Triple J

For the boy band formerly known as Triple J, see Union J.
triple j
Broadcast area Australia: FM, DAB (where available) & Online
Worldwide: Internet Radio
Slogan We Love Music
Frequency Various
First air date 19 January 1975 (1975-01-19)
Format Music, current affairs, youth culture
Language(s) English
ERP Various
Former callsigns Double J, 2JJ
Owner Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Sister stations Triple J Unearthed, Double J and J

Triple J is a government-funded, national Australian radio station intended to appeal to listeners between the ages of 18 and 25 which began broadcasting in January 1975.[1] The station places a greater emphasis on broadcasting Australian and alternative music compared to commercial stations.[2][3] Triple J is government-owned and is a division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Launch and early years: "Double Jay" (2JJ)

2JJ commenced broadcasting at 11:00 am, Sunday 19 January 1975, at 1540 kHz (call sign 1539kHz in 1978) on the AM band.[4] The new Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) station was given the official call-sign 2JJ, but soon became commonly known as Double J.[5] The station was restricted largely to the greater Sydney region, and its local reception was hampered by inadequate transmitter facilities. However, its frequency was a clear channel nationally, so it was easily heard at night throughout south-eastern Australia. After midnight the station would often use ABC networks – during their off air time slot – to increase its broadcasting range.[6]

Its first broadcast demonstrated a determination to distinguish itself from other Australian radio stations. The first on-air presenter, DJ Holger Brockmann, notably used his own name (a deliberate reference to his former work for top-rated Sydney pop station 2SM). Owing to 2SM's restrictive policies at the time, Brockmann, whose real name was considered "too foreign-sounding", had been forced to work using the pseudonym "Bill Drake" in prior positions. After an introductory audio collage that featured sounds from the countdown and launch of Apollo 11, Brockmann launched the station's first-ever broadcast with the words, "Wow, and we're away!", and then cued The Skyhooks' You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed.[5]

The choice of a Skyhooks song to introduce the station was significant, as it represented several important features of the Double Jay brand at the time. Choosing an Australian band reflected Double Jay's commitment to Australian content at a time when American acts dominated commercial pop stations. Most notably, the song was one of several tracks from the Skyhooks' album that had been banned from airplay on commercial radio by the industry's peak body.

Because Double Jay was a government-funded station operating under the umbrella of the ABC, it was not bound by commercial-radio censorship codes, and was not answerable to advertisers or the station owners. In contrast, their Sydney rival, 2SM, was owned by a holding company controlled by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, resulting in the ban or editing of numerous songs.

2JJ was a product of the progressive media policies of the Whitlam Government of 1972-75,[7] and combined influences from several earlier ABC programs, such as "Room to Move", as well as the freewheeling programming policies of British pirate radio and BBC Radio 1, which was created to target the pirate radio audience. The inspiration gained from the UK led to Double J adopting the tradition of weekly, live-in-the-studio performances by pop and rock bands.[8] Gough Whitlam was unable to also fulfill his aspiration for the establishment of a "National Youth Radio Network", as he was controversially sacked.[9]

2JJ presenter, and the first female DJ on Australian pop radio, Gayle Austin, who was completing a Master of Arts(MA) on Triple J's first 16 years in 2005, explained that 2JJ staff had also heard of other motivations for the founding of the station:

Word was the Whitlam government wanted to set the station up to woo young voters. We also heard that the ABC was worried about its audience dying off and wanted a station for young people who would grow up to be ABC listeners.[10]

Additionally, the station was one of a series of innovations that stemmed from the recommendations in the McLean Report of 1974. These included expanding radio broadcasting onto the FM band, issuing a new class of broadcasting license which finally permitted the establishment of community radio stations (the long-awaited third tier of the Australian radio industry), and the creation of two new stations for the ABC - 2JJ in Sydney and the short-lived 3ZZ in Melbourne.[4][11]

By the time 2JJ went to air, the Whitlam government was in its final months of office. Marius Webb, one of the station's co-ordinators recalls an ABC executive informing him: "You'll be on the air by January. Thank you very much, I've got another meeting."[9] On 11 November 1975, Whitlam's commission was revoked by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, sparking a double dissolution of parliament. In the subsequent 1975 federal election, Labor was defeated by the Liberal-National Party coalition that was led by Malcolm Fraser. During the more conservative media climate that emerged in the Fraser years, 2JJ staff were frequently accused of left-wing bias. 2JJ was initially intended to be the first link in Whitlam's planned national youth network; but the expansion was greatly delayed by the election of the Fraser government and the subsequent budget cuts it imposed on the ABC.[12]

It was a historic moment in Australian radio, when the station decided to hire a female disc jockey[9] and, excluding the first experimental FM licences, was granted the first new radio licence issued in any Australian capital city since 1932.[13]

In its early years 2JJ's on-air staff were mainly recruited from either commercial radio or other ABC stations. Later, in another first, the roster also featured presenters who did not come from a radio industry background, including singer-songwriters Bob Hudson[14] and John J. Francis, and actor Lex Marinos.[15] Francis commenced broadcasting in the Saturday midnight-to-dawn shift in 1975, and the program became so popular that it was expanded to include Friday and Sunday nights two years later.[16]

The foundation staff of January 1975 were: Webb and Ron Moss[9] (co-ordinators), Ros Cheney, David Ives, Sam Collins, Holger Brockman (aka Bill Drake), Caroline Pringle, Bob Hudson, Mike Parker, Iven Walker, Arnold Frolows, Di Auburn, Margot Edwards, George "Groover" Wayne, Graeme Berry, John Arden, Colin Vercoe, Alan McGirvan, Pam Swain, Graham Bartlett, Mark Colvin, Keith Walker, Michael Byrne, and Jim Middleton.[17] Other popular presenters of the 2JJ period included Austin (a former producer for talkback radio king John Laws[9]), Russell Guy, Mac Cocker (father of musician Jarvis Cocker),[9] Tom Zelinka, Lawrie Zion, and Keri Phillips. Several of the original team developed successful careers at the ABC: Mark Colvin hosts ABC Radio National's current affairs show PM;[18] Jim Middleton hosts Newsline with Jim Middleton on ABC Television; and Ros Cheney became Arts Editor of ABC radio until her dismissal in 2001 (during the controversial regime of Jonathan Shier).[19]

