WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda: It’s hard for new radio shows to find their feet

The radio veterans discuss overtaking ARN stablemates Kyle and Jackie O to become Sydney’s #1 FM breakfast.

WSFM has evolved drastically in the time its breakfast presenters Brendan “Jonesy” Jones and Amanda Keller have been on-air.

In the first part of this interview, Jones and Keller opened up about their early days at the station and Jones revealed he thought his career in radio was going to die before his Keller arrived on a white horse.

The WSFM station that Jonesy joined in 2003 was very different from what it is today.

He said: “Looking back at it, where we are now is what I fantasised this radio station and the [breakfast show] to be.”

Keller added: “The radio world has changed too. There used to be five stations in Sydney. Now, how many are there?”

“There’s a billion,” Jones answered.

“Yes. It’s much more competitive,” Keller said.

The Sydney radio landscape is undoubtedly cutthroat. However, 13 years after their first show on WSFM, Jones and Keller remain as competitive as ever.

This was proven in the fifth radio survey for 2018, where they toppled ARN stablemates at KIIS 106.5 to become Sydney’s new #1 FM breakfast. Kyle and Jackie O had occupied that position for a long time.

“We are hoping that we have broken the back of that and this won’t just be an anomaly,” Keller said. “I have never understood the idea of ‘they are the stablemates so you shouldn’t feel it’,” Keller said. “Every show is competitive with each other. They can’t expect us not to be competitive because we are owned by the same people.”

Jones added: “I would rather them be in front of us than an Austereo show.”

Keller asked: “Is that because they are a better show or is it because of same company?”

Jones said: “Company. When they were at 2Day FM, I wanted to beat them all the time. I still want to do that but the sting’s not as much.”

The contemporary radio market in Sydney is tough for a new show. “It was easier for us when we started because we had more time to find our feet,” Jones said. “What’s happened at 2Day FM with a lot of the shows coming through. There are many that are good, but they are up against better shows. That’s not to say that we are great but it’s hard to get people to change their listening habits.”

In Keller’s words the relationship between her and Jones is like “pat, pat, stab”.

“It’s like yin and yang – sometimes more yang than yin. I don’t even know which one we are.” [Laughs]

The structure of radio is changing – it’s more produced and planned, but also more fun.

“It’s not the 80s where it was ‘get in, get out’. Our content and connection with each other and the audience is what it is about… I think we are allowed more words than your [Jones’s] training allowed you in the 80s,” Keller said.

Jones said: “Radio is for me is always about learning.”

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