Steve Price mustn’t get too many phone calls on 2UE Breakfast because he’s allowed a couple of cheeky Crikey subscribers and contributors 5 goes in his first two days. This is their story.

PRICEY: First let’s go to Anthony who’s out there at Chippendale, hello Anthony.

AFC: G’day Pricey. Natasha (pause) never mind. Pricey, I heard you talking yesterday to a lady from Canada Bay and you suggested when you were talking to her that you might be visiting that area. And I’d like to invite you to my area.

PRICEY: Which is?

AFC: Chippendale.

PRICEY: Yes what would I see when I went there?

AFC: Oh, look I could show you around the sights of Chippendale, Redfern, Newtown a great mix, a great bunch of people out there. I think you could learn a lot about Sydney if you just sort of popped by for a coffee, for a beer, 05

PRICEY: Yeah, thanks Anthony. I know a fair bit about inner Sydney, I’m sure I’ll get there, and Neal’s on the phone from Redfern, hello Neal.

NFR: G’day Steve. Just following up from your previous caller actually who invited you to Chippendale. I’m just around the corner in Redfern, so you should swing by Redfern as well if you’re in the area. I’d be more than happy to show you around some of the sights of Redfern, including the Centrelink, which is just a hive of activity every Monday morning. But that’s not the purpose of my call, Steve. I wanted to talk about the BBQ King restaurant, which you’ve been sinking the boot into a bit over the last few days, 05

PRICEY: (Laughs) Well, I’ve only been sinking the boot into the service, I thought the food was great.

NFR: Oh, ok. Did you try the BBQ pork there?

PRICEY: No, but I did try the chili prawns they were excellent.

NFR: Oh, ok. Well the BBQ pork is one of my favourite dishes and the BBQ King does it better than anyone, I think. If you ordered the BBQ pork I think the service would have been excellent because I think they have a conveyer belt there that just churns out the BBQ pork and as soon as you order it it’s just about on your table.

PRICEY: No, I was happy with the BBQ King, I thought it was fantastic. It’s just that the waiter as he stared at you was most disinterested in giving you any service at all. He put me off a bit, but it was great.

(ad break)

Well, Pricey has softened his stance on that a little bit, having not had a good word to say about the legendary BBQ King a few days ago when talking about it with John Stanley.

But Anthony from Chippendale and Neal from Redfern didn’t get the star treatment on day 2 of Pricey, that’s for sure. Could we be seeing a more aggressive Pricey, perhaps?

Pricey spent a fair bit of the day giving the new show starring Red Symons, Shafted, a right shafting. A few callers also mentioned how bad the “celebrity” Weakest Link episode was last night, so just before the 7 o’clock news I gave Pricey another tinkle. It took until after the news to get on, but it was a much more mellow Pricey this time.

Incidentally, I think Felsy could have a section 52 Trade Practices Act case against Channel 7 for misleading and deceptive conduct in promoting this vacuous excuse for a television show. Aside from the self-anointed “sporting icon” Warwick Capper, who insisted on banking when the team had no money to bank and Moonwalked his way down the walk of shame, there wasn’t a genuine celebrity present on the show.

PRICEY: Neal’s there from Redfern, hello Neal.

NFR: G’day again, Steve. Warwick Capper, we all know he’s no Rhodes Scholar, but the sad thing about last night’s celebrity episode of “The Weakest Link” was that Warwick wasn’t in fact the dumbest person on the panel, which is a pretty sad indictment of all of those half-baked Channel 7 soapie starlets. But one question I’d just like to share with you just to illustrate the mental calibre of some of the people on the panel, Warwick was asked the question “what vowel do you drop from the word ‘huge’ to make a three-letter word meaning an affectionate embrace?”

PRICEY: Don’t tell me he got it wrong?!

NFR: Warwick’s answer was ‘humungous’! [Oops. The Wiz actually said ‘horrendous’ my mistake, but not material.]

PRICEY: (Laughs) What?!

NFR: That was his answer! And that wasn’t the biggest clanger of the night I might add, but, 05

PRICEY: You know his problem, don’t you Neal?

NFR: What is it?

PRICEY: He wore those tight shorts for so long that they’ve actually squeezed his brain.

(ad break)

I feel I’m back on side with Pricey now, so I’ll be giving him another tinkle or two tomorrow, but perhaps won’t be setting the alarm clock for 5:15 am again. I always thought of myself as a morning person, but I’m buggered if I know how people like the Parrot and Pricey get up at 3am every day and produce their shows.

