Australian Screen

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Demons at Drivetime (1995)

Synopsis

A documentary overview of the high-rating radio announcers across Australia in 1995. The style is 'a day-in-the-life of’, with poignant reminders that ratings are paramount and that the 'shock jocks’ themselves are not necessarily committed to the rabble-rousing rhetoric they broadcast.

The film features talkback hosts Howard Sattler from Perth, Bob Francis from Adelaide plus Alan Jones, Ron Casey, Brian Wiltshire and Stan Zemanek from Sydney. There are interviews with the radio show producers, as well as politicians and the more sober radio personalities Phillip Adams and Richard Utting.

Curator’s notes

The daily grind of having to shock listeners with every broadcast as revealed by the documentary is fascinating. In covering an ambitious number of broadcasters, the through-lines are scattered and there is more information than analysis. That said however, the documentary is an entertaining display of the audacity of the talkback hosts.