Nice work if you can get it…

Peter Saxon examines Radio Alive

Some people have all the luck, as Karl Stefanovic noted before he began his hour-long interrogation of Kyle Sandilands  in front of the standing-room-only crowd at Friday’s CRA Radio Alive conference, held in Brisbane. Addressing Kyle, “I think the whole world has gone absolutely crazy,” laments Stefanovic. “I got divorced and sacked. And you insult two of the world’s greatest religions and get eight mil.”
By his own admission, Kyle does no prep for a three-hour Mon-Fri Breakfast show that nets him, reportedly, around $10,000 an hour or $150,000 a week. “I do very little to zero preparation. But there’s a method to that. It’s not just laziness – I like to hear things as a listener. I like to go in (to the studio) with virgin ears so that I hear things for the first time.”  
So much for the old adage: Hard work will always beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
When I put that proposition to him, Kyle agrees. “True. But I’ve got both covered because Jackie is fully prepped and she’s right across everything that’s going on. And we have like about ten producers and they’re all fully prepped. So, half of us are prepped. Jackie is fully prepped – so she does an afternoon phone call with the producers, gets downloaded on everything. And then I just hear it fresh in the morning unless I have to know something in advance about that side of things.”
That unique division of labour where Jackie works hard while Kyle doesn’t (and who’s really the boss) is confirmed later in Craig Bruce’s Game Changers session by past EP, now Kyle’s personal manager Bruno Bouchet who, discussing how segments make it into the show says, “If you’re the Exec Producer and you’ve got an idea for the show, you sell that to Jackie, who’s the actual EP, if you want to know the truth.” 
It probably explains why she’s on the same lofty base rate as Kyle. He’d be lost without her – a point he never misses an opportunity to make.
It also supports international talent coach Valerie Geller’s theory that the best on-air teams are made up of a “generator” and a “reactor.” On-air, Jackie generates the topics and angles. Kyle, with his “virgin ears” simply reacts to what he hears – which is why he was in his element being interviewed by Karl Stefanovic on stage at Radio Alive. But kids, don’t try this “non-work” ethic at your station. It takes rare talent to perform and only a handful of people can pull it off – Kyle being one of them.

All but a very few delegates we spoke to at the radioinfo sponsored drinks after the event believed that Kyle being interviewed was the best session of the day – perhaps the best ever.
Arguably the world’s biggest and most prolific “reactor” is Howard Stern whose $US 500 million five year contract with satellite network SiriusXM dwarfs Kyle and Jack’s $AUD 50 deal.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Kyle & Jackie O’s on-air partnership and Stern’s relationship with his generator, Robin Quivers who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.  In the video below, she credits Stern with saving her life.

Still, Kyle & Jackie O may just get to Stern’s $500 mil package yet. On Friday, Kyle hinted that he’s signed a distrubtion deal to syndicate the program is some form or another throughout the U.S.

Peter Saxon




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