At the end of January this year, Mix 102.3’s Ali Clarke Breakfast Show blew out the candles on its first birthday cake.
The show originally launched in 2022 with Ali Clarke hosting alongside Erin Phillips and comedian Eddie Bannon. A year down the line, the on-air team is now made up of Ali Clarke, Shane Lowe, Eddie Bannon, Maria Gaban, and the recently announced Max Burford.
There have also been changes behind the scenes, with Kate Meade appointed to the role of executive producer this year, replacing Shaun Sandilands.
Mediaweek took a trip to the Adelaide ARN studios to chat with Ali Clarke, Shane Lowe, and Max Burford about the last 12 months and what comes next.
Speaking about the changes to the Breakfast Show, Clarke begins by saying that “There has been change, but I think change in the right direction”
Clarke: “The one thing that has stayed the same, and the one thing that we’re all united on is that we’re doing a show that’s not about us. It’s about the listeners and about the people who actually give us their time – we know what a privilege it is for someone to take us into their home or their car and take time out of their day to listen to what we’re saying.
“Even though there have been a few changes around the edges, I think they’ve been settling changes. We’ve all found our strengths.”
Lowe: “I’m having so much fun with Ali and the team. I think that my favourite part about the show is that you don’t have all Alpha, dominant people – it’s a big mix of personalities on the show. Somehow you find a connection that works.”
The newest addition to the on-air team is sports presenter Max Burford, who began with the show at the beginning of the year. He’s already a well-known name in Adelaide due to his ongoing work with 10 News First Adelaide, and his appointment to co-front Adelaide’s 10 News First weekday bulletin.
Burford: “It’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed it. I didn’t know these two that well, really, prior to starting radio with them, it’s great that we’ve all managed to click. Ali is a great teacher to have, and it’s awesome to watch Shane do his thing.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s great. It’s almost worth the alarm clock!“
There are few clearer indications of how a radio show is doing than the response from its audience, people who will notoriously tell you exactly what they think.
Joining the show from the producer’s booth ahead of talking to the trio post-show, it was obvious that callers were coming in thick and fast – whether they were calling to guess the secret sound, weigh in on whether or not it’s ok to stand up and pee into the ocean, or just to say hello.
Clarke: “We’ve been on air for a year, we’ve got some wonderful people. They’re family, and I don’t say that in a trite way – they’re part of the makeup. That’s what lifts our show, we hear their voices the more room we make for them, and the more we encourage them.”
Lowe: “The other great part is you hear all these incredible stories, and when you get the opportunity to meet people at a listener event, you can put their face to the story. You often think meet them and think ‘oh my God, that story makes sense. It’s exactly who you are’. That’s another fun bit on top of just having calls every day.”
Clarke: “We want people to trust us with their stories, so we will never talk down to them. We will never, ever, ever, make them feel uncomfortable – if they’ve taken the time to ring us and we put them on air, we want to hear from them. We’ll laugh with them and alongside them, but really, we want them to laugh at us.”
A major part of the show is giving back to the audience, be it via paying off mortgages, cash prizes like the 50K noise, or – in Burford’s case – walking a listener’s dogs for them.
Burford: “We gave away five grand. That might not be life-changing for a lot of people, but we gave away five grand in wordplay, and it was awesome. I loved it, it was the first thing I’d ever given away like that.
“It’s an emotional roller coaster every day – laughs one minute and the next minute, I’m crying.”
Clarke: “It’s that privilege of being in a position where we can actually really help people. What an awesome thing to wake up and do.”
Looking ahead to what the show has in store for 2023, the team say it’s onwards and upwards.
Clarke: “We’re competitive, we want to be the best at what we do. We want to be the best and be number one, but I certainly won’t be doing it at the expense of our team. There will be no drive, drive, drive, until people fall over – we’re going to do it all together. Even though it’s my name on the show, it’s going to be a team a full team effort.
“We’re all going to come along for the ride, including the listeners. I just want to have fun and have a workplace where people feel really happy to come to work.”
Top Image: Max Burford, Mediaweek’s Tess Connery, Ali Clarke, Shane Lowe