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Pop go the radio stars

Posted May 16th, 2010 by debritz

The Queensland Pops Orchestra and conduictor Barrie Gott teamed up with radio stars Spencer Howson (612 ABC breakfast host), Bruce Redman (612 ABC drive movie reviewer), Loretta Ryan (4BH breakfast co-host) and blast from the past Wayne "Wayney Poo" Roberts for a concert with a difference at QPAC on Saturday night. Here's an exclusive picture of the radio stars:

Here's some audio from the event and here's somebody else playing what they played.

Triple M surges in ratings

Posted May 11th, 2010 by debritz

Ian Skippen from Triple M home pageIn the Brisbane radio ratings survey 3 released today, 612ABC's Spencer Howson has reclaimed No.1 spot in breakfast, while Triple M has overtaken stablemate B105 to claim the overall lead. Overall, it's Triple M, B105, Nova 106.9 and 97.3FM in reasonably tight formation, while in breakfast Howson is followed by B105's Labby, Camilla and Stav, Nova's Meshel and Tim, and Triple M's The Cage with Ian Skippen (pictured). Triple M's overall win was helped along by big ratings for its music offerings during the day. 4BC's Jamie Dunn and Ian Calder had the biggest increase in breakfast, adding 1.6 percentage points to overtake 4KQ near the bottom of the pack. The survey included Dunn's on-air dummy spit, where he challenged 4BC management to back him or sack him. (Audio here.) In Sydney, 2GB has again begun drawing ahead overall and in breakfast, with talk rival 2UE well down among the also rans. ABC702's Adam Spencer added points to be a strong No.2 in breakfast, followed by 2Day's Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, who led the FM stations. Eddie McGuire had a setback in Melbourne, where his Triple M breakfast show lost points and is a long way away from leaders 3AW and ABC774. It's too early yet to judge the impact of the former 3MP entering the market as news-talk station MTR.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on Spencer Howson's top-rating 612ABC breakfast show each Tuesday about 6.50am. He also had several guest spots on 4BC, including its resurgent breakfast show, during the survey period.
(Updated Tuesday 23.45AEST)

On the air

Posted May 11th, 2010 by debritz

If you missed my regular Tuesday spot on 612ABC, you can listen here. I spoke to Spencer Howson about teaching English to foreign students, finding cheese in Bangkok and how Stephen Hawking may be able to help Daryl Somers an Hey Hey It's Saturday's disgruntled fans.

More power to the Powerhouse

Posted May 8th, 2010 by debritz

There's an interesting article here at about the tenth anniversary of the Brisbane Powerhouse. There's no doubt that the Powerhouse is a great asset to Brisbane, and it's deservedly cherished by many arts lovers. But it is limited in its ability to cater to the broader population of the city for several reasons, including the fact that its main auditorium can hold only about 500 people. Brisbane has many small venues, and exciting things are happening not just at the Powerhouse, but at the Metro Arts, the Judith Wright Centre, the Brisbane Arts Theatre and elsewhere - but, let's be honest, a lot of what happens in these place is for niche audiences with already well-honed theatrical tastes. For the performing arts to truly flourish, Brisbane now needs another large venue that can handle an open-ended run of a big commercial production. The more people who have the chance to see professional live theatre at a high standard, the more theatregoers we will have - and the more people who might just take a chance on seeing at a show in a smaller venue. First-time theatregoers are unlikely to wander in to see an independent production the Powerhouse or the Judy; but they might just go see the Australian premiere of a big musical at, say, a restored Regent Theatre and eventually develop a taste for less mainstream fare. This is one "trickle-down effect" that might actually work.

Earl Okin's on his way, at last

Posted May 6th, 2010 by debritz

In the late-1990s, I saw Earl Okin at an arts festival in Hong Kong. About three years ago, he was lined up to perform in Brisbane as part of an Australian tour to coincide with the release of his album, and I was scheduled to interview him for the Sunday Mail. However, the tour and the interview were cancelled. Now I'm pleased to discover that Okin will perform at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival from June 16-26. He'll be at the Judith Wright Centre on opening night, and if he's anywhere near as good as he was a decade ago, he'll be well worth seeing. The festival bill also includes performances by Ross Wilson and John Waters, Denise Scott and Bob Downe. Details here.

The view from here

Posted May 4th, 2010 by debritz

Online listener Roger has branded me "young" and "naive", which I don't half mind, but you can judge for yourself after hearing my segment on the 612ABC Breakfast with Spencer Howson show here.

