Tony Martin on podcasting & whether he’d return to radio full-time

Staff Writer

Tony Martin, formerly of Martin Molloy and The D-Generation, is a legend of the radio industry.

His recent forays into podcasting have been great successes too, with both Childproof and Sizzletown winning podcast accolades.

Nova 106.9’s Ben Ryan caught up with Martin for his ‘Why Did The Chicken Cross Live To The Studio?’ blog to chat about how to make comedy gold in radio and podcasting.

On Sketch Writing:

“The hilarious party animal type at your work who everyone says is so funny he should be a comedian, in most instances, wouldn’t last five minutes on the stand-up circuit.

“I have seen this happen time and time again. As for fun, Get This, despite all the work that went into it, was probably the most fun one to do. That team – Ed, Richard, Nikki, Matt and Cecelia – plus all the hilarious co-hosts – was such a fun team to work with, and with the live-to-air parts, I was deliberately trying to be looser than I had been on previous shows.

“To go with Ed’s mad ideas rather than stick with the scripted stuff. Because I had prepared a lot of material, I knew that I could always bust out the prepared stuff to give the segment a proper ending, if required. But Ed was such a treat to work with because he was never lost for words or crazy examples of things. He was the one who gave that show its life.”

On Sizzletown:

“Matt Dower and I love doing Sizzletown and, as a result, probably put way too much work into it. It’s really just a development of the very production-heavy radio I was doing in the eighties (with The D-Generation), the nineties (with Martin/Molloy) and the noughties (with Get This – which Matt was a key part of too, of course).

There isn’t much call for that kind of radio any more – although there wasn’t much call for those shows at the time. They all transformed from ‘cult’ shows into big mainstream successes to the surprise of everyone, including us.

“With sketches – and by that, I include fake ads, cut up interviews, all the ‘bells and whistles’ stuff I like to do – you need access to a lot of production time. A bit that goes two minutes can sometimes take a couple of days to build. Listeners love them, but radio people – especially in the current ‘belt-tightening’ era – don’t see it as a sensible use of time.”

On Whether He’d Return To Radio:

“I am into my fifth year with ‘Chrissie Sam and Browny’ on Nova in Melbourne, and because it’s only one day a week, I still have time to do other things like stand-up, books and podcasts. And it’s such a great show to be a part of – that team are at the top of their game – that I can’t imagine doing a better one myself.

“Sizzletown doesn’t pay much, but on the other hand, I don’t have to go to meetings with the two arse-clowns we were working under when we did Get This.”

On Writing Funny Content:

I always say the key to that show (Get This), and the earlier ones, is that I didn’t – and don’t – have kids. I could selfishly devote almost every waking moment to what is now called ‘content creation’.

“My answer to this is always ‘write everything down’. So many little moments happen during your day that most people – including myself – often don’t realise can be turned into material later. Radio (and podcasting) is the best medium for examining, highlighting, and expanding upon the trivial.

“TV shows need big ideas, but radio thrives on little ideas magnified, often to an absurd degree. You can never take enough notes. This goes for stand-up too. And, when you’re short of an idea, always turn the spotlight on yourself.

“Your own worst behaviour or thoughts are usually where the comedy gold lies.

Read the full interview here.

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