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Triple J

triple j
Broadcast area Australia: FM, DAB (where available) & Online
Worldwide: Internet Radio
Slogan We Love Music
Frequency Variable, click to find your local frequency
First air date 1 September 1974 (1974-09-01)
Format Music, current affairs, youth culture
Language(s) English
ERP Various
Former callsigns Double J, 2JJ
Owner Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Sister stations triple j Unearthed, Double J
Webcast Online stream

triple j is a nationally networked Australian radio station intended to appeal to listeners between the ages of 18 and 30. The station places a greater emphasis on Australian music and alternative music compared to commercial stations.[1][2]

The government-owned station is a division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


  • History 1
    • Foundation and early years: "Double Jay" (2JJ) 1.1
    • 1980s: 2JJJ 1.2
    • 1989–1991: Going national 1.3
    • 1990s: Regional expansion 1.4
    • 2000s: Online and jtv 1.5
    • 2010s: Digital radio and Double J 1.6
  • Programming 2
    • Current programming mix 2.1
    • Evolution of programming 2.2
    • Effects on local record companies and radio stations 2.3
    • Music 2.4
      • General programming 2.4.1
      • Speciality music shows 2.4.2
      • J-Files 2.4.3
      • Live at the Wireless 2.4.4
      • Home & Hosed 2.4.5
      • House Party 2.4.6
    • News and current affairs 2.5
      • News 2.5.1
      • Hack 2.5.2
      • Talkback Classroom 2.5.3
      • Haywire 2.5.4
    • Comedy 2.6
      • The Breakfast Show 2.6.1
      • Weekend Breakfast 2.6.2
      • This Sporting Life 2.6.3
      • Raw Comedy Competition 2.6.4
      • Restoring the Balance 2.6.5
      • Ross and Terri 2.6.6
      • Today Today 2.6.7
      • Radio plays 2.6.8
      • Saturday Night / Graveyard Shift 2.6.9
      • Sunday Night Safran 2.6.10
      • The Race Race 2.6.11
    • Hottest 100 2.7
    • Unearthed 2.8
    • Beat the Drum 2.9
    • Impossible Music Festival 2.10
    • Triple J's One Night Stand 2.11
    • Ausmusic Month 2.12
    • J Awards 2.13
  • Presenters 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Foundation and early years: "Double Jay" (2JJ)

In 1971 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation launched the Room To Move and Choice Cuts programs on the then-named Radio 1, hosted by Chris Winter and produced by Ron Moss—Moss was one of two co-ordinators of 2JJ.[3] The first incarnation of what became triple j was established in September 1974, under the auspices of then Media Minister Moss Cass. Assigned the frequency of 1540 kHz on the AM-band, the new station was given the official call-sign 2JJ, but soon became commonly known as Double J. The first broadcast commenced at 11.00 am on Sunday, 19 January 1975.

The first broadcast encapsulated many key features that identified Double Jay as an innovative and often controversial presence in Australian radio. One was the choice of the first on-air presenter, DJ Holger Brockmann, who notably used his own name, a deliberate reference to his former work for top-rating Sydney pop station 2SM - owing to 2SM's restrictive policies at the time, Brockmann (whose real name was considered 'too foreign-sounding') had been forced to work under the pseudonym "Bill Drake". After an introductory audio collage that featured sounds from the countdown and launch of Apollo 11, Brockmann introduced the station with the words, "Wow, and we're away!", and then cued the first song played on 2JJ - Skyhooks' "You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good In Bed".[4] This was a deliberately provocative choice on station's part, which signalled several important features of the Double Jay brand:

  • Skyhooks were an Australian band, reflecting Double Jay's commitment to Australian content (whereas the commercial pop stations at that time were heavily dominated by American acts),
  • Skyhooks' debut album Living In The Seventies was a huge hit at the time and was fast becoming the biggest selling Australian album ever released up to that time, and
  • most notably, the song was one of several tracks from the Skyhooks album that had been banned from airplay on commercial radio by the industry's peak body.

Because Double Jay was a government-funded station operating under the umbrella of the ABC, they were not bound by commercial radio censorship codes, and were not answerable to advertisers or the station owners - unlike their Sydney rival 2SM, which was owned by a holding company controlled by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, which resulted in many instances of songs being banned or edited.

2JJ was a product of the progressive media policies of the Whitlam Government of 1972-75[5] and combined influences from several earlier ABC program such as "Room to Move", as well as the freewheeling programming policies of British pirate radio and the BBC Radio 1 (which was created to target the pirate radio audience), from which Double J adopted the tradition of weekly live-in-the-studio performances by pop and rock bands.[6] Then-prime minister Gough Whitlam was unable to also fulfill his aspiration for the establishment of a "National Youth Radio Network" due to his controversial sacking.[3] 2JJ presenter, and the first female DJ on Australian pop radio, Gayle Austin, who was completing a Master of Arts (MA) on Triple J's first 16 years in 2005, explained that 2JJ staff had also heard of other motivations for the founding of the station:

Word was the Whitlam government wanted to set the station up to woo young voters. We also heard that the ABC was worried about its audience dying off and wanted a station for young people who would grow up to be ABC listeners.[7]

