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.