Scaddan ‘we’re proud of the hottest 100’

Staff Writer

It has been a week since triple j broadcast the 'hottest 100 from the past 20 years', and it was not without controversy.

Prior to the broadcast Triple M launched their 'tribute' to the Hottest 100, which was swiftly renamed to a more legally secure name. During the actual countdown, social media was buzzing over whether Macklemore would rank in the countdown or not, and where (it didn't).

And following the countdown, the talking point was some people suggesting the lack of female artists in the countdown indicated a lack of support by triple j for female artists.

Station Manager Chris Scaddan (pictured) has responded to the criticism (of the female balance) at the ABC website; read his open letter below;


Well, what a huge weekend.  We’ve just finished counting down triple j listeners’ 100 favourite songs of the past 20 years (1993-2012) in celebration of triple j’s iconic Hottest 100. 

It’s the culmination of a four week campaign where the triple j audience has celebrated a wide breadth of musical talent, via stories, mixtapes, archived recollections and their emotion charged memories from 20 years of incredible music.

Our aim was to ignite discussions about the best music in your lifetime and to think back to the songs that have resonated with you and your friends over the past 20 years. 

In the end, we received over 940,000 votes and many hundreds of thousands more listeners tuned in to hear the results.

Over the weekend, it seemed the biggest fear listeners had was whether or not Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” would make the countdown (it didn’t). 

We were overwhelmed with enthusiasm during the broadcast when plenty of other brilliant songs did make the list and we felt an intense outpouring of emotion when Oasis’ “Wonderwall” was announced as number 1.

Since then, the Hottest 100 list has been analysed ad nauseum including by triple j and there have been a few recurring criticisms of the listeners’ selections, including the lack of female voices in the final 100.

In total, there were 9 songs in the list with lead or co-lead female vocals and 9 other songs from bands featuring women (making up 18% of the total poll).  This has resulted in a suggestion that triple j needs playlist quotas for female artists.  Unfortunately the core argument in that article is based on the incorrect summation that triple j plays just above 5% female artists. 

In reality, triple j’s 2012 playlists contained 29% female lead and co-lead vocals, with 36% of artists we played in 2012 including a female member.  We support a wide selection of female artists on triple j radio every day.

Whichever way you cut it – by gender, by race, by nationality – the only true fact that can be elicited from the Hottest 100 of the past 20 years is that people voted for ‘Wonderwall’ more than any other song.  It’s a popular vote so can only reflect the tastes of those who participate.

Suggestions that people aged over 30 dominated the Hottest 100 voting are incorrect.  The biggest group of voters were aged 22-25, with 25 year olds being the largest number of voters.

The suggestion that triple j has a massive gender skew in listeners is incorrect.  In 2012, triple j’s 10+ audience was 55% male and 45% female (Source Nielsen, S1-8 2012).  More men, but hardly over the top.

Rest assured, triple j takes diversity very seriously and I’d argue we spend more time acting on it than most other media outlets in the country.  This means diversity of genres of music, diversity of Australian and indigenous content, diversity of genders and nationalities, diversity of voices on air during talkback and diversity of issues discussed on our youth affairs program Hack.

One thing that has been proven during the campaign is that triple j and the Hottest 100 are at the centre of music culture in Australia.  When you have commercial radio stations shamelessly lifting the Hottest 100 brand and countless online music sites analysing triple j and the Hottest 100 list, it’s difficult to think of any other music media event that is scrutinised more heavily.  It’s iconic for a reason.  We’re proud of what we and the audience achieve every year with the Hottest 100.

The best part is we’ll be doing it all again soon.  There is heaps of great music around at the moment, so we’re looking forward to the Hottest 100 of 2013 countdown on Australia Day next year. 

See you there.

Chris Scaddan

triple j manager


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