Talk the talk

Posted April 22nd, 2010 by debritz

It seems some bright spark has registered the web name Judging from where it points, I don't think it was John Singleton.

Daniel is the new Stav

Posted April 20th, 2010 by debritz

My sources say funnyman Daniel Viles will replace Stewart "Stav" Davidson on the "panel of experts" on the 612ABC afternoon program hosted by Richard Fidler (pictured). As reported exclusively here at, B105 managment has pulled the pin on Davidson's 612 appearances despite the fact that he's been on the ABC longer than he's been on the commercial station - and the fact that the stations appeal to entirely different demographics.

Kick-Ass character looks familiar

Posted April 20th, 2010 by debritz

A reader writes:
The latest film Kick-Ass features a purple bobbed-hair hero wearing mask called Hit Girl (Mindy McReady). It's from comic Kick-Ass which started in 2008 and is sure to be a cult hit. However in 2007, Queensland band Krill, who are based in Sydney, recorded a video for the debut single Shake It Up Ma with a bubble girl character who you'd swear was Hit Girl. The video was commissioned by Sony and was recorded before the band toured got Big Day Out, playing every city including opening the main stage in Perth. It's unlikely the makers of Kick-Ass ever saw the video, but they definitely look the same. You be the judge
Here's the video.

A new talk station for Brisbane?

Posted April 18th, 2010 by debritz

Rumours are flying in cyberspace that 2GB owner John Singleton, who has just launched Melbourne Talk Radio, is considering starting a commercial talk station in Brisbane. The first question is: where would he get the licence? My understanding is that there will be no new licences in the foreseeable future, as the current players have been given a guarantee that their investment in the transition to digital will be protected. So that means buying or leasing an existing station. 4BH is not doing especially well but its owners, Fairfax, are highly unlikely to hand it over to Singleton if he's going to compete with their talk station, 4BC; and there's no reason for Austereo and DMG to offload their successful stations. The only possibility I could see is a deal with ARN to convert 4KQ to talk, in the way 3MP became 3MTR. However, KQ is ARN's only fully owned station in Brisbane and its "gold" format is likely to do better in the ratings as the uptake of digital receivers gains pace, offering much better quality than the current AM signal. Perhaps a more pressing question is: is there room for another talk station in the Brisbane market? While analysts agree that 4BC should be doing better in the ratings, its hard to see a big enough audience for two commercial stations plus 612ABC.
Having said that, Singo, if you're keen to have a go, I'm looking for a gig!
PS: Maybe Singleton is looking at River 949 as a possible talk vehicle. Based in Ipswich and broadcasting into Brisbane's southern and western suburbs and much of Logan, it is arguably in the heart of talk-radio territory. However, it is not officially part of the Brisbane radio market and is excluded from the all-important metropolitan ratings survey.

Ash Bradnam back on air next year?

Posted April 16th, 2010 by debritz

Former Nova 106.9 star Ash Bradnam (pictured with Meshel Laurie) hopes to return to Brisbane radio next year, Channel 9 has reported. The station said Bradnam, who was sacked following a drink-drive incident, had been in talks with a "rival station", without naming it. He told Lane Calcutt: "I can't wait to get back on air and start having fun again." As things stand, it seems there would be no place for Bradnam, who has admitted he is an acoholic, in the Brisbane FM breakfast firmament, although anything could happen before the new year. He is certainly a good talent and, as part of a team with David "Luttsy" Lutteral, Meshel Laurie and Kip Wightman, was a huge ratings winner for Nova for many years. Nova's new team of Laurie and Tim Blackwell has recently ceded first place to Labby, Camilla and Stav at B105, but the competition is very tight.

Star's memories of the Regent

Posted April 16th, 2010 by debritz

The man who starred as popular Brisbane children's entertainer Danny O'Dibble is backing the campaign to Save the Regent theatre. Actor-singer Darryl Boyd, who played O'Dibble on stage and on the former Channel 0 (now 10) in the 1970s, now lives on the Sunshine Coast. But he came to Brisbane for a nostalgic visit to the Regent, remembering the night of the farewell concert for the venue before the original large auditorium was split into four cinemas in the early 1980s. Darryl says he was the last act on an all-star bill at the concert and he sang Send in the Clowns as the curtain came down. "The only problem was that they'd started serving champagne in the foyer, so there weren't too many people left to hear me," he recalled with a smile. Darryl supports the notion that the Showcase theatre should all be preserved as it is or restored into a much-needed second large multipurpose theatre venue. "I always said that the Regent should be Brisbane's Opera House," he told me.

