(Attn Australians) Interesting Article: The Trouble with Triple J

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colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Friday, 31 October 2003 02:50 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah i saw that article - totally agree with it. heaven only knows who triple j think they're competing with

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I think setting up a dichotomy between Limp Bizkit and Mogwai hardly helps though - it still implies that there's some unified personality that JJJ should adhere to (and the argument is over which). A better way to approach things would be to diversify - split up the hegemony a bit and play lots of different things in different show slots a la most of the local radio stations (in Vic that's RRR and PBS) - the best way to be representative is to be pluralist.

As someone who's still in the target market for JJJ, what puts me off listening to it is its smugness combined with a comparative narrow-mindedness. But neither of those things disappear simply by replacing Limp Bizkit with Mogwai.

Of course diversifying would probably cause the market to slip even further, as I'm pretty sure that most people who listen to JJJ constantly do so because it feels like "their" station. Hence the annoying ad campaign ("we don't like you either") may even work for them. And ratings are important, if only because they're the new benchmark for "relevance" which all government funded arts services now have to refer to.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:10 (seventeen years ago) link

i listen to it more than any other station because, for all their positive qualities, community radio almost never seems to be playing anything i want to listen to

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:12 (seventeen years ago) link

i don't think they need to diversify, and they do have a pretty strong identity i guess.

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:13 (seventeen years ago) link

i'd just be happy if they stopped playing jokey songs and sweary songs all the time

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:13 (seventeen years ago) link

That's what I mean by diversify!

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 31 October 2003 03:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Normal pattern of new artist on JJJ:

1. Have record flogged.
2. Achieve some chart success
3. Have record played on commercial radio.

So far so good.

4. Have next record not played due to the artist now being seen as a commercial entity, even though there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT.

Which I suppose is fine in one way, if the idea is to promote new artists. Except certain artists seem to be exempt - and it's OK for them to be commercial. I guess these artists would be the basis upon which the "unified personality" would be based. Guitar-based rock, the most popular of which gets played on mainstream radio anyway.

The average JJJ listener would decry the pop charts while listening to the frankly ridiculous "Net 50", which sends records by Grinspoon, Something For Kate and that lot to #1 with the same predictability as production-line pop or hip-hop with fantastic hooks and rhythms shoots to the top of the mainstream chart - actually, even MORE predictability. The competition between them and commercial radio is all in their collective head.

Around 1993-1996 when I was listening a lot, I felt that JJJ gave me a fair range of non-mainstream pop, and enough of the cream of the mainstream to be an enjoyable mix. Anything too oddball to be playlisted could usually be heard on 4ZZZ in Brisbane, so I listened to that too. And if something I hated was on, I tried a pop station.

JJJ's level of pop dropped off sharply, and so did my interest, and I began looking to mainstream radio for my pop needs, and found the grass was greener on the other side. It helped that pop was becoming more exciting in the late 90s, too, getting very songy and accomplished.

If JJJ really wants to dissociate itself from commercial stations, it needs to stop pointing fingers at them for the style of music they play, when they're really engaging in the same sort of thing.

As would be obvious to most on here, the idea that music is bad because of the artist on the cover is rubbish, but it's almost the unifying holy truth of JJJ nowadays. Boybands have been responsible for some very bad songs, but songs by boybands can be wonderful.

It still makes me a bit sad. I liked the morning shows, the new music show up til about 2000 and a few other things and was very proud when I blitzed the J Files 1990s quiz (even if I never looked at the CD-ROM I won), and I'm sure there's lots of not-commercial pop I am missing out on but don't know where to find it because it's not discussed on here. Since I've stopped listening to radio period I basically only hear stuff I like, so going back now would be excruciating even if they made sweeping changes.

edward o (edwardo), Friday, 31 October 2003 04:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Gawd i haven't listened to the Js for ages. We listen to FBI or 2SER. 2SER especially on Fridays, as it has Groove Therapy (hip hop, breaks) from midday to 2pm programmed by DJ Frenzie, followed by Back To Funk (funk and jazz with a groove) from 2pm - 4pm. Perfect starter for the weekend.

mentalist (mentalist), Friday, 31 October 2003 05:09 (seventeen years ago) link

I believe that Triple J would be 1000% better if they'd only just fire Myf, Mel & Charlie. They lack wit, bite and charm.

