Triple J Timeline – Off the dial – January 12, 2005 / Sydney Morning Herald / Radio & TV Section.

Off the dial

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January 12, 2005

Blast from the past: Female presenters in 1986, from left, Angela Catterns, Gayle Austin, Jill Emberson and Annette Shun Wah.Blast from the past: Female presenters in 1986, from left, Angela Catterns, Gayle Austin, Jill Emberson and Annette Shun Wah.
Photo: Craig Golding

When Triple J launched 30 years ago as 2JJ, Gayle Austin was there. She looks back at that first crazy year.

It started with a flashback, a reference to the possibilities of the ’60s. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Houston, we have lift-off” exploded into You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed by Skyhooks. That Double J’s first song was Australian was our first big political statement. The fact that it was banned on commercial radio?

Well, things were about to change.

It was January 19, 1975, and it seemed all of Sydney was glued to the radio that day. Over at 2SM, the undisputed leading station for young people, DJ Charlie Fox couldn’t believe his ears: “The actual outrage of it. But we loved it. JJ was so radical, because 2SM at the time was playing American formats, which were 20 records over and over again, and that was it.”

Dan Arthur, a listener who later became a record company rep, says: “From day one, Double J was an incredible signifier of hope. Counter-culture at that stage in Australia had really been unfocused, and all of a sudden we had a crucial and central gathering point.”

The idea behind Double J was to set up a collective co-ordinated by Marius Webb and Ron Moss. They were given the job after a meeting with ABC management in October 1974 during which it was explained that the ABC had been given two licences, one of which was for a “youth-style station”. Webb recalls an ABC executive saying: “You’ll be on the air by January. Thank you very much, I’ve got another meeting.”

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.

Towards the end of 1974, the first recruitment ads appeared in papers, stressing that a sense of the ridiculous was required. Producer Ted Robinson says: “There was a bit of concern about breaking down what was considered to be ‘an announcer’ in terms of finding ways other than the traditional approach.” Staff were chosen from across the country, with Webb and Moss ensuring a good mix of ABC and commercial people.

I heard about the new station in November, from a colleague at 2UW, where, as the co-ordinator of the talkback callers for John Laws, I had hit the glass ceiling. Radio in those days was like secret men’s business and I was the only woman who applied for an on-air position at Double J. I was given one midnight-to-dawn shift a week, a move so radical that I was the cause of much negative comment after our first survey of listeners. “Why do you have a woman on air? What do women know about music?”

Art attack: The Triple J exploding head symbol (top), and an early Double J poster.Art attack: The Triple J exploding head symbol (top), and an early Double J poster.

On that first day, TV news cameras, photographers, well-wishers and staff crowded around what later became affectionately known as “The Bunker” – Studio 206 of the old ABC building in Forbes Street, Darlinghurst. A former bomb shelter, it was the perfect birthplace for the ABC’s alternative to Top 20 radio and the first Australian radio station to open in 43 years.

The location of the offices and production booths in William Street was ideal. We were down the road from the squatters, around the corner from the film-makers’ co-op, within walking distance of the inner city’s alternative community. We were in a building that already housed some of the most radical people working for the ABC: the feminists in the Women’s Unit and the radio current affairs show Lateline, headed by former Four Corners renegade Allan Ashbolt. They were generous with their advice on how to stay on the right side of the broadcasting guidelines and still push the barriers.

The aim of Double J was to put our own culture centre-stage. We wanted genuine dialogue with our listeners instead of talking at them in manufactured voices. Our station would be by young people for young people. We wanted to reject the cultural cringe that we had grown up with and which was still very much part of our national identity in 1975. The coffin had been nailed shut on the White Australia Policy only two years earlier.

Our brief was to provide an alternative to the mainstream, with a heavy emphasis on Australian content. We were to provide opportunities for live and recorded performances by young Australian musicians, and play (shock! horror!) album tracks from all the genres of music that weren’t being heard on commercial radio.

Colin Vercoe, who worked for two big record companies, CBS and Festival, before becoming one of Double J’s first music programmers, recalls going to radio stations in the early ’70s with American black music. “In those days it was the early disco stuff and if it was black they just wouldn’t play it.”

Chris Winter, Double J’s original on-air guru, recalls: “There was enormous breadth of music around at the time that one basically heard at parties, or if you scoured the new import stores, or you could read about it in import magazines, but you certainly couldn’t hear it on the radio.”

So we played everything we could get our hands on. We raided the ABC library for our back catalogue, played demo tapes from our listeners, brought records in from home, haunted the import stores and encouraged the ABC’s overseas correspondents to scour the back alleys of the capital cities around the world for treasures.

