best broadcasters money can buy
had not been a good week for the pundits of Sydney. Some of their best
and brightest stood accused of selling editorial opinion to the highest
bidder and many of the rich and powerful were running for cover or fighting
desperate rearguard actions.
radio was exposed as a place where pleasant authoritative voices
voices oozing evident sincerity command a very high price indeed
and even voices redolent of querulous bitchiness and mean thuggery can
score in six figures from time to time.
Little Johnny Howard managed a pretty good semblance of shock and dismay
but the man from the Australian Bankers Association could only bring
itself to be "embarrassed" about the Laws deal and couldn't
actually get his mouth round words like "wrong" or "unethical",
no matter how many times he was asked. The only crime the banks really
felt guilty of was to have been caught in the act.
radio in the Brushtail Café is usually turned on only for wars
and stock market disasters, but Joadja got constant requests to tune
in to John Laws on 2UE, and his stablemate Mike Carlton. I could hear
the sounds of near hysterical laughter in my office on the other side
of the lane, where I was again confined to bed by a nasty relapse of
Possum Creek Fever, which clogged my sinuses with mucus and paralysed
the muscles in my tail.
Carlton usually pretends he's one of us a sort of Alan Jones
of the Left but he rushed to the defence of Lawsie with the bullshit
argument that they're even doing it at the ABC. Oh boy, has he blown
his cover", Joadja chucked, when she came up at midnight with a
pack of Panadol and a six-pack of cider.
all he could come up with was that Peter Thompson got money off a couple
of corporations for media advice or something, and somebody else wrote
advertising jingles in his spare time hardly equivalent to changing
your opinion about the behaviour of the banks for $1.2 million. Maybe
Peter Thompson ought to resign from the ABC or give up consultancy,
but as a journalist he's head and shoulders above the 2UE boys",
she said as she twisted the top off a bottle and handed it to me.
a strange coincidence David Ogilvy, one of the great geniuses of advertising,
died last week. The author of Confessions of an Advertising Man,
was a figure from another age, an age when advertising executives and
PR types were a trendy set at the forefront of capitalist expansion
and could tell each other they had scruples.
could go too far, Ogilvy believed. He hated billboards cluttering up
the countryside and didn't believe that agencies should work for political
never did much copy for radio, which was widely thought to be dying
after the advent of TV, but he described it as the "Cinderella
of advertising media".
was in 1963. Sometime in the seventies a Fairy Godmother arrived and
transformed the pumpkin into a Mercedes convertible and Cinderella's
rags into Versace gown. But something went wrong and at midnight Cinderella
was transmuted into a ghastly approximation of Imelda Marcos with a
limitless appetite for gold, and, in fact, anything of value that wasn't
time we hear the freebooters of talk-back radio ranting on, anyone who
isn't forensically stupid will wonder "Is he being paid for this,
or will he be paid to stop it?"
was all a beautiful thing, I reflected.