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It seems to be quite the trend now to get onto this site and write about what it is thats pissing you off at the moment. Always one to go with the flow, I have written my own angry rant....

....The Trouble With Triple J

Triple J is having a few problems. An identity crisis of sorts. Long time music director Arnold Frolows was only just recently pushed from his job as Triple J Music Director, ratings in every national capital continue to slip, important people in the ABC are getting antsy, network manager Ed Breslin is looking like he will be fired and all this while the station is trying to launch a brand new marketing campaign to co-incide with their all new bad ass radio attitude.

Oh dear.

I'm sure you've seen the campaign i'm talking about. It's been in the street presses, on posters, on the radio and in your face. Basically it's Triple J being a cunt. Which may seem strange coming from a station that is the youth wing of ABC Radio. The ABC are after all, famous for a number of things, but player hating their competition isn't one of them. But thats what it amounts to. The new marketing campaign from the j's is all about saying "Anyone that listens to Triple J is right. Anyone that doesn't is wrong and deserves your scorn and/or abuse." A small example of what I am talking about is in this poster.

So perhaps the ABC have decided that this brash new attitude is necessary for attracting trendy young things over to the J's.

I have a number of problems with this. (well DUH! As if I ever bother to write about people or things i'm not angry with).

The first problem I have is with the new idea that Triple J have to be in your face and abrasive in order to appeal to todays youngsters.

I always thought that the purpose of Triple J was to encourage young people into the arts. Both to apreciate and participate in the arts. Triple J should be fostering the arts in this country, not turning this generation into one of artistically and intellectually inert retards wearing their durstish red baseball caps and slinging abuse at anyone that doesnt agree with their skewed "angry teenager" perspective of the world.

Jesus! Why would we spend public money on producing MORE annoying idiots then we have already have? Private money invested into commercial radio does a fine job of that already.

Which brings me to my second gripe. Why are Triple J chasing ratings at all? I mean aside from the fact that they are trying to attract and encourage the wrong sort of people, they really shouldn't be trying to attract people at all. If the ABC are spending their money on chasing ratings then how does that make them any different to the commercial approach of Nova or the Austereo Network? How do they reconcile this grab for ratings with their raison d'etre of fostering Australian arts? I mean the 2 aims arent mutually exclusive, but boy howdy they are in some mighty fine conflict. You can't have a radio station that is going to say "We want to have as many people as possible listening to our all new mix of pop-rap, pop-metal, pop-punk and pop-pop, but we also want to encourage todays young people to appreciate music."

The two aims defeat one another. Spinning the lattest Limp Bizkit track improves the chances of attracting hoards of angry young teenagers to Triple J but damages the chances that Triple J might actually develop a reputation as a "Youth Arts" station. Spinning the latest Mogwai track does the reverse.

So it really has to be one or the other. Triple J need to decide on either a slavish pursuit of ratings or a total indifference to the ratings and a steady pursuit of a set of goals that perhaps can't readily be measured. But it must be one or the other. And if it should be the former, if Triple J should decide that its time to go all out in its pursuit of ratings and for all intents and purposes, behave like a commercial radio station, then why doesn't it atleast run some advertising so that its pursuit of ratings is actually worth something. Something more then the grace of the old men who decide whether Triple J lives or dies. Of course if Triple J were ever to run advertising, the Government would see this as their opportunity to slash funding, rather then seeing it as a windfall that should be invested back into the Australian music industry.

I mean.... the very reason that the commercial radio stations chase ratings is so they can charge more and more for the advertisements they play between songs. So why then are Triple J chasing ratings? They have no advertisements and therefore nobody who should really care how many people are listening.

It's as if the ABC Heirchachy and the Federal Communications Minister that put them there have totally forgotten why we bother to have publicly funded services at all. It's so that Public service providers are not obliged to behave like private companies. The tax payer funds the ABC because they want a radio and tv network that DOESN'T behave like a private network. They want a network that meets the humble demand for special niche services. Youth Arts for instance.

I'm not here to rant about the state of commercial radio in this nation. Really i'm not. I know that commercial radio stations have an obligation to make money for their investors. They play the music they do because thats what gets the masses of kiddies tuned in. And that in turn is what makes them money.

They don't have the luxury of government funding. So they have to run advertising and they have to stay friendly with the big money record labels that will dictate the contents of the commercial radio playlist. That's the music business for you.

Rather my gripe is with Triple J. They should quit caring about how many people are listening. They should just do what they do and let the dice fall where they may. At the very least they should run some advertising so their efforts chasing ratings are worth something tangible. But whatever they do, they should remember that they hold influence today with the culture of tommorow. They can spend some money on it today, and watch it flourish tommorow or they can close up the purse strings tight and watch it go the same way as everything else. I include these mp3s as an example of the good work that Triple J do. Both these bands were 'unearthed' by Triple J in 2003.
Posted by ExistAngst at 02:08 AM October 29, 2003


Comment posted by: smak at October 29, 2003 07:42 AM

yeah something is definitely rotten in the state of jjj.

whilst I would agree with the thrust of your argument, I would also suggest that the present move towards 'Ironic' appreciation of bad music is perhaps the most troubling occurrence.

The two best examples are Spod and Har Mar Superstar. Their airplay affords miff warhurst or some other giggling ponce the opportunity to make some comment "Oh Spod.... he's so very bad, but such a guilty pleasure!"