Some highlights from Day 2 of Pricey:

* The Parrot’s ads for Provident Capital were still going to air. At least 2UE have now taken the Parrot off their website! A pity they haven’t figured out how to slot a photo of Pricey into the banner at the top of the “Personalities” page where the Parrot’s mugshot used to be.

* The dulcet tones of Neal from Redfern can be heard on one of Pricey regular promo’s where, on Day 1, yours truly sycophantically says “I love the show already” (just before saying “congratulations on the ratings”).

* Pricey promised Eddie McGuire on air after someone had accused a Miyyonaire contestant of being robbed. In fact, the caller got it wrong someone rang up later and said the earlier caller had misheard “agoraphobia” when the question was “acrophobia”. Despite this clarification, Pricey was still promising Eddie, but like his touted interview with the PM on Day 1, Pricey couldn’t deliver. Get real Pricey if you can’t get the PM, there’s no way you’ll be able to get Eddie Everywhere!

* Slimey Simey Crean was Pricey’s first big political interview in his new Sydney gig, and it was a pretty tame affair. There were a couple of technical hitches initially, Slimey’s voice was way too soft, and Pricey could clearly be heard saying “I can’t hear him”. Lucky he didn’t drop the magic “f” a la Chappelli.

* There was an interview with Jane Hanson about the Port Hedland story shown on ACA the previous night. Pricey hadn’t seen the story, but after the 5-minute interview with Hanson, he carried on like an expert. Unfortunately, neither Pricey nor any of his callers called into question the credibility of Hanson’s work given her involvement in the Bennie Mendoza incident (the tv repairman who shot himself after an ACA stitch-up).

* A call came in from a “David from Manly” and it didn’t take long for Pricey to ask “that sounds like David Oldfield?” Spot on! No wonder Hugo Kelly got sprung by Pricey last year he’s sharp! Oldfield’s gripe was about the rights of “legitimate” shooters being trampled over because of the unlawful gun-toters in the community.

* Pricey performed his first Sydney talkback castration (and not before time) some dipstick rang up going through a whole list of race grievances in Sydney’s west. He rattled off the gun, knife, and physical threats he’d encountered, then mentioned “I don’t know a Lebanese bloke who hasn’t done an insurance job on his car”. Pricey soon hit the mute button.

* A lot of time was spent bagging the new show “Shafted” but at 8:30am the ratings came in and guess what it creamed ’em. Pricey was contrite but explained away the first night result as being due to the curiosity factor.

* Pricey sharpened the claws a bit today. To a caller who said he was going to 2GB in the near future, he said “we won’t miss you one little bit.”

* In one of his many sledges at “Shafted”, Pricey tempered his criticism a little bit, noting that “I’m about to do a television program myself, 05” Woo-hoo! Me thinks Neal from Redfern has his first discussion point for Wednesday’s show.

ends

Pricey’s first shift on 2UE

By Neal from Redfern and Anthony from Chippendale

Crikey’s old mate Steve Price made his debut in the breakfast shift on 11 February (happy birthday, Harlem) on Sydney’s 2UE and anyone expecting a baptism of hell, fire and brimstone would be bitterly disappointed.

It was a relatively subdued Pricey in his first gig in the Parrot’s old slot there wasn’t one “moron” (except in Pricey’s regular promo pieces where he called someone a goat), nary a sane caller was cut off early, and he continually reminded listeners that it was their show and they would be setting the agenda.

And although the Parrot is gone, his memory and dulcet tones lives on. At 7:16, an ad for Provident Capital came on air, with the voice over chirped by none other than the Parrot himself!

While Pricey was doing his level best to erase the memory of the Parrot and put a stop to any talk about the Parrot even from callers with an axe to grind on comes an ad featuring the dead man! Mind you, this ad again popped up on his second show at 6:28, so Pricey couldn’t have kicked up too much of a stink about it.

The closest Pricey came to blowing his top came when a “Rod from Melbourne” opened up with a “how are you, Steve?” Every Melburnian knows that Pricey hates being asked that question. Rod continued on with a couple of cheeky digs at Pricey and then after a brief pause, Rod again asked “so how are you, Steve?”

Pricey reached for the mute button and said we’d heard enough from Rod.

Pricey was obviously on his best behaviour for the first day on the job, because he didn’t once hector a caller who asked him “how are you, Steve?” And it happened plenty of times.

Pricey had obviously done his homework on how the Parrot rankled listeners, taking many calls from people who were glad that they would finally be listened to and not talked to, one noting that he’d never got onto the Parrot’s show after three years of trying.