No need for feed?

Posted April 15th, 2010 by debritz

An update on this item about the Twitter feed on the front page of, and whether it's a good thing for its parent company, News Corp. As I write, the scrolling feed features a series of free plugs for a rival media organisation; lots of personal chatter, some of it bordering on the inane; and a link to a story that mocks the pricing policy of the iPad edition of the Wall Street Journal (proprietor: News Corp).
Update One of my tweeps writes: Someone thought this a good idea? Obv I read paper for insights like "Wont be seeing Hubby for 4 days...tres sad, I'll miss him.."

Hair's to Craig

Posted April 14th, 2010 by debritz

Congratulations to Craig Smith, the owner of Fruition Hair in Brisbane, who was named Queensland Hairdresser of the Year 2010 at the Australian Hair Fashion Awards held at Sydney Town Hall. A sample of his work is pictured. Craig has two Brisbane locations, at Rowes Arcade in the city and in Heather Street, Wilston.

Kyle dethroned

Posted April 14th, 2010 by debritz

Australia's Got Talent, which much-promoted new judge (and Big Brother reject) "King" Kyle Sandilands, premiered to just 233,000 viewers in Brisbane last night and was No. 7 on the local top 10. It was the worst performing market for the Seven Network show. The no.1 show in Brisbane last night was Nine's Top Gear, with 350,000 viewers. Seems we like fast cars more than fast talk.
PS: Australia-wide, Australia's Got Talent was no.2 with 1.493 million viewers. Not a bad debut, but Underbelly 3 got 2.237 million.

Alf opens up about drink-driving

Posted April 13th, 2010 by debritz

Allan Langer on Channel 7 NewsOn Channel 7 Brisbane News, rugby league great Allan Langer has told how he has received hate mail in the wake of his drink-driving conviction. "Alf" - who was videoed at a Brisbane pub dancing on a table top in his underwear before he went behind the wheel - spoke openly to reporter Pat Welsh about telling the news of his night’s behaviour to his wife Janine, his children and his mum. "I shouldn't have been in the car at that time ... and I've learnt a big lesson," he said. Langer also commented on the fallout from the footage that was taken at the Normanby Hotel: "There was a little offer from Dancing with the Stars, but looking at the video, I don't think I've got much hope."
PS: Reports that Langer had had "eight to 10 pots of Fourex" at the Normanby seem a little off the mark. The pub doesn't have Fourex on tap.
Meanwhile, the ABC is boasting that The 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien has secured an exclusive interview with US President Barack Obama. It will screen on Thursday night.

Radio activity

Posted April 11th, 2010 by debritz

A reader of this blog asks why the 4BC radio newsreaders no longer refer to the Fairfax network, and asks if the station has been sold. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been sold but don't know why the change was made. Can anybody answer? Also, a shoutout to whoever manages the radio widget on the Brisbane Times website. I'm pretty sure Alex Bernard is not part of the 4BC (2GB) Continuous Call team, as suggested by the photo:

Danny's back on the air

Posted April 9th, 2010 by debritz

Danny Hoyland, for many years regarded as the heart and soul - and visible presence - of Brisbane's 4BC, has been quietly toiling away in Ipswich these past few months presenting a program for River949 FM. Hoyland, who is also well-known in surf lifesaving circles, says the program, Great Weekender, on Saturdays from 6am to 9am, is "radio the way it should be - fun". "It's just me being myself," he adds. If you're not in the Ipswich, Logan or the southwest Brisbane area, you can hear the station online here.
Update Danny writes:

It is a lifestyle programme with a difference, lots of good music with interviews about boating safety, fishing, camping, gardening, quirky interviews, interviews that you probably wouldn’t hear on mainstream radio. It’s like a chat between two mates, laid back, nothing political, no crudeness, nothing contravercial. I try to get them to talk about themselves, what they like, why they do what they do. I have a quickie recipe segment with the International Chef Glenn Austin (this weekend it’s Drunken Prawns), food history with Sizzlers food scientist Jeremy Ryland, and I talk to veteran Channel Nine cameraman Peter Collins about what he has seen behind the camera lens the previous week, I chat to the Voice of the Outback Neale Stuart, who reports in from various outback (Western) locations with deadset Queensland characters, and I have a segment at 7.15am called 60 seconds with Dano that goes for 949 seconds. I talk to well known people, unusual people, people with a different story eg: Wendell Sailor, Wally Lewis, Susie O’Neill, Ray Martin, The Planet worker, the original surfing Gidget, Bepo the Clown (50 years as a clown entertaining kiddies), Tommy Radonikis, Elvis the concierge at Sofitel, horticulturist Graham Ross, Laurie Lawrence, the man who invented a shoe phone that really does work ... anything, or anyone that has a different story to tell, has a message. I keep it clean, non political, happy, unusual, quirky, different, hopefully different to any other radio programme. I call myself Danny Hoyland, the Little Queenslander banana bender from the Great Weekender in the great Southern Land on the hill at North Ipswich.

Geoffrey Rush to head QTC?

Posted April 9th, 2010 by debritz

The Brisbane Times reports that there's support for Geoffrey Rush to replace the retiring Michael Gow at the helm of the Queensland Theatre Company. Of course, it's a brilliant idea. But would Rush forgo his Hollywood career and gigs on Broadway and the southern stage to run a Brisbane-based company? Maybe he could do it if, like Cate Blanchett at the Sydney Theatre Company, he enlisted a co-artistic director to be there when he couldn't be. In Blanchett's case, it's her husband, playwright Andrew Upton.
PS. As reported by Brisbane Times, critic Sue Gough's shortlist includes QTC assistant director Jon Halpin and husband-wife team Helen Howard and Michael Futcher. I'd throw Jean-Marc Russ into the mix, too. Mind you, I don't know who has applied for the job.
PPS: Rush is, of course, a great supporter of the Save the Regent campaign.

Weird, wonderful and home-made

Posted April 8th, 2010 by debritz

Way-Out, Weird & Wonderful: Unique Queensland Events: it's a mouthful but that's the title of a special on Channel Seven Brisbane this Saturday 6.30pm. It's hosted by Queensland Weekender's Dean Miller and it promises to tell all about such things as pumpkin races in Goomeri and fruit fighting on the Granite Belt. The best thing about it? It's local TV made for a Queensland audience at a time when there's so little of it around.

Regent film festival launched

Posted April 8th, 2010 by debritz

As revealed by me on 612ABC on Tuesday, a film festival will be held to "celebrate the life of Brisbane’s favourite picture palace", the Regent Theatre, which is set for closure to make way for a highrise office tower. In a media release, the cinema operators, Birch Carroll and Coyle say the festival will include a short film competition and "an exclusive showcase of past and present films" from Saturday May 29, with a farewell event held on Sunday June 6, 2010, Queensland Day*. The release says the short film competition is open to all film enthusiasts, students or experienced filmmakers and carries "significant cash prizes". (I hope many of those entries highlight exactly what we will lose due to the shortsighted council and government decision to green-light the development in its current form.) Entrants must submit a maximum five-minute film containing a visual reference to the Regent. Entries to the competition are open now and full entry details and terms and conditions available at From Saturday May 29, The Regent Theatre will showcase a variety of past and present films representing the eight decades in which the theatre has been open. Of course, the fight to save the Regent - and especially the ornate Showcase Cinema (pictured) and bar area, which will be demolished under current plans - is not over. See the Save the Regent website for details.
* There's more than a little irony in choosing the state's big day to shut down a Queensland icon to allow for the demolition of the cinema and bar area, and potential irreversible damage to the grand foyer.

One for the pedants

Posted April 7th, 2010 by debritz

This clip is from the news on Brisbane's Radio 4BC.

How come I didn't hear about the major sex scandal at the US Masters?
If player does not work, click here to hear audio.