If I want derivative, meaningless music, I have austereo. Har Mar Superstar's latest single is indstinguishable from Justin Timberlake, who is now such a caricature even kids avoid him.

Meanwhile, JJJ's criminal disregard for Elbow's A Cast of Thousands, and The Shin's Chutes Too Narrow demonstrate a distinct movement away from music which is essential and creative. For what cost the pleasure of Ironic headbanging?

Comment posted by: bolo at October 29, 2003 09:35 AM

Boy bands?
Do they even exist any more?

It's a split, is what it is.
The job JJJ was doing got too big for one station, and now half the audience has left to look for the new JJJ.
The people listening to the station at the moment love the station, and it's doing something for them the commercial scene probably wouldn't do, so they need it and yearn for it... They've been clinging on for years and now they finally own the thing.
The JJJ kids got what the JJJ kids wanted and this is it... (The kids aren't too bright)

But now we've got the refugees from the other triple J floating around in the wreckage.
So where do we go?
I feel like I'm critiscing the way JJJ waves it's arms around in it's death throes.

Comment posted by: John Citizen at October 29, 2003 06:34 PM

No-one gets fired at the ABC.

Comment posted by: mathieson at October 29, 2003 08:15 PM

Not to stick up for Triple J, but bolo, Chutes Too Narrow is their current feature album! What more do you want?

Comment posted by: Our name is mud. at October 29, 2003 09:04 PM

I think you should cut jjj a bit of slack. for me jjj reminds me a bit of the big day out, some huge headliner acts with some really good indie stuff around the edges. when i first started listening to triple j, back in about 95, my knowledge of anything indy/alternative was next to nothing. if i had of went straight from the fox to triple j without some of the more pop-punk/pop-punk tracks i would have immediatly turned away. after some time, it was the pop kind of stuff i hated and the strange stuff i really liked. i mean i hate limp bizkit and all that crap, but i put up with it because i know its what the kids need to hear to get kind of trapped and exposed to new stuff.

Comment posted by: John Barton at October 29, 2003 10:25 PM

this post is worse than that post on kods

this site is going to shit

Comment posted by: at October 30, 2003 12:05 AM

You're being a fucking tard with that shit you wrote Angsty. There is nothing wrong with Triple J. I have been listening to the J's since it came to Canberra back in 1990 and it's improved if anything. The only bad thing is that they play Downsyde and Hilltop Hoods, but big props for playing Oz Music. They are STILL the only place that plays new Australian music and they are in fact the saviour of the Aussie independent music scene. People should stop being sheep for criticising the only radio station worth listening to, and for recycling the ridiculous Rolling Stone article of a few months back.

Comment posted by: thirtysix at October 30, 2003 07:35 AM

Well I reckon they should just sell it to a commercial network and start again. Triple J was cool as hell when it first started... these days it looks, smells and behaves like a commercial network.

Sell it off, make a packet, and start again.

Either that or help FBI go national...

But then again, I'm biased, I only listen to community radio these days. I hate high rotation, but that's me.

Comment posted by: squigs at October 30, 2003 07:43 AM

The beautiful thing about music is that is creates such debate! Triple J is something that creates more than anything, and why? Everyone has their own tastes, and believes that they have the answer to make it beeter. On one hand, they don't play enough Australian music, on the other they are bad because they are playing Downside...go figure!!!
Triple J are great for the industry, they have come on massively with their new and improved play-list. Kingsmill is doing an awesome Job, and already they are going back to a better mix of independant and music delivered by multi-nationals. The perfetc example is the 2 album of the weeks this week, The Shins, and The Bronx.....where else would these records get the exposre that they have. (By the way that Bronx record is my tip for Rock album of the year).

Personally their biggest problem is there announcers. Mel and Charlie, try a little too hard to be funny, and Myf, well love her, but that giggle and the shit quiz....just not good radio. Lets get back to more interviews, more live studio performances....this is how JJJ made their name.

As a whole I am listening, and will continue to listen....they open my eyes to new music, while keeping me up to speed with previous trends.

Comment posted by: tommy at October 30, 2003 07:52 AM

At 34 years old I don't listen to JJJ as much as I used to and I think that's for a number of reasons. Firstly, I'm not in the demographic. It's a youth network and as much as I try and cling to it I'm no longer a youth and secondly, I have different requirements from radio nowadays as I am more politically aware and the youth issues aren't as relevant to me as they were years ago.
I have friends the same age and older who agree with these sentiments and consequently only tune in on occasion. I mean The King is still The King.
HOWEVER! We also agree on the fact that while the music has had it's low period and is now vastly improved the on-air 'talent' is not. What is it with radio, the commercial sector wholly included, that they feel the necessity for presenters to be funny? It must be pretty difficult for the most talented of comedians to be funny 5-6 days a week and in my humble opinion the JJJ 'comedians' are not that talented or funny very often. I don't blame the announcers they are doing what programmiing is dictating, they are just doing their job. Get over the comedy thing! Talk about issues, talk about music and if you don't have anything vaguely interesting or relevant to say, just play another kick-ass song. Come on JJJ get away from the banale, pointless commercial radio jock who fills the gaps between the songs with crap. I feel I can speak with some authority about pointless, banale radio jocks as I used to be one.
Phew. I feel better now.