Right from the get go, Pricey made his appeal to the ordinary schmo. “Our number – your number – to call us is 13 13 32, 05 This program will continue to campaign for people without a voice, 05 It will be about you – you will set the agenda, not me, 05 The lines, as I’ve said, are open to you.”

But Pricey is no Parrot, for he obviously doesn’t have the same pulling power as his predecessor. (Why is it that I just can’t resist a double entendre when talking about the Parrot?) Early in the show, Pricey told listeners that he hoped to talk to the PM after 8am. But by the end of the show, not a word from the PM.

I rang up for a second time just after 8:30 and was told by Pricey’s assistant that they’d tried to get the PM on but hadn’t been able to.

One cannot imagine this happening in the Parrot’s nest. In fact, if you want to know how far the Parrot rants and raves to get the PM on his show, just check out the story in the Crikey archives. If you can’t access the Crikey archives, well do yourself a favour and subscribe, tightwad!

Pricey will need to sharpen his gun slinging skills a bit, because until the first ratings survey comes out, he’s only the Deputy Sheriff in this town.

Another interesting thing about Pricey’s debut was that about half of his callers were Melbourne ex-pats, so perhaps the people of Sydney haven’t embraced him keenly just yet. And if that means the residents of Darlinghurst, Newtown and Leichhardt are keeping their distance, well, that probably suits Pricey just fine.

A couple of Crikey talkback radio-loving sole subscribers set the alarm clocks for 5am, eager to be Pricey’s first caller. Between them, these two have an impressive CV on talkback radio Pricey, Bruce and Phillip, Derryn Hinch, Neil Mitchell, John Stanley, Keith MacGowan, and the Reverend Alex Kenworthy to name but a few but the fight was on to be Pricey’s first caller in his new Sydney breakfast shift.

Unfortunately, an old geezer called Dennis from Ocean Beach beat them to the punch. But when Dennis asked Pricey whether he knew what Pricey’s predecessor used to say “at least four times a week”, Pricey hit the mute button.

PRICEY: I tell you what Dennis, I’m not interested really in what my predecessor used to say. He did a great job here. He did a great job for a long, long time. But he’s not here any more, so there’s not much point in talking about him any more. Neal is on the line from Redfern, hello Neal.

CRULLERS: G’day Steve, look I just wanted to ring to welcome you to Sydney. I’m an old Melbourne boy myself, I’ve been here for 6 years and I’ve been waiting for this moment for 6 years, Steve. Love the show already, congratulations on the ratings but the big issue that I wanted to get on to you straight away was what AFL team are you going to go for? Are you going to stick with the Richmond Tigers or are you going to do the Sydney thing and get onto the Swans?

PRICEY: I’ll stay with Richmond but I’ll join up as a financial member of Sydney because I think every club, whether it be a rugby league club or an AFL club deserves people to actually join up as members and to pay their memberships, that’s how these clubs survive. So I’ll tip my own money in and I’ll become a member of Sydney. And I’ll go and watch Sydney games, but I’ll always just follow very closely Richmond. I could never give them away, Neal. What did you do when you came here?

CRULLERS: Well, I was a Fitzroy supporter, so unfortunately I had the decision made for me by the AFL.

PRICEY: (Chuckle) Yes, you did! Did you re-embrace the Lions?

CRULLERS: No, I couldn’t get on the Brisbane Lions whole-heartedly. The way the merger was done by the AFL, it was a bit of a shafting of the old Fitzroy supporters at the time. I did have fond memories of Fitzroy when I saw the Lions win the Premiership this year [oops] but I was more hoping that Essendon would lose rather than Brisbane win.

PRICEY: Good on you, Neal. Neal from Redfern there. It’s 19 to six.

A disappointingly brief and colourless exchange there, but good to get the ball rolling with Pricey on his first day. After a few ads, Pricey went back to the phone lines and his next caller was also a Crikey Sole Subscriber.

This one was a much more lively discourse.

PRICEY: 17 degrees in Sydney and it’s 22 minutes to six o’clock. [I think Pricey got this wrong] We’ll have some news highlights from overnight in a moment, also talk about John Howard leading an attack on Natasha Stott-Despoja. First let’s got to Anthony on the line from Chippendale, hello Anthony.

AFC: G’day Pricey, how you doing mate?

PRICEY: Good.

AFC: Quick traffic report for Tyrepower no problems on Cleveland Street, 05

PRICEY: [Laughs]

AFC: , 05 between City Road and Regent Street, 05

PRICEY: [Laughs] They won’t get the joke, Anthony!