2JJ's programming policies were considered a radical departure from the formats of commercial stations. In 2005 Austin published a recollection from Colin Vercoe, one of the station's first music programmers: "In those days it was the early disco stuff and if it was black they just wouldn't play it."[10] 2JJ was also a pioneer in terms of its coverage of local music. Austin stated in a 2005 ABC radio special to commemorate the youth station's 30th anniversary: "There was very little Australian music. At that time Australian music didn’t have much production put into it because there wasn’t much money made out of it.”[9] 2JJ announcer Chris Winter explained that "there was enormous breadth of music around at the time" that was not played on radio, but could be heard in private gatherings or bought from specialist stores. Austin states that the original aim of 2JJ was to highlight "our own culture" and the staff were expected to "provide an alternative to the mainstream, with a heavy emphasis on Australian content". 2JJ consequently garnered a reputation for not only eclectic playlists, but also radical talk content:

... it was in the talk area that the really radical work was done. Comedy acts such as Chuck Chunder and the Space Patrol, Captain Goodvibes, Nude Radio (Graham Bond and Rory O'Donoghue's show, which launched Norman Gunston), Fred Dagg (aka John Clarke) and the legendary "anti-ads" informed future program-makers on how humour could be used on radio.[10]

The station also sought to create a genuine dialogue with listeners, whereby the audience could claim a sense of ownership of the station, and announcers even played demo tapes recorded by listeners who were also musicians, the start of what is now known as triple j unearthed. Austin explained in 2005:

In that first year we had a station policy of access all areas. In early March, women took over the station as announcers to celebrate International Women's Day. The listeners owned the station, too, and if they wanted to come to the meetings and join the debate, they were welcome. This attitude led to some interesting moments, such as when Holger Brockman's shift was hijacked by three Aboriginal activists. They entered the studio and said they were armed and hijacking the station. Brockman said: "Oh, OK. Well, that's the microphone there, and here you are, have my seat." Brockman says they were really polite. "They said their bit, which took about five or 10 minutes, and then politely handed back to me - 'And now back to Holger.' Respectfully, like family."[10]

The station played an unprecedented level of Australian content, as well as imported music, music brought in from the staff's personal collections, music purchased by overseas correspondents, and songs banned by other stations because of religious or sexual controversies. The first song played on air on the first broadcast day, "You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good in Bed" by the Skyhooks, was banned on commercial radio for its explicit sexual content.[9][12][20]

Double J also featured regular news broadcasts, current affairs programs, political commentary by noted journalist Mungo MacCallum, and audio documentaries like the controversial The Ins and Outs of Love (produced by former 2SM producers Carl Tyson-Hall and Tony Poulsen), which included frank interviews with young people about their first experiences of sex. The Tyson-Hall and Poulsen documentary had allegedly "breached community standards" and, although the ABC reportedly received few direct complaints about The Ins and Outs of Love (originally broadcast on Sunday, 23 February 1975), the documentary sparked a debate in the media and the Broadcasting Control Board (BCB) reportedly asked for talks with the ABC. Two days after the documentary was broadcast, Fairfax tabloid The Sun published an editorial calling for the station to be closed, and a week later, on 10 March 1975, the influential marketing/advertising industry journal B&T followed suit, demanding that the station should be forced to undertake one of three options: (i) 2JJ should be closed down; (ii) 2JJ's programming should be completely revamped; or (iii) the removal of those staff responsible for "the present series of lapses".[21] Austin explained in 2005 that Webb was largely responsible for shielding the station from external criticism.[10]

The station rapidly gained popularity, especially with its target youth demographic: media articles noted that in its first two months on air, 2JJ reached a 5.4% share of the total radio audience, with 17% in the 18-24 age group, while the audience share of rival 2SM dropped by 2.3%.[22] Despite the poor quality of reception caused by the Sydney transmitter, the station still saw rapid growth.[23] Austin explained that station staff threatened industrial action in July 1975 due to the transmitter issues, but officials of the BCB still refused to meet with 2JJ representatives. A new transmitter was not provided until 1980, following the transition to the FM band.[10]

2JJ presenter George "Groover" Wayne, who hosted the show Cooking with George, became very popular, but was also part of the station's controversial reputation. Originally from South Africa, Wayne was fondly remembered by a listener for the 30-year anniversary event: "I remember George being booted off air. On night, reading the gig guide, he announced a fund raiser for NORML where the lucky door prize (or raffle) was a block of hash. I can't remember how long he was off air but he went home early that night." Former triple j DJ Ian Rogerson stated: "He had this fantastic voice and presence on air...He was just a great communicator...I really miss him."[24]

Controversy also emerged after the station hosted an open-air concert in Liverpool, in Sydney's south-west, in June 1975 (featuring Skyhooks and Dragon). A page-one headline[25] in the Sydney Sun that read "Rock Concert Filth Uproar" introduced a story that claimed that many were "shocked" by "depictions of sexual depravity and shouted obscenities", which allegedly caused women in the audience to clap their hands over their ears, and reportedly prompted Coalition frontbencher Peter Nixon to call for the station to be closed down.[26] The station regularly sponsored live concerts and organised a number of major outdoor concert events in the late 1970s, culminating in an outdoor, all-day event in Parramatta Park, Sydney on 18 January 1981 to celebrate the end of Double J and the start of 2JJJ. Attended by 40,000 people, the historic concert featured Midnight Oil and Matt Finish.[27][28]

1980s: 2JJJ

On 1 August 1980 2JJ began broadcasting on the FM band at a frequency of 105.7 MHz (again restricted to within the greater Sydney region) and became 2JJJ (later, Triple J).[7] Test transmissions in the lead-up to the FM launch used the innovative device of broadcasting stereo audio-verité recordings made by ABC staff, and, in a deliberate echo of the original Double Jay launch, the first song played on the new FM incarnation was another track then banned from commercial radio, "Gay Guys" by Dugites. Through the mid-to-late eighties, Triple J continued to pioneer new music and developed a wide range of special-interest programs including the Japanese pop show Nippi Rock Shop, Arnold Frolows' weekly late-night ambient music show Ambience, and Jaslyn Hall's world music show, the first of its kind on Australian mainstream radio.

