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    Behind the mic at radio ratings magnet: Who’s who in the 3AW breakfast team

    Regular listeners to the #1 Melbourne radio’s 3AW  breakfast show will feel they know some of the Ross and Russ production team.

    Scorcher, Damo and Amelia crop up regularly on the show as they fill their roles or handle special guest spots. Maybe it is phone call producer Sophie who has kept some sort of anonymity…until now.

    During Mediaweek’s visit to the 3AW studios, still inside the former home of The Age, we go to spend time with the four-person team who help the magic happen.

    Interestingly 3AW is the only tenant left in the former Fairfax Melbourne HQ. A building that is one of the many legacy’s left in the city by former Lord Mayor and Fairfax chair, the late Ron Walker.

    Scorcher: Executive producer

    “I am up just after 2am and summarise the papers for the boys. I get into the studio about 3.30am. This year will be my 10th year on the breakfast show.”

    Aka Mark Davidson, the executive producer was originally the producer of Ernie Sigley’s afternoon show at the station. “Working with Ernie started in about 2004. Next was a trip to London where I worked on newspapers. Back at 3AW I started working with what was then Ross and John.”

    Davidson doesn’t have any regular spots, just “pinch-hitting” whenever called upon. Often with little warning. “It’s not about me…it’s all about the boys,” he noted.

    The head of the production team for the ACRA-winning breakfast show is also an award-winning photographer.

    Behind the mic at radio ratings magnet: Who’s who in the 3AW breakfast team

    Melbourne’s radio (3)A(W)-team: Amelia, Mark, Damian and Sophie

    Amelia Fuller: Senior producer

    In 2020, Amelia Fuller started as a temp on the show. “I ended up training all through Covid which was a baptism by fire.” She has worked fulltime on breakfast for just on three years. “I started on the phones and am now a senior producer.”

    Her duties now include dining out in Melbourne somewhere different at least once a week as the presenter of the Friday food segment. “I need to find places that are different price points, in different areas around Melbourne and serve different cuisines. That can be challenging each week, but in a good way.”

    Sophie Klemens: Producer

    The newest member of the team has been at 3AW for two years. “I started working as a casual across various shows. At the start of 2023 I worked fulltime on breakfast answering the phones.”

    It’s a key role in a show so dependent on its listeners. “The phones are very busy and consistent across the show. Even at 5.30am. It’s about trying to speak to as many people as quickly as I can without keeping them on hold for too long.”

    3AW can take 10 calls at any one time. Juggling which ones of those to keep live for the popular Rumour File each days keep her busy.


    3AW Rumour File time

    Davidson calls the post-7am Rumour File segment as the “most-listened to segment in Melbourne”. The segment has been running for around 30 years. It’s had a few copy cats across the decades, but none have lasted.

    “The listeners are a great resource with calls and emails. They enable us to have some big stories every day. We’ve had some massive news over the years.”

    Klemens: “We prefer listeners to email with details about what rumours they have. If they call close to the segment before or just after 7am I will write it up and send them a text message so they have something in writing for them to follow.”

    Rumours that need to go to air that day get preference, others can be staggered across the week to make sure they always have great content.

    Journalists working in Melbourne listen to the Rumour File for news tips. When they are used, sometimes the show is credited, sometimes not.

    Comedian Arj Barker asking a breastfeeding mother to leave his Melbourne Comedy Show late last month first surfaced as a Rumour File news item.

    Damian Tardio on the tools at 3AW breakfast

    Damian Tardio: Studio operations, audio magic

    October 2010 is when the studio operations manager Damian Tardio started at 3AW. He’s best known as the audio producer Damo who provides clips on demand across the morning.

    “After working on different shows, I started on breakfast in 2012. Fulltime breakfast work started in mid-2014.” He too celebrates a decade at 3AW this year. 2014 was a good year for breakfast show recruiting.

    Even after watching this audio magician at work it’s still puzzling how he is always ready with songs, interview excerpts and repeats of caller segments.

    “I have shortcuts set up that let me press a button and something runs instantaneously. I also have another computer filled with sound effects that are easily accessible.

    “Compiling sounds effects from callers is what I love. The listeners are the people who provide us with the best material.”

    There’s no plan for what might be need every morning. “It’s a blank canvas I start with. Every morning you go to work wondering what might be happening today. During the first half hour I start to get an idea of where the show might be going.”

    Tardio carefully files everything he edits for the show. Listeners also send him clips which he finds very helpful. “We had a segment called ‘Send us your sounds’ which has been very good.”

    Beethoven and flatulence!

    There were some very un-3AW like sounds last week during a segment about Beethoven who reportedly had a flatulence problem!

    Tardio blamed Scorcher: “He came up to me and asked if we could do a Beethoven remix with a few fart sound effects. We try to use them sparingly.” [Laughs]

    Favourite sound effects curated by Tardio include a Hastings man who called and said Postecoglou [a Carlton footballer] in a special way. Another came from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games when a caller said a line from The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ sounds like they are saying ‘double adaptor’. That just stuck with me for some reason.

    “It can be a challenge trying to pre-empt what Ross and Russ might do, but it keeps it exciting.”

    Tardio finds Spotify as useful resource for identifying song lyrics and the music they come from.

    Keeping it simple

    Tardio is perhaps the best example of how this breakfast show just works. Everyone seems very chilled. Everyone can contribute. There was little stress on display. At least when I was there! They keep it simple.

    “It’s a democracy,” said Tardio.

    Song playouts are one of the simple things that can engage with audiences from different demos. The Rolling Stones provide the opening theme most days. Except Fridays when it’s The Cure. Other days you will hear bits of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, even The Sex Pistols.

    Tardio doesn’t admit to stacking the show with favourites. Although when he goes home after a day that featured part of a Tina Arena song, his girlfriend asks if he played it for her.

    See also:
    • Breakfast radio with Ross and Russ: Inside the 3AW engine room
    • Inside 3AW: Tom Elliott on moving timeslots and pressure in mornings

    The post Behind the mic at radio ratings magnet: Who’s who in the 3AW breakfast team appeared first on Mediaweek.

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