The Thinkergirls call sacking “100 per cent a gender issue”

Staff Writer

In November last year Radio Today broke the story that The Thinkergirls had been unceremoniously axed from their nights slot on the KIIS Network, and now Kristie Mercer and Stacey June have finally spoken out about the experience of unexpectedly losing their jobs.

One of the toughest parts to take was finding out about their axing from an outside source, the girls have revealed in an interview with with Mamamia.

The duo spoke about the initial confusion they felt, having hit their highest ratings shortly before they were sacked, especially as conversations about promotion had also taken place in the lead-up.

“The first line of shock to us was when we found out in the newspaper a show had been filled in a slot we had been unofficially promised, a spot we had been working towards for quite some time,” said Kristie.

Then, a month after reading that article, they were told on Friday November 3 that they were finished, effective immediately.

“It wasn’t just what happened, but the way it happened. It felt traumatic.

“There was no justification, it’s just, we’re not renewing your contract.”

After a lot of self-reflection, The Thinkergirls have since found it difficult find a reason for their sacking other than being two women.

It is “100 per cent a gender issue,” said Kristie.

“You’re in denial a bit, because you don’t want the answer to be the one that’s in your gut, which is that they couldn’t handle two women.

“We have worked on our craft for more than 10 years between us and we rated fairly well,” added Stacey.

“It is confusing to think it’s about anything else, and it’s not a reason either of us would like to land on. We searched and hoped for it to be something else.

“The thing about it being about gender is that you can’t fix it yourself.

“We’re two girls who are ambitious and hands on and work quite hard, and if we had something else to work on, we would go away and work on it.

“We would fix it. It doesn’t make any sense for us to make it about gender if it’s not, because there’s no way we can fix it.”

They were also asked whether a similar issue could be what 2DayFM’s Em Rusciano is currently experiencing.

“We’re not saying if Em has done this that it’s acceptable, and we’re not sticking up for bad behaviour, but this behaviour has been going on in our entire radio careers,” says Stacey.

“It’s frustrating that this conversation is around an isolated issue, incident and person, when really, the conversation we should be having is one that zooms out and looks at the bigger picture and the industry.”

Since departing KIIS, The Thinkergirls have kept up their regular podcast. The most recent episode addresses Em Rusciano and the current state of 2DayFM Breakfast.

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On behalf of women in radio
28 May 2018 - 11:55 am

As a woman in radio this article makes me so angry. We work our asses off in the industry and we win some we lose some, doesn’t matter who you are, people get fired. It’s this fake feminism bs that actually sends women in media’s credibility backwards. Here you have a station that has employed you as an all woman show, you don’t get renewed because of whatever (maybe don’t talk about your major station sponsor chemist W’house and how bad they are. Not to mention other reputation destroying pieces of content that is so cliche ‘chickchat’ it even sends us ladies to sleep)

And you then, blame the station WHO gave two women a chance to be great of being sexist?

Future CDs of Australia, I beg you not to take these two as an example of what it’s like working with women in the industry.

Most of us are creative and inspiring and GREATFUL of opportunities.

28 May 2018 - 12:04 pm

Girls girls girls. We have to stick together, sure. And there is a conversation to have around gender equality too. But this isn’t it. ARN employ 3 women in the 3PM Pick-Up. It’s one of the first stations to have an all female breakfast show. And the same station that hired The Thinkergirls in the first place. Yes, they could do more (especially on Pure Gold). But perhaps it was a talent issue? A commercial decision? A response to ratings? A change in strategic direction?

28 May 2018 - 12:22 pm

I have to disagree. It was a mediocre show that often lacked direction. It’s 100% a ratings issue. They also have to remember they weren’t the only ones let go.

28 May 2018 - 1:02 pm

” We rated fairly well ” says it all. Im sure the axing was more to do with content and ratings than gender.

28 May 2018 - 1:08 pm

And ditto re Em Rusciano not a gender issue at all. A ( lack of ) ratings and good content issue as well as unacceptable behaviour thats all.