Additionally, the station was one of a series of innovations that stemmed from the recommendations in the McLean Report of 1974. These included the expansion of radio broadcasting onto the FM band, the issuing of a new class of broadcasting licenses—which finally permitted the establishment of community radio stations, the long-awaited third tier of the Australian radio industry—and the creation of two new stations for the ABC: 2JJ in Sydney and the short-lived 3ZZ in Melbourne.[8][9]

By the time 2JJ went to air, the Whitlam government was in its final months of office—Marius Webb, the station's other co-ordinator recalls an ABC executive informing him: "You'll be on the air by January. Thank you very much, I've got another meeting."[3] On 11 November 1975, Whitlam's commission was revoked by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, sparking a double dissolution of parliament. In the subsequent 1975 federal election, Labor was defeated by the Liberal-National Party coalition that was led by Malcolm Fraser. During the more conservative media climate that emerged in the Fraser years, 2JJ staff were frequently accused of left-wing bias. 2JJ was initially intended to be the first link in Whitlam's planned national youth network; but the expansion was greatly delayed by the electoral defeat of the Whitlam government at the end of 1975, as well as subsequent budget cuts imposed on the ABC by the incoming Fraser government.[10]

The station's establishment marked an historic change in Australian radio—it was one of the first rock stations in the world to hire female disc jockeys[3] and, excluding the first experimental FM licences, was granted the first new radio licence issued in any Australian capital city since 1932.[11]

2JJ commenced broadcasting on 19 January 1975, at 1540 kHz (call sign 1539kHz in 1978) on the AM band.[8] The station was largely restricted to the greater Sydney region, and its local reception was hampered by inadequate transmitter facilities. However, its frequency was nationally a clear channel, so it was easily heard at night throughout south-eastern Australia. It was later relayed to other stations in the ABC network after midnight, when their regular programming ceased.[12]

In its early years 2JJ's on-air staff were mainly recruited from either commercial radio or other ABC stations. Later, in another first, the roster also featured presenters who did not come from a radio industry background, including singer-songwriters Bob Hudson[13] and John J. Francis, and actor Lex Marinos.[14] Francis commenced broadcasting in the Saturday midnight-to-dawn shift in 1975, and the program became so popular that it was expanded to include Friday and Sunday nights two years later.[15]

The foundation staff of January 1975 were Webb and Moss (co-ordinators), , Graeme Berry, John Arden, Colin Vercoe, Alan McGirvan, Pam Swain, Graham Bartlett, Mark Colvin, Keith Walker, Michael Byrne and Jim Middleton.[16] Other popular presenters of the 2JJ period included Austin (a former producer for talkback radio king John Laws[3]), Russell Guy, Mac Cocker (father of musician Jarvis Cocker),[3] Tom Zelinka, Lawrie Zion, and Keri Phillips. Several of the original team developed successful careers at the ABC: Mark Colvin hosts ABC Radio National's current affairs show PM;[17] Jim Middleton hosts Newsline with Jim Middleton on ABC Television; and Ros Cheney became Arts Editor of ABC radio until her dismissal in 2001 (during the controversial regime of Jonathan Shier).[18]

2JJ's programming policies were considered a radical departure from the formats of commercial stations. In 2005 Austin published a recollection from Colin Vercoe, one of the station's first music programmers: "In those days it was the early disco stuff and if it was black they just wouldn't play it."[7] 2JJ was also a pioneer in terms of its coverage of local music—Austin stated in a 2005 ABC radio special to commemorate the youth station's 30th anniversary: "There was very little Australian music. At that time Australian music didn’t have much production put into it because there wasn’t much money made out of it.”[3] 2JJ announcer Chris Winter explained that "there was enormous breadth of music around at the time" that was not played on radio, but could be heard in private gatherings or bought from specialist stores. Austin states that the original aim of 2JJ was to highlight "our own culture" and the staff were expected to "provide an alternative to the mainstream, with a heavy emphasis on Australian content". 2JJ consequently garnered a reputation for not only eclectic playlists, but also radical talk content:

... it was in the talk area that the really radical work was done. Comedy acts such as Chuck Chunder and the Space Patrol, Captain Goodvibes, Nude Radio (Graham Bond and Rory O'Donoghue's show, which launched Norman Gunston), Fred Dagg (aka John Clarke) and the legendary "anti-ads" informed future program-makers on how humour could be used on radio.[7]

The station also sought to create a genuine dialogue with listeners, whereby the audience could claim a sense of ownership of the station, and announcers even played demo tapes recorded by listeners who were also musicians. Austin explained in 2005:

In that first year we had a station policy of access all areas. In early March, women took over the station as announcers to celebrate International Women's Day. The listeners owned the station, too, and if they wanted to come to the meetings and join the debate, they were welcome. This attitude led to some interesting moments, such as when Holger Brockman's shift was hijacked by three Aboriginal activists. They entered the studio and said they were armed and hijacking the station. Brockman said: "Oh, OK. Well, that's the microphone there, and here you are, have my seat." Brockman says they were really polite. "They said their bit, which took about five or 10 minutes, and then politely handed back to me - 'And now back to Holger.' Respectfully, like family."[7]

