Kyle Sandilands slams SCA: ‘Couldn’t get a root in a brothel’

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O with ARN's CEO Ciaran Davis and CCO Duncan Campbell.

Kyle Sandilands has savaged his former employer Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) for its poor programming decisions, axing its regional Breakfast shows and top-heavy structure.

The organisation, he said, “couldn’t get a root in a brothel with a wheelbarrow full of money”.

Sandilands, now at rival Australian Radio Network (ARN), was talking to James Manning on the Mediaweek Podcast, and covered everything from his business operations to his contract negotiations, as well as 2DayFM’s chances of success with its new Breakfast show. There was even an impersonation of ARN CEO Ciaran Davis.

Sandilands and co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson defected to ARN’s KIIS at the end of 2013, taking their FM-topping show with them.

And while Sandilands says he’s buried the hatchet with most former media rivals – including Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes who will be the latest personality to give the struggling 2Day Breakfast spot a go – it seems he hasn’t forgiven SCA management.

“You know what the problem is over at SCA? They’re so thick with hiring management, that they’ve got no idea what they’re doing,” he said.

“I really think they did put the hatchet through future radio people coming up,” he said of the decision to cancel 19 regional shows in favour of syndicated state-based offerings.

“They wanted to be the biggest, biggest network, and they’ve just fucked everyone over. And they can’t even run their capital city stations. They should all leave with their head held in shame.”

He said regional and rural radio was essential for the future viability of the industry, particularly as that’s where up-and-coming talent can learn and have room to make mistakes.

Despite his strong opinions on what SCA has done, and is doing, wrong, he said radio is simple, and you don’t need to overthink it.

“You know what the secret to great radio is? Putting people that are great at doing radio on the radio. That’s it,” he said.

“You don’t need the world’s best comedian, you don’t need some chick off The Bachelorette. It doesn’t really translate. It doesn’t work.”

He pointed to ARN’s Christian O’Connell who fronts GOLD 104.3’s Breakfast program in Melbourne, as well as Nick Cody, who will soon join Fox FM Breakfast in the same city, as good radio operators.

“Radio programmers must think ‘Let’s not do the easiest thing. Let’s do the hardest, weirdest, whackest thing and see if it works’. It’s not hard to do this. It’s very simple stuff. Radio’s not hard,” he said.

“It’s hard when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

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Dale
10 Dec 2020 - 12:37 pm

Takes one to know one. Kyle couldn’t get a root in a brothel with a wheelbarrow of money either.

Niko
10 Dec 2020 - 12:47 pm

Nailed it!

Just big enough to fail?
10 Dec 2020 - 1:52 pm

Couldn’t agree more. And they’re all popping up at Grant Broadcasters.

I guess the golden age of radio is over for a minute.

SCA Employee
10 Dec 2020 - 1:57 pm

Kyle is…

100%

Right.

Terry
10 Dec 2020 - 2:36 pm

Kyle came from regional radio – he knows what he is talking about. SCA management should take notice of what he says when it comes to regionals..

One of those ex hosts...
10 Dec 2020 - 2:44 pm

Spot on.

Now they still won’t give us a go in any content position in a metro station. Why did we even bother giving up our lives to go out there and give it our all in the first place?!

Janeen Hosemans
10 Dec 2020 - 2:55 pm

Amen! Meanwhile those of us at SRN and still loving our local programming.

Pete Taylor
10 Dec 2020 - 3:08 pm

Can I give Kyle the biggest A-FUCKING-MEN?! Radio rolled over and let the threat of music streaming services fuck them up the arse sideways by running scared and hiring any 2-bit “comedian” or reality tv “star” to waffle absolute BULLSHIT in key shifts, instead of facing the challenge head-on and sinking $$$ into training, professional development and mentoring of RADIO talent! Kyle’s been in the biz – and top of the game – for DECADES, yet they listen to fuckwit bean-counters, consultants and other “I’m gonna fuck you over for every dollar you’ve got” leeches!

And Brad Smart’s wondering why community radio is rising? IT’s not fucking ROCKET SCIENCE, knucklehead!

Warren Buffett
10 Dec 2020 - 3:32 pm

Kyle is 100% correct.

SCA is the most top heavy network when it comes to management. Look at programming: there’s a Group CD, A Triple M Group CD, a Hit Network Group CD, Group Music Director for Hit, Group Music Director for Triple M, station CD’s, Assistant CD’s.

And they all get paid a very handsome salary.

Would I buy shares in SCA with this obscene management structure?

Not in a million years.

Greg Marks
10 Dec 2020 - 3:35 pm

Oh my God!! I hate Kyle. But …… I can not argue with anything he said in this article.
I can’t believe that I’m actually agreeing with Kyle Sandilands.
The man is actually right. Who’d have thought!!!
I have just shocked myself – something to like about Kyle – amazing.

Former SCA Fan
10 Dec 2020 - 3:56 pm

As a very recent SCA metro staffer, he’s right. Regionally, metro, it’s all gone to steaming piles of sh*t! It feels like management have had no clear direction or path for quite some years now. They lack consistency, they lack solid tactics, they lack a solid music and programming strategy, they lack a pool of good talent…well they once had this, but they keep firing them / letting them be poached by other networks. Has long felt like there’s not only too many cooks in the kitchen, but all the cooks are sous chefs – no head chefs with clarity, purpose and consistency. None of this is said with bitterness, by the way. I was a lucky escapee rather than pushee. But it’s said with sadness, for what, was once, a decent network to work for. Money is the bottom line and gone are the days of “content is king”. These “state of the art studios” are sadly (and rapidly) turning into “state of the art sales offices”.