Double J’s eclectic playlist made the station appear radical, but 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.

Our documentaries, under the guidance of first-class journalists and producers, made such an impact that at times they threatened to have us taken off the air. On February 23, the documentary The Ins and Outs of Love, by former 2SM producers Carl Tyson-Hall and Tony Poulsen, was aired to a barrage of press, religious and public criticism. We had dared speak about first sexual experiences and had apparently “breached community standards”.

A month later, after a Bulletin report by David McNicoll, the Broadcasting Control Board decided to talk to Aunty about her recalcitrant child. Webb spent a lot of his time in those first years shielding us from such attacks, arguing in this case that the station itself had received a request from a high school for the tape to help students in a personal development program.

It seemed we were always being threatened. In August, the NSW police commissioner, Fred Hanson, filed for $1 million in damages. He declared that a July broadcast claiming he had a financial interest in a gambling club near his home held him up to public hatred, ridicule and contempt. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court and in February 1976 he won the case. The terms were not disclosed but were rumoured to have run to tens of thousands of dollars.

One of my most bizarre memories of 1975 was discovering that our phones were tapped. We also noticed a van permanently parked out the front of the station with darkened windows and two men seated in the front. One of the news team approached them one night and asked who they were. Looking in the back of the van, he noticed a huge amount of recording equipment. The van disappeared the next day, but we still noticed strange clicks on the telephone whenever we rang out, and some of the more high-profile announcers noticed vans parked outside their homes. We were later told by a young person who worked at ASIO that there were files on all of us.

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.”

Two months after Double J launched, Bob Baeck, the general manager of 3XY, described it as “the lowest form of radio this country has produced”. However, by this time the station had already captured 5.4 per cent of the Sydney audience and 17 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds. It was quite a feat, considering the station’s faulty transmitter meant it could not be heard in many suburbs.

The reception issue was taken up with ABC boss Talbot Duckmanton and officials of the Broadcasting Control Board, but they refused to fix the transmitter. As a result, Double J repeatedly broadcast a recording of Bob Hudson singing Roll Over Duckmanton to the tune of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven (“I’m writing this letter, going to mail it to Double J. There’s a crackle in my trannie and it just won’t go away. Roll over Duckmanton, get a better transmitter today”). In July, staff threatened to strike unless the transmitter was strengthened but the BCB refused to discuss the issue with station representatives.

As it turned out, we had to wait until we went to FM in 1980 before we got a reasonable transmitter, and that was only about half the strength of those for the new commercial stations 2Day and Triple M. It was only when we were forced to go national, beginning with Melbourne in October 1989, that we were in a position to demand better reception.

By the ’90s, ABC management regarded Triple J as a loose cannon that could sink the struggling ship and rethought its approach to the station.

In 1990, Barry Chapman was brought over from Triple M as general manager and, on August 24, all senior announcers, myself included, were told they would not be keeping their jobs. There was a passionate public response, with protesters holding a 105.7-hour vigil outside the station. An independent inquiry was held, but to no avail. Triple J had moved on to a new chapter and we could only hope the foundations we had built would be strong enough.

Today the Triple J National Youth Network has, arguably, the largest reach of any radio station in the country (apart from Radio National.) It broadcasts to all capital cities and most regional areas, providing a lifeline for Australia’s youth.

Gayle Austin worked at the Jays until the purge of 1990. She has a BA in media, communications and culture studies and is completing an MA (Hons) at Macquarie University. Her thesis is an analysis of Triple J’s first 16 years; feedback from readers would be appreciated to

Triple J Timeline

January 12, 2005

January 19, 1975

2JJ launches in Sydney on 1540AM.

May 25, 1975

First free concert, at Liverpool, with Skyhooks and Dragon.

September 19, 1979

Marius Webb broadcasts live from Newcastle’s Star Hotel during the infamous riots.


While on the run, prison escapee Raymond John Denning communicates via 2JJ.

August 1, 1980

The station becomes 2JJJ, at 105.7FM.

April 1, 1984

Triple J reports that Queensland has seceded from the rest of Australia.

January 13, 1985

Midnight Oil performs at Goat Island for the station’s 10th birthday.

November 1985

Triple J broadcasts questions from stolen HSC papers.

March 5, 1989

The Hottest 100 begins (Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart wins).

October 1989

Triple J launches in Melbourne, beginning the roll-out of the national network.

August/September 1990

Seven high-profile DJs lose their jobs. Protesters storm the building; a 105.7 hour vigil is held; 4000 people attend a protest meeting at Sydney Town Hall; benefit concerts are held.

