Industry watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the regulator governing radio licenses, can only investigate after listeners first lodged protests with the radio station. radio and are not satisfied with their response. As of Friday, only one complaint had been forwarded to the ACMA regarding Sandilands’ comments.
Rather, it’s the advertisers who really hold the fate of Sandilands in their hands.
Several big Sydney radio media buyers, who spend millions of dollars getting radio airtime for big Australian brands, agreed this week that the Sandilands show was seen as an “environment high-risk” by some customers, especially “premium brands” keen to avoid on-air controversy.
But despite this, an analysis of advertisers over the past few weeks reveals a compelling appeal from brands – some of them clearly in the “blue chip” category, willing to take that risk, including Vodafone, Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse, Vittoria Coffee , GIO, AAMI, NAB, McDonald’s, Telstra, Uber, Jetstar, Coles, Bankwest, Woolies and Kia.
The Sandilands show even secured a sponsorship deal with the Daily mail news outlet, which constantly features stories about Sandilands, each of its outrages providing opportunistic bait for the mass-market website.
And so, after decades at the top, Sandilands, now 51, remains Sydney’s undisputed FM radio king, attracting huge audiences every morning, including the largest share – by far – of 10 to 17 impressive years.
We can only imagine what this demographic would have made of Sandilands’ recent dirty comments – which I wrote about last week – of monkeypox being the “great gay disease”, catching thrush from “dirty girls”, descriptions graphic and detailed group sex acts, depicting two lovers as “blonde rats” who looked like they were “filling up” gas tanks and openly talked about getting illegal drugs.
RNA’s management stood by Sandilands, weakly defending its vernacular which was not “to everyone’s taste”.
Sandilands claims he was joking. But a considerable number of his listeners were not laughing. You only have to read the many reader comments and negative social media reactions to realize this.
According to industry estimates, Sandilands is solely responsible for approximately $20 million in advertising and sponsorship per year for the station. Indirectly, it is responsible for millions of additional ad revenue in other time slots and other revenue streams including social media due to KIISFM’s huge breakfast numbers.
And therefore, the seemingly untouchable Sandilands remain RNA’s most sacred cash cow.