Summer Series: Lawrence ‘Moonman’ Mooney leaves Triple M

Lawrence Mooney

• Mediaweek looks back at the most notable stories of the year

Prior to joining Triple M Sydney 104.9 Triple M in 2019, Lawrence ‘Moonman’ Mooney was part of the Brisbane Triple M breakfast show. He has also guested across the network on other Triple M breakfast shows.

In November Moonman went MIA, with listeners simply being told “Lawrence is not with us today” by his breakfast co-hosts Jess Eva and Chris Page who were holding down the fort.

A few days later it was revealed that Moonman wouldn’t be returning to the Triple M network, and the The Triple M Sydney breakfast show was swiftly rebranded as Breakfast with MG, Jess and Pagey. Things got serious when the next day, it was confirmed that lawyers for both Mooney and SCA were discussing contract details.

In July – before his departure – Mediaweek spoke to Mooney about his time on the Sydney airwaves.

Nov 16: Lawrence Mooney hires legal muscle to challenge SCA ending radio star’s contract

UPDATED Tuesday morning:

Southern Cross Austereo revealed on Monday that Lawrence Mooney is not returning to Triple M. Not in breakfast, not in Sydney and not anywhere else on the network. Mediaweek reported also on Monday that workers would start taking down Moonman signage from across the network immediately.

That happened on Monday. Moonman in the Morning has been all but banished from the home page. The Triple M Sydney breakfast show has now been rebranded Triple M Breakfast with MG, Jess and Pagey.

Lawrence Mooney

Triple M’s home page with new breakfast show details

Moonman still lives on the Triple M podcast page though with episodes of previous shows and video clips still available.

Late on Monday night a lawyer acting for Lawrence Mooney confirmed Mediaweek’s Monday report that lawyers for both the comedian and the broadcaster were locked in negotiation about contract details. Here is the complete statement:

Statement re Lawrence Mooney
15 November 2021

Employment and media lawyer John Laxon, of Laxon Lex today confirmed he is acting for Lawrence Mooney against Southern Cross Austereo Services Pty Ltd

Mr Laxon said: “My client has a contract which runs through to the end of next year, which SCA has brought to an end. The terms of that contract were drafted by SCA and were bargained for and agreed to by my client. He will hold SCA to those terms. All my client asks is that SCA honour the contract and observe the contractual arrangements which they put in place.”

No further comment will be made.

The breakfast host has been absent from his Sydney breakfast show for much of the past two weeks.

SCA released a short statement Monday morning, but offered no further explanation about why Mooney is no longer on air. There was also no explanation about the future of the Triple M Sydney breakfast show.

This is the complete statement released by a spokesperson:


SCA announced that Lawrence ‘Moonman’ Mooney leaves the Triple M Sydney Breakfast show today.  

Mooney was a regular on Triple M breakfast in Sydney and Melbourne, before officially joining Triple M Brisbane’s breakfast show in 2016. He moved to Sydney breakfast in 2019, joining Jess Eva and Chris Page.  SCA thanks Mooney for his contribution to the Triple M Network over the past five years. 

In recent days Eva and Page have been hosting the breakfast show together with Mark Geyer as a special guest.

Lawrence Mooney

Jess Eva, Moonman and Chris Page

It was only recently that SCA announced the intention to add Geyer to the Moonman in the Morning show for 2022. After that announcement, Geyer appeared very briefly on the show with Mooney. Then just days later Mooney disappeared and has not been seen or heard from since.

There has been speculation that lawyers were involved in sorting out the contractual obligations Mooney had to SCA, and in turn what obligations SCA had to Mooney.

The former Melbourne-based radio broadcaster and comedian relocated his family from Melbourne to Sydney and then to the Southern Highlands during his three years on air at Triple M Sydney.

Mediaweek reported just last week:

Lawrence Mooney has a long history with the Triple M network. Prior to joining the Sydney station 104.9 Triple M in 2019, Moonman was part of the Brisbane Triple M breakfast show. He has also guested across the network on other Triple M breakfast shows.

Rumours about reasons for Mooney’s absence have been flying in the past couple of days. There has been some speculation he has been stood down from the show and that he may not return. There is also speculation he was unhappy about the decision to add Mark Geyer to the breakfast team from 2022.

See also: Why is Moonman MIA from his Triple M Sydney breakfast show?

Jul 16: “Snakes and Ladders”: What Moonman has learnt about Sydney Radio

By Trent Thomas

Lawrence Mooney has been in the Sydney radio market now for over two and a half years as the host of Moonman in the Morning. He spoke to Mediaweek about what he has learnt in that time and how he is settling into Sydney.

