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Faine unplugged

Jon Faine, when he’s in the studio, is like an orchestra conductor. You don’t obviously see it when listening to the radio, but he waves his arms around to silently signal to his producer to keep the caller on-air, or mute them. It must be an effort to keep talking informatively, encourage the callers’ thoughts out too, and to effectively direct the programme as well.

His hand will be up to keep the caller on-air, and then he’ll swing it down when he wants them muted. Obviously the producer(s) must be watching him like a hawk. It reminds me of when Daryl would signal to cut the applause at the start of Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

I don’t know if other radio hosts do the same thing. I’ve only been in a radio studio twice — once with Faine, and once with Lindy Burns. Others might do something similar.

I always find it amusing when someone gets on air and manages to stall the whole programme. It should be obvious it’s their turn to talk, because he greets them by name. You know, something like:

Faine: Hello, Barry from Malvern

Barry: Hello Jon, how are you.

Faine: I’m good thanks Barry.

Faine: You’re on-air Barry.

Barry: Oh!

If they call you, then it’s usually a bit different. They know that you (probably) know how to behave. You know that when they say “And just quickly, what about xyz” you have to get your answer out quickly or you’ll be faded to silence under the music. You know you have to pause every so often for them to get a question in. And you know that when they say “thank you Daniel”, they’re moving on, so you just say back something quick like “Thanks Jon” — and don’t try and get something else in.

But, as I saw during the question time at the Press Club lunch on Thursday, it’s a bit harder in person. There’s no instant mute, and no tacit agreement between the host and the producer over signals. Faine couldn’t wave his arm down if someone droned on… and I’m not trying to be judgemental here, but I think a couple of people did. Tricky.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Faine unplugged”

Why don’t the do it the way 3AW does it, with a button in the hands of the host? No need for theatrics. Just hit the button and you’re suddenly the only thing people can hear.

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