Hot Hits re-launch, Andrew Gunsberg has a chat
The Hot Hits have just unveiled a brand makeover across its online and radio platforms. See the site here.
In addition to a new mobile site and iPhone app, the new site will have a weekly video show from LA, a larger collection of music videos, a new gaming section, reworked photo galleries, better social integration and weekly blogs from the LA team detailing what goes on behind-the-scenes at red carpets and events, along with the stories making news in LA.
The Hot Hits radio show broadcasts weekly from studios in Hollywood to over 1 million people across Australia.
Radio Today caught up with Hot Hits host Andrew Gunsberg. We talk about his radio background, his shift into TV work and the unique way he delivers Hot Hits to Australia each week…
Radio Today: You started as a teen in music school being a roadie, how did the radio thing come about ?
Andrew: I was a roadie for crappy covers bands in Brisbane and all that really got me was hearing damage and two hernia’s. I did that for a while and during that time, one of the bar managers at one of the clubs was a guy called Jamie Brammah.
About a year after that I was really unemployed, the band stopped touring and I had no job so I thought I’m just going to send a letter out to every radio station in the city and say I’ll do anything for free, I just know that I’m better than the jobs that the CES were sending me out on. Jamie Brammah by this stage was working as a promotions director at B105 so he gave me a call, I went in for an interview, I cartwheeled in through the front door and I started driving black thunders making $8 an hour.
Radio Today: You then made your way into mid-dawns and then probably your bigger break was in Adelaide, doing arvo’s on SAFM in the late 90’s.
Andrew: You do mid-dawns for a while and then you realise that someone in the daytime is going to have to die before you move up in the roster so you actually have to leave the city that you’re in to get a gig while the sun is still up. Gratefully, Phil Dowse at SAFM had an opening and Rex Morris at B105 really championed me there.
I started doing the afternoon shift in the summer break and then when the summer break was over I went to midday to 3pm but the best part about that wasn’t just being on-air it was I got to work more with Craig Bruce. He really went out of his way to really keep me included in really important station stuff and he had me come in on all his airchecks with the morning crew.
There I was, I‘m 24 years old, I’ve come off mid-dawns and Craig Bruce is sitting me in with the morning crew going ‘what do you think Andrew ?’ (laughs). It was remarkable. He taught me a lot about strategy, he taught me a lot about programming and we got to be involved in a really fun radio war against 5AD which we won with a big cash secret sound.
Radio Today: From there you diverted into TV
Andrew: I had a friend working at Foxtel at the time, Daryl Missen, the remarkable audio, imaging ninja. He taught me how to do voiceovers, got me in the studio and showed me how to do a sales read. I was in Adelaide and he said ‘hey, Channel V are looking for a host, you should send a tape in’. So I made a tape, edited it on a VHS machine in the SAFM boardroom during a Saturday arvo panel shift. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Sydney for an interview. I came back and told Craig I’m moving to TV and 4 weeks later I was on-air at Channel V.
I just feel really grateful that I had the opportunity to be so terrible and make so many mistakes on-air when no-one was really listening (doing mid-dawns) and have that opportunity to be dragged over the coals by Rob Logan, then by Brian Ford then by Rex Morris and emerge from airchecks bloody and bleeding but all of that made me better.
There’s so much pressure now to come in and just be amazing first off. I had that breathing space by 3 really accomplished PD’s to just kick me where it hurt and bash me into shape, which I needed. There’s no way I’d have the career I have now without those 3 men really.
Radio Today: Doing live radio and TV is what you love ?
Andrew: Live is what runs through my veins man…..there’s nothing like it. Craig Bruce once said ’if your heart doesn’t race everytime you turn the mic on you should go and find another job’. I really thought about that and I’m still here.
Doing Hot Hits Live from LA, we were the first live radio show to come from another country on a regular basis, ever in Australian radio. So we go on-air between 9pm and 1am.
We’ve got Eric our Executive Producer, Martine in Melbourne, who’s our audio producer, Andrew our line producer, Mark our camera and online guy. The amazing Natalia Perez, we’ve also got Renee Petersen who does a lot of street stuff and red carpet stuff. We’ve got a full team, we have a full office, MCM provide a lot of logistical support for the network as well. It’s a really great relationship working with SCA.
I still sit and do my prep and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think it’s really important. A PD once told me ‘you do an hour of prep for every hour you’re on-air’ and I still do it.
It’s great to be out there producing a show of such magnitude. It’s ace !