It was not until the late 1980s that the ABC was finally able to begin development of the long-delayed national "youth network". In 1989 JJJ expanded nationally to: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, and Perth.

In 1983, four Triple J presenters — Peter Doyle, Virginia Moncrieff, Tony Barrell and Clive Miller — began producing a fanzine with the inscrutable title of Alan.[29] Designed in a manic collage style by David Art Wales, Alan featured programming information, pop trivia, and irreverent interviews with recording artists.[30] Wales also supplied a comic strip featuring a boy sage named Guru Adrian. In a twist that added to the character's appeal, the Guru's face was that of a real child whose identity was never revealed, leading many to believe that he was in fact a real guru. Guru Adrian's philosophy, "Adrianetics",[31] consisted of quixotic maxims, including: "Having fun is half the fun," "Gee, you are you" and "Realise your real eyes," which rapidly gained the character a cult following in Australia, with Wales making many radio and television appearances during the mid-1980s to discuss the Guru Adrian phenomenon.

In 1984, Wales teamed with renowned Australian journalist Bruce Elder on the book Radio With Pictures: The History of Double Jay and Triple Jay.[32]

1989–1991: Nationwide expansion

In the late 1980s, Barry Chapman (Programme Director 2SM 1977-80, and Managing Director EMI Music Publishing 1983-89) was appointed as general manager to oversee Triple J's network expansion. His tenure, and the expansion of the network, generated controversy, most notably in 1990, when a large portion of 2JJJ's Sydney-based on air staff was fired, (the so-called "Night of the long knives") including the most popular presenters Tony Biggs and Tim Ritchie, the station's dance-music maven. As details of the changes became public, there were accusations of a "JJJ Bland Out" (analogous to Harry Enfield's fictional British DJs Smashie and Nicey) and several protests were held outside its William Street studios. There was a public meeting that packed the Sydney Town Hall with angry listeners. The crowd spilled out onto the street as the hall was not big enough to hold everyone who felt that "their" beloved radio station had been hijacked.

Concern was expressed about the introduction of a more highly programmed music format, and the appointment of Chapman was seen as an indication of a more commercial direction. Management responded that to launch a national network meant that the station must broaden its then almost-exclusive focus on the Sydney music scene, requiring the addition of new talent. When the dispute waned, the radio programming was not nearly as free-form as it had been before going national, but neither was it as highly programmed as its critics feared. In the pre-national era, there had been less emphasis on a structured playlist but the introduction of a tighter playlist allowed (at least initially) a degree of input from individual presenters that exceeded that usually permitted on a commercial station.

The laissez-faire collective management style of the Double Jay days was gradually replaced by a more business-like top-down management style. Prior to the controversial appointment of Chapman, many of the 'old guard' were dismissed from the station and replaced by presenters who were more amenable to the increasingly structured format.

Chapman oversaw a radical overhaul of Triple J's programming and marketing. This basic format, though not dissimilar to the old Sydney based Triple J, included: an early morning comedy breakfast program with duo presenters, a late morning talk and talkback program, and a light talk-and-comedy afternoon drive-time shift. Decades later the format remains substantially in place. Compared to the late Seventies, Chapman did not reduce the amount of comedy, documentaries and news. Although as he did at 2SM, Chapman maintained and strengthened the station's commitment to live music.

In the late 1980s Triple J was accused of ignoring the emerging hip hop scene and related genres, in favour of the more marketable rock-oriented grunge style that dominated American music at the same time.

The amount of news comedy and documentaries remained essentially the same in the 1990s as it had during the 80's. The key changes were new programmes replacing old.

1990s: Regional expansion

The current Triple J logo

Throughout the 1990s, Triple J commenced expansion to more regional areas of Australia and, in 1994, it was extended to another 18 regional centres throughout the country. In 1996, the total was brought to 44, with the new additions including: Launceston, Tasmania; Albany, Western Australia; Bathurst, New South Wales and Mackay, Queensland. It played a record in Tas over and over again until Triple J came online. As of 2006, Triple J's most recent expansion was to Broome, Western Australia.

2000s: Online and jtv

In May 2003, Arnold Frolows, the only remaining member of the original Double Jay staff of 1975, stepped down after 28 years as Triple J music director. He was replaced by presenter Richard Kingsmill.

In 2004, the station began to release podcasts of some of its talkback shows, including Dr Karl, This Sporting Life, and Hack.

In 2006, Triple J's coverage expanded when transmission began in Broome, Western Australia. As Broome was one of the largest towns in Australia to not receive Triple J to this point, the station celebrated with a concert featuring many local bands, also simulcast on the Live at the Wireless programme.

Also in 2006, Triple J launched jtv, a series of television programs broadcast on ABC and ABC2, as well as being made available online. Programming included music videos, live concerts, documentaries, and comedy, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at Triple J's studios. In 2008 jtv was rebranded as Triple J TV. Triple J TV's first 'spin-off' series The Hack Half Hour premiered on 22 September 2008, hosted by Steve Cannane.

As of February 2009 Triple J TV airs on 21:00 Mondays on ABC2, 11pm Fridays on ABC1 and can be downloaded at The series is hosted by The Doctor aka Lindsay McDougall and it features Hack reports from Antoinette Chiha, comedy from Sam Simmons, and the film segment Flicked with Marc Fennell.