Mick C
10 Dec 2020 - 4:08 pm

If your so great K L

Why dont you take yourself of radio for a change and you try to run a radio network.

You wouldnt have a clue on how to run a radio station

thewilfer
10 Dec 2020 - 9:42 pm

@Mick C:

You wouldn’t happen to be an executive, accountant/bean counter, employed in management or a programming director/content director that is employed by SCA right ?

AC
10 Dec 2020 - 11:35 pm

They have killed almost all stations they took over. For example Newcastle’s 106.9 NXFM, now hit1069. I worked there prior to SCA taking it and they destroyed a once great station in record time. Kyle is right, radio is easy, it doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. They need to go back to the basics.

William Bassett
11 Dec 2020 - 12:17 am

I can’t believe how sensible Sandiland’s here.

Rob
11 Dec 2020 - 12:19 am

I have said this for 25 years.

A fish rots from the head down
11 Dec 2020 - 11:51 am

Hear, Hear!

And to hell with the Save our voices propaganda campaign for more mergers.

Break up SCA, sell the lot.

Shareholders should vote to sack SCA management, sell the assets, pay back the debt and let radio get back to being radio.

Hopefully Capital Radio, Grants and local business consortiums that can actually manage a business and run radio stations will buy up the regional licences.

The high level of corporate propaganda coming out of SCA is proof that they know they’re screwed!

Andy Grace
11 Dec 2020 - 2:05 pm

Sure, what Kyle says is right from a programming perspective, but it’s a long way off from a business perspective. Radio isn’t or wasn’t hard, but to turn any sort of profit is, and it will continue to get harder as every year goes by.

But I find all this a little disingenuous. Kyle is the product of the system he criticises. Without the huge investment by SCA into getting him (and let’s face it, Ugly Phil) syndicated across many stations he couldn’t have earned the cash he did, as each extra outlet amortised his growing pay packet.

Secondly if he wasn’t earning what he is/was, and that goes for other expensive brekky talent, then there would be more funds to pay other people, but all that is secondary to the key point.

In reality the industry is all but over. Not the entertainment industry, but the *commercial* broadcast industry because “broadcasting” doesn’t fit with the way people want to get their content anymore. Not all people of course – those over 50 especially – oldies and talk are more ‘locked in’ at least for now. The ABC being publicly funded is always going to serve regionals and their own specialist audiences, but commercial media has an ever growing problem.

Scarcity drives up the value of advertising and that has been the broadcast business model since day one. The more people you have tuning into a single voice, the more you can charge to be associated with that voice.

Now the entire model has been turned on its head by Google, Facebook and plenty of others.
Their aim is to aggregate as many channels as they possibly can – 10 viewers, 1000 viewers, 100,000 viewers – it doesn’t matter because you aren’t paying anything at all to produce that content; the punters do it for you. That kind of scale is the new driver of revenue, but it also drives down the value of the content. Sure Google or FB throw the content makers a bone or two if they are moderately successful but there is no downside risk for them.

Paying people big dollars to make quality content is always risky, and it is especially risky when trying to bed in new talent.

Single voices eventually have to get drowned out by the massive volume of content coming from the likes of YouTube or the infinitely many channels of the streaming services.

Content creators will eventually fall in line with the new model because they can take a bigger slice of any potential revenue and the broadcast revenue they are getting now will get tougher to write. Completely national networking means there are no more outlets to amortise salary increases and there is now almost nothing left to cut.

 It’s an incredibly tough call for stations … it feels like we’re at a criticality right now.

@A fish rots from the head down 11 Dec 2020 - 11:51 am
11 Dec 2020 - 4:38 pm

Absolutely, the save our voices campaign is ridiculous, the comments made by Grant Blackley about regional radio being in a dire situation in 5 years were reckless and to be frank an insult to the 160 odd stations he doesn’t own.

It seems the propaganda coming from the business is all about deflecting from a failed strategy.

The Save Our Voices campaign is all about getting the government to change the rules because they don’t like the game.

The Boomtown campaign is all about getting other regional providers to subsidise the SCA marketing budget.

But it’s all okay, they can “see green shoots” they are “feeling confident” and now, all of our clients can get QANTAS frequent flyer points with every dollar they spend on the SCA network.

Surprise SCA, you might be the biggest, but you are far from the thought leaders in our industry.

Simon
11 Dec 2020 - 4:42 pm

Mindless pile-ons get boring very quickly until someone like Andy Grace comes along to shed some much needed light onto the issue. Thank you good sir for providing one of the most rational, thoughtful, and calm comment I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading on Radio Today.

AJMELBOURNE
11 Dec 2020 - 5:58 pm

@AndyGrace

Hi Andy Grace thank you for commenting you know who I am Lol Lol….. you are a radio God, you are a legend of the Australian radio industry you are so genuine + you are one the kindest human beings in this world

& I love reading your comments always because you know what you’re talking about ( most of the time )

Mick C
31 Dec 2020 - 2:28 pm

Time to keep your mouth shut K L.

And time you and your side kick J O

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