Comment posted by: Simon Cole at October 30, 2003 08:47 AM

TripleJ play shit music? Big shock. They also play a lot of wicked music like Little Birdy, Whirlwind Heat and The Beautiful Girls. They've always played some shit music. The commercial shit that is on their is the stuff that has helped me to get people to listen to it and as they listen to it they realise that stuff is shit and there's a whole world of music they can expose themselves to.

I mean I hate Rosie "so... can I play you a song?" Beaton as much as the next person. And sure ratings shouldn't be important to them, but the more people that listen the more exposure these bands get. Regardless of whatever else is going on they still support the little guy and I think that's what's important.


Comment posted by: Bugsy at October 30, 2003 10:59 AM

Hey, some of the jockeys may suck, but Adam Spencer is awesome.

Also, I don't know how many of you get (the highly commerical "rock" station) Triple M, but the JJJ announcers are 10x better than theirs.

I haven't noticed JJJ getting worse in the last few years, other than perhaps playing more dancey stuff...but maybe that's just where the alt music scene is going.

Comment posted by: Gav at October 30, 2003 12:51 PM

Its not my intention to beat up on JJJ. Really it's not. I love JJJ. It does alot of really important stuff and i listen to it all the time.

It's not where they are at right now that concerns me. It's where i think they intend on going that prompts me to write my little rant.

The ABC should not be concerning themselves with ratings. Their whole reason for being becomes indistinguishable from that of the commercial radio giants when they start pursuing ratings.

And when you fuck with the foundation like that, the whole edifice will come crumbling down. All that will be left is crappy commercial rubble.

Today its merely a marketing compaign styled apon the commercial radio approach. What tommorow?

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at October 30, 2003 02:21 PM

BORING: this is an age old argument. Did anyone consider that perhaps its just the listenership that is getting crap, not the music? The jjj audience do too much bitching and moaning. That ye olde search for authenticity is going to turn you all inside out. None of you have any more legitimate complaint than the next.

Comment posted by: calire at October 30, 2003 03:54 PM

Calire, I'm not sure what you mean by writing the word "Boring" followed by a colon. That the contents of your comment is boring?

Let me cut out the static and clarify my main issue. Everything else is peripheral to this:

JJJ are currently very concerned about their poor ratings. Consequently they have spent quite a bit of money on a flashy marketing campaign. Is this right or wrong? Is it ok for JJJ to 'aim' for a certain level of ratings? Or should they ignore the ratings altogether and rather concentrate on looking after Youth Arts in Australia?

Any comment that doesnt make some effort at answering this question gets deleted from now on.

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at October 30, 2003 04:45 PM

I agree with all your comments, but I think it's been this way for a long time. I think the new marketing campaign is indicative of the downhill slide that Triple J has been for a long time. I tuned out from triple J about 5 years ago (when a new local community radio station started up) but I still listen to it occasionally, but the music they play is just so... Mainstream. People listen to it thinking that they're being 'alternative' but now the shit you hear on Triple J is the same as the shit you buy in Sanity!
Triple J needs to go back to its roots, forget about ratings, forget about trying to be cool, and just play cool independent music.

Comment posted by: Forum Joe at October 30, 2003 06:38 PM

JJJ have had to do some advertising because their ratings are going down at enormous rates - first with the introduction of nova everywhere nicking presenters (Merrick & Rosso - Sydney) and playlists. But now in Sydney their biggest market there is the introduction of FBi which could seriously drop their listenership. Ive come back from nova (as soon as the ads came on =)) and FBi are still pretty amature (but they play some wicked long stints without presenters or stops in music).

The j's need marketing to keep its listeners - and attract new ones - but you're right maybe the best marketing it could have done would have been to continue to do more unearths instead at the grass roots level.

Comment posted by: dexter at October 30, 2003 06:43 PM

I see what you mean Angst.

However I have to point out to people that popularity doesn't mean a band suddenly become shit. Anyone who dislikes music that "you can buy in Sanity" simply because you can buy it in Sanity (read "mainstream") are just as bad as the people you are attacking. Of course TripleJ are going to play mainstream music. They're trying to cater to their listeners (note the plural) not every righteous alternative prat that thinks being on a major label is "selling out".

And just to curb arguments that I'm some "righteous mainstream prat" I'd like to point out that I think Sanity is the devil and I can never find CD's I want anywhere out of JB's.


Comment posted by: Bugsy at October 30, 2003 08:52 PM

I wrote out this huge long thing on all of the perpheral stuff you know.. I dont wish to preach so if youre interested in what i had to say before i woke up to the question go here:

To be to the point i dont think its wrong for triple J to advertise. Word of mouth is great but i think the whole playstation campaign would have been a bit of a flop if everyone had just went around saying "Hey there's a couple of great games on this grey box.. you should get one mate!"
It makes sense to advertise, the government does enough afterall and i for one would prefer a triple J add interupting my breakfast infront of the telly rather than some boring dude telling me how much he is going to do for me today and not do tomorrow!!

Now some of the advertisements themselves... nothing but shocking. Thats all i can say.
Reconcilliation is fine, I say sorry when i make a mistake.. I think they should do the same.