Mooney said that coming from a successful breakfast show on Triple M Brisbane to hosting the timeslot in Sydney came with a learning curve.

Lawrence mooney

“In Brisbane, we had a very successful year where the show went from a 9.1 to a 14.1, the station went to number one and the show went to number one.

“As the Grill Team was wrapping up, and as Matty Johns was wrapping up they said, would you like to do Sydney and bring that magic wand of success here? I said ‘yeah! Absolutely I would love to!’. I have learnt that it is a very tough industry, and this is a particularly tough market.

“When you are up against heritage shows and behemoths like Kyle and Jackie OJonesy and Amanda, and Fitzy and Wippa it is not like success is going to be overnight. People change habits slowly.”

Focusing on laughs

Mooney said a key to the show’s success will be deciding what the show is and sticking to that ethos through thick and thin. In his show’s case, that is comedy.

“I am a performer and I wanted to do a show rather than three hours of radio. So, we put together a show each morning and treat as we are performers in a show, and we are there to help Sydney get the day started with a laugh.”

[L-R] Siobhan Caulfield, Sam Mangioni, Jess, Lawrence, Pagey, Jana Hocking, Laura Bouchet, Mark Daniel, Will Porter

When the Grill Team ended its long tenure on Triple M breakfast, the change to Moonman in the Morning meant that the show would focus less on sport and more on comedy. Mooney said that the welded-on Grill Team viewers may have been disgruntled at the start of the transition, but the new show benefitted from the loyalty of the audience to the station.

“You understand that the audience is going to say ‘well hold on, this is completely different to what we have been listening to’. And there was a little exodus at the start, but then I think people started coming back.

“They love the brand that is Triple M, the music and the vibe of the station so they gave us a second listen and stayed around.

“We have built our audience which is a great thing to be able to say after two and a half years.”

Working with Pagey and Jess

Mooney has worked with Chris Page and Jess Eva since the show’s launch, with Grill Team alumni Gus Worland joining for the first year of the show as well.

The trio of Mooney, Page and Eva have now helmed the show by themselves for 18 months, and Mooney said that they are finding their groove.

 “We are really just starting to feel like we are building. By the end of the year, it would be nice to have closed the gap on the leaders in the market and to have made some ground, that is always the ambition. You want to rate and you want to rate well.”

Mooney said the goal for the team is to close the gap between the show and the leaders of the pack

“The closest we have been to Kyle and Jack is 3.4 in Survey one or two this year, that has drifted and they have a big break on us. It is all about the numbers and we want to build those steadily.

“It is swings and roundabouts, snakes and ladders and sometimes the snake is a lot longer than the ladder that you just climbed. You go up in increments of .2, .3, point .4 and then all of a sudden you are on a snake at 1.3 and you are back where you started.

“That can be disheartening but there is always hope, spirits are dampened but you get up, dust yourself off and look to the next day.

“Your listenership couldn’t give two shits about how you are rating, it is about how you are making them feel in the morning and that is what we need to remember.

When asked what his plan was to close the gap, Mooney’s answer was simple.

“Just keep making Sydney laugh.”

Lessons learnt

When asked if he could build a time machine and give himself advice, Mooney said that the main thing he would say is don’t expect overnight success.

“I would go back and say to myself ‘this is going to be a long process, don’t fly out of the gate.’”

“My father was an engineer and gave me some life advice, he said ‘never force anything’. He was speaking about mechanical things, but it has an extension to the rest of life too.

An AFL man in NRL land

Mooney joked that one of the biggest challenges of moving to the Sydney market was the fact that he is a diehard AFL fan broadcasting from the rugby league heartland.

“It was a little bit hard to wean myself off AFL because I am an AFL man but I had the benefit of being exposed to NRL when I lived in Canberra for a year in 1987 and started supporting the Raiders during the golden years. And have been an interested observer for 34 years.

“When I came here it wasn’t a foreign language to me, I knew the difference between a whistle and a siren, touchline and a boundary line, and an umpire and a referee.”

Settled in Sydney

When Mooney first moved to Sydney, he and his family lived in Bronte for a year, then last year moved to the Southern Highlands which is an area that he shares with the likes of Andrew Voss and Alan Jones.

“It would be an interesting car trip (with Jones). Someone from a different political stripe isn’t necessarily your common enemy, you could have a lot in common.

“Alan is a fascinating man and very charismatic. You don’t build an audience like that if you have nothing to say.”

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