2010s: Digital radio, Double J, Beat The Drum

In 2014, ABC's Dig Music digital radio station joined the Triple J family and was re-launched as Double J on 30 April 2014.[33][34] The new station features both new music and material from Triple J interview and sound archives.[35] Former Triple J announcer Myf Warhurst, who hosted the inaugural shift, said "it's for people who love music, and also love a bit of music history."[35]

The station celebrated its 40th anniversary on 16 January 2015 with the seven-hour "Beat The Drum" event at the Domain venue in Sydney. Hosted by Peter Garrett, an Australian musician with Midnight Oil and former federal Environment Minister, the list of performers, all of whom are the beneficiaries of the station's support, included: Hilltop Hoods, The Presets, The Cat Empire, You Am I, Daniel Johns, Joelistics, Ball Park Music, Adalita, Vance Joy, and Gotye. The majority of performers played a combination of their own music and cover versions, including Sarah Blasko and Paul Dempsey's rendition of Crowded House’s "Distant Sun", and The Preatures covering "At First Sight" by The Stems and The Divinyls' "All the Boys in Town".[36]

In ratings released in August 2015, Triple J was the highest or equal first in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in the 25-39 demographic.[37]


Bands playing at Triple J's "Come Together" festival.

Current programming mix

Triple J frequently features new, alternative music and local Australian performers, and programming shows a bias against bubblegum pop and top 40 hits.[38][39][40] Triple J has nightly specialist programs in different musical genres (see the programmes section below). It also covers news and current affairs from a youth-oriented perspective, although this facet of its programming has been reduced considerably since the station's inception.

In common with other Australian radio stations, Triple J has also gradually increased the amount of talkback content in its programming. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, it provides an inexpensive and popular source of program content, and also provides the appearance of listener interactivity and involvement. And, like many other former 'all music' stations, Triple J has had to respond to the advent of music file-sharing, digital music players, and other digital music innovations, which have drastically reduced listeners' dependence on radio as a means of accessing music.

Evolution of programming

The evolution of Triple J's programming has always been contentious. In the Double Jay days, commercial stations and conservative types regularly cried foul over the station's free use of expletives on air and its ability to ignore the censorship restrictions that were in force for commercial radio. This situation stemmed from Double Jay's status as a special unit of the ABC which, at that time, was only answerable to the ABC Board and the Minister for Communications, unlike the commercial stations, which were subject to regulation by the old Broadcasting Control Board (now the Australian Communications and Media Authority) and by their own peak body, the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters (FACB), now known as Commercial Radio Australia.

Over the years the station gained considerable renown for breaking new local acts. Midnight Oil, the prime example of this, would almost certainly not have had anything like the success they enjoyed without the help of Double Jay/Triple J. The station also broke countless overseas acts who were being ignored in their home countries. Double Jay was virtually the only 'pop' station in Australia in the late Seventies to play: reggae, dub, punk rock, new wave, world music, electronic music, and ambient music.

Over the years the station moved away from its early style, which featured a high level of news, features, documentaries, current affairs, and comedy, and was gradually steered towards a non-commercial version of the continuous music format that prevailed in commercial radio. Many original Double Jay segments including the nightly "What's On" gig guide, its extensive news and current affairs coverage (which was often criticised for its alleged left-wing bias), and its 'community noticeboard' segment, were gradually eliminated, as were almost all the character comedy spots that had been popular features in previous years.

Most recently the number of songs approved for airplay on Triple J has been decreased dramatically, leading some to believe that an over-emphasis on certain styles of music, particularly electro and dance, has had a negative effect on the formerly unbiased genre programming. It is also said that this has affected the cultivation of musical diversity on the Unearthed program.

Effects on local record companies and radio stations

The station also exerted a noticeable effect on local record companies. For many years, local record labels would only import recordings that they knew would earn a good commercial return, and they were often unwilling to take risks on local releases of unknown acts. Much new music was routinely available only as expensive imports in specialist shops. This began to change almost as soon as Double Jay came on air. A good example of the station's influence was in 1976 when Double Jay championed a new album, 801 Live, recorded by a one-off group that included former Roxy Music members Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno. Although the LP was hailed overseas as one of the best live recordings ever made, and set new standards of technical excellence, the Australian distributor at first refused to release it locally, in spite of the fact that it was one of the most requested items on the Double Jay playlist at the time. As a result of the import sales that were generated by Double Jay airplay — it became the highest selling import album that year — the company decided to release it locally.

Triple J routinely championed many local and overseas acts whose early recordings were ignored by commercial radio including: Midnight Oil, Models, Paul Kelly, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pixies, Ben Folds Five, and hundreds more. As with the ABC's long-running pop TV show Countdown, the support of Triple J in Australia also had a strong effect on the success of emerging overseas acts. A case in point is American group The B-52's. It is believed that Double Jay was the first radio station in the world to play their debut single "Rock Lobster". The support of the Jays had a similarly significant effect on the worldwide success of many acts, including: Blondie, Devo, and more recently Ben Folds Five, Garbage, and especially Ben Harper, whose popularity in Australia, which was almost entirely the result of support from Triple J, was instrumental in breaking him back in his home country, the United States.

It is also notable that Triple J was for many years routinely used as a free market research facility by commercial stations. As mainstream pop radio struggled to establish itself on the FM band, commercial stations like those owned by Austereo constantly monitored what songs and acts were doing well on Triple J and would then introduce the most 'saleable' of them into their own playlists. Acts like Talking Heads, The Police, and Nirvana unquestionably owed their commercial success in Australia to the early support of Double Jay/Triple J.

