It has been a dramatic week in radio with challenges facing the management of the biggest breakfast shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
The upheavals included Jackie O losing her cool with co-host Kyle, and walking out on the show.
While Alan Jones announced on Tuesday his doctor had ordered his departure, the co-host of Sydney’s biggest FM breakfast show, Kyle Sandilands from ARN’s Kyle and Jackie O Show, has also been laid low on medical grounds.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, 3AW’s Ross Stevenson has been reunited in person with his soon-to-depart co-host John Burns for the first time in close to two months.
Kyle and Jackie O’s wild ride
It has been an interesting week for fans of Sydney’s Kyle and Jackie O Show, a show that ironically plays Bill O’Reilly’s infamous “We’ll do it live” blow-up in its opener.
Early in the week iso-fever was taking its toll, particularly on Kyle Sandilands He started yelling at most of the staff on air early one morning which is when co-host Jackie Henderson intervened, asking why he was so mean. Things soon spiralled out of control. “When was the last time I intervened when you had a problem with the staff,” asked a very agitated Sandilands. “Have you got your period?” replied Jackie.
It made for entertaining edge-of-the-seat listening and is why the show has so many fans.
After a few more tense minutes Jackie, who was doing the show from her Bondi apartment, threatened to pull the plug. “No loss as far as I am concerned,” fired back Sandilands. Insults continued to fly with Kyle calling young producer Adam “bitch-face”. Newsreader Brooklyn Ross was also caught in the crossfire with Kyle ordering him to only appear during the news bulletins.
True to her threat, Jackie then did pull the plug as her microphone went dead. When asked if he would be apologising to Jackie in an effort to get her back on the show, Kyle replied: “I’m not saying shit. I’m not going grovelling.” Producers told Kyle they couldn’t get through to Jackie on the phone. However about 30 minutes later she re-appeared on the show with both hosts professing their love for each other. “Let’s just move on,” said Jackie.
Later in the week though the show has been running pre-records and highlights of previous programs. The best production team in the business at disguising a show of replays (they have to be after Kyle’s near world-record number of sickies toward the end of 2019) did some of their best work over the past couple of days.
The absence of Kyle has possibly been a safety valve for all working on the show. He admitted during the week that it wouldn’t take much to push him over the edge. He targeted most of the staff except, for a change, Pete Deppler. “Who would have thought Intern Pete would be the last man standing,” said Kyle at one stage after another vile spray.
Kyle often saves the best for his competitors though and he was clearly agitated too when news broke that Ben Fordham would be taking over 2GB breakfast. The man who was once counted as a friend of the show is now a competitor. “He’s a little bit of a phoney,” said Kyle, who added Fordham was a cost-effective option for Nine Radio.
A spokesperson for ARN this morning told Mediaweek that Kyle had been off sick for a couple of days and that his absence was not related to anything else this week.
Ross and John together again
Meanwhile at Nine’s 3AW, Ross Stevenson and John Burns were in the same studio for the first time in around two months. Stevenson has been broadcasting from him during the lockdown while Burns was going into 3AW’s Melbourne studio. When Stevenson told management his broadband connection had died early Thursday afternoon it raised a red flag at head office.
After checking with Telstra, they learned that Telstra and Foxtel cable subscribers could be without a service for two days, Stevenson was instructed to make the trip into 3AW on Friday morning where he also saw some of the rest of his team for the first time in ages, noting some things had not changed while some had more facial hair.
Imagine taking control of a radio network and then not long after having to change the breakfast shows at three of the four stations, two of them the highest-rating shows in their market. That’s what Nine has faced up to this week as it let go of 2GB’s Alan Jones and confirmed it would launch a Brisbane-only breakfast program at 4BC.
It has previously announced that John Burns would be leaving 3AW breakfast, something Nine Radio management told Mediaweek on Tuesday was still, the plan.