celebrity

Please let our favourite radio and TV presenters say good bye. Please...?

*Sam spoke to Mamamia on the condition that her identity would be kept anonymous. Sam is not her real name.

It’s been a tough few weeks to be a radio and television presenter. The immediate axing of three shows by broadcasters, has listeners wondering why, with hosts blind-sighted unable to say goodbye to their audiences.

The brutal cuts started with Gold FM axing Jo and Lehmo, despite their ratings win, with Hughesy and Kate, and Matt and Meshel from KIIS FM performing their last shows too, just a week before their scheduled departure on December 8th.

However, this ‘abrupt end’ isn’t out of character for those in television and radio. Just days after the sack, Lehmo told The SMH that “everyone gets fired in radio, it comes with the territory,” and it’s a fate that’s been met by many others – Judith Lucy, Pete Helliar, Kaz Cooke and Kerri-Anne Kennerley to name a few.

But, when Mamamia spoke to Sam*, an industry expert with nearly two decades of experience in television and radio, she called it an antiquated view by broadcasters.

“If a performer is pissed off about getting the sack, giving them unfettered access to your radio airwaves for x number of weeks after they’ve finished opens the station up to what they feel, is too much risk,” she said.

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“There is a sense that if they’ve got the platform they’ll be able to make digs at the station or the music, purposefully have a bad show, or speak ill of the boss.”

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However, while this practice might “come with the territory,” it’s not just limited to TV and radio stations, says media and entertainment lawyer Michael Easton. He says, just like any business in the end it’s “all about risk management”.

“There are plenty of businesses where someone is terminated and has to leave the building immediately, without being allowed to go back to their desks, and say goodbye to their co-workers.

“It’s not even restricted to cases where there’s been a controversial termination, but this can be a particularly tricky period especially if someone feels aggrieved,” he says.

But, considering it’s part of the presenter’s job to create a bond with the audience, especially in radio where audiences tune in during their drive to work, or school pick up day after day, it’s unfortunate that this ‘disruption to listeners and viewers,’ is debunked for potential bad press.

Again, while Easton says it’s all a matter of minimising risk, Sam disagrees.

She says it’s “radio bosses not wanting to deal with managing people in an office who’ve been fired”.

“They’d rather they were out the door.”

Considering the fact the Australian media industry is quite insular, with a lot of movement between stations and channels, Sam says that most presenters are aware of how unprofessional that would be, and says it’s “offensive” for management to think otherwise.

“It makes out like you’re incapable of being professional after being fired,” she says. “If a performer does that, they’re basically saying to other radio stations “don’t hire me because this is how I behave when I’m pissed off” and most radio performers want to work again so they wouldn’t be so stupid to do that.”

However, when the termination papers have been lodged, the desks cleaned, despite the unceremonious sacking, most find opportunities elsewhere, Pete Helliar is still a recognised household name, same with Wil Anderson, Meshel Laurie just released a book, and Hughesy and Kate are already booked for the drive slot on the Hit Network.

And, if all else fails, presenters can go on social media to say goodbye and get their final say.

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