The station played an unprecedented level of Australian content, as well as imported music, music brought in from the staff's personal collections, music purchased by overseas correspondents, and songs banned by other stations because of religious or sexual controversies. The first song played on air on the first broadcast day, "You Just Like Me Cos I'm Good In Bed" by the Skyhooks, was banned on commercial radio for its explicit sexual content.[3][10][19]

Double J also featured regular news broadcasts, current affairs programs, political commentary by noted journalist Mungo MacCallum, and audio documentaries like the controversial The Ins and Outs of Love (produced by former 2SM producers Carl Tyson-Hall and Tony Poulsen), which included frank interviews with young people about their first experiences of sex. The Tyson-Hall and Poulsen documentary had allegedly "breached community standards" and, although the ABC reportedly received few direct complaints about The Ins and Outs of Love (originally broadcast on Sunday, 23 February 1975), the documentary sparked a furore in the media and the Broadcasting Control Board (BCB) reportedly asked for talks with the ABC. Two days after the documentary was broadcast, Fairfax tabloid The Sun published an editorial calling for the station to be closed, and a week later, on 10 March 1975, the influential marketing/advertising industry journal B&T followed suit, demanding that station should be forced to undertake one of three options: (i) 2JJ should be closed down; (ii) 2JJ's programming should be completely revamped; or (iii) the removal of those staff responsible for "the present series of lapses".[20] Austin explained in 2005 that Webb was largely responsible for shielding the station from external criticism.[7]

The station rapidly gained popularity, especially in its target youth demographic: media articles noted that in its first two months on air, 2JJ reached a 5.4% share of the total radio audience, with 17% in the 18-24 age group, while the audience share of rival 2SM dropped by 2.3%[21] The station managed such growth despite the fact that its reception was poor in many parts of Sydney due to problems with its original transmitter.[22] Austin explained that station staff threatened industrial action in July 1975 due to the transmitter issues, but officials of the BCB still refused to meet with 2JJ representatives. A new transmitter was not provided until 1980, following the transition to the FM band.[7]

2JJ presenter [23]

Controversy also emerged after the station hosted an open-air concert in Liverpool, in Sydney's south-west, in June 1975 (featuring Skyhooks and Parramatta Park, Sydney on 18 January 1981 to celebrate the end of Double J and the start of 2JJJ. Attended by 40,000 people, the historic concert featured Midnight Oil and Matt Finish.[26][27]

1980s: 2JJJ

On 1 August 1980 2JJ began broadcasting on the FM band at a frequency of 105.7 MHz (again restricted within the greater Sydney region) and became 2JJJ (later, Triple J).[5] Test transmissions in the lead-up to the FM launch used the innovative device of broadcasting stereo audio-verité recordings made by ABC staff, and in a deliberate echo of the original Double Jay launch, the first song played on the new FM incarnation was another track then banned from commercial radio, "Gay Guys" by Dugites. Through the mid-to-late eighties, Triple J continued to pioneer new music and developed a wide range of special-interest programs including the Japanese pop show Nippi Rock Shop, Arnold Frolows' weekly late-night ambient music show Ambience, and Jaslyn Hall's world music show, the first of its kind in Australian mainstream radio.

It was not until the late 1980s that the ABC was finally able to begin development of the long-delayed national "youth network" and in 1989 JJJ expanded nationally to Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle and Perth.

In 1983 four Triple Jay presenters—Peter Doyle, Virginia Moncrieff, Tony Barrell and Clive Miller—began producing a fanzine with the inscrutable title of Alan (see: . Designed in a manic collage style by David Art Wales, Alan featured programming information, pop trivia and irreverent interviews with recording artists (see: . Wales also supplied a comic strip featuring a boy sage named Guru Adrian. In a twist that added to the character's appeal, the Guru's face was that of a real child whose identity was never revealed, leading many to believe that he was in fact a real guru. Guru Adrian's philosophy, Adrianetics (see: , consisted of quixotic maxims, including "Having fun is half the fun," "Gee, you are you" and "Realise your real eyes," which rapidly gained the character a cult following in Australia, with Wales making many radio and television appearances during the mid-1980s to discuss the Guru Adrian phenomenon.

In 1984, Wales teamed with renowned Australian journalist Bruce Elder on the book "Radio With Pictures: The History of Double Jay and Triple Jay." (Hale & Iremonger, publishers. National Library of Australia card no. ISBN 0-86806-191-3)

1989–1991: Going national

In the late 1980s, Programme Director 2SM 77-80 and Managing Director EMI Music Publishing 83 -89 Barry Chapman was appointed as general manager to oversee Triple J's network expansion. Chapman's tenure and the expansion of the network generated controversy, most notably in 1990, when a large portion of 2JJJ's Sydney-based on air staff was fired, (the so-called "Night of the long knives") including most popular presenters Tony Biggs and Tim Ritchie, the station's dance-music maven. As details of the changes became known to the public, there were accusations of a "JJJ Bland Out" (analogous to Harry Enfield's fictional British DJs Smashie and Nicey) and several protests were held outside its William Street studios, as well as public meeting that packed the Sydney Town Hall with angry listeners spilling out onto the street as the town hall was not big enough to hold everyone who felt that "their" beloved radio station had been hijacked.

