Musings: The State of Australian Radio

For Australian music lovers, there’s not much being played on the radio that’s vaguely interesting. The only real place to get good music, other than community radio, is Triple J. A good station, but today I’m going to talk about it’s downfalls as the lone alternative music station in Australia.

First of all I’ll talk about the many downfalls of commercial radio in Australia,

Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill

Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill

mostly Triple M, because that’s the station I sometimes listen to, other than JJJ. Firstly, stations like Triple M are afraid to play untested music, Kings of Leon was never played until last year and when they were played they exploded and were probably the most played artist on radio, this isn’t because of the quality of the new album, in my opinion it was probably their worst, it’s because Triple M were just to cautious to play an ‘indie’ band. This is starting to change though, early this year Triple J had a jump in ratings and ever since, Triple M has been eager to “test” new music. Playing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Children Collide isn’t exactly ambitious, but it’s a start.

The funniest thing about Triple M is their website, it has photos of concerts and music news, which is fairly normal. But the difference is that it’s focussing on alternative artists that aren’t being played on Triple M. At the moment there’s “Rock Shots” (as they’re called) of an Eagles of Death Metal concert, now I’m almost certain they’ve never been played on Triple M, so why the coverage? I think what it shows, is that the station is starting to turn their head and recognise alternative artists, and hopefully soon they’ll receive some of the airplay they deserve.

The amount of new Australian artists that are being shunned by commercial stations such as Fox FM and Mix FM is scary, Nova and Triple M have a few programs devoted to these new artists, but outside these programs these upcoming artists just aren’t being played.

The instantly recognisable Triple J logo

The instantly recognisable Triple J logo

Now, the pitfalls of the lone alternative station, Triple J. The problem is simply that they are only one station. There’s so many different genres/styles of music out there, it’s just not viable to play all of these bands on the one station. This brings me to the recent Facebook group/petition (, it argues that a second station should be set up because artists that aren’t liked by the triple j management have all but no hope at getting their music out there. A second station would help, because it means that a second station could play different genres to the sister station, or even better play all the new music. Triple j’s unearthed is the best place for bands to get themselves known, but there’s so much that triple j can play in the 24 hours available in the day.

Personally, I think triple j’s great, and this is directed at the whole of Australian Radio. Basically, the biggest issue that needs to be resolved is the fact that radio doesn’t play new Australian bands, and thats a real shame because the Australian music scene is really amazing at the moment.

~ by Michael Hodder on May 9, 2009.

4 Responses to “Musings: The State of Australian Radio”

  1. […] Original post by Michael Hodder […]

  2. You know what the problem is, and you’re exactly right about mainstream in relation to ‘untested’ music – it’s the advertisements, and the talkshows, the talkback radio. I’ve had enough of Kyle Sanders moaning and whinging about crap, I don’t care what Britney’s wearing today… I get enough of that on the news…

  3. I agree about Triple M. I have a feeling it can’t really decide if it wants to be the blokey rock station or fox fm.
    Triple J can’t play everything but I don’t really like the fact that it’s playlisted. I think it would be better if presenters could just play what they wanted to.

  4. We’re very lucky in Melbourne to have RRR.
    There are no playlists and each presenter is really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their particular genre of music – they get to play what they want to play and that’s the way it should be.
    I’ve been exposed to a lot of music I may otherwise have not got to listen to.

    I believe it’s the biggest “suscribed to” community station in the world, so if that’s the case, we are truly blessed here!

    I used to listen to JJJ up until about 2003, but I feel they’ve plateaued since then.
    I think they still do a good job of bringing something a bit different to listeners in the regional areas though.

    Totally agree about MMM, Fox etc…run by morons catering for morons…the mentality seems to be “ssssh, don’t startle the sheep whatever you do….”

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