Jackie O: ‘There should be no rules in FM radio’

Former Editor & Content Director

Jackie ‘O’ Henderson believes FM radio shows which try to keep things “tight and bright” are limiting their own success by sticking to outdated rules.

By comparison, her show, alongside Kyle Sandilands, can let talk breaks blow out to in excess of nine minutes – allowing the real content gold to be found, she said.

“There should be no rules, especially in FM radio,” she told today’s Mediaweek Podcast“When you let go of those restrictions, you have much better radio. But you’ve got to have an understanding content director and team to do that. I don’t think new shows would be allowed that freedom necessarily, but I think it’s a stupid rule. ‘Keep it tight and bright’ – that’s very old school. I really don’t think it matters how long a segment goes for. If it’s working, keep it going, if it’s not, get out.”

Henderson said sometimes the Kyle & Jackie O Show’s “dumbest ideas” work best, however she did concede in the past the duo had taken things too far, which had changed the radio game in Australia.

“I don’t think that radio people really got talked about until our first scandal made things really blow up,” she said on the podcast. “I mean when the lie detector happened, and it was just so next level that I just never thought that it would go on for that long and get that much media attention.

“And then after that, there was more of an interest in radio announcers. What are they going to do? Who’s doing something wrong? Before that you’d hardly get written about at all… Unless you were on TV, you were a nobody.”

She said she has now mostly learned to tune out the outrage, controversy and headlines.

“You kind of get beyond the point of caring, if I’m honest. The beauty of doing this show for so long is that I genuinely don’t care anymore what the headlines are. I think it’s so important if you want to be in Breakfast radio, not to care. The minute you care or are worried [about the headlines and how they will be interpreted] is just when you stop yourself truly being you. And I think the audience appreciates that honesty,” she said.

The thing she would care about, she admitted, is the prospect of losing the #1 FM Breakfast ranking. It would be a big deal, she admitted.

“I don’t even know what that would do to us. That would be hard because I think you’d start to second guess what you’re doing, and that is your biggest enemy. Don’t second guess yourself, because the minute you do that, it’s over.”

Despite the need to hang onto the #1 ranking, Henderson said she doesn’t get caught up in worrying about the competition and what they’re up to.

“Don’t listen to the competition, that’s always been my biggest thing, is forget about what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. You can only do what you do and do the best you can. Once you start listening to somebody else that maybe has nabbed your #1 spot… second guessing is the enemy. Just be yourself, it’s all you can do.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

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Fair Point
19 Feb 2021 - 11:43 am

Great point. But it REALLY depends on the show when it comes to how long breaks for. K & J have been experts in their craft for decades and always have a very very strong team around them pulling strings and getting the best content in the show. But there is a massive difference between random waffle and controlled direction. I think if you gave the free reign for shows to blow out like this we would not get the same product. K & J are just really interesting to listen to.

Peter Johnson
19 Feb 2021 - 12:55 pm

The reason Kyle and Jackie O are so successful and can hold a segment for nine minutes is because they are real. They only laugh when they genuinely find something funny.

On the other hand on Nova, Kate, Tim and Joel will just “fake laugh” at everything.

There is never any content gold in fake laughter

Jim Dandy
19 Feb 2021 - 2:17 pm

no one listens with a stop watch ….


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