How Shane Jacobson saved the ACRAs from going down the gurgler

Peter Saxon goes to the ACRAs and like what he sees, hears and eats.

ACRAs host Shane Jacobson, who famously played the title role in the 2006 film “Kenny” about an expert in portable toilet hygiene, expertly saved a the ACRAs when it was in danger of going down the toilet.

The event was held in the newly redeveloped Melbourne Convention Centre adjacent to the Exhibition Centre, affectionately known as Jeff’s Shed because it was the brainchild of former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett. The new venue is one of the reasons Sydney has had to redo its own convention facilities, just to keep up with it’s southern rival.

It was easy to see why Sydney feels threatened. For me, it proved to be the best ACRA’s venue ever. For once, all the tech – audio and video – worked perfectly. The sound, which, ironically, is so often crap at radio events was great – although some in the 55+ demographic complained it was too loud. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they.

The food was a cut above. Not quite haute cuisine, but for a meal served up all-at-once to 1,200 people, it was exceptional. The entree choice of fish or pumpkin ravioli, main course choice of beef cheeks or chicken ‘somethingorother’ came to our remote table hot, which in itself was an achievement worthy of a Nobel Prize. Although the dessert was unremarkable (the sticky date pudding better than the chocolate tart) all up, it was a welcome improvement from ACRAs past.

Back to the show. The presenter list was impressive.

Lewis & Lowe – Nova Adelaide 

Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold – Nova FM

Hamish & Andy – Today Network

Fitzy and Wippa – Nova 969 FM

Fifi Box & Dan Anstey – Fox FM

Ben Fordham – 2GB

Melissa Doyle & Cameron Daddo – Smooth FM

Jonesy and Amanda – WSFM

Lehmo – GOLD 104.3

Dan and Maz – Today Network

Chrissie Swan & Jane Hall – Mix FM Melbourne

They only had a minute or so to say something funny, but Hamish and Andy took at least three. They addressed the big question on everybody’s lips. Will they or won’t they do breakfast on 2Day-FM next year? The answer is they definitely will as long as they can come to an agreement with SCA on a “few minor points.” Point one being that SCA secures an act of parliament to define breakfast around Australia as starting at Midday with the workday commencing at 2pm. Simples! Deal (almost) done!

After years of trial and error, it seemed as if CRA had finally got everything right for radio’s gala event of the year. But then the old ACRAs curse reared it’s ugly head. 

Given a 10 minute break from festivities to wander around the room and chat, the crowd, as usual, failed to resume their seats and quieten down when the show resumed. On a previous occasion, many years ago, the curse of Australia’s toughest room defeated even the great Alan Jones who, despite his stern demand for a bit of shush, failed to engage this particular audience made up of people from both AM and FM stations. Jones has never been seen at an ACRAS since.

Finding himself in a similar situation, faced with mutiny and a runaway ACRAs, Shane Jacobson was determined to restore order. His solution was a simple as it was ingenious. He harnessed the innate tribalism of the revellers.

“Who do you think will win the most ACRAs… SCA?” A huge roar from the SCA tables. “NOVA Entertainment?” yelled Jacobson. Rapturous applause from the red and white camp. “ABC Radio?”  Even that got a response from someone who had already been on the turps too long.

By the time Jacobson had finished calling out a random stream of stations and networks, he and regained control of the event and the ACRAs continued without a hitch.

Peter Saxon

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