Michael Stuchbery (Mikey Bidness), Friday, 31 October 2003 05:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Mel & Charlie are so not funny. I remember Helen Razer and Judith Lucy being good. Even Merrick & Rosso had their good moments of.

mentalist (mentalist), Friday, 31 October 2003 05:27 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm still wistful for early 90s JJJ, pre-national yoof network, MBV "Soon" in the 1990 (or was it '91) Top 100... The rot set in quick.

jwd, Friday, 31 October 2003 11:23 (seventeen years ago) link

i am nostalgic for sunday afternoon at the movies. it were all crap after they went 3j's

gaz (gaz), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:27 (seventeen years ago) link

jwd, comparing your post to old man gaz's, do you find that you harken back to the days of your youth when it comes to radio? Because for me they halcyon JJJ days were 1981-85, and things suddenly started to go rapidly downhill in 1986.

This is interesting to me right now, because as I listen to the new Sydney station fbi, it seems to be occupying the same kind of musical space as JJJ did before it went national.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:31 (seventeen years ago) link

except they don't have sunday afternoon at the movies! they don't have anything waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field do they???

gaz (gaz), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:34 (seventeen years ago) link

fbi, gaz?

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:35 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah. and aren't you supposed to be at a gig?

gaz (gaz), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:37 (seventeen years ago) link

It's a sad story matey. See chickenpox thread on ILE. We had to cancel. She caught it off my little girl - she thought she'd had it as a kid, but that turned out to be measles. Right now we should both be in the club, nervously sipping water, me checking the gear neurotically every 5 mins thru headphones. Instead I'm about to crawl into bed with her too. Such a shame, we were both looking forward to it. I think she's over the worst, we'll see.

fbi - maybe not as extreme, you could be right. There is the odd free range montage program late at night, a bit like 2mbs midnight-to-dawn. You have to pick your moment. I've heard an impressively broad range of music on some of the weekend programs - even tonight, I heard a full hour of aussie hiphop, funnily enough. That's something.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Friday, 31 October 2003 11:51 (seventeen years ago) link

i think the boy has the pox too.

but would fbi broadcast a live to air as crap, er i mean radical as the one you'n'i were involved in? me on one finger "these-these-these-th-th-th-these times" sample played on equipment blagged from you?

gaz (gaz), Friday, 31 October 2003 12:01 (seventeen years ago) link


> jwd, comparing your post to old man gaz's, do you find that you
> harken back to the days of your youth when it comes to radio?

perhaps, it could be that your youth is the period of growth in which you're the most susceptible to being vaguely impressed by something like a radio station. i don't know if i'd call early 90s JJJ the 'golden days' or halcyon days of radio per se, just of (the) JJ/J (that i had the chance to listen to, given i only started listening when i was 11/12, at school in sydney). but in any case, JJJ did seem slightly on the pulse of something interesting during the time i was listening: certainly was hearing a lot of sonic youth, butthole surfers, mbv, etc and that was a good solid education. there was a lot of dross as well.

mind you i have absolutely no nostalgia whatsoever for other parts of my listening youth (community radio when i moved to adelaide aged 15 was ultimately pretty dull and has remained so, the occasional show notwithstanding.)

> This is interesting to me right now, because as I listen to the new
> Sydney station fbi, it seems to be occupying the same kind of
> musical space as JJJ did before it went national.

in what respect?

jwd, Saturday, 1 November 2003 04:01 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, gaz actually doesn't agree with me there, but insofar as it plays lots of independent Aust stuff, plus also a broader range of material from OS, ie no set playlists; and that each DJ has their own, self-chosen set list.

It could be that JJJ has been drawing the strings around the DJ playlist increasingly tightly since about 1986. Back before then each jock could play whatever they liked, but I recall reading somewhere that the % of self-chosen stuff gradually diminished to zero over the next decade or so - which would explain that people who like musical variety per se have a sense that JJJ is getting more and more didactic and less and less venturesome with each passing year.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 1 November 2003 04:09 (seventeen years ago) link

The great thing about JJJ notwithstanding all the complaints (which i absolutely agree with) is that it plays all over Australia, to kids miles away from the cities where the other listening options are probably fairly limited. So even if it's less adventurous it is far moreso than whatever else they care to listen to. As well it fosters some sense of community and can break non-mainstream acts country wide.

