Sunday, June 19, 2005
In the meantime however, John Laws has attacked 2UE and is threatening to quit. He spoke exclusively with the Sunday Telegraph which suprises me as he always seems to have tongue in cheek when reffering to it and it's weekday version, The Daily Telegraph, as a "fine journal".
The Daily Telegraph story can be read here and is also reproduced below.
Laws attacks 2UE
June 19, 2005
BROADCASTER John Laws feels he is being wasted by 2UE and is threatening to quit the Sydney radio station.
|Frustrated: Talk show host John Laws recuperating at home in Woolloomooloo|
"It does sort of bother me that with what is a great radio station by any standards, these people think they can run it from Melbourne," Laws said.
"Well you just can't bloody well do it."
Laws said too many spending decisions at 2UE need approval from Melbourne head office and not enough is spent on promoting the Sydney station which he regards as the jewel in the company's crown.
The radio legend, who is in the middle of one of the worst ratings slumps in his 53-year career, said although he feared quitting radio because it gave him a reason to get out of bed each day, he felt he was being "wasted".
He said if he is not "captain" then he does not intend to stay aboard the sinking ship.
Once the top-rating Sydney station, 2UE is now in eighth place and Laws, who dropped 49,000 listeners in the latest ratings period, admits that for the first time in his career he is worried.
Laws wants more independence for 2UE, which is owned by Melbourne-based Southern Cross Broadcasting, more money for station promotion and more "mongrel" in station management.
"I'd certainly want to be looking at all my options, because if I'm not the captain then I'm not going to stay aboard the sinking ship, but if I thought better about that situation then of course I would (stay)," Laws said.
"It'll depend a lot on what goes on in my head but at the moment I just feel that I'm being wasted and the radio station is being wasted."
Laws spoke to The Sunday Telegraph at his palatial Wooloomooloo harbourside apartment only hours after being discharged from St Vincent's Hospital.
Last week he underwent a three-hour operation to relieve chronic back pain that has dogged him for more than a year. He will spend six weeks recovering.
The time away from the microphone has given Laws plenty of time to mull over the decline of the once top-rating 2UE – now lying eighth in the Sydney market and five points behind talk rival 2GB.
In the last survey, Laws dropped to fifth place. And he acknowledges that although he has been in slumps before and recovered, this time he is worried.
"It probably feels different because of my age. I probably wonder how many times can I keep bouncing back again," he said. "There's got to be a limit I suppose. And also I'm probably just a little grumpier.
He said Southern Cross managing director Tony Bell was "too nice to be in radio".
Laws is contracted to 2UE until 2010 but can walk away any time he likes. He just can't work for another station.
He turns 70 in August and admits he has been thinking about his future – thoughts sharpened by the back pain, his frustrations at 2UE's decline and a feeling that the fun has gone out of radio.
"Never before in my life have I thought 'Oh Christ, why am I doing this? I'll take six months off.' But I started to think like that," he said.
But Laws, who still commands a vast regional network audience, later adds that he doesn't want to retire while he's down. Laws believes he can claw his way back against rival and former protege Ray Hadley.
"I'm not scared about (retirement)," he said.
"But I would be concerned that my life would feel empty, that I would feel I wasn't needed. That's the deal about living. You've got to feel needed to get out of bed in the morning."
Story courtesy of The Sunday Telegraph