On Friday, Australia’s favourite radio show came to an end the way we all knew it would – with Guy Sebastian singing Coconut Love, Vance Joy leading Cool Boys and the Front Man in a rendition of We are the Champions, and Peking Duk as their supporting act to an audience of 6000 at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena.
It was an event that truly marked the end of an era.
Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have been on radio since 2003, and in the years since have become one of the highest-rating radio series in Australian history. The podcast version of their show is currently downloaded more than one million times every week.
In a climate where maintaining a stable role in radio is harder than ever, Hamish and Andy have established a cult following. Their listeners are acutely aware of Andy’s birthday (and how he’s a bit of a diva about celebrating it), Cacklin’ Jack’s momentary penchant for memes, and of course, the smart-casual (and incidentally bestselling) fragrance for men, Andy by Hamish.
Listen: Clare Stephens gushes over Hamish and Andy’s TV show, True Story. Post continues after audio.
For their last week in radio, podcast Game Changers recorded a special episode about the story behind Hamish and Andy. And while their success is usually attributed to their unique brand of humour, genuine friendship, and commitment to generally being ridiculous, the interview with Craig Bruce makes clear that this is far from the full story.
It all started at Melbourne University. “I went to uni and I met Andy at uni, first year uni… we became very close buddies,” says Hamish. Andy says he recalls “Hamish saying to me, ‘I’ve heard a lot about you,’ and I said, ‘really?’ and he said, ‘nup’.”
It was when the two friends went on a road trip to the top of Australia (Andy bet Hamish his car couldn’t make it… so obviously they had to try), that they realised how much fun they had together. They turned the story into a piece for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the idea of going on an adventure just to see how it will turn out has been a staple of their careers in entertainment ever since.
In Game Changers, Hamish and Andy refer to three main facets that contributed to their success.
Good habits from the beginning – especially with each other.
Andy says that from the beginning, he and Hamish had an attitude of genuinely wanting to improve as on-air talent, and being particularly open to feedback.
“I loved the airchecks,” he says, referring to recordings used by talent for the purpose of evaluation. “I think most people in radio would spew at the thought of that… but I just wanted to know how do [the bosses] think we could improve.”