Former host Jeremy Cordeaux slams ‘idiotic’ radio content & talentless programmers

Former Editor & Content Director

Former station owner and talk radio host Jeremy Cordeaux has come out swinging at the industry, tearing down everything from its content and its lineups through to incompetent management.

Cordeaux previously owned 5AD (now ARN’s Mix 102.3), and most recently worked as an announcer on Adelaide’s FIVEaa, owned by NOVA Entertainment.

He was sacked in March over “inappropriate and offensive” comments about rape survivor Brittany Higgins.

In an interview with the Blind Insights podcast, however, Cordeaux claims it is radio that has lost its way, and it’s now devoid of characters, its craft and cut-through.

It’s so bad now, he said, that he wouldn’t even bother putting it in his garbage bin.

“I’ve never understood why management hasn’t understood the power of that quality. I listen to FM radio now, particularly FM, but I hear it on AM radio as well, and what comes out of that speaker, I wouldn’t put in my garbage bin. It just sounds awful. And if it doesn’t sound right, what is the thing you’re actually selling?,” he said.

“It’s about standards. If I wasn’t able to do something, I wouldn’t apply for it, because I’d know I was embarrassing the person who would have to tell me the horrible truth… But these days, it sounds like the producer or the manager just walked out in the street, stopped the third person walking past the building, and said ‘Come in, you’re a star’. No, he’s not. He never will be. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, whether you’re making movies or you’re making radio or you’re making television. It’s a race to the bottom, when it should be a race to the top.”

The problem, he said, is compounded by unimaginative programmers who don’t know who else to put on air.

“The comedian thing is just terrible. They are so devoid of a reference point as to who should be on air and who shouldn’t be on air, that if you’re a stand-up comic, you’re in,” he said.

“But that’s the problem, because once they’ve done their schtick, once they’ve done their thing, there’s nothing else there but a whole lot of laughter. You’ve got Hughey, Dewey and Louie on just about every FM station and not one program director or general manager has got the balls or the knowledge to say ‘Listen. This is a great blank canvas we have here. Is this honestly the best use that we can make of a broadcasting licence?’”

The craft too, is gone, he said.

“It certainly isn’t used today because there is no thought given to the microphone, my distance from the microphone, my ability to use my voice or not use my voice, all of that comes with experience, nobody can teach you any of that. I put it down to the fact that there’s no show in the business. It should be show business.”

This focus on business, he said, means creativity and craft is out the window, with accountants and men in suits – rather than inspiring radio minds – making decisions.

“You can’t always explain to somebody why that program or that person is talent and that one isn’t. You can’t always write it down. There’s no formula for it. But the trouble is these days, if I were to go back to 2GB now, I would find that the person in charge would be an accountant… My philosophy in business, and I’ve owned radio stations and I’ve managed radio stations, and particularly talk stations, accountants are on tap… You don’t put them on top. On tap, not on top. It’s a very simple thing,” he said.

Radio used to be built on characters and intuitive programming, he said, noting “I don’t know what exactly it’s built on [now]”.

“Now, it’s this kind of blind, idiotic, one-size-fits-all. You have to be a music station, or you have to be a talk station, I can’t understand why… If you look at the evolution, perhaps not graduation, but the evolution, to FM radio, you have a situation where in America, a lot of FM stations are talk stations. Yet here, we have this narrow-minded view that if you’re an FM station, you’re a music station – if you’re an AM station, you’re a talk station. Why would you box yourself into something as silly as that? Particularly when you have this thing called digital, DAB, and that whole thing was based on the fact that AM and FM would eventually be a level playing field,” he said.

Cordeaux was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2015.

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4 Aug 2021 - 12:52 pm

Absolutely spot on

what a flog
4 Aug 2021 - 1:02 pm

Too bad nobody’s listening to a bloke who thinks women should be raped.

4 Aug 2021 - 1:20 pm

Not enough stations disparaging rape victims, I guess. Classy stuff as always.

4 Aug 2021 - 1:21 pm

Wouldn’t last 5 mins on today’s airwaves. Oh wait. He didn’t.

4 Aug 2021 - 1:25 pm

He makes some good points.
I agree the cookie cutter approach to programming/talent choice in FM is too predictable and haphazard. Kyle and Jackie, Kate, Tim and Joel and Christian O’Conner’s team are examples of being different, using prime talent…and entertaining.
At the heart of it all is ‘entertainment’. These shows are a hybrid, they’re unique, they just work.

There are too many examples of the opposite of these. 2Day and MMM Sydney breakfast, the new iteration of Jase and…..KISS Melbourne brekky.