Concern was expressed about the introduction of a more highly programmed music format, and the appointment of Chapman was seen as an indication of a more commercial direction. Management responded that to launch a national network meant that the station must broaden its then almost-exclusive focus on the Sydney music scene, requiring the addition of new talent. When the dust had settled on the dispute, the radio programming was not nearly as free-form as it had been before going national, but neither was it as highly programmed as its critics feared. In the pre-national era, there had been less emphasis on a structured playlist but the introduction of a tighter playlist allowed (at least initially) a degree of input from individual presenters that exceeded that usually permitted on a commercial station.

The laissez-faire collective management style of the Double Jay days was gradually replaced by a more business-like top-down management style. Prior to the controversial appointment of Chapman, as described above, many of the 'old guard' were dismissed from the station and replaced by presenters who were more amenable to the increasingly structured format.

Chapman oversaw a radical overhaul of Triple J's programming and marketing. This basic format though not dissimilar to the old Sydney based Triple J — including an early morning comedy breakfast program with duo presenters; a late morning talk and talkback program and a light talk-and-comedy afternoon drive-time shift and decades on remains substantially in place. Chapman did not reduce the amount of comedy, documentaries and news (compared to the late Seventies) although (as he did at 2SM) he maintained and strengthened the station's commitment to live music. The amount of news comedy and documentaries remained essentially the same as it had during the 80's. the key changes were new programmes replacing old.

In the late 1980s Triple J was accused of ignoring the emerging hip hop scene and related genres, in favour of the more marketable rock-oriented grunge style that dominated American music at the same time.

1990s: Regional expansion

The current Triple J logo

Throughout the 1990s, Triple J commenced expansion to more regional areas of Australia. In 1994, it was extended to another 18 regional centres throughout the country. In 1996, the total was brought to 44, with the new additions including Launceston, Tasmania; Albany, Western Australia; Bathurst, New South Wales and Mackay, Queensland. It played a record in Tas over and over again until Triple J came online. As of 2006, Triple J's most recent expansion was to Broome, Western Australia.

2000s: Online and jtv

In May 2003, Arnold Frolows, the only remaining link with the original Double Jay staff of 1975, stepped down after 28 years as Triple J music director. He was replaced by presenter Richard Kingsmill.

In 2004, the station began to release podcasts of some of their talkback shows, including Dr Karl, This Sporting Life and Hack.

In 2006, Triple J's coverage expanded when transmission began in Broome, Western Australia. As Broome was one of the largest towns in Australia to not receive Triple J, the station celebrated with a concert featuring many local bands, also simulcast on the Live at the Wireless program.

Also in 2006, Triple J launched jtv, a series of television programs broadcast on ABC and ABC2, as well as being made available online. Programming includes music videos, live concerts, documentaries, and comedy, as well as a behind the scenes look at Triple J's studios. In 2008 jtv was rebranded as Triple J TV. Triple J TV's first 'spin-off' series The Hack Half Hour premiered on 22 September 2008, hosted by Steve Cannane

As of February 2009 Triple J TV airs on 9pm Mondays on ABC2, 11pm Fridays on ABC1 and can be downloaded at The series is hosted by The Doctor aka Lindsay McDougall and it features Hack reports from Antoinette Chiha, comedy from Sam Simmons, and the film segment 'Flicked' with Marc Fennell.

2010s: Digital radio and Double J

In 2014, ABC's Dig Music digital radio station joined the Triple J family and was re-launched as Double J on 30 April 2014.[28][29] The new station will feature both new music and material from Triple J interview and sound archives.[30] Former Triple J announcer Myf Warhurst, who will host the inaugural shift, said "it's for people who love music, and also love a bit of music history."[30] The name "Double J" is the former name of the Triple J station.


Current programming mix

As well as general pop music broadcasts (with a strong bias towards new music and Australian performers, and against bubblegum pop), Triple J has nightly specialist programs in different musical genres (see the programmes section below). It also covers news and current affairs from a youth-oriented perspective, although this facet of their programming has been considerably reduced since the station's inception.

In common with other Australian radio stations, Triple J has also gradually increased the amount of talkback content in its programming. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, talkback provides an inexpensive and popular source of program content, and also provides the appearance of listener interactivity and involvement. And, like many other former 'all music' stations, Triple J has had to respond to the advent of music file-sharing, digital music players and other digital music innovations, which have drastically reduced listeners' dependence on radio as a means of accessing music.

Evolution of programming

The evolution of Triple J's programming has always been contentious. In the Double Jay days, commercial stations and conservative types regularly cried foul over the station's free use of expletives on air and its ability to ignore the censorship restrictions that were in force on commercial radio. This situation stemmed from Double Jay's status as a special unit of the ABC, which at that time was only answerable to the ABC Board and the Minister for Communications, unlike the commercial stations, which were subject to regulation by the old Broadcasting Control Board (now the Australian Communications and Media Authority) and by their own peak body, the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters (FACB), now known as Commercial Radio Australia..

Over the years the station gained considerable renown for breaking new local acts—Midnight Oil are probably the prime example of this, and the group would almost certainly not have had anything like the success they enjoyed without the help of Double Jay/Triple J. The station also broke countless overseas acts who were being ignored in their home countries. Double Jay was virtually the only 'pop' station in Australia in the late Seventies to play reggae, dub, punk rock, new wave, world music, electronic music and ambient music..