28 May 2018 - 1:14 pm

If their claim that they were 100% sacked for their gender were true, then how is the 3PM Pick-Up still on the air? Hhhhmmmmmmmmmmm

28 May 2018 - 2:33 pm

Sit down. Be humble.

a female
28 May 2018 - 2:53 pm

This kind of interview makes me feel sick. Crying gender discrimination rather than looking at the reality of the situation hurts us more than it will ever help us.

At its best, the show was mediocre. One half of the duo is made for radio, the other is better suited to a BTS role – commercial radio teams can’t sustain weak links like that. It sounds like their management has never had an honest discussion with them about their talent, future or quality of output. It might be time to find management that will.

28 May 2018 - 3:09 pm

What I don’t like is this card being played when you just didn’t have the ratings. ARN did something different in the slot, it didn’t work and the commercial world ran away. Makes sense for them to drop the show and find something new.

Sunshine Coast
28 May 2018 - 3:31 pm


It was just a bad show guys, use it as a driver to get better

Thinking not saying
28 May 2018 - 4:37 pm

ARN always had trouble selling this show. Advertisers did not want to go near it and the lack of ratings didn’t help.

End of story.

Josh Janssen
28 May 2018 - 5:07 pm

Seems like a bit of a theme — people sh*t-canning the Thinkergirls in the comments section. I can’t help but remember the negativity in the comments when their show was axed last year.

It’s uncomfortable to think that we might work in a system that is unfavourable to a specific gender, which I think is the reason why people get so passionate in the comments.

Whilst it’s easy to dismiss Stacey and Kristie’s feelings as sour grapes or entitlement — that they should “be humble” and GRATEFUL — because the idea of a female having a loud unpopular feeling doesn’t sit well with you — maybe it’s an opportunity to reflect?

It also seems unfair and a bit naive to point at shows that do have women on air as evidence of equality.

I’ve followed The Thinkergirls hustling and creating content online since 2012. They’ve consistently put out content and they’ve done it independently. They should be celebrated.

The comments will tell them to “sit down” because having them stand up is making a few people feel uncomfortable.

What Stacey and Kristie are doing is exactly what we need more of. Real conversation. Open and honest content.

This is what the future looks like, I reckon.

nick bartlett
28 May 2018 - 5:19 pm

Radio 101: No matter what your gender, sexuality or age – if you rate well you will not be sacked.

Hotdogs - Big Brother
28 May 2018 - 5:42 pm

I’ll do a show with you girls?

Josh Withers
29 May 2018 - 7:01 am

Most of these commentors should be ashamed of themselves. Nasty comments about two hard working humans that made a great show and we can tell that you’re not proud of your comments because you don’t even use your real name. If you had a dash of credibility you’d at least use your name and take responsibility for your words.

29 May 2018 - 8:54 am

I think the girls haven’t done themselves any favours here. The show didn’t work nothing to do with gender at all.

Maybe they have a point
29 May 2018 - 9:08 am

I’m a woman in radio and a feminist and on first read of this article my initial reaction is what a load of bull. Their content wasn’t the greatest, or most accessible, for radio. Podcasts can be more niche, but some of the more ‘taboo’ topics they covered were done so in a crass enough way to turn the audience off. But then I remembered Will and Woody. And their content is actually often worse than Thinkergirls ever was. I mean worse as in lewd. Inappropriate for 4pm. So maybe they have a point, maybe it was a gender issue. Even though I personally think that neither show is very good for commercial radio, why bring on Will and Woody but axe the Thinkergirls when their content is just as inappropriate and badly done?

As for the other comments – ‘rated very well’ – no not really. average is a better descriptor. When you’re a national show you should look at national ratings not just Sydney. The rest of the country wasn’t a fan and their shows were heavily edited.

“didn’t see a non-contract renewal coming” – Listen, if you’re in metro radio and you don’t have a signed contract by sept/oct it’s time to send out the CV. Doesn’t matter what the bosses say – no signed contract, no deal.

Josh Withers – We have credibility. We also have contracts that forbid us from publically commenting…

29 May 2018 - 3:08 pm

Celebrating somebody for “consistently putting out content” is the grown up version of an encouragement award. Bad content should not be celebrated. And if the creator of that content refuses to believe that there is anything to improve, then it’s a lost cause.


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