Stav gets the chop

Posted April 7th, 2010 by debritz

Stav Davidson from B105 websiteFor four years, Stewart Davidson has been a member of Richard Fidler's "panel of experts" on Brisbane's 612ABC. For almost as long, he's been one of the stars of B105's breakfast show under his nickname Stav. (You must have heard of him; Labby, Camilla and Stav are pictured on every second billboard in Brisbane.) Now, according to my sources, B105 (which this year is No.1 in breakfast) has told Davidson he can't be on Aunty as well. Such a shame, considering even a cursory glance at the ratings stats will show that 612 and B105 have totally different audiences.
Update: One ABC Radio executive's comment on Twitter: "What a joke considering b105 found stuart via @612brisbane."
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard weekly on 612ABC's Spencer Howson program

On the air

Posted April 6th, 2010 by debritz

If you missed me on 612ABC with Spencer Howson this morning, you can catchup here now. We spoke about the money celebrities earn on the speaking circuit and the upcoming Regent Film Festival. The Regent tenants, Birch, Carroll and Coyle, are sponsoring a film festival and competition before they move out in June. A percentage of proceeds from ticket sales will go to the contest prize pools. Enjoy the Regent while you can - and keep up the fight to save the Showcase Cinema and ornate bar area!

BYO glasses?

Posted April 3rd, 2010 by debritz

A cinema-going friend writes:

I just bought tickets on line for Gold Class and had to fork out $1 each for the glasses (or I could bring my own). What am I going to do - bring some cardboard ones I have lying around the house or put some green and red cellophane together?

I suppose it will only be a matter of time before we all do have our own 3D cinema glasses. Until the fad wears off (again), of course.
PS: Live theatre is always in 3D - and you don't need special glasses.

Sorry, wrong shift

Posted March 31st, 2010 by debritz

Who do you call on talkback radio in the Drive shift? Well, if you're in Brisbane, it's either Michael "Smithy" Smith on 4BC or Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612ABC. But, for some reason, Smithy seemed to be in another time zone when he took this call:

Perhaps, after the Jamie Dunn debacle, the believed he was fronting the BC breakfast show and up against 612's Spencer Howson.
If player does not work, click here to hear audio.

Jamie Dunn: I've had a gutful!

Posted March 31st, 2010 by debritz

Jamie Dunn has said he is staying with the station and is now convinced that comments about him attributed to station manager David McDonald were not malicious. Dunn's spray [the audio is at the end of this story] followed an item in the Confidential column of The Courier-Mail that quotes the 4BC management as saying Dunn is "still learning talk radio". When he went on air, Dunn challenged management: "Either you want me here or you don't." Saying he had "had a gutful", Dunn added that he had been at the station for two years, the ratings were on the up and he was ready to confront management over his future. It came a day after the second ratings survey figures were released, showing a marginal improvement in audience share for the 4BC breakfast show hosted by Dunn and Ian Calder - but they are still a long way from the No.1 spot held by B105's Labby, Camilla and Stav. Dunn's talk rival, 612ABC's Spencer Howson, also has about twice Dunn's audience share while they are head-to-head. As I have reported previously, Dunn is contracted to increase the station's ratings. If he does quit, Drive host Michael Smith is a likely replacement. My sources say he is keen to take on the breakfast show. However, there have been suggestions that Dunn's outburst was an early April Fool's Day prank.
Audio: The audio in which Dunn says he wants to look at his life and spend more time with his kids is here:

If player does not work, click here to hear audio.
His earlier spray is here:

If player does not work, click here to hear audio.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on the Spencer Howson show on 612ABC.

Question for the day

Posted March 31st, 2010 by debritz

What exactly is Brisbane's community TV station called? Its website has logos identifying it as 31 and QCTV, and on a promotional video for the new digital service it's also called Briz 31 (its original name). I would have thought that clear branding was the No.1 priority when marketing a product.
PS: Oh, and the videos page doesn't work properly in the Firefox browser, which has 42 per cent market share in Europe and is growing elsewhere.

Bruce Paige - he's back!

Posted March 30th, 2010 by debritz

Bruce Paige may have retired from reading the news five nights a week, but Channel Nine Brisbane isn't about to let the popular star disappear from our screens completely. News director Lee Anderson has announced that the station has "finalised a new agreement with Bruce Paige that will continue his involvement with the network until at least 2013". Anderson added: "Bruce will continue as our back-up reader as well as undertaking a number of weekly features which will be unveiled by the network over coming months."
Update: A Nine press release has just confirmed this report, quoting Paige as saying: "I am a News man from way back and I have missed the people at Nine and the energy of the newsroom. Working part-time I still get to spend time with my family. I feel very lucky to have the best of both worlds." (March 31, 9.35am)

A bit Brough

Posted March 28th, 2010 by debritz

An on-air slip of the tongue by an ABC reporter in Brisbane resulted in former Howard Government heavyweight Mal Brough being referred to as Rob Brough, the Sunshine Coast-based newsreader and former TV game-show host.

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