The end of my affair with Alan and Ray

One fateful day in 2011 my car radio accidentally found 2GB, home of Sydney shock jocks Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and associates.

With six months left of my academic career, I’d logged 18,000 hours of driving to and from university campuses all over Western Sydney. The ABC had been my constant companion, bathing me daily in rational argument, highbrow arts, and scrupulously balanced politics.

2GB was my guilty secret, like picking up a Mars Bar at the servo after a twelve-hour day of meetings.

After my retirement from commuting, I still got a guilty fix whenever I hopped in the car – for nine years.

I confessed everything to my incredulous friends. How could you, they asked? You, a Professor? The truth is (my truth at any rate) that my affair with Alan and Ray taught me things about populist media figures that I’d never have learned from the ABC: Not what they say, but the visceral feel of how they say it.

I knew we had to break up one day. It happened this week when Jones’s retirement was announced. Apparently Hadley isn’t to take over his spot, lost it to an upstart.

On Wednesday I jumped in the Forester to go to Bunnings. There was a nice woman called Deb on the radio. I checked. Yes, still 2GB. No snarling, no bombast, no outrage. No guilty pleasure. I switched to the ABC.

I’ll miss 2GB like I miss a late night Mars Bar.


Stuart Campbell writes novels. Check them out here.

2 thoughts on “The end of my affair with Alan and Ray

  1. OMG. I can’t believe it, Stuart.

    The ABC, which is funded by 100% of taxpayers but does not employ one rightwing journalist (even Murdoch employs lefties) and diversity of opinion does not exist. Virginia agrees with Tony who agrees with Leigh who agrees with Barry who agrees with Paul … groupthink at its worst and should be a subscription service. “Rational argument?” Are you sure you last listened 9 years ago and not 39 years ago?

    I turned the ABC off mid last year when it moved from left to extreme left. Even Labor luminaries like Richo and Stephen Conroy think it’s gone too far, meaning that it’s gone from supporting them to supporting the loony Greens. I miss the ABC like I’d miss a tablespoon of arsenic. Why Morrison doesn’t save a billion dollars is beyond me … I guess because he’s too scared of upsetting the lefties.

    The rightwing media organizations are biased, no doubting that, but their bias pales into insignificance when compared to the ABC and this from a body that has a charter of impartiality. Impartiality. That is laughable. Every media organization has had pay reductions and sackings … all except one and dopey Albo wants to give them more money.

    You’re big in universities, Stuart, so I guess you understand why they’re prepared to accept the Confucius Institute’s shekels but reject Ramsay’s dollars. I don’t! Another national disgrace and great to see Sydney Uni’s vice-chancellor get his hackles up when it was suggested that he take a 20% pay cut on his $1.5 mil stipend. And now the universities are desperate to get the Chinese students back. If you’re at Rosehill and you back the horse called Self-interest, you won’t go far wrong. God, I’m so old. I can remember when universities debated, and professors like Peter Ridd/James Cook didn’t get sacked for expressing a contrary view to the group.

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree as far as the ABC goes.

    1. Hi Peter, I’m always happy to agree to disagree with you! But my point is that at least I’m an ABC listener who has actually experienced the joys of 2GB! I don’t think many have.

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