Is Moonman’s banning of the C-Word from his breakfast show a Copout?

An earnest plea from Peter Saxon.

The other week Lawrence “Moonman” Mooney, made the decision to ban any talk of Covid 19 from his Triple M Sydney Breakfast show.
“I’ve made a decision, an executive decision on the show today,” he told 104.9 listeners “The C-word won’t be used, and that C-word is Covid. We are over it. This is a Covid free zone.
“Of course, we’ll wear our masks in the office. We’ll distance and sanitise, we’ll check-in, we’ll do all the right things. But we’re not discussing it. You all know the rules. You’ve seen the news – we all know we’re in lockdown – and all the numbers blah de blah blah. And there’s a degree of fatigue about this stuff.”

This all happened after Mooney, himself, was pinged in early July for breaking the rules that were in force at the time, by travelling to Byron Bay and not self-isolating for 14 days, as required.
Following that incident, in a statement reported in the Daily Mail that sounded as if written by corporate lawyers rather than a stand-up comic, he said, “My actions, were they to be repeated, could end up in extended lockdowns, illness and death. That’s the height of the stakes we’re talking about, and I don’t shirk from the seriousness or my part as an example to others.”
It seems to me that if Lawrence Mooney truly believes anything he said in that statement about ‘illness and death’, ‘the height of the stakes’ or ‘the seriousness of his part as an example to others,’ he wouldn’t shirk his responsibility to his listeners by shutting down discussion about this one-in-a-hundred-years pandemic that has already killed more than four million people worldwide and is now back with a vengence in the guise of the new Delta strain that is spreading faster than before and now killing younger people.
In the most recent survey,104.9 Triple M returned a very healthy 12.7 share of the 18-24 age group – easily the station’s highest result in any demographic (or session) of Survey 4. More importantly, Triple M’s audience is heavily skewed towards males – the same demographic that the government says it has most trouble convincing that Covid presents a clear present danger to themselves and their families. 
Of course, as Mooney says, for his key demos “there’s a degree of fatigue about this stuff.” And yes, they’re sick of seeing and hearing boring old politicians and medical experts banging on about “the numbers blah de blah blah.”
But mate, they’re your listeners, they’ll listen to you. You have the privilege of controlling a microphone and with it a responsibility to use your influence for the greater good. We’re fighting a war here and you’re missing in action.
Last week, radioinfo asked the networks to provide some samples of what their talent was doing to convince listeners to abide by the distancing rules and get the jab. 
SCA responded by sending us so many positive examples that we had to put them in a separate story. It featured your colleagues on the floor directly below you at 2DayFM and Erin Molan’s excellent put down of Covid conspiracy theorists. 
SCA’s list of pro-active messaging from some of the strongest influencers radio has to offer included many of Mooney’s counterparts at the Triple M network: Marto and Margaux in Brisbane. Mick Molloy in Melbourne. Plus Jay & Dave, the brekkie guys at Triple M Mackay
Then there’s Fifi and Fev at The Fox in Melbourne as well as Nick Gill on Hit Newcastle’s Breakfast show Nic, Jess & Ducko with their vaccination parody song
Mooney, you were conspicuous by your absence on that list. Your listeners need you. The country needs you to convince that 18+ male audience of yours that they can’t go out partying with their mates on the sly while this pandemic is raging. If Covid doesn’t affect them, they could just as easily carry it home to their loved ones and have serious consequences for their olds or their brothers and sisters.
Sure, make the message funny, as only you can. You know how to engage your audience better than anyone. 
Moonman, with great respect, I truly hope you change your mind about a Covid free zone on your show and use the rare skills that you possess to help get your listeners, and the rest of us, out of this lockdown and back to normal.

Peter Saxon



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