This past week we had the story of Radio 2SM Talk-back show host Dean Mackin getting sacked for TALKING! One would imagine that talking is the criteria for a talk-back radio host, but the Program Managers at the Newcastle radio station, appeared to think otherwise!
Unfortunately, the hypocrisy of those who tell us ‘diversity is our strength’ never apply this diversity to free speech! ‘Shut up or get sacked’ should instead, be their motto!
The network of which Radio 2SM is a part, is extensively broadcast over 40 stations between Sydney in NSW and Toowoomba in Queensland. Owner of the radio network, Bill Caralis, must surely understand the economic impact if businesses pull advertising, listeners walk and ratings plummet?
Dean Mackin is a brave free-thinking conservative who appears to threaten the conformists at 2SM. These are the people who peddle modern orthodoxy, whom Janet Albrechtson observes in her recent article are ‘either cowards or compulsive conformists’
We note the impact that the group-think online bullies; Sleeping Giants and Mad F**king Witches have had on Radio 2GB and Sky News. Using the power of the internet these left-wing groups troll businesses to apply their own moral judgements. They have gouged a new low in ‘the bottom of the pond’. Tricking corporations into accepting that only one set of opinions is valid and supported today, they then exclude and vilify all others.
Conformity – NOT diversity is their intended goal.
Here is Dean Mackin’s story:
– a similar tale to many others, but one that has potential far-reaching impacts! Dean’s story could become YOUR story if YOUR opinions don’t conform to a narrow orthodoxy.
My name is Dean Mackin and, make no mistake, I am unashamedly, undeniably and proudly a CONSERVATIVE talk back radio host and social commentator. I was quite happily an Information Technology (IT) guy and had believed it would be what I would do for the better part of my life. That was UNTIL THE WORLD CHANGED!
It was in the early 90’s that I first started to feel things were not quite right. Not just in this country but in others with similar cultures to ours. There was a subtle and gradual change in the way people were thinking and speaking, and more specifically what they were no longer ‘allowed’ or prepared to say. This change was non-linear and non-organic, and my gut feeling was that there MUST be people pushing agendas through politics, the media, education systems and corporate elites. This started me thinking and to question what we were being told, and I started paying attention!
I was working in Information Technology at that stage, and to expand my business I started to advertise on radio stations that employed people who impressed me. Doug Mulray and Ian MacRae were two such men working out of 2SM in Sydney. I first met Ian McRae as a schoolboy on an excursion, and now 20 years later my business was advertising on their station, and I met Ian again. We became good friends.
Fast-forward 10 years.
Australia and the world were virtually unrecognizable over just two decades. I was becoming concerned that what I was hearing on radio did not reflect my opinions, with the only exception being Radio 2UE and 2GB. Only on these stations would I hear callers and radio jocks who shared my opinions. Frustrated I would flick around the dial and hear other talkback announcers who would go to water when confronted with topical issues of the day and rather than debate, would dump the call and berate the caller! I thought this was very weak and that this new trend could grow exponentially if left unchecked.
Not long after, I lost faith that the established media would change and the only way to bring back common sense and debate would be to become involved. After all, it would be hypocritical to say and think such things, if I was unprepared to step up to the plate myself. I enrolled and graduated from Ian MacRae’s Radio School, thoroughly enjoying the course and Ian’s excellent tutelage. My business was expanding rapidly but I knew if I wanted to make a difference, I needed to make the move to talk-back radio as soon as possible. I genuinely felt Australia was rapidly heading down a dangerous path, witnessing growing ‘media misrepresentation’ – something we now call ‘fake news’.
Sometimes things happen for a reason and it takes a catalysing event to remind us what is important. A botched surgery and a close call with death were the catalysts for my decision to fight for truth and freedom as soon as I possibly could, and the Super Radio Network was a great place to start!
In 2013 they had a range of announcers on-air; Grant Goldman, Carter Edwards and Graeme Gilbert whom I believed to be ‘conservative’. After meeting with Carter Edwards, I was invited to ‘watch him at work’. We became fast friends and not long after, his producer left, and I applied for the job.
