Wil Anderson: My take on breakfast radio


Wil Anderson has taken himself off social media.

He doesn’t subscribe to the idea that everybody has to have an opinion on everything.

A few days ago I caught up with Anderson on the Food Bytes podcast, where he opened up about the challenges of working in breakfast radio.

Like social media, Anderson says in radio, the onus is often on YOU to offer your own take on the ‘big’ issues of the day, from politics to pizza toppings.

“The problem I have with day-to-day radio is: I don’t have that many opinions. This is honestly the truth.”

Anderson says he was chatting to fellow stand up comic Dave Hughes about this very thing just the other night.

“I said ‘What you realise is that for the last decade plus, we have been trained by this system that fools us into thinking that it benefits us, but it really benefits the companies that make these systems, these social media systems, and they have trained us to have an opinion on everything.’”

“You have to have a take on everything, whether something’s good, bad or indifferent.”

In 2018, Anderson replaced Mick Molloy on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast in Melbourne, joining Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy as co-host.

Some might consider that a daunting prospect, but Anderson says there was no reluctance on his part.

“It was one of those things where Mick had clearly been pretty instrumental in the decision-making process. He’d talked to me months beforehand around the idea that he was going to move on and (asked) did I think it would be something I would be interested in doing?”

“We’d had a few conversations about what his experience of it had been like, what he thought the pros and cons were.”

Anderson says the appeal of doing The Hot Breakfast was that he felt he wasn’t going to be constantly pressed for his opinion.

“That is amplified by doing breakfast radio. The amount of times you have to have a take – one way or the other – on the issue of the day. But often, the correct answer to the question is ‘I have no opinion. I don’t care. I’m not interested. And my opinion is not valid, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.’”

“If you’re working with Eddie McGuire, you’ve already got someone who’s going to have opinions on things. And that’s great for me, because I’m absolutely fascinated by teasing out someone’s opinion, or countering their opinion for the sake of hearing more about their opinion. That, I do love.”

“Part of the fun of that show was that there was no expectation that I would come in and be, like ‘here’s my hot take on what Dan Andrews did today or here’s my take on what happened in the footy.’”

“All that stuff was covered by the other people in the room. My job was to be the icing on the cake. The cake was already baked. You just had to come in and decorate it every day.”

“It was a fun opportunity, a really challenging thing to do.”

At the end of 2019, Anderson announced he was leaving The Hot Breakfast.

He says it came down to a question of priorities and his first love, stand up comedy.

“I liked the show. I enjoyed what we were doing. The show was still going well. When I was there the numbers were still great. So there was no compelling reason to go. If anything, the compelling reason was probably to say ‘let’s cut some other things out of your life so you can concentrate on this more.’”

“But it’s just that, at the end of the day, when you line it up, and you do the schoolyard pick of who you want on your team, I always pick stand up comedy first.”

Anderson admits the stand up circuit doesn’t exactly lend itself to working in breakfast radio.

“There’s no doubt that when you’re a stand up comedian, it’s mostly night work and when you’re a breakfast radio person, you’re up early in the morning – those two things don’t go very well together.”

“The show itself is fine. I loved doing the show. You get energy from being on air. You never feel tired doing the show.”

Anderson says the difference is, stand up comedy and his podcasts (which include WILOSOPHY) afford him the opportunity to examine a particular topic at length, pick it apart and try to put it back together.

“Radio, unfortunately – it does not allow the things that I find most interesting about communication. It’s always fun to do, and if I lived in a world where I couldn’t do anything else, I’d be happy to do radio all the time.”

Anderson says he loves being a guest on other people’s shows, something he’s been enjoying in recent days during a stay in Adelaide performing at the Fringe Festival.

“I’ve talked to every Adelaide breakfast show – AM and FM – in the last week or so, doing publicity, and I enjoy them all.”

“It’s more fun for me to be able to go into, say, the Nova breakfast show and entertain them in the way the Nova audience will like. Or go to SEN and be able to talk about sport.”

“Really, I don’t need my own radio show. I just need to be a guest on everybody else’s shows!”

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1 Mar 2023 - 9:05 am

Agree totally with Will’s comments re social media and people nowadays posting their opinions on everything in this world.

1 Mar 2023 - 1:58 pm

Will is right about choice….especially in regional areas….there is zero choice…..thank goodness for streaming and the World Wide Web. Regional radio is suffering badly but the radio executives are more concerned about their bottom line and not the listener one little bit. Same boring content particularly if you’re travelling, and no phone service and you flip to the next station your car radio….and it’s same….no choice but to listen to the same dribble and no local or irrelevant content. It’s a shame


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