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    Why is Paul Murray so pissed off? Sky News Australia host on ‘Airbus Albo’

    Paul Murray first arrived at Sky News Australia in 2008, delivering opinion during news hours. He started hosting a format not dissimilar to what he has now in 2010. They were good years for the business. (It was in 2009 that Mediaweek TV started on sister channel Sky News Business with Bridie Barry co-hosting.)

    Back then, Sky News Australia operated under the leadership of Angelos Frangopoulos. Now under Sky News Australia CEO Paul Whittaker, Murray is as feisty as ever, continuing to grow his audience as he powers through his 15th year of opinion-led evening programming.

    Paul Murray was the first of the conservative broadcasters to be granted evening airtime. Since then, Sky News Australia has built a conservative wall around him that now starts with Chris Kenny at 5pm and cycles through hours hosted by Peta Credlin, Andrew Bolt, and Sharri Markson before Murray clocks on at 9pm.

    Paul Murray Live’s audience growth

    After previously hosting for two hours a night for several years, Murray is back to a one-hour program.

    It’s a tight format and, even for some who don’t share his politics, entertaining. The highlight of the program is his opening editorial. It’s an ad-free zone that lasts for up to 30 minutes. “The editorial is longer than it’s ever been,” Murray told Mediaweek. “No ad break and no script. Multiple topics, multiple cameras, and different pieces of content inside that.

    “Five years ago the show would be an editorial and then a panel of guests for the whole hour. There would be a reset with different guests for the second hour. Two hours is a hard slog.”

    A lot of his audience enjoyed that longer program. However, the numbers for the current format, and the channel, are good.

    Sky News is the #1 non-sport channel on Foxtel, up +24% YOY. Sky News Regional is also seeing record growth, up +20% YOY.

    Paul Murray Live is Sky News Australia’s longest-running opinion program. Ratings so far in 2024 indicate the show is up +29% YOY on Sky News on Foxtel and up +32% YOY on Sky News Regional.

    Why is Paul Murray so pissed off? Sky News Australia host on ‘Airbus Albo’

    Paul Murray on the road with Paul Murray Live Our Town specials

    Our Town episodes return

    Paul Murray Live is back on the road this year, with the regional Our Town series returning for its sixth season, in partnership with Harvey Norman. During 2024, Our Town will be celebrating what regional Australia has to offer. This Sunday’s Our Town episode at 9pm AEST will be broadcast from Parkes, NSW.

    ‘Fair dinkum, real-life pissed off’

    Murray is justifiably proud of what he has achieved as a broadcaster. “I pride myself on being a broadcaster. I understand many people would disagree with the content. But I hope there is an awareness of the broadcasting, particularly how unique it is to ad-lib on TV for 30 minutes every night.”

    Part of the attraction is seeing just how pissed off he might be on any particular night. What is making him so cranky?

    I am fair dinkum, real-life pissed off at what this mob get away with,” he told Mediaweek. “This mob” of course references the Albanese government.

    He has a few ways he justifies his anger. “When interest rates went up for the first time during the campaign in 2022, Chalmers and the rest of them were waving and pointing to a cost of living crisis. So what do 12 other interest rate rises mean?

    “It also really pisses me off when the ‘straight press’ flip from what was a crisis to what they now excuse.”

    More on Murray and media later on.

    One of the many graphics Murray uses to vent his frustration with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

    Murray the President and the PM

    In recent years, Murray was close to former PM Scott Morrison, a relationship that started when Murray talked to him on radio when Morrison was opposition leader. Back then, Murray was piloting mornings on 2UE when it was still a news-talk station. For a time hosting the show, from of all places, inside The Sydney Morning Herald newsroom.

    Murray admits now that at times he was perhaps too close to the former PM.

    “Sometimes you end up fighting some battles on their behalf, perhaps a little irrationally. When you get close to some people, you become overly focused on the minutiae and it can mean you start getting blinded to what’s really going on. As a rule, access is always a very complicated thing for the media. You have to get close in order to know what’s going on. I have to say that without that proximity, we wouldn’t have got some of the opportunities we got. In 2019, it gave me the inside run on what nobody else could see. By 2022, things had changed.”

    Among the benefits was helping get Murray into the White House and time with then-President Donald Trump. A meeting which some have pointed out was perhaps not Murray’s finest moment. When brought up, he explained to Mediaweek how a planned 20-minute Q&A on camera with the President turned out to be a three-minute doorstop.

    “It took a lot of hard work too. They don’t offer it to you, you have to go and get it. I’ve played that day in my head a thousand times. I joke about a bogan kid who got to go to the White House.