Over the years the station moved away from its early style, which featured a high level of news, features, documentaries, current affairs and comedy, and was gradually steered towards a non-commercial version of the continuous music format that prevailed in commercial radio. Many original Double Jay segments—the nightly "What's On" gig guide, its extensive news and current affairs coverage (which was often criticised for its alleged left-wing bias), and its 'community noticeboard' segment—were gradually eliminated, as were almost all the character comedy spots that had been popular features in previous years. .

Most recently the number of songs approved for airplay on Triple J has been decreased dramatically, leading some to believe that an over-emphasis on certain styles of music, particularly electro and dance, has had a negative effect on the formerly unbiased genre programming. It is also said that this has affected the cultivation of musical diversity on the Unearthed program.

Effects on local record companies and radio stations

The station also exerted a noticeable effect on local record companies. For many years, local record labels would only import recordings that they knew would get a good commercial return and they were often unwilling to take risks on local releases of unknown acts. Much new music was routinely only available as expensive imports in specialist shops. This began to change almost as soon as Double Jay came on air. A good example of the station's influence was in 1976 when Double Jay championed a new album, 801 Live, recorded by a one-off group that included former Roxy Music members Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno. Although the LP was hailed overseas as one of the best live recordings ever made and set new standards of technical excellence, the Australian distributor at first refused to release it locally, in spite of the fact that it was one of the most requested items on the Double Jay playlist at the time. As a result of the import sales that generated through Double Jay airplay — it became the highest selling import album that year — the company decided to release it locally.

Triple J routinely championed many local and overseas acts whose early recordings were ignored by commercial radio—e.g. Midnight Oil, Models, Paul Kelly, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pixies, Ben Folds Five, and hundreds more. As with the ABC's long-running pop TV show Countdown, the support of Triple J in Australia also had a strong effect on the success of emerging overseas acts.

A case in point is American group The B-52's and it is believed that Double Jay was the first radio station in the world to play their debut single "Rock Lobster". The support of the Jays had a similarly significant effect on the worldwide success of many acts, including Blondie, Devo, and more recently Ben Folds Five, Garbage, and especially Ben Harper, whose popularity in Australia—which was almost entirely the result of support from Triple J —was instrumental in breaking him back in his home country, the United States.

It is also notable that Triple J was for many years routinely used as a free market research facility by commercial stations. As mainstream pop radio struggled to establish itself on the FM band, commercial stations like those owned by Austereo constantly monitored what songs and acts were doing well on Triple J and would then introduce the most 'saleable' of them into their own playlists. Acts like Talking Heads, The Police, and Nirvana unquestionably owed their commercial success in Australia to the early support of Double Jay/Triple J.

In 1989, Triple J had been playing N.W.A.'s protest song "Fuck tha Police" for up to six months, before gaining the attention of ABC management who subsequently banned it. As a reaction the staff went on strike and put the group's song "Express Yourself" on continuous play for 24 hours, playing it roughly 360 times in a row.[31]


General programming

  • Matt & Alex is the show that airs between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekday mornings. It is presented by Matt Okine and Alex Dyson.
  • Mornings with Zan is the 9 a.m. to midday music show, hosted by Zan Rowe. This timeslot was formerly held by chat and current affairs program The Morning Show until 2003, and Mel in the Morning hosted by Mel Bampton from 2004 until January 2007.
  • Lunch with Lewi is Triple J's midday to 3 p.m. show and is hosted by Lewis McKirdy. Each Friday afternoon features a guest DJ set.
  • Veronica & Lewis is the drive program, on air from 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., and is presented by Veronica Milsom and Lewis Hobba.
  • Hack is a half-hour current affairs program beginning at 5:30 p.m. and is presented by Tom Tilley.
  • Good Nights is the night show, broadcast weeknights from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and is presented by Linda Marigliano.
  • Midnight to Dawn, also known as Mid-dawn or The Graveyard Shift is the name of the 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. time slot. It is often hosted by new or unknown DJs. Previous mid-dawn hosts who then went on to regular shifts include Adam Spencer, Scott Dooley, Dave Callan and Zan Rowe. Current mid-dawn presenters include The Bluejuice boys Stav & Jake, Brendan Maclean, Maggie Collins and Anton De Ionno.

Speciality music shows

Triple J programming schedule includes some shows featuring many speciality genres:


The weekly J-Files show has had two incarnations over the years. From 1996 to 2003, it was a three-hour late weeknight show hosted by Richard Kingsmill. Each show would be topical; it may feature an artist, a particular year in the past, or songs with a certain theme. Examples of themed shows include #9 songs (which was the theme of 9 September 1999's show), cats & dogs, New Zealand bands, and banned songs.

From 2003 the J-Files was a one hour Saturday afternoon show, hosted by various Triple J presenters, specifically focused on one particular artist. The final J-File was aired in November 2007.

Live at the Wireless

Live at the Wireless is a long standing tradition of Triple J. It is a weekly broadcast of live music, of a number of forms - open air festivals, smaller concerts, or acoustic performances in the studio. Occasionally, Triple J will host a live performance in a secret location, and give away tickets to a limited number of listeners, to allow them to be a part of the special event.