January 1995

Regional roll-out begins. Unearthed kicks off, with the first winners being Lismore’s Grinspoon.

January 1997

Spiderbait becomes the first Australian band to win the Hottest 100.

September 1997

Pauline Hanson takes out an injunction against the ABC to stop Triple J airing Pauline Pantsdown’s satirical song I’m a Backdoor Man.

April 1, 2000

Breakfast duo Adam and Wil, with the help of NSW Premier Bob Carr, convince many that Sydney has lost the Olympics to Melbourne.

December 2001

Real Appeal for young refugees raises $405,000.

May 2003

Arnold Frollows, the last of the original 2JJ DJs, steps down as music director.

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IPA Review. Article Volume 4811, 1995. – Rock Around The Taxpayers’ Clock – by R.J. STOVE

Learn a bit of Australian Music History.
(Via the Institute of Public Affairs) 
IPA Review Vol. 4811, 1995
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Rock Around The Taxpayers’ Clock

by R.J. Stove.

Even as we sit here there undoubtedly exists, mouldering in the innards of some Dawkins created borstal, a PhD candidate hard at work on the doctoral thesis Rock Music Imagery As A Factor In Mid-1990s State And Federal Politics. Such a candidate will lack nothing in raw material. On the Monday morning after NSW’s recent election Warren, the Daily Telegraph Mirror cartoonist, emphasised the tally’s Rolling Stones connotations: he depicted both John Fahey and Bob Carr on stage as part of The Polling Drones, unanimously snarling “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (though perhaps for Mr Fahey, given his ecstatic on-camera levitation at the 1993 Olympics announcement, Jumpin’ Jack Flash would have been a more appropriate ditty).
Across the Murray River, Jeff Kennett and Whatsisname Brumby — according to The Age on 23 March — vied with each other in piquant allusions to Mick Jagger’s Golden Treasury of English Verse. Mr Brumby, who failed to score an invitation to Mr Kennett’s private party for the Stones, complained that “You can’t always get what you want, but I think the Premier always gets what he wants.” For his part, Mr Kennett (clearly displaying the most morbid sensitivity to charges of excessive good taste) revealed that his all-rime Stones favourite was Satisfaction “because I can’t get any from the Opposition at the moment.
I try to do my best to keep the Parliament humming along, I often use the word ‘humping’ along.” Insisting — with as close an approximation to a straight face as his physiognomy will allow that the welcoming bash for Tyre-Tread Lips et al “would further Victoria’s trade relationship with the United Kingdom,” Mr Kennett managed to describe himself as “a rock and roll type of Premier who can move with the times.” Whether he considered this a matter for bragging or an admission of culpability remains uncertain.
Were Mr Kennett’s behaviour an isolated phenomenon it would not deserve the printer’s ink that has here been expended on it. But similar, and in several respects worse, demonstrations of intellectual slumming have been afforded us by the improbable figure of Tim Fischer. In a gesture which made one suspect (well, you know what those drought-stricken rural NSW summers are like) that failure to wear his trusty hat outdoors had afflicted him with sunstroke, Mr Fischer welcomed the launching on Australia Dayof 18 rural transmitters, which for the first time gave a nationwide basis to the ABC’s JJJ — formerly JJ — radio network.
Is the National Party so enslaved to vote-catching that JJJ, which could be relied upon to make any sincere National want to vomit after only 10 minutes’ exposure to it, now seems worth while ? Where is the electoral benefit to Mr Fischer in welcoming a wider audience for a station which, on the first day that Australia as a whole could tune into it, saw fit to broadcast the words “I want to f**k you like an animal”?
These are perfectly legitimate questions, one would have thought, to aim at defenders of a station that gobbles up $3.1 million in direct annual grants from the ABC (not to mention approximately $2 million that it spends per annum on using general ABC services, such as news reporting).
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The single most obvious characteristic of JJJ’s out-put, even when the obscenities are not flying thick and fast in all directions, is the — how shall we put it? — endearing technical amateurism so often present in its announcements. Years ago Timothy Garton-Ash, interviewing
Midwest agrarians for a Spectator article on American political attitudes, was roundly told by a farmer’s wife that “We’re hicks and we’re proud to be hick!”
The woman’s husband immediately stepped in: “What my good lady means is that we have a, uh, different kind of sophistication.” Similarly, there seems to be a widespread JJJ belief that the omission of all ums, ahs and stumbles from resident talking heads’ discourse would fatally compromise the “different kind of sophistication” which JJJ offers. Gaping holes of silence repeatedly occur between the end of a track and the back-announcement thereof. If you have adenoids, prepare to flaunt them now: this appears to be about the nearest that JJJ comes to providing speech instruction for on-air personnel. No attempt is made to discourage female disc-jockeys from the loathsome Australian habit of ending phrases with an upward glide: though it is odd to hear women who are obviously keen to brandish their feminist credentials manifesting a vocal tic which, more than any other, proclaims its sufferer’s irredeemable bimbo status. Nor is the effect any more pleasing when JJJ’s male disc-jockeys go in for it.
Besides, there is not merely the style of talking heads’ patter that has to be examined; there is, more crucially, the question of what these talking heads talk, in their occasionally amusing but predominantly inchoate way, about. A caveat is necessary at this stage. Large claims have been made for the purely musical splendours afforded to a waiting world by JJJ and JJJ alone.
The fact that these claims almost invariably come from JJJ itself is not automatically a reason to discount them. Writers like the present one –
whose musical taste buds were long ago annihilated by over-exposure to such poisons as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Franck, Elgar and Puccini, to name but eight — will obviously find it uphill work to appreciate the deep spiritual awareness of JJJ-promoted Artistes like Deborah Conway, Offspring, and the Glowing Globals. So it is advisable, in a survey as brief as this, to concentrate upon non-musical factors: even if this emphasis involves devoting excessive attention to such feasts of authentic JJJ lyricism as…
Turn my head around (around, around, around)
Turn my head around (around. life onJJJ.”
Turn my head around (around, around, around)
Turn my head around (around, around, around)
Turn my head around (ooh, ooh. ooh)
Turn nay head around (ooh, ooh. ooh)
Turn nay head around (ooh, ooh. ooh)
Turn my head around (ooh. ooh, ooh)
and the tender ballad
When I Was A
Sperm I HadA Lot To Learn.
This latter triumph shows the poetic genius of a latter-day William MacGonagal: a•MacGonagal who, unlike the 19-century one, has been able to enrich his muse by prolonged exposure to … well, prolonged exposure to JJJ, actually. Among his masterpiece’s deathless couplers must be included the lines “Down the road I’ll wear my Adidas [pronounced, curiously, with the accent on the second syllable) I But for now, call me foetus.”
It was not to be expected that JJJ (or “The Jays”, to use the affectionate nickname chat staff employ in their promotions) would treat Easterride
with any greater consideration, let alone reverence, than any other season of the year. And sure enough, the station’s slogan for the Easter break was “The Resurrection Weekend: bringing the dead to life on JJJ.”
Imagine the howls of wrath that would issue from ABC apparatchiks if anyone showed this flippancy towards Aboriginal creeds. Yet JJJ’s policy of concentrating, over Easter, on deceased musicians— some of whom, like
Jim Morrison, have had daisies growing through their skulls for a quarter of a century — produced the unexpected benefit of keeping living musicians’ detritus to a minimum, even if it did entail talk-back radio segments of scarcely credible dementia.

