Kyle : the Raw Interview pt 3

Radio Consultancy

In full, over 5 days – every day this week.

Kyle Sandilands is Australia's most controversial media star. He is also one of the most successful.

Now, for the first time, Kyle tells all about his radio career – and doesn't hold back. All this week on Radio Today he goes into depth with Scott Muller, about:

  • the controversies, and his thoughts on the press

  • how to plan the show a week in advance, yet deliberately not know what's going on in the morning (and why that's a good thing for the listener)

  • why celebrities shouldn’t quiver with fear before going on his show
  • the advice he'd give himself (and anyone else in radio still in their 20s) if he could go back in time

  • the big factors in the show’s success (it’s humbling to hear a star say this)
  • why cash is still king – and how to get more of it (for the listeners)
  • the radio rules he threw out years ago
  • and the industry legend he mistook for the paparazzi!


Background: Long before Kyle’s rise to stardom, Kyle and Scott Muller worked at the hot CHR, 6MMM Perth (now 96fm). Scott was PD, Kyle was in promotions, and here they catch up and talk frankly and openly … and Kyle doesn’t hold back in revealing more about Kyle’s radio career and 2Day’s “Kyle & Jackie O Show” than you’ve ever read before…

On Monday Kyle has talked here about his favourite station he’s worked at, how he orchestrated getting moved from Darwin to Brisbane, and the character he started playing on-air – and yesterday he talked about the train-wreck segment that’s too good to drop, and how to bring the behind-the-scenes team onto the show the right way – read it here.

Scott: Tell us more about how “the Kyle & Jackie O Show” comes together…

Kyle: We plan a week in advance – we don’t go to work and say “what’s in the paper?”. And often they’ll come in and say “everyone is talking about this – it’s big news today” – and, depending on what it is I’ll say “no, we’re not touching it. Yes, put it in the news, but we’re not taking calls on it”. I like everything to be very light hearted, humorous, tongue in cheek, taking the piss, or pop culture – I’m not interested in anything that’s a downer.

We’ll do those “rescue” (segments). I like to do those, they were very powerful images in my mind (from) years ago (growing up listening to shows like Jamie Dunn’s on B105). It’s nice to help people – it’s just a nice thing to do.

But I hate them when they’re pathetic, like “a lady is dying, here’s a ticket to the movies” – some radio shows can get like that. But I like to make sure it’s appropriate, not getting a prize and then finding someone (in an unfortunate situation) to give it to. We actually want to really help people or we don’t do them, it’s as simple as that.

But really Jackie drives all of that stuff, I treat the show like a fresh listener every morning. I really, honestly have no idea what is on the show every single day. So I get in there 5.45, have a coffee. We don’t talk about anything to do with work, we just chat, and then go downstairs and start and I have no idea who’s on until I’m looking at the rundown list. So if people start talking about this big thing that’s happened and I really don’t know or I’ve never heard about, which is often, I’ll be like a listener that has no idea what’s going on. So (when they’re explaining it to me) it resets everything so that if (someone listening) hasn’t heard about it, they’ll still be in the loop.

Scott: Which is a great way of approaching it so it’s not contrived. I know it’s unavoidable for many shows, but it can sound contrived when everyone on the show knows everything about the piece they’re setting up to talk about. Then, so that they can present it to the person listening, they have to figure out what it’s like to not know anything about it.

Kyle: I really did that out of laziness at first but it ended up working really well. I can’t tell you how often Jackie would go “everyone is talking about this thing they were doing on Masterchef” and I’d be like “I didn’t watch Masterchef – I didn’t even know it was on”. There is going to be a huge majority that know that it’s on, or have been watching it – and then there’s still the person who doesn’t watch it and doesn’t know. So when you’re talking to 3 judges from Masterchef and you don’t watch it, how are you going to keep (the person listening) interested ? Normally they would think “I’m outta here I’m gonna listen to another station”. I would.

Scott: And tell us about having the guests on, whether it’s the judges from Masterchef, or someone in the news, or some celebrity…

Kyle: A lot of people think “be careful going on that show”. Then people come on, internationals, or even locals, and they finish the interview and go “oh god – I was warned that if anything was going to go to shit it was going to be on this show”. And I’d think “what are these publicists saying about this show?”

Because every guest that comes in … I want them to come back. Yes, we’re going to try and get every issue, which we usually get from them voluntarily. But I still want them to come back – I want them to feel safe on the show. Yes, Jackie might kiss the premier or whatever – but they always know they’re safe. So once they’ve been there a few times, they know it’s a safe place to land and when they do have a controversy we always just get them on somehow. I think they know we’re genuine, we’re nice, we’re friendly, we’re not bitching. Plenty of people come into us and say “I’m never gonna go on such and such a show again, they were rude, they were just arseholes”. We try and do the opposite.

Which has got me into shit a lot over the years, I’ll go and defend some other celebrity’s bogus story that’s been in a newspaper or magazine – I’ll fire up on behalf of the world and criticise a journalist’s work to try and defend someone. I’ve burnt many bridges doing that. Foolishly and naively when I was younger and I thought “they’re only a gossip columnist” – but now they’re editors. But you know, you learn your lessons as you get older – I felt very justified doing that for whatever reason, probably stupidly, but I don’t care.

Scott: Do you think some of those people coming on feel more comfortable because, unlike most other radio shows, you and Jackie are actually in the public eye to the same degree as they are?

Kyle: Yeah, you’re probably right, they might do. Definitely I’ve been involved in my own share of scandals so I think they think “if he’s still alive, he’s the one that will understand”.

Coming up on “Kyle – the Raw Interview”, every day this week…

  • the controversies, and his thoughts on the press

  • the advice he'd give himself (and anyone else in radio still in their 20s) if he could go back in time
  • the big factors in the show’s success (it’s humbling to hear a star say this)
  • why cash is still king – and how to get more of it (for the listeners)
  • the radio rules he threw out years ago
and the industry legend he mistook for the paparazzi!

Read part 4 here

Scott Muller is Director of MBOS Consulting Group, a media management and consulting firm.

Click here to contact him.

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