In 1989, Triple J had been playing N.W.A's protest song "Fuck tha Police" for up to six months, before catching the attention of ABC management who subsequently banned it. As a result, the staff went on strike and put the group's song "Express Yourself" on continuous play for 24 hours, playing it roughly 360 times in a row.[41] In 2014, when launching Double J on digital radio, the station played nothing but "Express Yourself" for 48 hours.[42]


General programming

Speciality music shows

Triple J programming schedule has included shows featuring many specialty genres including: 2016 featuring new music - the show started in 1997 and changes its name to match the current year; The Racket features heavy metal - formerly Full Metal Racket and 3 Hours of Power; Hip Hop Show; Home & Hosed Triple J's Australian music show; Mix Up (radio show) featuring DJ mixes; Radio Funktrust playing groove and funk - formerly The Groove Train; Roots N All with roots and blues; featuring punk rock, hardcore punk, metalcore, and post-hardcore; The Club with dance; and The Sound Lab featuring experimental, IDM, post-rock, minimal techno, dubstep, ambient, and glitch.


The weekly J-Files show has had two incarnations over the years. From 1996 to 2003, it was a three-hour late weeknight show hosted by Richard Kingsmill. Each show was topical; it might feature an artist, a particular year in the past, or songs with a certain theme. Examples of themed shows include: #9 songs (which was the theme of 9 September 1999's show), cats & dogs, New Zealand bands, and banned songs.

From 2003 the J-Files was a one-hour Saturday afternoon show, hosted by various Triple J presenters, specifically focused on one particular artist. The final J-File was aired in November 2007. On Thursday 21 August 2014 the J Files made its debut on digital station Double J.

Live at the Wireless

Main article: Live at the Wireless

Live at the Wireless is a long-standing tradition of Triple J. It is a weekly broadcast of live music, of a number of forms - open air festivals, smaller concerts, or acoustic performances in the studio. Occasionally, Triple J will host a live performance in a secret location, and give away tickets to a limited number of listeners, to allow them to be a part of the special event.

Home & Hosed

Up until 2002, the Australian Music Show was Triple J's all-Australian music segment, broadcast as a three-hour late weeknight show (22:00 to 01:00) and hosted by Richard Kingsmill. Starting in 2003, the format changed to a two-hour show every weeknight (21:00 to 23:00, shortening Super Request and the late night speciality shows by an hour each) and Robbie Buck became the presenter. It proved to be one of Triple J's most popular changes, as the audience (and the station itself) has traditionally been very supportive of local talent and unsigned bands. The show has now been reduced to one hour, is only on Monday to Thursdays, and is hosted by Dom Alessio.[43]

House Party

On 2 February 2008, Triple J commenced broadcasting a house-party style programme mixed and presented by Nina Las Vegas. In July 2011, while Nina Las Vegas was on vacation, Ballarat mashup duo Yacht Club DJs hosted House Party for the entire month. The show is currently hosted by Kristy Lee Peters.[43]

News and current affairs


Triple J has their own independent news team, specifically covering news and issues that are relevant to the youth of Australia, such as education and the environment, as well as general music news.

Current news staff: Amelia Marshall, Ange Lavoipierre, Elize Strydom, Nas Campanella, and Ruby Jones.[44]

Past news journalists (some of whom are still with Triple J) include: Grace Jones, Simon Lauder (Now works for ABC Current Affairs Radio), Rhianna Patrick (now presenting Speaking Out on ABC Local Radio), Karen Barlow (Now works for ABC Current Affairs Radio), Bernadette Young (Now Drive presenter on ABC Gold Coast), Ronan Sharkey, Nikki Gemmell, Daniel Browning, Oscar McLaren, Michael Turtle, Sarah Gerathy, Meredith Griffiths (Now with ABC Current Affairs Radio, AM & PM), Emma Swift, George Roberts, Bill Birtles, Annette Samojlowicz, Mark Di Stefano, Stefanie Menezes, Ashleigh Raper, Lucy Carter (Now sports presenter & reporter on ABC News 24), and Matthew Eaton (Now a Brisbane-based reporter & producer for ABC News Online).


Main article: Hack (radio program)

Hack is Triple J's half-hour news and current affairs show, broadcast from 17:30 weeknights. It is hosted by Tom Tilley. The Executive Producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey while Michael Atkin completes the Andrew Olle Scholarship. The current reporting team includes Irene Scott, Johnny Barrington, Patrick Abboud, Alex Mann & Claire Aird.

Talkback Classroom

Triple J broadcast Talkback Classroom from 1998 to 2003, a program where secondary school students from around Australia interviewed various prominent politicians, business and community leaders on current affairs issues. The program now airs on ABC Radio National.


Where the youth in outback Australia can air their views through a youth forum. Entrants must be between 16 and 22, write and engaging story relating to the countryside and must work well on radio. There are 41 regions like Unearthed. The winner receives airplay of their story and one winner from each of the 41 regions, wins an all expenses paid trip to Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport for the youth forum.


The Breakfast Show

Robbie Buck in the Triple J studio

The Breakfast Show is one of the station's flagship shows. In the late '80s it was hosted by Rusty Nails, and later by resident "dag", Maynard F# Crabbes. In the early 1990s it was co-hosted by Helen Razer and Mikey Robins, and later by Mikey Robins, Paul McDermott, and The Sandman (Steve Abbott). From 1999 until 2004, it was co-hosted by Adam Spencer and Wil Anderson. The pair were known for their unusual sense of humour, highlighted by regular segments including Mary from Junee, Essence of Steve, and Are You Smarter Than Dools?. The Breakfast Show also featured two radio serials presented by The Sandman: "Pleasant Avenue" and "204 Bell St".[45]

Spencer and Anderson broadcast their final program for the station on Friday 26 November 2004 from Sydney University's Manning Bar, a site that held sentimental value to Spencer, as that was where he got his start in stand-up comedy. In 2005, Jay and Lindsay (aka 'The Doctor') from Frenzal Rhomb took over as hosts of Triple J's breakfast show. New segments include the radio skits Space Goat and Battalion 666, as well as the Under the Weather Sessions and The Friday Fuckwit. From 8 January 2007, former Lunch presenter Myf Warhurst joined Jay and Lindsay as a permanent member of the Breakfast Show team. Henry Stone (Comedian) contributed to the Triple J Debate Night series in 2013.

