What could you buy for $100 million?
A mega mansion in Hollywood? A Vincent van Gogh original? A trip into space? Perhaps you’d prefer to bankroll your own movie or buy a private jet?
And what could you purchase for $200 million?
Double the above. Or, as we’ve learned this week, Sydney-based radio duo Kylie Sandilands and Jackie Henderson.
That’s the money widely reported to be involved in a 10-year extension to the duo’s contract with ARN Media; a contract that also involves banking millions in shares and a cut of extra revenue.
By any objective assessment, it’s a roll of the dice. And that’s especially the case given the Kylie and Jackie O Show will now be aired in Melbourne, replacing the Jase and Lauren breakfast show on KIIS.
“Love us or loathe us, Jackie and I will be continuing with our politically incorrect nonsense for a long, long time,’’ Sandilands announced.
His words. And in Sydney, listeners lap it up. Indeed, pointing to their record number of listeners this year, Sandilands boasted they had “more listeners than ever before. It’s almost like herpes”.
“Herpes goes around the community, everyone’s got the herpes. Welcome to the club. We’re all the herpes club here … Thank you to everyone who listens.”
And he gave credit to his co-host too: “I feel that more people are listening because Jackie has lost all that fat, and she is totally rootable again.’’
And he didn’t stop there. “When you are sitting at work with a massive h***-o*, it doesn’t get much better than that.’’
It got worse, and I’ll spare you the detail because this is closer to the norm than not with Sandilands. That’s the point. But will his popular nonsense travel across the border to Melbourne?
And it’s not just Sandilands. His co-host frequently offers personal insights, including having a polyp removed from her uterus but she wasn’t sure whether the surgeon operated “via the colon or the vagina’’.
Any interest in knowing more, and you’ll find it online.
Kyle and Jackie O have dominated Sydney’s FM airwaves. Here, Kyle interviews Paris Hilton. Photo: Getty
The Australian media has always boasted strong idiosyncrasies tied to its location.
Adelaide and Brisbane and Hobart stories are often proudly parochial. Just take a look at how a national budget is reported in those cities, across radio, television, newspapers and online.
Sydney, where I was the deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph for more than three years, has always been unashamedly brash and in your face. Just like Sandilands and his teammate Jackie O.
But Melbourne is different. And it has always been different. Melburnians would say they are more refined, and that’s a blanket claim that has often been proved wrong.
But whether it’s an obsession with AFL, a touch of intellectual snobbery, the three-times-a-day weather changes, or even its own ‘national’ gallery, Melbourne prides itself on not being like Sydney.
Often, in the popular press, the difference has been described in what to wear to the office. In Sydney, it’s anything, but bare shoulders is a casual nod to a sunny summer. In Melbourne, it’s more formal. And certainly not the thongs you see in Brisbane’s city mall.
In the same way, Melburnians consume media differently, and always have.
And that’s what makes it very difficult to see how Sandilands’ uncouth, bull-in-a-china-shop approach to everything will become a money-making machine for ARN Media in Victoria.
That isn’t to criticise Sandilands and Jackie O. Their particular and peculiar and divisive brand of radio is a phenomenal Sydney success story, in terms of listeners and the commercial revenue they bring through the front door.
And they’ve done that despite a barrage of criticism and complaints ranging from sexism to bullying, slut-shaming to homophobia. Sandilands has told women to lose weight, asked people about their sex lives, and taken any criticism or suspension almost as an accolade.
There are no boundaries on his breakfast show, whether the issue is race, sex or religion. And the ratings love it.
But will Melbourne tune into the same no-filter banter in the same numbers?
It’s hard to see – but ARN Media will be hoping the 797,000 people – more than a 16 per cent share of the radio audience who listen each weekday morning in Sydney – can’t all be wrong.