AFC: , 05so traffic is flowing smoothly there.

PRICEY: [Laughs] Just to make the point to people. In Melbourne we used to have a traffic sponsor, Tyrepower, who sell Tyrepower tyres, and they do so in Sydney as well. And I would welcome and Anthony has set the precedent here I would welcome anybody in Sydney on your way to work if you want to ring us 13 13 32 I’m happy to put to air your traffic calls, accidents, delays, and we’ll help you get to work. Go ahead, Anthony.

AFC: I’ll give you a list of Volvo dealers later in the show.

PRICEY: [Laughs] Thanks.

AFC: Before I get onto what I want to talk about, just on what Neal from Glen Iris, 05 errr, Neal from Redfern was saying, Pricey, when I moved up from Melbourne I kept my Melbourne footy club membership and also got a Swans membership.

PRICEY: Yeah, that’s the way to go.

AFC: We can go to games together mate. Pricey, how long do you give Natasha Stott-Despoja?

PRICEY: I’d be disappointed if the Democrats didn’t decide to move on her very quickly.

AFC: She has got to go.

PRICEY: I called her during the Federal election campaign. I suggested she only appealed to women aged between 18 and 25 years who like buying designer shoes. I mean that seems to me to be her policy.

AFC: Well I saw Piers Akerman yesterday on The Insiders and he basically said anyone over the age of 22 wouldn’t even consider voting for them. And I think he’s pretty spot on. And then I saw in the papers that she was in New York for much of the South Australian election campaign, so I’m not sure that there would have been too many ex-pat South Australians filling out, 05

PRICEY: No, she has a new boyfriend. He’s a spin-doctor who works for a PR firm. John Howard has pretty much led the attack on her. He suggests that she shouldn’t have been there with her boyfriend, she should have been back in South Australia. They did desperately badly in the South Australian election at the weekend. They look like winning no lower house seats and thought they’d win five. I think she’ll go pretty quickly. Appreciate your call, Anthony. Geoff’s on the line, 05

Now there are a lot of things to like about this call from AFC, who definitely takes the three Brownlow votes for Pricey’s first day.

1) The blatant plug for Tyrepower from AFC.

2) The quip about Volvo dealerships.

3) The fact that AFC always referred to Pricey as “Pricey”.

4) The deliberate faux pas by AFC in referring to “Neal of Glen Iris, 05 errr, Neal of Redfern, 05” (Neal of Glen Iris was the on air identity that yours truly had assumed when speaking to Pricey on 3AW about Eddie McGuire’s conflicts of interest just before Christmas.)

5) AFC adroitly weaving a reference to Piers Akerman into the conversation.

6) Pricey raising Natasha’s romance into the discussion.

The tape of this conversation has been on high rotation at Chez Crullers, that’s for sure and Pricey even used the “Love the show already” line in his day two promos when both Crullers and Anthony got on the air again.

Anyway, on day one these two articulate callers were then followed by a motley procession of fruitloops, including one chap who yodeled a welcome to Pricey and a bizarre conspiracy theorist-type who warned Pricey “we’re watching you closely one wrong step and you’re in trouble”.

Welcome to Sane City, Steve!

This prompted Anthony from Chippendale to send me an SMS saying “we’re the only sane people to have called so far”.

Well, some people might question the sanity of two blokes who set their alarms at 5am just to compete for the honour of being Pricey’s first caller on the 2UE breakfast shift, but be that as it may, 05

It didn’t take long for a caller to get onto one of Pricey’s pet topics cabbie bashing. Pricey fully endorsed this caller’s spray, and when a taxi-driver later in the show complained about people not understanding why drivers are reluctant to take short fares, Pricey gave him short shrift. “If a person gets into a taxi, they should decide where it goes, not you.”

Preach on, Brother Pricey!

Pricey also quipped that they should get rid of the plastic bubble that surrounds cabbies, as it was a “breeding ground for BO”.

Errr, without having done too much first-hand research on this Pricey, I’d say that it was taxi drivers’ armpits and crotches that are the breeding grounds in question. Perhaps if we could get rid of taxi drivers’ armpits and crotches it might improve Sydney’s air quality.

Pricey spent a bit too much time for this listener’s liking on the death of Princess Margaret, but around 7am he got into the meatier local issues of the day the theft of fire-fighting equipment from fire fighters who had downed tools in Friday’s George Street tickertape parade, and the death of a Lebanese youth, bashed unconscious and shot by an Asian gang over a disputed mobile phone theft.

There was an emotional talk with the obviously distraught older brother of the shooting victim and then several calls. An excerpt of the conversation with the victim’s brother was used in the lead item of the next news break.