Following the departure of Jay (who left to travel), the 2008-2009 Breakfast Show line up was Robbie Buck, The Doctor, and Marieke Hardy. They regularly maintained contact with Jay during his overseas travel, calling him during a segment named Where in the World is Jason "Jay" Whalley, a pun on Where's Wally? and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.

In 2009, Robbie, Marieke, and The Doctor had a serial called "Claytron". Tuesdays offered "Nerds of a Feather" with Paul Verhoeven, whilst Friday offered "The Friday Fuckwit" as well as "Like a Version", a segment where famous recording artists perform a cover version of a song of their choice.

On 23 November 2009, it was announced that Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson (hosts of the 2009 Weekend Breakfast show) would take over as hosts of the 2010 Breakfast show. In December 2013, Tom Ballard resigned and was replaced by Matt Okine in January 2014. "Like a Version" has continued with Okine and Dyson.

Weekend Breakfast

Past presenters have included Jim Trail, Paul Verhoeven, Costa Zouliou, Gaby Brown, Scott Dooley, and Sam Simmons. Caroline Tran returned in 2010. The very popular Club Veg, featured Malcolm Lees and Vic Davies, from 1984 to 1986. They then moved to 2SM & Triple M. Weekend breakfast is now hosted by Stacy Gougoulis.[43]

This Sporting Life

This Sporting Life (TSL), which ran from 1986 to 2008, was a parody of sporting panel programs, created and hosted by actor-writer-comedians John Doyle and Greig Pickhaver (under the pseudonyms Roy Slaven & HG Nelson). As well as sport, the duo cast a wide comedic net that encompassed the worlds of entertainment, politics and celebrity. TSL was remarkable as one of the few successful comedy programs that was substantially improvised.

The longest-running show in Triple J's programming history, TSL commanded a large and dedicated nationwide audience. Special editions of TSL were broadcast to coincide with the NRL and AFL grand finals (The Festival of the Boot) as well as for all three of rugby league's State of Origin series matches. (see Roy and HG's State of Origin commentary). In 2009, after 22 years at the ABC, the duo left to work for the commercial rock station Triple M.

In 2012 Roy Slaven & HG Nelson)'s The Festival of the Boot returned to an ABC Radio station for the first time since 2009. To date all 3 AFL grand finals (labeled "Part 1") & all 3 NRL grand finals (labeled "Part 2") have been broadcast on ABC News Radio

Raw Comedy Competition

Main article: Raw Comedy

Triple J supports, promotes and broadcasts clips from the Raw Comedy Competition, which is produced by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Podcasts of competition sets are available via the Triple J website.[46]

Restoring the Balance

Main article: Restoring the Balance

Restoring the Balance was broadcast sporadically on Sunday afternoons during 2004. The primary concept behind the show was a satire of the contrasting political views between the conservative Australian Howard government, and the left-wing government-funded Triple J radio station. The show suggested that the station was forced to broadcast a segment of right-wing political views in order to restore the balance.

Ross and Terri

Ross and Terri broadcast weekdays at lunch times, for two 2-week periods, over summer 2005 and 2006. It was hosted by Ross Noble and Terri Psiakis. It was initially a filler show, but the popularity of the pair was enough to bring them back in 2006.

Today Today

Main article: Today Today

Today Today was the name given to the drive show in 2004 and 2005, hosted by Chaser members Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel. The show's name was derived from Today Tonight, a controversial Australian TV current affairs show screened on the Seven Network. Their humour was in a similar vein to CNNNN and The Chaser, being more politically driven. One of their more popular skits was "Coma FM", a parody of commercial radio stations.

Radio plays

Triple J currently has had several comedic radio plays:

Saturday Night / Graveyard Shift

In 2005 Dave Callan started at Triple J presenting the Saturday night/Sunday early morning program the Graveyard Shift.

In 2006 Dave hosted the Saturday evening timeslot, called Saturday Night. The show followed the pattern of Callan's mid-dawn shifts from previous years. In January 2007 this show was renamed Pirate Radio after one of the personae commonly adopted by callers. Listener interaction plays a significant role in Callan's programmes with regular callers such as "Steph from Tamworth", "Snake Charmer Farmer", and "Ukulele Guy", as well as an assortment of "randoms" and "carnies". On 27 January 2008, Dave returned to the Graveyard Shift (01:00-06:00 Sunday mornings). From January 2009 the show was shortened, finishing at 04:00.

Sunday Night Safran

Beginning in 2005, John Safran and Father Bob Maguire have co-hosted a Sunday night talk show interviewing international guests, generally discussing serious topics like religion and politics. The show is no longer on air.[43]

The Race Race

Beginning on 27 October 2008, Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel co-hosted a comedy program centred on the 2008 US Presidential Election entitled The Race Race. The programme aired at 17:00 weekdays until the wrap-up episode, which aired on 5 November 2008, after the elections had concluded.

The program derived its name from the fact that Barack Obama, the first African–American to be nominated by a major American political party for president, was running a formerly exclusively white political race against the white Republican candidate, John McCain. The program became the number one podcast in Australia, and Triple J released a number of commemorative Race Race T-shirts which featured the show's catchphrase "I Like Pie".

Hottest 100

Main article: Triple J Hottest 100

The Hottest 100 is an annual poll of the previous year's most popular songs, as voted by its listeners. It has been conducted for almost two decades in its present form, and in 2005 attracted 1.26 million votes from 152 countries.[47][48] It is promoted as the "world's greatest music democracy" and has also spawned a series of compilation CDs, and more recently, music DVDs, released via ABC Music. The countdown of the poll takes place on Australia Day .[48]


Main article: Triple J Unearthed

Unearthed, an ongoing project to find hidden talent, began in 1995. It originally focused on regional areas but now covers all of Australia. Many of these discoveries have been very successful. Some, such as Grinspoon, Killing Heidi, and Missy Higgins, have even been successful enough to receive commercial radio airplay.

