OPINION: “Screw ‘em, Chrissie Swan. We’re with you all the way” – Bec.

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chrissieswan
Chrissie Swan.

 

 

 

 

 

By REBECCA SPARROW

Dumped. There’s no other word for it.

At 9 o’clock this morning I read online that Chrissie Swan has been ‘let go’ – or, you know, DUMPED – from her popular breakfast radio gig on MIX 101.1FM in Melbourne. Chrissie is being replaced by Matt Tilley.

Matt Tilley (I learnt from Google) is a Melbourne comedian.  From January he’s going to be doing breakfast with Jane Hall. Yes Jane Hall formerly of CHRISSIE AND JANE. (EDIT: Many readers have pointed out to me that Matt Tilley is a well-known and very successful Melbourne radio host. – Bec)

Oh and the 3pm Pick Up is up in the air too.

BANG!  Did you hear that?  That was the sound of my head exploding..

So what is all this about? Why the hell would you dump one of the most popular radio presenters in Australia? Well, it’s apparently all about ‘re-branding’ and ‘the best fit for the new direction’.

Here’s what a spokesperson for ARN had to say to us

“Against a very competitive backdrop, a brand new station is being created specifically for Melbourne, with Mix101.1 changing to KIIS 101.1 next year. As you can appreciate, it’s a very difficult process deciding on a new line-up. In this case there were a number of factors at play, many of which we can’t go into. We understand how popular Chrissie is and know first-hand why, however the new KIIS station is taking a new direction and Matt Tilley & Jane Hall are the best fit for this new direction. The 3PM Pick Up will continue in 2015 however the hosts have not yet been confirmed, we’ll let you know as soon as they are”

Okay, so in a nutshell:

Chrissie Swan, who is one of the most popular radio and TV talents in Australia, Chrissie Swan whose Q score (charting a person’s appeal with the public) is through the roof, Chrissie Swan who this year took the MIX radio network to number one for the first time in its history has been sacked from the Chrissie and Jane breakfast radio show she has hosted with Jane Hall since 2012.

Because?

Because MIX has decided that they have a better chance of winning the breakfast ratings with a male comedian and a female sidekick.

chrissie swan leaves radio

Matt and Jane – Mix’s new morning team.

Yes, I did just say SIDEKICK.  You see, I’m more than a little sceptical that  Jane Hall (who is hilarious and feisty and fabulous in her own right) won’t find herself relegated to the well worn “Ha Ha Girl” role from January 2015 onwards. I very much hope I’m wrong. I hope they have a true on-air, equal partnership.

But I’m really tired of  the fact the fallback position in radio is always:  “Oh shit, the ratings are down. Quick! Give the job to a bloke.”

Male radio partnerships are everywhere and have been for decades.  Martin and Molloy. Fitzy and Wippa. Gibson and Duckworth.  Merrick and Rosso. Ash, Kipp and Lutsy. Eddie McGuire and a gaggle of blokes on Triple M.  The Chaser boys. I could keep going. They are allowed time to establish. They ride out a few bad ratings.

But female radio partnerships aren’t given that luxury. For starters female radio partnerships are rare as hen’s teeth.

How rare?  Can you name me seven female commercial radio partnerships?

How about six? Five?

No, you can’t. There’s been Judith Lucy and Helen Razer on The Ladies Lounge in 1997, Judith Lucy and Kaz Cook with Foxy Ladies on the Austereo Network in 1998 and Sami Lukis and Yumi Stynes hosting breakfast on Mix in Sydney in 2013.

chrissie swan leaves radio

Sami and Yumi lasted just 12 months.

And Chrissie and Jane. So that makes four. Four female commercial radio partnerships in 17 years.  And only two of them were permitted to host the breakfast radio slot.

Please Lord, do not now mutter at your screen that this is because women on radio don’t rate well with listeners.

Because I’ll say, ‘Says who?’  FOUR female commercial radio partnerships in 17 years is hardly a big enough sample size to prove anything other than the fact that Australian radio is a giant boys’ club. Oh and did I mention the fact that CHRISSIE AND JANE WERE NUMBER ONE IN MAY?

Have we been brainwashed into believing that women aren’t funny and engaging on radio?   Well Wendy Harmer, Kitty Flanagan, Amanda Keller, Cal Wilson, Robin Bailey, Emily Jade O’Keeffe, Fifi Box, Kate Langbroek, Loretta Ryan, Laurel Edwards, Meshel Laurie, Em Rusciano, Monty Dimond and Chrissie Swan put paid to that.

chrissie swan leaves radio

 

Chrissie and Jane.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not friends with Chrissie Swan. I am. I’ve known, Chrissie for a decade or more. I count her as one of my dearest friends. She is in real life EXACTLY how she is on radio: warm, hilarious, unexpected, engaging, loyal and bloody real.  She has the X factor.

Listeners love Chrissie because she has IT.

Here she is demonstrating her IT factor (Post continues after video)

http://youtu.be/KQ6tw-tEZD8

That thing that makes you lean forward when she’s on TV.

That thing that makes you sit in your car in the garage and keep listening to her tell an anecdote even though you should be heading inside.

She doesn’t speak in polished sound bites, she’s a loose cannon who you know is going to say what she thinks and is willing to take a conversation in a direction you never expected. She’s the woman every woman I know would love to have at their next dinner party.

That’s why I love her.

That’s why I’m a fan as well as a friend.

She’s bloody good talent.

All I can hope is that another radio or TV network is smart enough to snap her up.

I wish the new show had been “Chrissie, Jane and Matt”.  I wish we weren’t seeing the end of a terrific female duo.

In my opinion, letting go of Chrissie Swan from radio is utter madness. MADNESS.

And I, for one, intend to follow her wherever she goes next.

Will you miss hearing Chrissie on MIX?

CLICK THROUGH a gallery of the fan reaction to the news that Chrissie is leaving Mix101 from Twitter and Mamamia.

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