They have obviously made some mistakes both in human resources and in opening their mouths. Lets just hope that like some of us they learn from these mistakes and that next year is a better year for our old friend JJJ.


PS by the way guys lets not forget that maybe ratings are dropping because unfortunately they do play bad music at times, and if you guys like a song that may sound bad to a mainstream listener, some advertising and the addition of one or two more popular songs may bump up ratings just long enough for the government to decide that JJJ is still relevant. The world is changing and there's no use fighting it. Embrace it for what it is, not what you want it to be, just like when another looks at you in the street.

All comments welcome.

Comment posted by: Mike Roberts at October 30, 2003 09:22 PM

wow, finally a civilised argument in the comments page. It's about time! If so many people are visiting this site and talking sensibly for a change, why aren't they leaving constructive comments on other posts about music most of us have never heard of?
Even if its a "yeh, i liked it" or "nah i hated it" at least the writer knows people are reading her or his posts and can identify wether you, the readers want a 4 page essay about some pub band from sydney or you just want to take the mp3 and run. It's your site as much as the writers.

Comment posted by: random guy at October 30, 2003 10:26 PM

stinky bum bum poo poo weeeeeeeee

Comment posted by: karode at October 31, 2003 07:26 PM

I think the problem is that the advertising campaign doesn't really fit in with the music JJJ plays. Even goddamn Nova pay out boy bands these days. If JJJ want to differentiate themselves from the mainstream, they should stop using marketing tactics favoured by mainstream radio stations.

And incidentally, the music they play today shits all over the stuff they played in 1997.

Comment posted by: secretpint at October 31, 2003 08:56 PM

I'm sure people are getting sick of me posting now but I'm sick of these bullshit mainstream finger-pointing arguements. Yes I hate the mainstream but I can't understand why something has to be mainstream or not mainstream. Can't it be mainstream and yet not hold mainstream ideals? Bands can't help it if they popular for fucks sake. It doesn't mean they've sold out. Wake up.

And from your comment secretpint apparently even doing something that a mainstream station does makes TripleJ mainstream. Oh My God! They play music and so does B105! They must be mainstream. It's gone well beyond a joke. I think Angst's article had a lot of good points and I agree with a lot of it. But in Brissy you've got TripleJ or ZZZ and ZZZ don't play enough decent music nor can they afford to give Aussie bands the exposure a lot of them deserve. Be grateful for what you've got not what you want.

Comment posted by: Bugsy at November 1, 2003 02:35 PM

Angst - congrats on writing one of the most replied to posts I can remember...

What do people think will happen to funding for The J's if its ratings continue to decline? We already know what the government would like to do to Aunty - and fair enough, public broadcasting diverts a lot of cash away from more important governmental programs, such as protecting us from dangerous boat-people-terrorists (I've seen photos, and some of them are Arabs!).

Perhaps the growing culture of commercialism at the station is a neccessary act of self-preservation?

Comment posted by: dearMorris at November 1, 2003 08:46 PM

Good debate, but of course, only I am right :)
If ever there was a topic that was sure to fire up some people, it was a debate about my beloved JJJ.

Comment posted by: thirtysix at November 2, 2003 09:35 AM

yeah, you are quite right angsty. FUCK TRIPLE J, they sold out long ago. FUCK THEM I SAY. dont play my songs eh? fuck you i say. you sold out whore bastards

Comment posted by: suresh at November 2, 2003 01:34 PM

JJJ was set up to cater for a certain audience which the market didnt provide for. But the market is increasingly providing for this audience, with more commercial-alternative stations. Even 92.9 and Triple M and the like have adjusted their playlists: I've heard The Strokes, The White Stripes, Jet and a half dozen other 'alternative' bands played on commercial radio in the last year (and I virtually never listen to radio period). Sure, they arent particularly obscure bands, but I bet you wouldnt have heard anything even vaguely similar on commercial radio just a few years ago...

The ballancing act that you claim JJJ is trying to play is the a sign of its increasing irrelevance. Moderate, accesable alternative music is being co-opted by commercial radio. More obscure, inaccesable stuff is readily available over the interweb. JJJ is left without a market or reason to exist.

To be honest, the government no longer needs to fund a radio station with the goal of 'fostering Australian arts'. Australian arts are under no threat of decline whatsoever.

Comment posted by: Alarmed at November 2, 2003 11:44 PM

And yes, the new ad campaign sucks harder than a Saigon whore.

Comment posted by: Alarmed at November 3, 2003 12:10 AM

Alarmed makes a good point.

But i think it is partly to the credit of JJJ that these psuedo indie upstarts like nova have done do well in the last year.

When JJJ were rating better their competition in the "15 to 21, Alternative teenager" market was..... well there was no competition in that demographic back then.

Triple J have done ALOT to make Australian and Alternative music more popular amongst young people, and that in turn has been the impetus for new players like Nova to get a little bit indie at times so they can squeeze out a bit of the JJJ listnership.

Nova are making alot of money in a market that Triple J pioneered. And there is nothing wrong with that. Opening up new industries is one of the things that public money is meant to do.

But if JJJ is getting irellevant, as they might well be, they should concentrate on a new demographic. the 21 to 35 demographic for instance. God only knows it is the most neglected demographic on radio.

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at November 3, 2003 12:16 AM

Nice last post...

