Overnight radio perspectives

Following up from last month’s item on mid-dawns, AMT this week gets a further insight into overnight radio with John Kerr.

AMT: Who listens overnight? KERR: All sorts…. people going home from a late night out – people getting up from 3am to start work at 4, 4.30, 5; overnight truck drivers – taxi drivers – police – Hospital staff – night staff in Motels and Hotels – Cleaners – butcher shops – pastry shops – all night factories -students studying (believe it or not we get a lot of them) – Security – service station attendants, those who are invalid and those who don’t sleep all that well, etc. Bureau of Census and Statistics state there’s a half a mllion awake overnight in Sydney for one reason or another.

AMT: What is your most popular feature and/or topic? KERR: Craig Bennett talking about show business gossip twice a week has been popular for nearly 8 years – and the audience respond tremendously well whenever we talk about nostalgia such as old picture theatres – old dance halls – war-time memories – recollections of their younger days.

AMT: How long have you been doing your overnight program? KERR: Been doing New Day Australia since September 1994. Prior to that I ran my own Public Relation firm in Gosford – before that hosted the breakfast program for 13 years on 2GO Gosford. I will have been in radio for 45 years come this November.

AMT: What do listeners want from an overnight program? KERR: It would seem the majority of Sydney audience at least want talk/company overnight – we’ve rated a very convincing No:1 in Sydney in EVERY survey in the last eight years.

AMT: What can you do at night that others can’t in a day shift? KERR: Talk longer to those who have a good story to tell – or give more time to those who are in trouble.

AMT: Any weirdos out there like in Play Misty for ME? KERR: Yes there’s plenty of drunks, dope heads, prostitutes who call – if they’re fun we keep on on – if not they’re dispatched. I’ve only had one real bad case in 8 years with a Brisbane lady who said she’d fallen in love and made life fairly interesting for a few months. The police had to called eventually as not only had she written to every John Kerr in the Sydney telephone directory advising that I’d given her a sexually transmitted disease, she also obtained my home telephone and was becoming more than a nuisance.

AMT: How many stations are you heard on? KERR: We are on 27 radio stations (including 2UE) with the prospect of more and now can boast a cumulative audience of approximately 250,000 – considerably larger than many daytime programs.

Other successful networked overnight programs include the night crew on the Caralis network, which broadcast to 31 stations in three states. The Caralis overnight team includes Crazee MC Mike Carroll who does the interactive countdown, Chris Page and Jason Kazanas amongst others. Their website is at http://www.131009.net/

If you are hosting an overnight networked program send your viewpoints on what you do and your stories to AMT.