Apologies for not
having any stories in Friday’s Crikey Daily, but being Jon Faine for a
day on ABC local radio in Melbourne turned out to be an all-consuming
and highly stressful experience. All those memories of not being able
to sleep whilst chief-of-staff of The Daily Telegraph in 1999
came flooding back because when the alarm went off at 4:30am last
Friday morning, only three hours of shut-eye had been had.

In
the end, there was only one major stuff-up as we first went to talk
back at about 9:15am and Mrs Crikey said she heard: “Can I have another
talk back caller please?” Yours truly is a total luddite and was
literally looking at the wrong screen for talk back callers and then
hit the wrong button in trying to communicate with the production team,
so the request inadvertently went to air.

You quickly learn how
important the production team is as they screen the talkback callers,
put suggested questions for interview talent on the screen, tell you
when to wind up and generally completely hold your hand.

Doing
live radio is a confidence game, so everyone tells you how great it’s
sounding when the reality was I was talking too fast and listeners
could also hear my breathing. That said, there were no other major
stuff-ups and we even got through the cooking segment with Gabriel Gate
unscathed as he obligingly decided the topic would be something even a
culinary ignoramus could handle: “Toddlers food, how to get your kids
to eat their veggies”.

Thankfully, there were no major breaking
news stories and the producers sprung no surprises, so the interviews
were mainly with regulars or people I knew and had lined up to talk
about topics that had been well researched over several days beforehand.

This
is not something Jon Faine could do given he has the toughest radio
shift in the country – 3.5 hours a day of uninterrupted, fast-moving
and high rating live radio with no ad breaks. That Faine has sustained
this for eight and a half years is quite remarkable as I found it
needed days of preparation just to get through one abbreviated 2.5 hour
shift.

It’s much easier being on the other side of the console
for a brief stint on a specific topic – something that happened with
Terry Lane’s Radio National program In The National Interest during a discussion about leaks, which is being repeated at 1pm today on Radio National.

The
Jon Faine experience didn’t end happily as our car was blocked in this
chaotic car park on Sturt St so I had to get the bus home at midday.
When Mrs Crikey went in to collect it at 7:30pm on Friday night,
someone had tried to break into it and did several hundred dollars
damaged trying to ram some sort of coat hanger through the front
driver’s side window.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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