The gloves are off in regional Australia’s radio war between John Laws
and Charles Wooley. Last week 2UE came out swinging with a statement
bagging Wooley’s credentials that surprisingly won support from 2GB shock jock and Laws’ rival Ray Hadley.

Hadley accused Wooley of an “embarrassing” on-air stuff-up after a technical hitch created some dead air during an interview with the prime minister in Wooley’s opening show.

“It’s all about big business. These guys want one voice in the bush,
they want a monopoly,” Wooley told Crikey of the attacks. “Maybe the
reason some of the essential services in the bush are substandard in
many respects, is because we’ve had one voice for too long.”

But here’s the classic bit – the publicity over the attacks on Wooley
has brought the show to the attention of media buyers, bringing at
least one new sponsorship deal to the table.

Sources say Hadley’s attack on Wooley might have something do with his
private aspirations to become the voice in the bush when Laws
eventually retires. In fact, in early 2005 Macquarie Radio – John
Singleton’s outfit – had preliminary discussions with Macquarie
Regional Radioworks (MRR) about providing a networked morning program
to regional areas.

About the same time, 2GB extended the Jones’ show an hour to 10am with
the aim of carrying his breakfast audience through the first hour of
the rival Laws program before handing over to the Hadley’s slot. It was
all part of a plan to challenge the Laws Morning Show in the bush and
amazingly, there was even talk about the possibility of a composite regional
product with both Jones and Hadley.

But MRR decided to go with its own product – Charles Wooley’s Across Australia – in September last year.