After 7 years in darkness, Steve Price sees the light | radioinfo

After 7 years in darkness, Steve Price sees the light

Monday 29 July, 2019

After seven years of doing Nights on 2GB, Steve Price has finally landed a more agreeable timeslot, Afternoons. But he rejects the notion that he'd spent seven years in the wilderness.
 
“I think I was very privileged to be able to do seven years on 56 stations,” says Price. “The uniqueness of that show was that you were on everywhere from Cairns in far north Queensland all the way to Warrnambool in Victoria.
 
“It is still the only Macquarie show that's networked into Brisbane Sydney Canberra and Melbourne. At one point, it was number one in Brisbane Sydney and Melbourne all at once. I didn't see that as a graveyard shift at all .
 
“I enjoyed it though the hours weren’t perfect.”

 
Now Price is doing Afternoons on 2GB, 12-3pm, with a far smaller network. And while Afternoons has traditionally had the lowest profile of the daytime shifts, he feels the audience dynamic around that timeslot is changing. 
 
“There's so many more people on the move all the time now. And what they want is exactly the same sort of energy and pace and variation of issues as they get when they listen to Alan (Jones) or Ray (Hadley). That's the reason why we've changed it up with a lot more people around me which helps keep the issues fresh.”
 
His roster of contributors is certainly impressive.
 
● Karl Stefanovic (Mondays)
● Erin Molan (Wednesday)
● Deb Knight (Thursdays)
● Phil Gould (Fridays)
● Rita Panahi (Daily)
● Mieke Buchan (Daily)
 
“We've got a lot of women on the program which we've been consciously out there trying to do. Erin Molan, Deb Knight and Rita Panahi - strong female voices. In the past, people - including myself - who'd been in charge of programming talk radio, were more resistant to using women on air but I think that's changing - and changing very quickly.”
 
As widely reported, Price’s predecessor, Chris Smith, who’d been on Afternoons for 15 years and held the number one ratings position in the latest survey, was offered Price’s former Night shift but turned it down, citing family reasons.
 
“There's only about eight of these jobs available in Australia and if you've got one of them it's a privilege.

"People make their own decisions and I've got no comment about what Chris should or shouldn't have done. But if you're offered one of those shifts on air, you grab it with both hands – that would be my thoughts."
 
A recent headline in Fairfax Media said ‘Steve Price vows not to be another shock jock.’ 
 
He denies having actually said that. “Australia doesn't really have shock jocks. It's an Americanised term. It's a term the left likes to use because it's derogatory. All of us, certainly on our radio station are commentators and opinion makers just like a columnist in a newspaper. That's all we do.
 
“Are you sometimes saying things that might shock people? Maybe. But for the right reasons. I don't think I would have lasted nine years on (The Project) which is considered a left leaning show if I was a shock jock.”

 
Price has the rare distinction of having acheived on air success as a talk presenter in both Sydney and Melbourne. He's also held the role of Program Director at 3AW in the 90's and was responsible for recruiting some of the station's top talent.

"I'm proud to say that most of the people I recruited to go on-air are still there. Neil Mitchell is still doing mornings and Ross Stevenson is still on Breakfast . They've been there since 1990 and still sound fresh.
 
"Ross and John are rating in the in the 20's - the highest rating Breakfast show in the country.

"Sydney radio is completely different to Melbourne.

"I don't think that Sydney would warm to the style of radio that Ross and John do. It's a very Melbourne based program. The networking of talk radio is an art that's very hard to make work."

In the meantime the role of Program or Content Director has largely become redundant at MacRadio stations.

He explains, "When you are talking about 2GB you've got a very experienced group of broadcasters that don't really need hands on guidance on a day to day basis about their content.
 
"What you need out of people who work in programming now is for them to keep an eye out for fresh talent. In Afternoons we had people filling in like Erin Molan from Nine sports and Natalie Peters from our newsroom, And they did a great job, I thought.
 
"We've got to keep trying to find new talent. That's what the program director's job is now."

 

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Price, a journalist by trade, along with most of his colleagues in mainstream media, is concerned with the amount of misinformation spread by social media and other online sites.
 
"I think that we, as consumers and commentators, are probably subject to much more misinformation than ever.
 
"There's a whole generation of young people who think that everything they read online is true when clearly it's not. And some of the lunatics that are online and pretending to be commenters on news would never have been allowed anywhere near a typewriter (prior to the internet.)
 
"We're less well informed and fed a load of rubbish and most of it is not factual.
 
"What we in the mainstream media need to do is constantly submit the facts and (explain that) if you want real news you need to go to a trusted source.
 
"I think that's what organisations like Macquarie, News Corp and Nine are doing. They're getting together and saying 'Don't not just roll over to these big faceless companies from over overseas. Remember you've got trusted, well resourced information from your own mainstream media. Perhaps you should think about consuming that instead of Facebook and Twitter."

 
Note: For the second weekday in a row (Friday 26 and Monday 29, July) Steve Price has been filling in for an unwell Alan Jones.


Peter Saxon

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2 Comments

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Anthony The Koala
29 July 2019 - 8:38am
Two remarks: One on the afternoon shift and its probable success and the other on 'shock jocks'

First, I have said on this site about the decision by management to remove Chris Smith from 2GB despite 90+ successive ratings wins was warped. I still stand by that.

At the same time, I also said in the same post that swapping evening shifts with the afternoon shifts may still work. Furthermore I said that radical changes to programming styles is a "two edged sword" and the decision as to the success or failure rests on management.

Having said that, I have listened to the Steve Price program during his permanent shift from 2000-0000 and am listening to his Mon-Fri show between 1200-1500 and while he temporarily substitutes for the breakfast shift between 0530-0900. I also acknowledge the fine job performed by John Stanley during the radio shift version of "musical chairs" during the absence of the breakfast presenter 0530-0900 and/or morning shift presenter 0900-1200 and/or the early evening 'money' show 1800-2000 and/or late evening shift 2000-0000.

Steve Price, John Stanley and Chris Smith have their fingers on the pulse on what is newsy and what may be future news stories. They all have the gut instinct on whether political issues will sustain or whither.

Therefore on balance, Steve Price may well sustain the ratings of the afternoon shift formerly held by Chris Smith. Wait for the ratings results.

Second, a remark about the word "shock jock". I don't believe that any former or current presenter on 2GB would be regarded as a shock jock. I could illustrate shock jock examples on other stations: a fake impression of a member of the Royal Family enquiring about the birth of her relative, a person impersonating an educational authority telling a top ranking HSC graduate that her ATAR mark was lower. Then we have a music presenter intruding into the sexual lives of news readers. Then in the US there is Alex Jones who makes extraordinary claims about the cause of massacres in the US. This is the provocative and UNACCEPTABLE material of a shock jock. Neither of which has or is occurring on 2GB.

Thank you,
Anthony, of exciting, dynamic and downtown Belfield
Anthony The Koala
27 August 2019 - 9:18am
I just had a look at survey 5 for Sydney's radio ratings, at https://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2019/Survey_5/GfK_Summary_Report_Sydney_Survey_5_2019.pdf

I prognosticated that Steve Price may do well and he did, at 11.6%, a small drop from 11.9%. Similarly, John Stanley's move to the evening shift 2000-0000, his ratings were 13.4%, a drop of 0.9%, but ahead of 702 ABC (2BL) at 9.3%.

Yes there was an overall drop at 2GB, but it remains market leader.

Nevertheless, I still hold the decision for Chris Smith's removal is WRONG.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting and dynamic Belfield
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