Home & Hosed

Up until 2002, the Australian Music Show was Triple J's all-Australian music segment, broadcast as a three-hour late weeknight show (10pm to 1am) and hosted by Richard Kingsmill. Starting in 2003, the format changed to a two-hour show every weeknight (9pm to 11pm, shortening Super Request and the late night speciality shows by an hour each) and Robbie Buck became the presenter. It proved to be one of Triple J's most popular changes, as the audience (and the station itself) has traditionally been very supportive of local talent and unsigned bands. The show has now been reduced to one hour, is only on Monday to Thursdays, and is hosted by Dom Alessio.

House Party

On 2 February 2008, Triple J commenced broadcasting a house-party style programme mixed and presented by Nina Las Vegas. In July 2011, while Nina Las Vegas was on vacation, Ballarat mashup duo Yacht Club DJs hosted House Party for the entire month.

News and current affairs


Triple J has their own independent news team, specifically covering news and issues that are relevant to the youth of Australia, such as education and the environment, as well as general music news.

Current news staff:

  • Elize Strydom
  • Angela Lavoipierre
  • Thomas Oriti
  • Amelia Marshall
  • Nas Campanella

Past news journalists (some of whom are still with Triple J):

  • Grace Jones
  • Simon Lauder (Now works for ABC Current Affairs Radio)
  • Rhianna Patrick (Now presenting Speaking Out on ABC Local Radio)
  • Karen Barlow (Now works for ABC Current Affairs Radio)
  • Bernadette Young (Now Drive presenter on ABC Gold Coast)
  • Ronan Sharkey
  • Nikki Gemmell
  • Daniel Browning
  • Oscar McLaren
  • Michael Turtle
  • Sarah Gerathy
  • Meredith Griffiths (Now with ABC Current Affairs Radio, AM & PM)
  • Emma Swift
  • George Roberts
  • Bill Birtles
  • Annette Samojlowicz
  • Mark Di Stefano
  • Stefanie Menezes
  • Ashleigh Raper
  • Lucy Carter (Now sports presenter & reporter on ABC News 24)


Hack is Triple J's half-hour news and current affairs show, broadcast from 5.30pm weeknights. It is hosted by Tom Tilley. The Executive Producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey while Michael Atkin completes the Andrew Olle Scholarship. The current reporting team includes Irene Scott, Johnny Barrington, Patrick Abboud, Alex Mann & Claire Aird.

Talkback Classroom

Triple J broadcast Talkback Classroom from 1998 to 2003, a program where secondary school students from around Australia interviewing various prominent politicians, business and community leaders on current affairs issues. The program now airs on ABC Radio National.


Where the youth in outback Australia can air their views through a youth forum. The entrant must be between 16 and 22, write and engaging story relating to the countryside and must work well on radio. There are 41 regions like Unearthed. The winner receives airplay of their story and one winner from each of the 41 regions, wins an all expenses paid trip to Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport for the youth forum.


The Breakfast Show

Robbie Buck in the Triple J studio

The Breakfast Show is one of the station's flagship shows. In the late '80s it was hosted by Rusty Nails, and later by resident "dag", Maynard F# Crabbes. In the early 1990s it was co-hosted by Helen Razer and Mikey Robins, and later by Mikey Robins, Paul McDermott, and The Sandman (Steve Abbott). From 1999 until 2004, it was co-hosted by Adam Spencer and Wil Anderson. The pair were known for their unusual sense of humour, highlighted by regular segments including Mary from Junee, Essence of Steve, and Are You Smarter Than Dools?. The Breakfast Show also featured two radio serials presented by The Sandman: "Pleasant Avenue" and "204 Bell St".[32]

Spencer and Anderson broadcast their final program for the station on Friday 26 November 2004 from Sydney University's Manning Bar, a site that held sentimental value to Spencer, as that was where he got his start in stand-up comedy. In 2005, Jay and Lindsay (aka 'The Doctor') from Frenzal Rhomb took over as hosts of Triple J's breakfast show. New segments include the radio skits Space Goat and Battalion 666, as well as the Under the Weather Sessions and The Friday Fuckwit. From 8 January 2007, former Lunch presenter Myf Warhurst joined Jay and Lindsay as a permanent member of the Breakfast Show team.

Following the departure of Jay to go travelling, the 2008-2009 Breakfast Show line up was Robbie Buck, The Doctor, and Marieke Hardy. They regularly maintained contact with Jay during his overseas travel, calling him during a segment named Where in the World is Jason "Jay" Whalley, a pun on Where's Wally and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.

In 2009, Robbie, Marieke, and The Doctor had a serial called "Claytron". Tuesdays offered "Nerds of a Feather" with Paul Verhoeven, whilst Friday offered "The Friday Fuckwit" as well as "Like a Version", a segment where famous recording artists perform a cover version of a song of their choice.

On 23 November 2009, it was announced that Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson (hosts of the 2009 Weekend Breakfast show) would take over as hosts of the 2010 Breakfast show. In December 2013, Tom Ballard resigned and was replaced by Matt Okine in January 2014. "Like a Version" has continued with Okine and Dyson.

