The Australian media is happily engaged in a race to the bottom. Programmes cost money don't you know, and appealing to people with taste and intelligence is a luxury we can no longer afford. The bad news for comedy is that stupid people only think they like to laugh: what they actually like to do is be told exactly when to laugh by a stern-looking father figure. Or at least, that's what I've been telling the guys over at Nine for the last five years.
Many of the voter comments we received for our winner Triple M referenced Austereo's Head of Content Guy Dobson and are unprintable. There's not much point saying anything more about Dobson - if you've bothered to read this far you probably know the story - but in case you're not familiar with his work and general attitude to life, why not listen to what the man himself has to say in Episode 4 of Mediaweek's Radio Industry podcast. Having done so you will no doubt agree with all those people whose quotes we can't print.
Anyway...Triple M - the home of "Rock, Sport and Comedy". It's probably foolish to complain about the shitty treatment the M's handed out to every single comedy act that walked through their doors over the last few years: after all, the only "rock" they play is weak-as-water generic pap as memorable and individual as a bus ticket, and calling a radio station the home of sport is like calling a library the home of newspapers: compared to that, comedy got off lightly.
Let's be honest here: if you want to laugh, you don't watch Nine. It's just a fact - this is a network surviving on the back of Two and a Half Men repeats, after all. Their idea of comedy is some old smug white guy sitting behind a desk making fun of someone who isn't an old smug white guy. No wonder they spent a fortune buying Top Gear.
Unlike Nine, Seven is actually interested in comedy. Not enough to actually make any, but they're happy to buy shows that have become a success on another network when they can. Usually they buy them long after their use-by date and only get a few limp episodes out of them, but hey - at least they're trying. Though buying Comedy Inc and rebranding it Double Take is stretching the definition of "success" well beyond dictionary tolerances.