Radio legend Marty Sheargold has said what amazes him about radio people is that they’re expecting new talent to just to show up. They’re not growing or nurturing it.
In a podcast interview, Sheargold – one third of NOVA Entertainment’s drive team Kate, Tim & Marty – noted when he started in the early 2000’s it was about comics. Now it’s about reality TV stars “that they try to build shows around”.
Sheargold is the first in a series of podcasts with big names in radio. The series, Game Changers Radio, is created by Craig Bruce, former content director for network Southern Cross Austereo. Listen to the full interview here.
While Sheargold says it’s all reality stars now, Bruce debated that now it’s more about storytelling and authenticity.
“Yes, the current crop is coming from lots of different places,” Bruce said, “but I think the underlying theme is in and around natural, real conversation.”
And it’s all about chemistry, stressed Sheargold.
“As we know Bru, chemistry is the key,” he said to Bruce. “If you haven’t got chemistry, you’re wasting your time.
“I watch radio shows over the journey persist with people who simply have no chemistry at all and I think ‘mate, just knock it on the head now. Whatever you’re paying them, pay them out’.”
But chemistry doesn’t have to come in the form of friendships, he added. Conflict can be great for chemistry, provided it doesn’t end in unemployment.
Back when it was the comics dominating the airwaves, Sheargold revealed the “toxic and cancerous” disaster of the Shebang show.
The Shebang started off in the drive slot on Southern Cross Austereo’s Triple M with Sheargold, Fifi Box and a host of others over the years. In 2007 it moved to the Sydney breakfast slot (6am-9am) with Sheargold, Box and Paul Murray. However, just two years later the show had crumbled and left Sheargold jobless and hoping no one would recognise him in public.
While Sheargold had previously worked with Box and said the chemistry was great, it fell apart in breakfast.
“Looking back at it, I had fallen in love with myself beyond words,” Sheargold admitted to Bruce.
“It’s not who I am, but I just became really punchy, really aggressive, wanted to fight my corner, resisted the sensibilities of the breakfast shift, probably wasn’t ready to do that bigger shift at a station that at the time was going through a lot of positional stages.
“And I used that as an excuse for why we weren’t going well. I pointed the finger at a lot of different people over that journey and wasn’t accountable for any of my own behaviour.
“It was like I was watching something unfold around me without realising I was a huge part of the problem.
“That collapsed. Fi had signed a deal in our second year there to go to the Sunrise weather job, so I’d lost an on-air partner 18 months into a two year deal.”
Sheargold noted that throughout his time off-air after, during which his child was born and his good friend Richard Marsland tragically passed away, the phone never once rang with work opportunities.
“It’s extraordinary, but that’s how awful my reputation must have been. You have to understand why your phone isn’t ringing,” he said.
“I take full responsibility through that Sydney breakfast experience.”
Currently, Sheargold is one third of NOVA Entertainment’s national drive show Kate, Tim & Marty, made up of Sheargold, Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell.
Sheargold said at the moment he doesn’t like covering topics of reality TV or gossip, despite many shows heading in that direction.
“I’m sure that that probably, if people look at me as a future breakfast talent, they probably think ‘he’s going to be resistant to a lot of things we want to do, don’t give him the job’,” he said.
“Well, that’s okay. I understand that that comes with the territory of not wanting to make that style of radio.”
Chrissie Swan will be the next radio star to bare all to Bruce. The next podcast will released Monday 18 April. Listen to Sheargold’s full interview here.