Tom Elliott will this afternoon start his new drive-program on Melbourne’s 3AW, a show he says will be “less about sermonising” than his predecessor Derryn Hinch’s style.
Elliott (pictured) will lead the extended three-hour slot from 3pm today, with January the 14th marking the return to work for many of the country’s radio presenters.
In August, when Elliott was announced as the replacement for Hinch, 3AW’s general manager Shane Healy said he was confident Elliott would take the timeslot “in a slightly different direction”.
“Firstly it will be less about me sermonising and telling people what to think and more about listening to what our listeners want to say,” Elliott told B&T.
“We will be taking more calls on various issues. The show will be an hour longer so it will give us plenty of time to do that.”
The program will also feature a number of regular guests, with one to be adman Russel Howcroft, who is set to join Ten as executive general manager.
In addition to Howcroft, Elliott’s father and former president of the Liberal Party and Carlton Football Club, John Elliott, will feature along with the state leader of the opposition, Daniel Andrews, and the Premier, Ted Baillieu, in regular slots.
“The idea is that the show will have a different flavour….it will be less programmed in advanced.”
Hinch’s last ratings survey in December had him on top of the competition with a 12.7% share of listeners.
Elliott said he won’t “agonize” over ratings but he is hopeful they won’t dip given the success of his five-month fill-in stint when Hinch was under house arrest last year.
“Last year, when I hosted for five months the ratings went up, not down.”
There was a “a bit of a backlash” when 3AW dumped Hinch, but Elliott hopes he can win back the loyal Hinch fans, adding that he has only received messages of support in recent weeks.
Looking at the industry as a whole, Elliott said he believes radio needs to work to “stay relevant to our sponsors and advertisers”.
Talkback radio “still fulfills a very valuable niche”, according to Elliott who said listeners relish the chance to take part in debates.
Radio has been plagued with a number of scandals in recent years, with the latest being the infamous Today FM royal prank phone call.
“I do think some of the standards of the behavior – as per some of the scandals – need to be worked on,” Elliott said.
“Sadly, the thing about the scandals is, if you look at the ratings, it actually makes people more, not less, attractive.”
Elliott said few presenters in Melbourne would be seen as shock-jocks: “I regard that as very much a Sydney phenomenon.”
Elliott, who is also the director of independent wealth management firm Beulah Capital and hedge fund MM&E Capital, said he is excited to start today.
“It has been an ambition I have had for many years now and I can’t wait to get started,” Elliott said.
“I’m a little bit nervous but I have done it many times before. Once the light goes on and you are into it its good fun.”