Although Pricey mentioned the ethnicity of the victim and alleged assailant up front, he did say that it was with some regret that he had to mention their ethnicity and the fact that it was an “Asian gang” involved. But Pricey certainly didn’t fan any redneck hysteria and was careful to note that his issue with the incident was along the lines of “what sort of a country do we live in if somebody takes a pistol to the movies in a dispute over a mobile phone?”

Pricey had a couple of broadsides for the Daily Tele during the morning, noting that one of their articles had mentioned every bad word he’d had to say about Sydney in his cameos on John Stanley’s afternoon show. This is what the Tele said:

2UE man sledges Sydney

By Ben English

He may be talking up Sydney now but new 2UE breakfast host and Melbourne resident Steve Price has had nothing good to say about us in the past.

“He starts on Monday so maybe listeners can give him a call and ask him about his opinions on our town. Here’s a sample:

“August 23, 2001: “Everyone up there seems to be in a state of great despair. Your whole town seems to be beset by this issue of ethnic unrest. I understand you have Lebanese rape gangs storming around Sydney terrifying everyone.”

“September 10, 2001: “What’s wrong with Sydney, by the way? You can’t buy a drink before midday.”

“November 28, 2001: “When are you [Sydney] going to get behind the Davis Cup, you mob. I just don’t think you’re behind it, because it’s not up there.”

“July 31, 2001: “I’m pleased I’m out of there. What a shocking place. Why don’t you get a road system that actually works. It’s just a shemozzle. Just hopeless, it is. Up there you’ve got to drive through all these broken-down suburbs and broken-down houses and homeless men sleeping in the streets. It’s like driving through a ghetto. It’s like New York in the ’60s. It makes Harlem look like a retirement village.”

“June 25 2001: “Have you ever tried flying in and out of Sydney and actually got there on time? An airport that doesn’t even operate 24-hours a day and you call yourself an international city. What a joke.”

“Yesterday: “I love Sydney. Why would you want to live in Melbourne. Grey and drizzly. Shocking joint. I’m being serious. Sydney is the only place if you’re going to work in Australia. [Living] anywhere else but Sydney is camping out.'”

ends

Does this mean Pricey won’t be getting a weekly column a la his Herald Sun gig in Melbourne? That would be a loss to Sin City journalism.

By contrast, the Parrot had some glowing tributes in the Sunday Tele, including shots of the Parrot in action over the years and one shot of the Parrot in his Sunday best polishing the dining table (presumably) in his Newtown four-story terrace.

But make no mistake Pricey is a City of Brotherly Love Man through and through now, dumping on his former home town of 20 years at every opportunity. A caller suggested that he “wouldn’t live in Melbourne for quids” and Pricey agreed “me either”. If media reports of Pricey’s salary are right, it would take at least a million quids to get Pricey even thinking about heading the wrong way along the Hume.

Pricey also heated up the audience about Sydney’s deplorable traffic and attracted plenty of calls. Yep, he’s gone for the jugular on the big political, social and economic issues of the day, hasn’t he? In fairness to Pricey, it was looking like a slow news day except for the resumption of Parliament, so a few whines about Sydney traffic were probably a good enough way to pass the time.

A fair bit of the conversation was dominated by the AFL, thanks to the comeback by Plugger on the weekend. Pricey bemoaned that “I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about AFL but I can’t avoid it”.

Plenty of time was spent bagging Jeff Kennett, Pricey at one stage saying “imagine how bad that bloke with the bad hair will be”!

But it wasn’t all tip-toeing through the pansies just to placate his Sydney audience. In talking to his US correspondent about the most unlikely Mardi Gras venue Austin, Texas, redneck capital of the US of A Pricey surprised no-one in remarking “I’m not a big fan of these Mardi Gras things”.

Come on, Pricey you can do better than that! Give it a couple of weeks when Mardi Gras hype starts to build and Pricey will be onto it like a dog to a bone.

Although it was a relatively subdued Pricey first up, he’s clearly trying to differentiate himself from the Parrot’s autocratic, holier-than-thou style. He constantly reminded listeners that “the program won’t change radically, what will change is that you have someone new producing it and presenting it, 05 This is an exchange of issues and ideas.”

And Pricey wasn’t shy about reminding his audience about his family man status. “I intend to be here for the long term… I wouldn’t be moving my family here if I didn’t intend to be here for the long term.”

Let’s see how things hot up when the Parrot resumes active duty!

Feedback to Neal from Redfern at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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