The Unearthed competition was inspired by the success of a talent search on SBS program Nomad called "Pick Me". This segment, co-produced by Triple J, discovered a trio from Newcastle called the "Innocent Criminals", who later gained international fame under the name Silverchair.

The most recent incarnation of Unearthed is run online, and allows listeners to rate and review songs uploaded by bands and musicians.

Some on-air promotions for the first volume were recorded at the Triple J studios in Ultimo by Darren McErlain in 1996. He was invited to record voice-overs for Triple J, whilst completing an internship at ABC Radio News.

On 5 October 2011 Triple J Unearthed was launched as a radio station available on digital radio and online.[49]

Beat the Drum

Triple J occasionally runs a competition known as 'Beat the Drum' - named for their logo of three drumsticks hitting a drum. It is a competition designed to promote the logo, whereby, whoever displays it in the most prominent place would win a prize. Notable entries include:

In late 2004, the station's promotion for that year's Beat the Drum contest caused a brief but bitter controversy after it released a series of promotional images featuring the 'Drum' logo. Many were outraged by the inclusion of a mocked-up image of the former World Trade Center draped with a huge Drum flag.

In 2015 no "One Night Stand" held. Instead "Beat The Durm" was held.[50] To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Triple J a one-off concert was held on January 16 at The Domain, Sydney. Artist included: Ball Park Music, Vance Joy, The Preatures, You Am I, The Cat Empire, The Presets, Hilltop Hoods, and many special guests.[51]

Impossible Music Festival

The Impossible Music Festival, broadcast in August 2005 was a celebration of 30 years of live music recordings made by JJ and Triple J. Voted for by listeners from over 1000 recorded gigs/concerts, the broadcast went from 18:00 Friday the 26th to 01:00 Monday the 29th. The 2006 Impossible Music Festival was aired on the weekend of 7–8 October. The 2007 Impossible Music Festival broadcast from Friday 25 May to Sunday 27 May. The 2008 Impossible Music Festival was broadcast from Friday 19 September until Sunday 21 September.

Triple J's One Night Stand

The One Night Stand, held annually since 2004, offers a small town the opportunity to host a free, all ages concert, sponsored by Triple J, featuring three or four Australian musical acts. Entries must include examples of local support, including community (signatures), local government (council approval), and a venue for the concert.

Ausmusic Month

Each November on Triple J is Ausmusic month, where Australian artists are heavily promoted. This includes a solid weekend of Australian music; some free, limited-entry concerts around the country; All-Australian feature albums; Live at the Wireless; and each day, a new "unknown" Australian band is featured and played several times during the day.

J Awards

Main article: J Award

The J Awards are an annual awards ceremony held at the start of December each year to celebrate Australian music. Awards include; the Unearthed J Award for best Unearthed artist, the J Award for Australian Music Video of the year, and the main J Award for Australian album of the year, judged by a panel of Triple J presenters. Past winners of the J Award include; Wolfmother (2005), Hilltop Hoods (2006), and The Panics (2007). In 2008, The Presets took the award for Apocalypso. In 2009 the award was won by Sarah Blasko. In 2010, Tame Impala won the coveted J Award. The 2011 winner of best Australian album was Gotye.[52] In 2012 Tame Impala won the award for a second time, this time with Lonerism.[53] In 2013, the electronic artist Flume took out the award with his self-titled debut album.[54]


Many Double Jay and early Triple J presenters went on to successful careers with commercial stations, the most notable being Doug Mulray, who honed his distinctive comedy-based style at the Jays before moving to rival FM rock station 2-MMM (Triple M) in the 1980s, where he became the most popular breakfast presenter in Sydney (and one of the highest-paid radio personalities in the country). Presenter Annette Shun Wah went on to host the popular Rock Around the World series on SBS and is now a program executive with SBS TV and producer of The Movie Show.

Programming history

Year Breakfast: 6:00 - 9:00 Mornings: 9:00 - 12:00 Lunch: 12:00 - 15:00 Drive: 15:00 - 18:00 Late Afternoon: 17:30 - 18:00 Evenings: 18:00 - 21:00 Late Evenings: 21:00 - 22:00 Late Night 22:00 - 1:00 !
1975 Holger Brockman (launches station at 11am)
1987Maynard F# Crabbes
1988Maynard F# Crabbes The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1989Maynard F# Crabbes The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1990 Helen & Mikey The Morning Show: Angela Catterns The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1991 Helen & MikeyThe Morning Show: Angela Catterns The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1992 Helen & MikeyThe Morning Show: Angela Catterns The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1993 Helen & MikeyThe Morning Show: Angela Catterns The Rhythm Method: Stephen Ferris
1994 Helen & MikeyThe Morning Show: Angela Catterns
1995 Helen & Mikey The Morning Show: Angela Catterns
1996 Helen & Mikey The Morning Show: Jen Oldershaw
1997 Mikey and Paul The Morning Show: Jen Oldershaw
1998 Mikey, Jen & the Sandman The Morning Show: Sarah Macdonald Michael Tunn Departure Lounge: Adam Spencer & Helen Razer / Departure Lounge: Adam Spencer - Super Request: Jane Gazzo -
1999 Adam Spencer The Morning Show: Sarah Macdonald Michael Tunn Merrick and Rosso - Super Request: Caroline Tran -
2000 Adam Spencer / Adam and Wil (from August) The Morning Show: Francis Leach Robbie Buck Merrick and Rosso - Super Request: Caroline Tran -
2001 Adam and Wil The Morning Show: Francis Leach Caroline Tran Costa Zouliou - Super Request with Rosie Beaton -
2002 Adam and Wil The Morning Show: Francis Leach Caroline Tran Costa Zouliou & Nicole Fossati / Charlie Pickering & Nicole Fossati - Super Request with Rosie Beaton-
2003 Adam and Wil The Morning Show: Steve Cannane Myf Warhurst Charlie Pickering & Mel Bampton - Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Robbie Buck
2004 Adam and Wil Mel Bampton Myf Warhurst Today Today Hack: Steve Cannane Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Robbie Buck
2005 Jay and the Doctor Mel Bampton Myf Warhurst Today Today Hack: Steve Cannane Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Robbie Buck
2006 Jay and the Doctor Mel Bampton Myf Warhurst Robbie Buck Hack: Steve Cannane Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Caroline Tran
2007 Myf, Jay and the Doctor Zan Rowe Linda Marigliano Robbie Buck Hack: Kate O'Toole Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Caroline Tran
2008 Robbie, Marieke and the Doctor Zan Rowe Vijay Khurana Dools and Linda Hack: Kate O'Toole Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2009 Robbie, Marieke and the Doctor Zan Rowe Vijay Khurana Scott Dooley Hack: Kate O'Toole Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2010 Tom and Alex Zan Rowe Vijay Khurana The Doctor Hack: Kate O'Toole Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2011 Tom and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy The Doctor Hack: Tom Tilley Super Request with Rosie Beaton Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2012 Tom and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy The Doctor Hack: Sophie McNeill Goodnights with Linda Marigliano Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2013 Tom and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy The Doctor Hack: Tom Tilley Goodnights with Linda Marigliano Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2014 Matt and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy The Doctor Hack: Tom Tilley Goodnights with Linda Marigliano Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2015 Matt and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy Veronica and Lewis Hack: Tom Tilley Goodnights with Linda Marigliano Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio
2016 Matt and Alex Zan Rowe Lewi McKirdy Veronica and Lewis Hack: Tom Tilley Goodnights with Linda Marigliano Home and Hosed: Dom Alessio