Back in the dark ages (and they were inky in the country), purchashing Ween's Daisies EP, and The Cure's Greatest Hits made me a social one-liner. I used to wonder at the bands that flashed into the bottom of the charts for a week. Like, say, Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy.

Kids, it was all 2Unlimited and Jimmy Barnes' Soul Deep back then.

My musical entertainment was the odd 'Rage', and Countdown Revolution with that bloke outta Neighbours. Then JJJ came in '95 and swept me up in it's big camphor-smelling arms.

Point is;
Triple J has had a profound effect on the music charts - think Little Birdy would have cracked the Top 30 anywhere other than Perth 15 years ago? Bup-BWAAAH!
The 'mainstream' has had to shuffle it's big, saggy arse quite a few degrees left to accomodate - and any change is good,
Countless bumpkins (like me, ma) have at least been exposed to genres of music not containing the words 'country', or 'pop',
And Aussie music, IMHO, is at it's strongest and most diverse because of this.

However, in this age of spread your legs and earn your keep, JJJ must at least be seen chasing 'demographics' and 'market share'. A distasteful policy, that may relax under a Labour government. But we all know who's strangling the purse-strings, and if the ABC, or JJJ, lose relevance, they will lose funding.

Yes, the ad campaign's vulgar, some of the presenters nauseating, and I would flog the 'Gay Bar' out of Electric 6 with a nail-studded rubber hose. That's MY taste. Triple J has enough runs scored to allow us to cut it slack for the occasional boo-boo.


Comment posted by: Nugget at November 3, 2003 06:46 AM

HAH! Cool metaphors!!

Write for this site Nugget. :D

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at November 3, 2003 07:10 AM

Another point is that maybe right now, triple j is getting caned over the alternative thing, but what happens in a couple of years when the whole 4 guys in a pub, guitar, bass and drums things is no longer the hot thing? if we cut triple j down now because they've got other people doing the same thing, when rock passes out of favour again, who the hell is gonna back it. I mean WE all know that rock never went away and for $5 down at the local pub we could find some good tunes, triple j knows it, but all the commercial stations, they just know that rock is the hot thing right now. When rock gets abandoned again, and it will, we need triple j to kind of keep it alive, especially for the kids who can't go to pubs, or ppl in the country where not alot of bands come on tour.

Comment posted by: John Barton at November 3, 2003 08:34 AM

I like the point that secretpint made about the campaign not reflecting JJJ's music. Whilst I dont like ALL the music JJJ plays, I appreciate that they are catering to tasts not covered by other stations. However, I thought that the point of the station was to promote music, not be an "enemy of average". I dont know what anyone else reads that as but I see it as "we hate what everyone else likes" not what I expect of JJJ: "we like what is good". But campaign or no campaign, Ill find the station that has the best song on. Its usually JJJ though.

Comment posted by: Emily at November 3, 2003 12:08 PM

The recent tired yawn of a marketing campaign that JJJ have embarked on is just another bell tolling in a long, boring funeral service of a once great station. The commercial stations have long ago raided JJJ for announcers, ideas and playlists, and instead of retaliating by moving further left of centre, JJJ have slowly drifted back between the safety flags. The same station that opened by playing a banned song, where announcers used to strike over playlist disputes and reporters got thrown out of the Canberra Press Gallery has been reduced to pathetic attempts at notoriety by making lame stabs at dead royals and boy bands.

Here’s the deal: airplay royalties in Australia are determined by a percentage of a radio stations advertising revenue. An artist won’t earn a Mars Bar from airplay on JJJ but national coverage and the promise of future Grinspoons, Waifs and John Butlers has put commercial pressure on the playlists. From an industry point of view, JJJ is now little more than a government-funded battleground for national promotion for a major label’s weekly “Feature Album”, albeit with a good amount of token skip-hop, bogan folk and Eurocheese house music that commercial networks wouldn’t dream of touching for fear of waking their listeners. But this marketing campaign has the same stink as those major labels and their commercial FM cohorts.

From a Sydney perspective, JJJ is on the verge of irrelevant. FBI has finally filled the gap that JJJ left when they went national, and I know many people who couldn’t wait to switch over and they certainly won’t be going back up the dial to the J’s in a hurry. I think the great irony here is that if JJJ stop panicking about their ratings, they might improve again. Fuck the ratings. Go back to being the alternative. Don’t worry about alienating the listenership. Or soon there won’t be anybody left to alienate.

Comment posted by: Willo at November 3, 2003 08:45 PM

in rock and roll
death is where it's at

why do you jjj
stray from the underground and death?

Comment posted by: James Quinton at November 4, 2003 07:58 AM

Excellent forum. It's wonderful to see passion for radio. In this age of reality TV and all the other stuff numbing our minds I fear the loss of such a medium at some point in the future.

Comment posted by: Simon Cole at November 4, 2003 11:10 AM

Top Forum Guys.

Here's my $0.02.

JJJ, being a part of the ABC, which also happens a bureacracy, has managers and executives that must justify their budgets (and their jobs) to their managers and so forth, which has obviously become infinitely more frightening for them given
the recent cutbacks at Auntie (think Behind The News, which has always had a big audience of youngsters at schools etc, and it doesn't even have a rival to comptete with!)