mentalist (mentalist), Saturday, 1 November 2003 04:18 (seventeen years ago) link


colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 1 November 2003 04:39 (seventeen years ago) link

no set playlists; and that each DJ has their own, self-chosen set list.

not true. very restrictive playlists. i know a couple of people there and mostly they get to play a minimal number of tunes they select themselves. there are obvious "specialist" shows, but daytime, no way.

gaz (gaz), Saturday, 1 November 2003 06:25 (seventeen years ago) link

That's interesting, I didn't know that. I've only been listening briefly in the mornings, the evenings and all day in the background on weekends. The week mornings sound quite repetitive - so these are programmed are they? I just thought the DJS were unimaginative! The weekends sound like a general free-for-all and are much more interesting.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 1 November 2003 10:57 (seventeen years ago) link

the were gonna post the playlist on the website i think...

its the same old stupidity isn't it? hire someone who lives and loves music as a dj then tell them to play what you want them to play.

might as well hire comedians as djs. like jjj.

gaz (gaz), Saturday, 1 November 2003 11:02 (seventeen years ago) link

gaz, you're breaking my heart with your cruel realism.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 1 November 2003 11:21 (seventeen years ago) link

Playlists are the devil.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 1 November 2003 11:22 (seventeen years ago) link

i think existangst and his team are frauds and the work of the devil

colin barnet, Sunday, 2 November 2003 16:51 (seventeen years ago) link

I'd be a lot happier with JJJ if they didn't "unearth" the most despicably bland, predictable and unoriginal bands this country has to offer and stick them on high rotation. Less novelty songs and better announcers would be nice also, but I'll be sticking with RRR, PBS and 3LO for the forseeable future...

steve, Sunday, 2 November 2003 23:08 (seventeen years ago) link

They should be upping acts like Hermitude, which FBI do, rather than the next bland vaguely grunge act or Blink 182 clone.

mentalist (mentalist), Sunday, 2 November 2003 23:50 (seventeen years ago) link

I have no problem with them "unearthing" new bands, artists, etc., but if they're going to go to all that trouble they should be focussing on original, innovative, unusual or overlooked artists and genres rather than trying to find the next Grinspoon and Jebediah.

steve, Monday, 3 November 2003 00:36 (seventeen years ago) link

i'm probably biased because i know them, but Band Camp were one of the better bands they've unearthed.. admittedly they don't exactly break out of the mould in a big way though

the surface noise (electricsound), Monday, 3 November 2003 01:09 (seventeen years ago) link

colin barnet:

Why am i the work of the devil?

You give us too much credit to call the ramshackle bunch that happen to write on The Alternative, a team.

Tim Finney:

The entire point that i meant to get across was that JJJ need to do more then just replace limp bizkit with mogwai. Musical taste is entirely subjective. So is taste in musical presenters. It's foolish for JJJ to say "We will only play this certain type of music, and we will only hire this certain type of on air presenter." If that's their mission plan, it's a surefire quick way to find themselves totally irrelevant to everyone.

Rather they need to look at the big white canvas. And then work out how to paint the bigger picture. What do they want to achieve? What are taxpayers paying for that they can't get on the commercial radio alternatives? Which of these goals are self defeating? They need to have a long hard look at whether or not rating better, and promoting youth arts are mutually exclusive goals.

Thats all i meant by the Mogwai/Limp Bizkit dichotomy. To suggest that the 2 goals ARE mutually exclusive.

ExistAngst, Tuesday, 11 November 2003 15:42 (seventeen years ago) link

five years pass...

kingsmill interview. bizarre kanye/lil wayne binary in there. having said that, if alex lloyd's pr was hassling me i wouldn't play him either. (i'd probably shoot myself but that's another thread.)

"woah man, fl├╝gelhorn" (haitch), Wednesday, 5 August 2009 03:24 (eleven years ago) link

good interview. i've always liked his attitude and there's no question he's got a good head on his shoulders. doesn't make me much more interested in listening to the station these days tho

more posts that will never be released (electricsound), Wednesday, 5 August 2009 04:25 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah that is a great interview. I like his attitude - he's direct and forthright and doesn't let people go diva on his ass. He'd be a good boss to have.

My boss say I can't not do this (Trayce), Wednesday, 5 August 2009 04:57 (eleven years ago) link

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