    Murray still managed to get interesting quotes from Trump about China, and Australian prime ministers Turnbull and Morrison in that time.

    Frank Underwood in the Oval Office

    The bogan kid is also a politics nerd. Murray recalled how during the press conference with Trump and Morrison inside the Oval Office, he edged away from the press pack to go and inspect the Resolute desk at the other end of the office. The famed desk first arrived in the White House in 1880. It was later used by Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. It was removed after his assassination but brought back by Jimmy Carter and has remained in the Oval Office ever since.

    “The single most famous piece of political furniture in western politics,” said Murray. “I got closer and closer to it, no one was stopping me. I eventually lent on it and then did a Frank Underwood (US President in House of Cards played by Kevin Spacey) bang, bang on the desk. That’s when the Secret Service intervened.”

    Murray was recreating the infamous scene in the epic ending to the second season of the Netflix show.

    Murray also noted, “You can’t get a better selfie than with the President, the Prime Minister, laughing, and in the Oval Office.

    Paul Murray in the famous photo of the host with Scott Morrison and Donald Trump. The photographer was News Corp reporter Andrew Hough (now Investigations editor at The Advertiser)

    How much does Murray dislike Albo?

    A lot. Recent commentaries on Paul Murray Live have bristled with terms for the man he has nicknamed Airbus Albo: “Slippery. Liar. Gaslighter. A disgrace. And that’s me pulling back sometimes!

    “I can’t stand it when politicians present themselves as one thing at an election and then are being the exact opposite once they get to power. He made promises the Labor government would lower the cost of living. It has only got worse. He said he would lead a government more transparent than any other.

    “I can’t stand his ‘I’ll be the prime minister that will take responsibility’ and then at every turn it is someone else’s fault. It’s not a mystery that I didn’t vote for him. My deep frustration is that he is let off what in the past would have sent the media crazy for a week.

    “Imagine if Tony Abbott or Scott Morrison had made women cry at a domestic violence rally. People would still be talking about it. Albo says he wishes her well and then points to news footage as if it’s the Zapruder film [of the JFK assassination] and he’s off the hook. The footage shows a lady crying.

    “Albo is a career politician who has been incredibly skilled at doing everything you need to get there. Once you get there, you should have to be what you promised to be. If he promised that he’d always shift the blame and that $36 a week is enough to deal with the cost of living, then you couldn’t be annoyed.

    “The budget [which Murray refers to as a Ponzi scheme], which gives power rebates to mansions is the same budget that buys the prime minister a new private plane. I reckon you can point that out.”

    Sky News multiplatform delivery

    Murray wants to continue broadcasting for as long as he can. He keeps viewers watching the traditional Foxtel business. He is also a part of the Flash news app experiment. He’s a growing force online thanks to the aggressive Sky News multiplatform content mix. “The reaction to what we do in regional Australia has been massive. It’s so amazing that in places like Broome, Parkes, Launceston, or Cairns that people will stop me at the airport or the pub and say ‘g’day’. A lot of viewers have come with me on the journey and I am part of their day. That must be good for a business that people subscribe to in different ways.”

    One of his memorable viewer moments was in a cigar bar [he hasn’t been tempted to give up the smokes he said] in Malibu Beach. “A guy walked in, looked at me and said, ‘Why do I know you?’ I explained I wasn’t an actor. He eventually worked it out. ‘I’ve seen you on YouTube.’”

    See also:
    Sky News Australia is second-fastest growing news publisher on YouTube globally
    How Sky News is capturing more people on more platforms

    ‘The cynical, jaded mind of a bearded bloke on Sky News’

    “At times, like many performers, there is part of me filled with enough self-doubt to make you want to prove yourself wrong,” said Murray.

    “That keeps you humble. I don’t have an exposure to the media industry, whether it be going to parties or getting offered free tickets to different things. I just do the work and I’m happy if people like it.”

    Murray has two young daughters and spends a limited time at home with the family. “That’s hard for anyone who works at either end of the day. When I am at home, I am with the kids and they couldn’t give a shit about what their dad does on TV. I sometimes get a bit scared that when they are older some people might judge them because what somebody has said about me.”

    Paul Murray Live and Paul Murray Live Our Town are available to stream at SkyNews.com.au or by downloading the Sky News Australia app. Also available to watch on Foxtel and Sky News Regional or stream on Flash.

    Ratings sources: Linear – OzTAM National STV & Reg Panel, All Day, Ave Aud, Share %, & Overnight 14.01-18.05.2024 Vs. STLY

    On Monday: Murray on the media – From Morning Joe to Steve Bannon

    The post Why is Paul Murray so pissed off? Sky News Australia host on ‘Airbus Albo’ appeared first on Mediaweek.

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