A cynic may suggest that the marketing managers at JJJ, (assuming there were any before all this started) have in the past been too lazy and are now starting to pay for their lack of understanding /foresight, given the ultra-competitve nature of the industry at the moment.

Nova poaching some JJJ presenters is not an excuse that should be offered as there is always presenters in the wings, ready for a chance to shine.

JJJ is in a tough position at the moment and it is almost as if they will become a victim of their own success given all the groundwork and hard yards they have put into local music, only for Nova et al to come along and reap the rewards. For JJJ to be catagorised as an "alternative station", they must, in essence, be different from the mainstream, whatever the hell that means these days. So, JJJ must evolve, as we all must.

Fear not, JJJ listeners. Music, like anything and everything, is cyclical by nature and before we know it commercial stations will revert to their usual shite, and JJJ will (hopefully) be the darlings of all people who REALLY appreciate Australian music. No-one can claim to promote and support Australian music as much as JJJ, I mean, 2 hours of Australian music EVERY NIGHT on JJJ, compared to try-hard MMM "Well, we discovered these guys, it's the first time it's been played on radio" "YOU MEAN COMMERCIAL RADIO DICKHEAD, JJJ PLAYED US MONTHS AGO!" (But as if bands are stupid enough to say that to stations that play them)

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I'd like to say that JJJ has a long and winding road ahead, but you can never see what is around the corner, and at least the road is lit a little for the rest of us to see what is going on.

Just keep supporting bands, especially Aussie ones, get out and about, think a little about what you want to eat instead of eating anything and everything you are served, and enjoy life. If JJJ dies, lets make sure it at least left a legacy for all of us to enjoy.

Peace Out.

Comment posted by: Damon Williams at November 5, 2003 11:52 AM

I just thought that I'd reply to Bugsy's comment regarding my previous comment...I couldn't care less about Triple J's indie kudos or not. Mainstream music can have as much merit as 'indie' music. BUT the listeners of Triple J more often than not do care about it. Triple J are TARGETING people that profess dislike for the mainstream, using marketing tactics favoured by those very stations which they are supposed to provide an alternative for. Maybe they're just trying to be subversive, I don't know.

But my point is, I'm not labeling JJJ as mainstream or indie or whatever. The station defines ITSELF as alternative, and was probably granted a radio licence based on this assertion. So go whine at them, not me.

Comment posted by: secretpint at November 5, 2003 10:41 PM

HAH! I love it that Damon addresses his remarks through the chair but then signs off with "peace out".

Actual parliament needs more of that.

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at November 6, 2003 10:55 AM

I saw the ad on the back of an X-press. It made me give a little chuckle. I then went back to manipulating the magic box in my house which enables me to discover and then digitally manifest and play only the music i want and none i don't. Ad free.

The internet killed the radio star.

And maybe i'm an ungrateful bastard, but i never even mourned his passing. Viva le revolution!

P.S. If i ever actually do turn on a radio i'm more likely to tune in to our local station (RTR) than JJJ. Whether that says something about the evolution of their airplay or my tastes, who knows...

Comment posted by: WiseGuy at November 8, 2003 02:38 AM

Well after spending considerable time reading through all the comments, it seems alot of you have been focusing on the new flashy marketing agenda. Well fair enough it might traditionally be a bit different to what Triple J has always stood for, but it must be remembered they have to sustain an competitive advantage and some kind of listenership some how. They do this on two fonts, 1 by retaining current listeners, and 2 by trying to bring in new listeners. Obviously the flashy adverts have been in attempt to draw in new listeners. Since I'm a current listner i'm just going to draw on some of the improvements in content development the J's have been implementing over the past year.

Increased support for the annual Noise festival - Remix competition
2 feature albums a week
Increase in online content, live sets, shows, j-files, mixups
another huge Oz music month!
Moonlight Framebreaks competition
New Unearthed schedule - all states, more winners
4 Minute Wonders
Home and Hosed
The Sound Lab
The Chat Room
The Club

There have been drastic reforms to the program format in the past year, which bring in changes to cater for more Australian music every night.

We also have more support for other genres apart from rock, including hip-hop and electronica on monday and friday nights and weekends. With so many bedroom producers and dj's these days its great to have a wider national avenue for aspiring electronica producers and dj's.

And there is also programs dealing with and catering for the visual arts, tv and film.

So if you think they're losing focus, think again. Maybe your the one getting caught up in the hype of a triple j national marketing campaign. Remember this marketing campaign is focused at the 15-20 year old cd single buying demographic, kids who are concerned with the latest 'cool thing'. If triple J can win these kids over and expose them to some real music and excellent content then good on em. I don't see the harm in them doing so.

And sure they play some crap music during the day, but look at the wider program schedule. Theres more to the J's than super request and the afternoon shows. The station caters for youth, the majority who don't even listen during the day. This is why night content is specialised.

I believ The J's set the bar, and with the new direction this year they have been taking it even higher. If they can bring more people on board to experience it all the best to them.

Ryan K.

Comment posted by: Ryan K at November 9, 2003 10:06 PM


Comment posted by: Rob H at November 11, 2003 04:06 PM

JJJ is still better than commericial crap. SO what if commericial stations are playing rock? It will become passe in time to them and something else will come in. JJJ were the ones to expose those bands and if it wasn't for them the bands wouldn't have an auidence. I agree with ho the playlists and afternoon show is annoying, but that may change next year with the new presenters.