His views on training talent are valid. Blame no regional radio pipeline for that. Yes, it’s easy to write him off as a dinosaur, but the basics haven’t changed, he’s at least right about that.

4 Aug 2021 - 1:29 pm


4 Aug 2021 - 1:43 pm

Where are you Stan Zemanek? – he never held back – he would sure beat hands down the same old over and over rhetoric of covid that we hear every afternoon – day in – day out – o so boring – i think we have the message by now – is there a Stan duplicate out there! – o no – we live in different times now don’t we!- have to watch what we say – or no more pay! Australia the lucky country or heading to be a commo country!

Chuck Tuna
5 Aug 2021 - 10:22 am

“You’ve got Hughey, Dewey and Louie on just about every FM station” hes not wrong there lololol

Mrs N
5 Aug 2021 - 12:30 pm

Yet these talentless finks continue to rate and are kept on the airwaves. Are audiences dumber now with lower expectations? YES! Carrie & Tommie, Jackie ‘O (Karl’s ok), Tim and Kate (Joel’s OK just with wrong duo), Hughesy, Dee Dee on 3AW, Christmas Swan.

Welcome to the era of Stepford radio. All the same. I can’t identify the stations any more. So very, very, very sad.

Not Dobbo or Craig Bruce
5 Aug 2021 - 1:00 pm

Forget about his mistakes, take a learning from his words today. He’s right! Regional and many metro jocks are lame and vanilla…I Bet you’ve heard this “It’s 5 past 8, and 18 degrees….we’ll check the weather for you right up next” ummm you just did! The next break needs to entertain me.
Sadly, many on air also still think something and anything have a “K” in them. ( or even just finish at the “n”
Have a crack at entertaining the audience, and you won’t be replaced by networked shows. It’s up to the PD’s / CD’s to bring back more educational, and accountable airchecking as opposed to “great vibe” “nice shopping list” “good cross promotion”
Sadly Aus radio is going backwards…and it’s all because people are too scared to have a crack.
One tip for those on air – Talk to people…don’t just read liner cards. Listen to people, engage with them, and use them on air to make you sound great!

Tactic teams need to have a crack at new events and comps too. Don’tt just rename old promotions. C’mon people, imagine, and create…..get the the mask-er-adelaide party on, roll out the Ole Limp Dicks, FFS get Corona to sponsor the new Ausie album the Delta strain. Find out what their problem is, and deliver the solution with entertainment being the primary focus. (MMM Syd – nice work with “guess the celebs getting the jab!”)

Back To those that attack Jeremy – Everyone has made a mistake at some point, its how we learn and grow. Don’t punish him/them for the rest of his life, or we may just see another brave person lost to the pressure of keyboard warriors and hatred of somone you don’t really know.

Be Kind, Be realistic, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you made a mistake and was still was brave enough to share your thoughts today.

Lets evolve, not continue to disolve this most important part of the ENTERTAINMENT Industry. All we need is radio gaga ( You sung that didn’t you ) glad I made you smile…..that’s the only KPI a jock has to meet 🙂

Doc !
5 Aug 2021 - 3:28 pm

Rob ”The Doc”

I’ve listened to this podcast with much interest – I worked with Jeremy @5DN in Adelaide when they went from talkback to Classic Hits FM in 1990 .. I was Music Director .. He has made a lot of relevant points .. Where is radio going .. ? Where are the experienced people ? Not the’ bean counters’.. As its been stated many times unless you are a name (a comedian, sports star, or the like’ ) you will never get a job in a capital city.. so where does that leave people who want a career in radio ? You could go to a major provincial and thats about it .. Kyle & Jackie O would probably be the last major stars to come from the country .. Kyle at least ! and some of the formats leave a bit to be desired .. Where is the localism ?People like listening to announcers who are local and they can relate to .. Networking has killed radio !!

7 Aug 2021 - 6:43 am

Sadly he is right. There is such a lack of creativity and craft that it’s hard to distinguish between most shows, so few stand out, it’s a shame. And Content Directors, muddling middle management who don’t have a clue. Most of them look like they should work in a bank, not a radio station.

Steve Davenport
24 Aug 2021 - 4:23 pm

Absolutely correct JC Big Bob, Ernie, Paul Cronin, Dennis Walter all have many strings to their bow or did have. Today’s radio lacks imagination , content and characters. They are all the same, they are in the main crude, quite,frankly boring.
With all those new people who were the top rating and it is all those mentioned above, all from a great era of entertainment
That’s progress….sad


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