Year Breakfast 6:00 - 10:00 Lunch 10:00 - 14:00 Afternoon 14:00 - 17:00 (sat/sun) Late Afternoon 17:00 - 18:00 (sat/sun) Evening 18:00 - 21:00 (sat/sun) Night 21:00 - 01:00 (sat/sun) Overnight: 1:00 - 6:00 !
1984 Club Veg
1985 Club Veg
1998 Jim Trail Robbie Buck Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG NET 50 Jen Apostolou & Justin Wilcomes / 1998: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / Creatures: Francis Leach Rage Simulcast
1999 Jim Trail Robbie Buck Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG NET 50 Jen Apostolou & Justin Wilcomes / 1999: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / Creatures: Francis Leach Rage Simulcast
2000 Jim Trail ? Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG NET 50: Rosie Beaton & Justin Wilcomes / 2000: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / Creatures: Fenella Kernebone Rage Simulcast
2001 Gaby Brown Robbie Buck Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG Net 50: Myf Warhurst / 2001: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / Artery: Fenella Kernebone Rage Simulcast
2002 Gaby Brown Robbie Buck Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG - / Sunday LATW Net 50: Myf Warhurst / 2002: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / Artery: Fennela Kernobone Rage Simulcast
2003 Caroline Tran Costa Zouliou Richard Kingsmill / Roy & HG (Restoring the Balance when Roy & HG away) J Files or Freewheelin / Sunday LATW Net 50: Gaby Brown / 2003: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / The Chat Room: Gaby Brown then The Sound Lab: Fenella Kernebone The Club: Nicole Fossati
2004 Caroline Tran Costa Zouliou Jay and the Doctor (John Safran later in year) / Roy and HG The J Files / Sunday LATW Net 50: Gaby Brown / 2004: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / The Chat Room: Gaby Brown then The Sound Lab: Fenella Kernebone The Club: Nicole Fossati
2005 Caroline Tran Zan Rowe Maya Jupiter / Roy & HG J Files / Sunday LATW Net 50: / 2005: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab Dave Callan
2006 Costa Zouliou (Scott Dooley later in the year) Gaby Brown (Zan Rowe later in the year) Sarah Howells / Roy and HG Music Specials / Sunday LATW Dave Callan / 2006: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab
2007 Scott Dooley ? Gaby Brown / Roy and HG Music Specials / Sunday LATW Pirate Radio with Dave Callan / 2007: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab
2008 Sam Simmons Sarah Howells Gaby Brown / Roy and HG Music Specials / Sunday LATW House Party: Kirileigh Lynch / 2008: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab Dave Callan
2009 Tom and Alex Sarah Howells Gaby Brown Music Specials / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2009: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab Dave Callan
2010 Paul Verhoeven Maggie Collins Lewis McKirdy Music Specials / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2010: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up: Nicole Foote / John Safran then Sound Lab Dave Callan
2011 Caroline Tran Sarah Howells Maggie Collins - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2011: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab
2012 Veronica and Lewis (then Kyran Wheatley second half of the year) Sarah Howells Maggie Collins - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2012: Caroline Tran (the Richard Kingsmill second half of the year) Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab
2013 Veronica and Lewis Sarah Howells Max Lavergne - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2013: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Sound Lab
2014 Kyran Wheatley Sarah Howells Veronica and Lewis - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2014: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran (Chatback when Safran away) then Sound Lab Shantan Ichiban
2015 Kyran Wheatley Gemma Pike Stacy Gougoulis - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2015: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / John Safran then Tim Shiel Shantan Ichiban
2016 Stacy Gougoulis Gemma Pike Kyran Wheatley & Gen Fricker - / Sunday LATW House Party: Nina Las Vegas / 2016: Richard Kingsmill Mix Up / The Hook-Up then Tim Shiel Shantan Ichiban

See also


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  43. 1 2 3 4 "Guide by Week". ABC. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
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  45. Sandman (2000). 204 Bell St: A guide to sharehouse living. Sydney: ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ISBN 0-7333-0905-4
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  50. Beat The Drum held in place of One Night Stand
  51. Beat The Drum Line-Up
  52. ""JAwards2011"". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  53. "JAwards2012". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
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