One such segment consisted of a spiritual autobiography from an unbalanced sounding female caller to whom Jim Morrison constituted the only reason for existence. Frenzied with joy at having become bosom friends with a fellow Morrison addict, the unfortunate lass finished

her spiel by saying “Thanks, Jim, for finding me my cosmic mare.”
Another listener, calling herself Debbie, made what JJJ’s Catriona Rowntree described as “one of the most decadent calls we’ve ever received”: it turned out that she was ringing from her bathtub. Perhaps a Celine or a Nathaniel West could do justice to the mentality which inspires people to make phone calls like this. Lesser scribes, sooner than attempt so hopeless a task, will throw the towel in. (Debbie’s request was for the old Hot Chocolate 1970s minor hit You Sexy Thing, which has now been revived for Dumb and Dumber’s sound-track. Given the explicit nature of You Sexy Thing’s lyrics, it was disconcerting to hear Debbie dedicate the request to her father. One was reminded of the great scene in
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off where the school principal, spying on Ferris and his girlfriend canoodling after Ferris has attempted to pass her off as a member of his family, mutters “I see. It’s that sort of family.”)
Once Easter had finished, the normal bill of JJJ fare soon resumed, with such highlights as “Find my arsehole, brother” (this line from a “song” by an outfit called Bushes, with the suitably nudge-nudge-wink-wink title Every-thing’s In);
“I will come in 60 seconds, the request to her father. When we F**k we hear beats” (this from Overcome — terribly witty name, what? — by a certain Tricky); and the following piercing insight into the human condition, or such elements of the human condition as can be found in Balmain: She only comes when she’s on top Dressed me up in women’s clothes, Messed about in gender roles.
This wondrous poesy, by someone called James, bears the name Laid. Note that all three of these instances occurred within half an hour’s listening. It says a lot about the general intellectual level that by comparison, a minimalist diatribe like Third Eye’s single Gala — pretty much your standard heavy-breathing invocation to goddess worship and Things That Go Om In The Night — could seem almost attractive. JJJ justifies its carry-on by referring to its role as a standard-bearer for local groups, providing help to acts that would otherwise waste their sweetness on the desert air: or that would be condemned to night after night of committing purgatorial assaults upon boozers’ eardrums inner-city pubs.
What with JJJ programming’s sheer repetitiveness (the same material is apt to turn up at whatever times of the day or night one listens), this assertion is increasingly hard to substantiate. One might as well be back with the nostalgia-dominated commercial stations, which at least do not give themselves airs about the extent and wisdom of their patronage: except that even the most nauseating commercial stations are, on the

