Fast Fashion, Food and Radio

Observation from Jen Seyderhelm,

It’s my one-year anniversary on 2CA breakfast with Paul Holmes today. My first day I was too excited and nervous to sleep, lay out a very nice outfit, put on makeup and did my hair. Today I am dressed in my now work staple of whatever I laid my hands on prior to trying to get six hours sleep. 

I’m wearing a much-loved Cold Chisel t-shirt that’s seen better days. 

It’s often at the top of the pile as I tend to wear it again as soon as it’s clean. I’m an avid op shopper and only really tend to buy basics (and band merchandise) new, so a friend shared this article today knowing it would resonate. 

The gist is that fast fashion is so disposable now that items are created to be worn seven times on average before they’re only good for the bin. Demand for secondhand clothing has never been higher. The good stuff: genuine vintage clothing and accessories, are dwindling in number and being sold at mark ups often considerably higher than the original retail.

On Saturday I went to see Crowded House at a Vineyard in the Southern Highlands with some radio colleagues and around ten thousand other people (poor Neil Finn now has Covid and has had to postpone current sold-out gigs). I had plenty of time to people watch and saw many wearing their clearly just as loved band t-shirts that had well exceeded the seven times usage.  There was also a lot of love for these 40 odd years veterans of the Australia/NZ music industry.

There’s been so much profound change in both the radio and music industries in the past decade. New bands and artists in this pandemic landscape have so many roadblocks toward gaining an audience. Those like Neil and Crowded House have an established and loyal fan base so getting a support gig with them (like the very talented Teskey Brothers) is one option but then we’ve all been to a gig where the support acts as a drinks/talk break. 

Then there’s streaming dictating young listener choices and the overwhelming amount of choice. In the 70s you had limited radio stations and venues for a night out. Now you can listen to audio from the other side of the world and watch your favourite artist perform in their living room. It takes a lot to get a committed buy in from a consumer.

Radio is also no longer a forever career. 

I entered radio when I was expected to be multiskilled, answer the reception phone, work in with the sales team when required and stay in the role for a decade. This type of radio experience still does exist. We went through a later stage where most had one focused role. Now I would strongly recommend to my students to both be adaptable and to make sure that they use their spare time towards a later Plan B. This is a rather pragmatic view of a society that changes jobs about 12 times across their career. You cannot rest on your laurels nor assume once you’ve finally opened the door that it won’t shut on you when you least expect it.

It’s been a tough year at the office for Holmsey & Jen.

Our listeners have changed too.

Like fast food and fashion, radio consumption has become disposable but without the environmental and physical consequences. There is no hesitation about wearing one station a couple of times before discarding it for a new variety. We binge our music and TV choices.

The assumption remains that older people and listeners are more likely to commit whereas youth like to play the field. Risking the wrath of radio programmers, many stations have these values firmly entrenched and are adhered to as stringently or freely as they think their audience requires.

But the fashion article above had some data that is food for thought. 40% of Gen Z are buying second hand and 90% feel a responsibility towards a sustainable, rather than disposable fashion choice. A commitment to reuse.

The Gen X group and baby boomers are part of the post pandemic “great resignation” and early retirement. We’ve decided after all these periods of lockdowns that we want more from our lives and future. A commitment to pivot and change.

Stations like CADA can and will benefit from creating a good quality and consistent structure for people to regularly invest in while other music stations should be looking to be flexible, shake the dust off and not do things like they’ve always done it.

That’s what we and our respective listeners are doing. 

I think we’ll see some surprising changes in conservative station movement and TSL particularly over the next twelve months. A ratings equivalent of hanging onto that Chisel shirt or trying on new things.

About the Author
Jen Seyderhelm is a Breakfast Announcer at Forever Classic 2CA, a Podcast and Voiceover educator, and she is currently counting down the greatest one hit wonders of all time in Australia.
Contact: LinkedIn

Read more articles by and about Jen Seyderhelm here.