Weekend Breakfast

Past presenters have included Jim Trail, Paul Verhoeven, Costa Zouliou, Gaby Brown, Scott Dooley, and Sam Simmons. Caroline Tran returned in 2010. The very popular Club Veg, featured Malcolm Lees & Vic Davies, from 1984 to 1986. They then moved to 2SM & Triple M. Weekend breakfast is now hosted by Veronica and Lewis, who also take over the Weekday Breakfast when Matt and Alex are on holday.

This Sporting Life

This Sporting Life (TSL), which ran from 1986 to 2008, was a parody of sporting panel programs, created and hosted by actor-writer-comedians John Doyle and Greig Pickhaver (under the pseudonyms Roy Slaven & HG Nelson). As well as sport, the duo cast a wide comedic net that encompassed the worlds of entertainment, politics and celebrity. TSL was remarkable as one of the few successful comedy programs that was substantially improvised.

The longest-running show in Triple J's programming history, TSL commanded a large and dedicated nationwide audience. Special editions of TSL were broadcast to coincide with the NRL and AFL grand finals (The Festival of the Boot) as well as for all three of rugby league's State of Origin series matches. (see Roy and HG's State of Origin commentary). In 2009, after 22 years at the ABC, the duo left to work for the commercial rock station Triple M.

In 2012 Roy Slaven & HG Nelson)'s The Festival of the Boot returned to an ABC Radio station for the first time since 2009. To date all 3 AFL grand finals (labeled "Part 1") & all 3 NRL grand finals (labeled "Part 2") have been broadcast on ABC News Radio

Raw Comedy Competition

Triple J supports, promotes and broadcasts clips from the Raw Comedy Competition, which is produced by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Podcasts of competition sets are available via the Triple J website.[33]

Restoring the Balance

Restoring the Balance was broadcast sporadically on Sunday afternoons during 2004. The primary concept behind the show is a satire of the contrasting political views between the conservative Australian Howard government, and the left-wing government-funded Triple J radio station. The show suggests that the station was forced to broadcast a segment of right-wing political views in order to restore the balance.

Ross and Terri

Ross and Terri broadcast weekdays at lunch times, for two 2-week periods, over summer 2005 and 2006. It was hosted by Ross Noble and Terri Psiakis. It was initially a filler show, but the popularity of the pair was enough to bring them back in 2006.

Today Today

Today Today was the name given to the drive show in 2004 and 2005, hosted by Chaser members Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel. The show's name was derived from Today Tonight, a controversial Australian TV current affairs show screened on the Seven Network. Their humour was in a similar vein to CNNNN and The Chaser, being more politically driven. One of their more popular skits was "Coma FM", a parody of commercial radio stations.

Radio plays

Triple J currently has had several comedic radio plays:

  • Coma FM - satirical radio station performed by Today Today hosts Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel.
  • Space Goat - a parody radio sci fi performed by the breakfast show's Jay and the Doctor which borrowed many features of early radio science fictions such as a long intro for very little story which leaves many questions open, which the narrator spends some time pointing out at the end.
  • Battalion 666 - a comedic radio drama which takes place on a fictional Royal Navy ship, the HMS Beezlebub. It came about when, in 2004, the Royal Navy officially recognised LaVeyan Satanism as an official religion in which its personnel can partake. The show features Jay and the Doctor, John Safran, and various sound clips of famous people taken from recorded interviews such as Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.

Saturday Night / Graveyard Shift

In 2005 Dave Callan started at Triple J presenting the Saturday night/Sunday early morning program the Graveyard Shift.

In 2006 Dave hosted the Saturday evening timeslot, called Saturday Night. The show followed the pattern of Callan's mid-dawn shifts from previous years. In January 2007 this show was renamed Pirate Radio after one of the personae commonly adopted by callers. Listener interaction plays a significant role in Callan's programs with regular callers such as "Steph from Tamworth", "Snake Charmer Farmer", and "Ukelele Guy", as well as an assortment of "randoms" and "carnies". On 27 January 2008, Dave returned to the Graveyard Shift (1-6am Sunday mornings). From January 2009 the show was shortened, finishing at 4am.

Sunday Night Safran

Since 2005, John Safran and Father Bob Maguire have co-hosted a Sunday night talk show interviewing international guests, generally discussing serious topics like religion and politics.

The Race Race

Beginning on 27 October 2008, Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel co-hosted a comedy program centred on the 2008 US Presidential Election entitled The Race Race. The program aired at 5pm weekdays until the wrap-up episode, which aired on 5 November 2008, after the elections had concluded.

The program derived its name from the fact that Barack Obama, the first African–American to be nominated by a major American political party for president, was running a formerly exclusively white political race against the white Republican candidate, John McCain. The program became the number one podcast in Australia, and Triple J released a number of commemorative Race Race T-shirts which featured the show's catchphrase "I Like Pie".

Hottest 100

The Triple J Hottest 100 is an annual poll of the most popular songs amongst its listeners. It has been conducted for almost two decades in its present form, and in 2005 it attracted 1.26 million votes, from 152 countries[34][35] - the largest annual music poll in the world. It has also spawned a series of successful compilation CDs, and more recently, music DVDs.