I gave myself a year to learn from this 35-year veteran of radio and 51 weeks later was filling in for him on-air. The response was resounding and immediate. “Breath of fresh air, the next John Laws” and the accolades from the callers and listeners were almost immediate. It was only a few weeks later that Network owner Bill Caralis called me personally and invited me up to head office to offer me a full-time job with the station in 2SM in Sydney. I declined, however, as my goal was to be ‘on-air’.
I was invited to have a regular Saturday afternoon shift between 2pm and 5pm, and even though the money was poor, (but this was NEVER about the money, and quite frankly, I would have done the job for free) I accepted.
My program slot was incredibly popular! Less than a year into my new ‘job’ I was announced as a finalist in the “Best Talk Presenter” category for the ACRA Awards – the radio equivalent of a Logie. This also happened in my following 2nd and 3rd years in commercial radio.
Then things changed dramatically! The appointment of Pete Davis and Dave Sutherland (two ex-producers) marked an undeniable shift in the vibe of the network both on and off-air. I was ordered to a meeting just prior to going to air one Saturday afternoon. The tone was sombre, and I just couldn’t believe what I was being told. I was repeatedly told to have less talk as a Talk-Back show host, and instead, to play more songs. A week later another meeting with General Manager Steve St John before going on air, when he told me I would have no producer because my calls had ‘dropped off’! I was dumbfounded, as I got more calls than any other announcer – in fact it was harder to get thru to my show, than it was to get onto the John Laws program. It turned out this person had NEVER listened to my full program but was taking the advice of others who didn’t hold the same conservative views as myself.
It quickly got worse from that day forward when I went on-air and told the listeners of over the DOZENS of stations on our network throughout NSW and QLD that I had just been instructed to engage in less talk on my Talk-Back show, and I would have difficultly taking their calls because my producer had been removed. They went BESERK! It was also this day that the General Manager finally decided to listen to the full program. He then told me that I would have my producer back that following weekend!
The people responsible for my ‘reduced- talk- spots’ were not happy and still needed to silence my and my listeners conservative opinions. Things really ramped up after that, punishing me by removing shifts.
Complaints to the General Manager resulted in a letter confirming that I would not be considered for shifts until such time I conformed, by significantly toning-down my opinions and not encouraging listeners with conservative views to express them on-air.
Each Tuesday after this, the General Manager Steve St John and Program Director Pete Davis would call to discuss what was and wasn’t appropriate topics from each program, and it’s no surprise whenever I had a strong conservative opinion on something topical, they would deem it inappropriate for the network. I recall very few complaints from listeners. In fact, if a caller rang to disagree, I would always move them to the top of the queue and allow them to voice their opposing opinions on my program. I think it is fair to say that I was known for being opinionated but fair.
At this time conservative views in the media were under attack. Alan Jones, – undoubtedly the best broadcaster in Australia with the ratings to prove it, had come under attack by left-wing groups who were targeting Radio 2GB advertisers.
Many of us were worried about him losing his position on-air and concerned that the ‘enemies of free speech’ were winning. The irony of course was that those trolling the advertisers at the request of these left-wing groups, were not regular listeners to Jones’ program. Nor were many customers of the companies they were trolling!
I went on air and alerted listeners to Sleeping Giants. I spoke of Alan’s plight and commended Gerry Harvey, owner of Harvey Norman, for his refusal to bow down to these bullies. Whilst it was not confirmed, I strongly suspect that my support for Alan Jones was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Saturday the 31st of August would turn out to be the last time I would be on-air across the Super Radio Network. Pete Davis phoned to advise I would no longer be required as my “conservative style of talk-back did not suit the network, moving forward”. I had received no warnings that I would be dismissed prior to this.
I can only therefore assume that a diversity of opinions which included conservative views, was no longer allowed on their network. I am not finished with radio and hope to continue with a further role in the media, to advocate and speak for all.
Diversity is only our strength if it includes diversity of opinions.
So…… what can YOU do?
1/ Call Head Office (Radio97) on 07 5524 4497 and leave a message for owner Bill Caralis, complaining about the dismissal of Dean Mackin from the Super Radio Network.
2/ Email station owner Bill Caralis on firstname.lastname@example.org and express your disappointment with the sacking of Dean Mackin, and ask that he allows a diversity of opinion on his stations
3/ Share this campaign on your social media networks
4/ Call advertisers on the station networks and advise them they are supporting a media that only represents the opinions of 50% of their listeners
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