Where else but triple j would u get independent dj's mixs- from their bedrooms - on radio, for instance. Sure jj could play less high rotation and novelty songs, but there is not much else alternative to jjj. jjj play 80% good, while commericial play only 20% good.

In a few years time tune into a commericial station and the the j's and see if they are the same or different. Commercial will be shit and jjj still good....

Comment posted by: Rob Kenton at November 11, 2003 05:13 PM

hey guys i think i'll add something maybe..

i think you guys are going a bit heavy out on triple j, its good that you all have a passion for where your money is going and i can understand where a lot of you are coming from...

but lemme address a few concerns..

ok let's look at the ratings, im gonna go to survey 7 coz that's the latest at this time. i don't have an oz wide rating but state by state..

sydney (4.8) - beating all other abc stations and only behind big commercial radio (3rd in 18-24 demographic)
melbourne (3.5) - much the same again (4th in 18-24 demographic)
brisbane (7.3) - not so many stations and still lagging behind commercial (4th in 18-24)
adelaide (6.4) - 5th overall and 2nd in 18-24
perth (6.4) - again laggin behind commercial but 4th in 18-24

i think these figures show that their target audience is still listening in as opposed to their other stations which although they have niches.. they are not rating and must also cost money..

so the rating's not bad.. i agree that ratings should not be the be all and end all but they give them a good indication how they are going

now i've only recently started tuning into the js (this year). i was always an m guy but their old crap led me to the newer stuff that triple j plays and now i listen to both.. and the one thing i notice is that jj plays music months before mm does... it seems to me that triple j must test drive all the music and give the commercial radio a guide. i dunno. but i think they are great for scouting new talent.

i don't mind the djs.. i'm a bit sick of all the funnies too.. they try to hard to be funny sometimes.. i personally just don't think it works.. but who am i.

anyway so finally i don't think they are going to the dogs.. i don't mind this advertising campaign. it's just advertising. it's supposed to grab your attention and get you talking. but who knows


Comment posted by: steve at November 27, 2003 07:18 PM

Just a quick comment on how people don't think the presenters are funny. People like Wil Anderson, Charlie Pickering, etc. are really funny. They're not just presenters, they're comedians it's their job to be funny. If you went and saw them do stand up, you'd probably laugh your arse off. However radio isn't really a great place for comedy. Most comedians spend weeks writing say ten minutes of stand-up material, and then perform it over and over to different audience, constantly adjusting it to get it right. On radio they have to do 2-3 hour shows, EVERY DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK. No one could possibly prepare enough hilarious material to fill that massive ammount of time. So they try to improvise something funny as they go along. The fact that they're even mildly amusing occasionally is a sheer miracle considering the conditions they're working in.

Comment posted by: Bob3 at December 4, 2003 08:32 AM

What the hell is the deal with putting THE HOTTEST 100 on the day BEFORE Australia Day????

JJJ can fuck right off

Comment posted by: at January 6, 2004 05:20 PM

Triple J suffer from the same problem the entire ABC suffers. As a government funded entity they aren't supposed to take up space that a commercial entity could use for the making of money.

The catch 22 is this: get too popular and they're encroaching on the private sector, if they aren't popluar enough we question thier worth. Finding that space is not easy.

In any case I am encouraged by the addition of ex-RRR radio show presenters for the metal and punk/hardcore shows. A move towards people who know thier shit rather than a "personality" who can make inane conversation and crap jokes. They can definitely leave that to the commercial networks.

Comment posted by: no names please at January 9, 2004 04:58 PM

Unfortunately we live in a world where the dollar rules all and even government departments have to kow-tow to it. Please JJJ, fire all presenters who giggle and back-announce every song, and bring in some peeps who know their shit. Try raiding PBS or RRR in Melbourne.

Comment posted by: The Transformation Lurks at January 12, 2004 04:13 PM

You bitter jaded fucks! JJJ has to present to a national audience. Just because your crappy band doesn't get played, or they don't play your favorite boo hoo rock band doesn't mean shit!!!

Your too old for JJJ obviously, move onto radio national, IT'S A YOUTH NETWORK, deal with it.

Comment posted by: transformatron at January 19, 2004 07:52 PM

I really appreciate seeing intelligent comments, and while on one of my many Googling jaunts, found the great writings of ExistAngst.
Of course this led to the reading of all the other comments which I thought were excellent.
BTW, I'm a little 'writing challenged', so please be gentle .

This is really tough to say, but I've found myself almost dreading listening to the Jay's in 2004.
Just a couple of years ago I would have cornered anyone I knew and ordered them to listen to TripleJ for their mental enlightenment.
The timing would have to be right of course. Teasing them first off with the fine rapport of Francis Leach and Dr Karl, then maybe a taste of the great stories from Frank, the people he featured (like the "The Bloke on a Bike"), and the writings of regional schoolkids.
This would then lead to the introduction to the comedy people A&W and M&R, and of course I would then have them hooked.

It's all become a bit too embarrassing for me to even considering attempting this now, especially when the next 'song' played may be 'American garage band does silly lyrics and thrashes guitar', 'angst ridden rappers shout out to da bros' or 'Aussie hiphoppers tell it like the angst ridden rappers with a different accent and slightly more pitch variance'.

