Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The First Woman on Australian Rock Radio
In January of 1975 radio station 1540 "Double J" hired Gayle Austin as a DJ. Austin herself claimed that she was the only woman that bothered to to apply for an on-air gig. She was quoted as saying "Radio in those days was like secret men's business... I was given one midnight-to-dawn shift a week, a move so radical that I was the cause of much negative comment after our first survey of listeners." More here.
ABC had the rights to launch two radio stations and they decided to aim one at what they felt was an un-tapped youth market. Within two months of their debut, the general manager of 3XY, described Double J as "the lowest form of radio this country has produced." Doubel J talked about sex, criticized religion,and they mocked advertisements. They were sued by a police commissioner and then the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) began investigating the staff. The result was a 5.4 share in Sydney.
Gayle Austin worked at the Jays until the purge of 1990. Yes the purge. After 15 years of ruffling feathers ABC quietly replaced senior management, who not-so-quietly fired all senior air staff. There was press, and there were protests, and ABC didn't care. Gayle's career survived the culling and she currently hosts an overnight program on 2SER FM in Sydney. More here.