The countdown of the top 100 songs on Australia Day weekend, usually accompanied by a barbecue plus obligatory beverage, has become an annual summer ritual for Triple J fans around Australia and around the world.[35]


Unearthed, an ongoing project to find hidden talent, began in 1995. It originally focused on regional areas but now covers all areas of Australia. Many of these discoveries have been very successful—some have even been successful enough to receive commercial radio airplay, such as Grinspoon, Killing Heidi, and Missy Higgins.

The Unearthed competition was inspired by the success of a talent search on SBS program Nomad called "Pick Me". This segment, co-produced by Triple J, discovered a trio from Newcastle called the "Innocent Criminals", who later gained international fame under the name Silverchair.

The most recent incarnation of Unearthed is run online, and allows listeners to rate and review songs uploaded by bands and musicians.

Some on-air promotions for the first volume were recorded at the Triple J studios in Ultimo by Darren McErlain in 1996. He was invited to record voice-overs for Triple J, whilst completing an internship at ABC Radio News.

On October 5, 2011 Triple J Unearthed was launched as a radio station available on digital radio and online.[36]

Beat the Drum

Triple J occasionally runs a competition known as 'Beat the Drum' - named for their logo of three drumsticks hitting a drum. It is a competition designed to promote the logo, whereby, whoever displayed it in the most prominent place would win a prize. Notable entries include:

  • A girl who distributed postcards of herself with the Triple J logo painted on her naked buttocks
  • A Triple J T-shirt being waved behind the final lap of, and the presentation of a gold medal for Kieren Perkins' victorious 1500 m swim at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
  • One of the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony participants wearing a Triple J T-shirt bearing the logo
  • The placement of a large Triple J logo on the musicians platform at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • The winner in 2000 who drove his car, converted into a large 3D drum logo, across Australia.
  • A group of people erecting road signs with the Triple J frequency all the way up the east coast of Australia
  • A farmer in Queensland who formed a drum logo shaped crop circle measuring 1 by 1.5 km in his wheat-fields. This entry won in the individual/small group category in 2004.
  • Students from the University of Tasmania's Hobart Campus stripping down to their underwear and painting themselves red to form the logo on the university's football oval which was then aerially photographed.

In late 2004, the station's promotion for that year's Beat the Drum contest caused a brief but bitter controversy after it released a series of promotional images featuring the 'Drum' logo. Many were outraged by the inclusion of a mocked-up image of the former World Trade Center draped with a huge Drum flag.

Impossible Music Festival

The Impossible Music Festival, broadcast in August 2005 was a celebration of 30 years of live music recordings made by JJ and Triple J. Voted for by listeners from over 1000 recorded gigs/concerts, the broadcast went from 6pm Friday the 26th to 1am Monday the 29th. The 2006 Impossible Music Festival was aired on the weekend of 7–8 October. The 2007 Impossible Music Festival broadcast from Friday 25 May to Sunday 27 May. The 2008 Impossible Music Festival was broadcast from Friday 19 September until Sunday 21 September.

Triple J's One Night Stand

The One Night Stand, held annually since 2004, offers a small town the opportunity to host a free, all ages concert, sponsored by Triple J, featuring three or four Australian musical acts. Entries must include examples of local support, including community (signatures), local government (council approval), and a venue for the concert.

Ausmusic Month

Each November on Triple J is Ausmusic month, where Australian artists are heavily promoted. This includes a solid weekend of Australian music; some free, limited-entry concerts around the country; All-Australian feature albums; Live at the Wireless; and each day, a new "unknown" Australian band is featured and played several times during the day.

J Awards

The J Awards are an annual awards ceremony held at the start of December each year to celebrate Australian music. Awards include; the Unearthed J Award for best Unearthed artist, the J Award for Australian Music Video of the year, and the main J Award for Australian album of the year, judged by a panel of Triple J presenters. Past winners of the J Award include; Wolfmother (2005), Hilltop Hoods (2006), and The Panics (2007). In 2008, The Presets took out the award for Apocalypso. In 2009 the award was won by Sarah Blasko. In 2010, Tame Impala won the coveted J Award. The 2011 winner of best Australian album was Gotye.[37] In 2012 Tame Impala won the award for a second time, this time with Lonerism.[38] In 2013, the electronic artist Flume took out the award with his self-titled debut album. [39]


Many Double Jay and early Triple J presenters went on to successful careers with commercial stations, the most notable being Doug Mulray, who honed his distinctive comedy-based style at the Jays before moving to rival FM rock station 2-MMM (Triple M) in the 1980s, where he became the most popular breakfast presenter in Sydney (and one of the highest-paid radio personalities in the country). Presenter Annette Shun Wah went on to host the popular Rock Around the World series on SBS and is now a program executive with SBS TV and producer of The Movie Show.

See also

Bands playing at Triple J's "Come Together" festival.


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  36. ^ "Triple J Launches Aus-Only Digital Channel". Mess+Noise. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  37. ^ Retrieved 1/10/2014. 
  38. ^ Retrieved 1/10/14. 
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External links

  • Triple J - includes live audio streaming of the station's broadcast, as well as archives of recent editions of shows.
  • Fandom, Triple J and the Unearthed competition: a regional perspectiveConference paper: by Kate Ames, Central Queensland University
  • Triple J's 30th Anniversary webpage featuring historical information about key events in the station's history as well as vintage audio and video
  • Jplay JJJ Playlists
  • Link to Triple J frequency finder
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