart and intelligent. On the other hand, the backchat between Faine and Red Symons (another morning presenter) is worth listening to just to hear Faine get slapped down by Symons. And the other ABC presenter of note, Lindy Burns, is just ridiculous. A few weeks ago, she was getting all excited over this news story of a whole Victorian town being put on a diet. "Ooh, I love this story, it's just wonderful!" she enthused.
The best presenters are in Sydney. He might be the most racist and corrupt arsehole on radio, but Alan Jones also runs an entertaining radio show; he's right across the issues, eloquent, and able to deliver punchy opinion pieces on the spot. And I love hearing him shouting at Sydney local politicians, who really should know better than to go into politics. The thing about Jonesy is, it's rather disturbing how he can switch between manic neo-nazi mode and oh-so-moderate views. Ask him about water management: it's scary how much he knows about such a boring subject. And just the other week, I was listening to a segment where he agreed with a state Green politician. A whole interview of 'Oh yes, you're a dirty, tree-hugging hippy, and you're absolutely right!' I felt Alan Jones just didn't deliver on that particular occasion.
Mike Carlton and John Laws, both popular talkback jocks, are dicks. They're in love with the sound of their own voices. If they could pool their treacly tones into a bowl and lap it up for dinner, they would - they're just that egotistical.
But the best Sydney talkback presenter is Ray Hadley. This guy is awesome, he's got a really ocker personality and I don't really care if it is fake, it's a great act and makes for great radio. He also has a tasteless sense of humour, which, really, is the only sense of humour you should have.
The other thing about talkback radio is, they seem to have a thing for shows being presented by two dithering old guys. I can't understand why anyone would listen to this shit, it's usually just two old farts rambling on at one another for ten minutes, then bang, there goes the ad break or the music, or something. I mean, you could spend a more productive ten minutes being taught philosophy by your cat. Anything's better than listening to Stevenson and Burns, or Davies and Dick (where Davies is a dick and so is Dick), or even Carlton and Fitzsimons, or ... the list goes on.
***After one-year-and-a-bit of hearing talkback radio as part of my job, I think I can safely say that I have learnt nothing, have been convinced of nothing, and have changed my mind on ... nothing. On the one hand, one of the strongest arguments for the privatising of the ABC is that smarmy bastard Jon Faine. But on the other hand, one of the strongest arguments against privatising the ABC would probably also be that smarmy bastard Jon Faine. Because then he might have to get another job and irritate a whole different set of people. Such is life.