I can now only assume that someone has placed a mole in the TripleJ management in an attempt to kill it off (maybe it was something said that the government didn't like), because if you take away good presenters, funding to the various projects that represent Australia and make stupid decisions on who the 'new talent' is (Sunday afternoons spring to mind), then you will indeed render a radio station pretty much - for want of a better word, pharked!

I must say though, that this behavior is not the sole domain of TripleJ. I see it now in various workplaces where people have decided not to put their hand up for new ideas, but use both of 'em to cover their asses, zipping the mouth first of course lest any politically incorrect statement should exit...

Auntie has become a nanny, presenters have moved on and become well paid, and I'm scratching my head (along with you fine folk) wondering how things can be done so badly by supposedly sane people!

Comment posted by: Philbee at January 23, 2004 05:57 PM

boo boo bum poo wee

Comment posted by: poo poo bumm at January 27, 2004 09:53 AM

hey, i agree in some ways, triple j is getting shittier, and after the hotest 100 i wrote in some letters to the breakfast show and called up, but sadly i was kept off air:(
i think we need to get off all the bands that have turned mainstream such as powderfinger, something for kate and jet.
And what's with all this missy- whatever her name is, cant remember at the moment(not missy higgins!)
you know? the american black chick who just sings about her self in EVERY song?
(o yea, jet r ok, but im still pissed at them for gettin 1, coz that shooda been frenzal rhomb)
so, yea
i think triple j should pick it's act up and stop playing all this american gangsta rapper shit, and all of the dance/house usic, ITS CRAP
an Fairies

Comment posted by: mermaid fairy at February 10, 2004 01:23 PM

An interesting debate and possibly even an important one?

For myself, I don’t really give a toss about JJJ. Coming from Melbourne, where one has been blessed with the glorious Alternative/Community stations, RRR and PBS, for decades, as well as a vibrant pub music culture ... well ... the JJJ debate seems somewhat ... I dunno ... inconsequential? After all, why would you bother to listen to that station when you have far better alternatives (the aforementioned PBS and RRR)? But … whilst JJJ is pretty much unnecessary (redundant?) in Melbourne's radio climate, it still adds some (albeit very slight) additional diversity to that city's radio/music landscape.

But … that is just in the city, and that one city in particular. Not all cites are equally blessed. For example, Sydney’s radio, prior to the advent of FBI, was thoroughly pedestrian. I love Sydney, but … sometimes it depressed the hell out of me, when faced with the reality of their radio!! So JJJ can still be relevant, even in some major cities (as scary as that seems to a Melbournian). However … it is in the bush that JJJ really shines. It could be argued (grudgedly) that commercial radio in the cities is gradually improving, but the same definitely cannot be said for the bush, where choices are waaaaay more restricted!

I grew up in country Victoria prior to JJJ going national (Echuca, a great place to visit, a shite hole to grow up in!). It was a deprived childhood. Which is why RRR had such an impact upon me when I moved to Melbourne (and still does - I continue to listen to it, over the internet, here in Lyon.). JJJ alleviates the bushes otherwise pretty much total lack of diversity (and anything that can broaden the outlook of country folk is, in my opinion, a fucking great thing!!). OK, so it’s presenters may not be my cup of tea (chirpiness over substance and any real musical passion), and its constant, glacial move towards the musical mainstream is pretty sad, but … well … it is still a better station than it’s fully commercial competitors. And this is especially evident in the bush!!!

Also, along similar lines ... when you leave Australia for a bit, well ... it doesn't take long to realise just how remarkably Australian radio really is (unlike our television!!). Radio in Europe is, in the main, pretty sad. Most stations are either entirely commercial or are too narrowly focused (i.e. jazz specific stations - great if you like jazz, which personally I don’t). Not a patch on the radio available in Melbourne.

In fact, in some ways, Eupopean radio is akin to that suffered in my youth, in the Victorian bush. I recently read an interview with Francois Bruet (the French godess of song!) which seems to back this up as well. She talks about straining at night, trying to listen to the BBC Peel sessions broadcast from England (a stand out program in any nation's radio - you just gotta love Robert Peel!) to hear anything truly different.

A station like JJJ, much as we may scoff at it in Melbourne, would be a huge boon over here. (Thank god for the internet, and 3RRR's live streaming!!! RRR we love you!)

Tis funny how that old cliché seems so accurate here … you don’t realise what you have got until its gone! Blah, blah, blah.

So … music lovers of Australia should rightly be concerned about the possible demise of JJJ. If this DOES seem imminent, then I would urge everyone to do the “write to your local MP” route. Agitate. Make noise. Stir up the bastards.

And … subscribe to 3RRR!!!

Comment posted by: Ex Pat in France at February 15, 2004 11:13 PM

I grew up in South west WA, and until i was 13, we only had AM radio. Then we got commercial radio, and a year later, Triple J. So I look up to Triple J a fair bit, just because it was my first taste of interesting music (other than Rage). It is a bit more bullshit than it used to be, but then i'm older than i used to be. I think its good that they play a variety of music, even though i can't stand some of it. Nothing can be tailored perfectly to suit everyones individual tastes, and if everything was then we would never hear anything from outside our interests. And I think that would make us all a bit dumber and less interesting.

Comment posted by: Ian at March 24, 2004 04:45 PM

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