2UE’s woes continue. Fairfax’s poorly-performing Sydney radio station 2UE remains in disarray three days before its rejigged 2013 lineup hits the airwaves. 2UE programming bosses have been struggling to find a presenter to host the key Breakfast slot with former Australian Idol judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson after former Channel Ten Breakfast host Kathryn Robinson dropped out at the last minute. The station trialled several presenters with Dickson last weekend including newsreader Sarah Morice and rugby league broadcaster Andrew Voss. The Breakfast spot is crucial because Dicko & co. will be up against 2GB ratings king Alan Jones. 2UE general manager Chris Parker was due to announce Dicko’s co-host this morning but has yet to do so.

“It’s been bloody chaos,” one 2UE insider said. “I’ve never heard of on-air auditions for a breakfast host a week before the show’s due to go to air. It’s extraordinary.” Another 2UE staffer said the cash-strapped station — which is trying to adopt a more moderate, less polemical tone in 2013 — was being run like a “circus”. “They are trying to make cuts and do something different with the station at the same time,” the staffer said. “They are pulling in different directions. They’ve had all kinds of wild ideas about who to hire but they don’t have the money.”

There is particular disquiet at the station leaving longtime presenter and former Channel Ten sports-reader Tim Webster, who had a tumour removed from his lungs in September, in limbo. “A lot of people feel very sorry for him,” a staffer said. “He’s an icon and he’s been around for 100 years. And you don’t treat people who’ve been around for many years like that.”

Former Triple M presenter Brian “The Spoonman” Carlton has been hired to produce Jason Morrison’s Drive-time slot. Insiders say he is likely to take over as host in 2014 if Morrison, who has been dumped from the high-profile breakfast slot, leaves the station when his contract expires at the end of this year. There is also unhappiness that the 2013 lineup — which features Murray, Morrison, Stuart Bocking and John Stanley — continues to be a “middle-aged Anglo-Saxon male fest”. — Matthew Knott.

Newspaper Exclusive Watch. Media Briefs aficionados will be aware that we enjoy, in the spirit of good fun, keeping track of the “exclusives” in bitter rivals The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. Alas, it’s a more infrequent feature these days because, after popping up all over the paper like pimples on a teenager’s face in the early days of Michael Stutchbury’s reign, The Fin rarely uses the tag.

There are only two “exclusives” in the paper today. However, The Oz — silly season be damned! — has splashed the red ink around with gleeful abandon, running 11 “exclusives”. These include a page one splash revealing Liberal MP Steve Ciobo thinks union-friendly deals are hurting productivity, and a page six yarn reporting that tourists are flying out of bushfire-ravaged Tasmania en masse.

ACA viewers s-xist? Some may feel disturbed by the fact almost a quarter of those who’ve voted in A Current Affair‘s latest online poll say women should be paid less than men. They should, however, be relieved; it was hovering closer to 30% yesterday.

Front page of the day. We know a good tabloid front page yarn when we see one and Melbourne’s Herald Sun delivers today.

Peter Fray

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