Rumour has it…

Observation by Peter Saxon

We hear a lot of rumours at radioinfo. Rarely do we publish them unless another media outlet makes them public first. 

Here’s why. True or not, for the most part, at station level, they’re destructive. Not only do rumours mess with the heads of the talent involved but with everyone at the station from production staff to receptionists, none of whom deserve it.

Having said that, it could also be said, “All publicity is good publicity.” There’s no denying that gossip about radio personalities, positive or negative, is good for the industry as a whole. It places radio presenters in the same space as movie and TV stars. On that score, at no time since the introduction of television 60 years ago, has radio garnered as much media attention as it currently enjoys.

Rumours are difficult tp substantiate. If we ask a station to comment on a rumour about forthcoming changes, they’ll invariably deny it or offer “no comment.” What else can they say? Even if the rumours are true, they have strong commercial reasons to control their own message – or at least try. One Content Director was honest enough to tell me once,“Even if the rumour is true, Pete, I’m not about to tell you and blow six months of planning. There’s too much at stake.”

In January this year the big rumour doing the rounds was that SCA had a blank cheque to lure back Kyle and Jackie O from ARN. We thought at the time that the idea was fanciful – which turned out to be so. Not so much because SCA wouldn’t do it but because it was hard to believe that information so sensitive would leak. I wrote at the time “At this stage, unless it’s a tactic to bluff ARN into paying through the nose, any strategy to wrest K & J away from their current employer would be a more closely guarded secret than the D-Day invasion of WWII.  The idea would be secure in the confines of CEO Grant Blackley’s head, shared, perhaps, with only one or two of SCA’s most senior executives on a need-to-know basis.”

The most recent rumour, published in the Sunday edition of the Daily Telegraph suggesting that Rove & Sam will be taking over the national Drive show when Hamish and Andy departs at the end of the year, has been around for some time now. The latest twist in the Tele’s tale is speculation that Rove & Sam’s replacements will be Em Rusciano and Osher Gunsberg (left).

The Tele’s story in its Confidential section which was originally posted unchallenged, goaded an SCA spokesperson to give up her well-earned Sunday brunch to issue the following statement, “We’re firmly committed to Rove & Sam as our 2DayFM 104.1 Sydney breakfast hosts – there are no and will be no changes to this line up.” 

“Well, she would say that, wouldn’t she?” … is the standard put-down designed to place her and her organisation in a no-win situation. 

PR can be a nasty business.

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