They offered me $700,000 extra. How could anyone survive on that? Kyle Sandilands #RadioAlive2019 | radioinfo

They offered me $700,000 extra. How could anyone survive on that? Kyle Sandilands #RadioAlive2019

Friday 18 October, 2019
Photo: Andrew Jarvey Life Photography

On the back of signing the biggest media deal in Australia, which will take him and co-host Jackie O up to the end of 2024, Kyle Sandilands spoke with Karl Stefanovic at the 2019 Commercial Radio Australia conference in Brisbane, RadioAlive2019.
“This guy down the front didn’t bother clapping, so that has set the scene,” quipped Kyle as he was introduced to the audience.
And yes, the scene is set for the next hour with Australia’s highest paid radio personality. 
“I got divorced and sacked... you offend two of the great religions in the world and get an 8 million dollar pay rise,” begins Stefanovic.
“You under sell me there”, Kyle responds.
Kyle and Jackie O have been together on-air for almost 20 years, starting at Southern Cross Austereo, and now on Kiis 106.5 in Sydney with the Australian Radio Network.  Yesterday it was announced they have signed a multi-million dollar deal with ARN which could see them make $50 million each to the end of their new contract.  Unfortunately Jackie O did not make the trip to Brisbane, which meant the floor and audience was all Kyle’s.
“When you’re on-air every day and you’re live and winging it….you know I do zero preparation….I like to hear things as a listener.  I like to go in with virgin ears.  If I don’t understand something, the odds are the listeners don’t either”, Kyle says warming up the audience.
Where do you begin talking with Kyle Sandilands?  He jumps from story to story, talking about his early days on radio in Townsville and Cairns, to the success of his current show in Sydney.
“I once stole a Black Thunder.  I drove around for half a day in that.  It was a long time ago”, recounting a story of his love for wanting to be on the radio.
“I just loved doing radio.  (When in Townsville) I got paid 1 hour a day, then I would stay all day and into the night learning everything I could”.
Kyle didn’t have high expectations when he got into radio, thinking breakfast at Sea FM on the Gold Coast was the ultimate goal.  Now Kyle, with on-air partner Jackie O, rules the airwaves.
“You know our show this morning went to 10:30….because we fucked up the adds,” Kyle casually mentions. 
“You need a pay rise then for going over”, Stefanovic adds.
“Yeah, they got that 90 minutes for free in my opinion.”
He takes pot shots at previous staff and employers, but when it comes to his on-air partner Jackie O, he has nothing but kind words to say.
“I admire her as a broadcaster.  We work because we never compete against each other.  Some teams get on-air and compete with each other. I listen to what she says.  We listen to each other.  We respect and admire each other,” he says about Jackie O. 
“She’s not a pain in the arse”.
Back to the Kyle the audience loves to hear each day.
The chat quickly switches to the controversies Kyle and Jackie O have face, most recently upsetting listeners with comments about the Virgin Mary.
“I have no problem saying sorry when I say something horrible and I have offended you”, says Kyle.
“But I just like to speak what I think.  I’ve got an opinion on everything.  If their opinion is better, I just swap to their ideas.”
Conversation then changes to the move from Austereo to ARN.
“When I hatched the plan, I asked for double the money.  They offered $700,000 extra.  How could anyone survive on that?” 
When Kyle teamed up with Jackie O at Austereo, Jackie O was reportedly on $65,000 per year.  Kyle was offered $230,000.  When learning Jackie was on less money, he offered to reduce his salary so he and Jackie O would be on par.
Kyle knew the move to ARN would be the right move.
“I just knew everyone (listeners) would come.  It never entered my mind they wouldn’t.”
“Over at ARN it feels like old school radio. It doesn’t feel like the tax department.”
Asked about how much control he has over what he does on-air, Kyle is quick to respond.
“I have complete control.  The show needs to be fluid so if we give away $10,000 to Sally, we don’t go into a slow boring song, or a bunch of ads.  It should be an up song.”
Trying to get Kyle to narrow the success of his show down to three rules is tough, but Stefanovic has a go anyway.
“What are the three rules to success?”
Kyle thinks a bit before answering.  “Enjoy what you do and give it your best effort.  There you go, only two rules.”
“There are no rules.   Love what you do, try and be honest, and don’t listen to people who want you to become other people”, Kyle continues.
“Are you happy”, asks Stefanovic.
“I don’t think like that.  I love it and I feel responsible for people I work with…only thing I have ever worried about is that if I fuck it up, I fuck it up for hundreds of people.”
Amongst the anecdotes of his early days, the sexual innuendo with his producer and staff, and his cracks at other’s in the media, Kyle comes across as someone who just loves radio.
“I just love radio.  And I just assume that people love it as much as I do.”
And what does he think about his current bosses?
“I don’t have a boss.  Who’s the boss of me?”


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