whole, reluctant to bandy the F-word around in prime time. Were JJJ’s bosses to start putting their own — as distinct from public — money where their mouths are, they would earn a modicum of reluctant respect.
But the money-mouth nexus is a concept so alien to the modern Australian mind in general, and to the modern socialist Australian mind in particular, as to be literally unthinkable: not repellent necessarily, just unthinkable. After all, we happen to be witnessing a more than usually determined drive for Federal funding by the local music industry, a drive which in late April (surprise surprise) took the form of a Canberra conference.

Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, a long-established master of observations that combine conventional silly-clever rhetoric with his own fleeting
fax-naïveté, recently announced — to the regret of almost no-one who continues to possess operative auditory canals — that the Oils were going on an open-ended sabbatical. He was reported in The Daily Telegraph Mirror (27 April) as saying: “the gut question facing today’s music summit is whether we will have a real Australian music industry at all that young bands can aspire to be a part of, where expensive producers.
we have Australian recording studios, Australian film clip makers, Australian roadies, Australian equipment, all churning out [his words] music that’s distinctive and has value. You don’t have that unless governments are prepared to do everything within their power to assist.
“Not to be outdone, Michael Gudinski, of the appropriately named Mushroom Records, treated The Australian (28  April) to his somewhat shaky syntax: “Believe me, the Government is going to have to step in and (we’ll) have to see some radical changes because, unfortunately, the radio industry has … become so Americanised, it’s become so big money that you can’t expect commercial radio to do it all for you.” And you thought that estimate on this unblushing scale was confined to North Korea!
In a heartening confirmation of Philip Larikin’s epigram “Nothing is funnier than an upstaged revolutionary,” various summit spokesmen were
annoyed above all with JJJ for what they regarded as its inadequate zeal in broadcasting local content. These spokesmen proffered the idea that JJJ should be destroyed to make room for an alternative Australia-wide station: which in the fullness of time would, no doubt, be itself weighed in the local-content balance, be found wanting, and inspire calls for its destruction in favour of yet another Australia-wide station. So the wheel would turn once more.
What makes all this especially ludicrous is that — as David Brearley made clear in The Weekend Australian on 17-18 September last year — the explosion of home-studio recording hi-tech should have had exactly the same effect on Big Business and Big Government which home-office desktop-publishing technology should have had in the literary world: “Young players are more empowered today than ever before. Never has it been so easy or so inexpensive to access [sic] quality recording equipment without the stifling interference of music industry functionaries … “As the new kid on the arts block, Michael Lee could not be expected to know all this. But he and his [then] NSW counterpart Peter Collins, who has generously provided $20,000 for this weekend’s Rock Initiatives gabfest, should rake a few home truths on board before throwing too much of our money at the music industry dinosaur … the industry is an antiquated system of largely superseded studios, costly must-use session musicians and inappropriate but expensive producers.”
The similarity between “the music industry dinosaur” and gigantic Australian book-publishers, with their notorious make-work schemes for ensuring the State subsidised issue of illiterates’ drivel, is all too evident in passages like that last sentence. It is not merely a matter of lacking courage to weed our the inefficient; it is a matter of handing the inefficient large rewards. (Significantly, JJJ’s greatest popular success has been non-musical: the unpretentious low-tech duologues by Roy Slaven and H.G. Nelson chat make up This Sporting Life, on Saturday afternoons. Equally significantly, Slaven and Nelson have survived their periodic transfers to commercial television without their native wit being impaired.)
More than ever, one wonders whether so-called free-market ideology has ever achieved or will ever achieve any of its stated aims. Australia is clearly not going to see any serious defiance of the music industry from any present or future Keating government; it must also discount the chances of defiance from the inhabitants of what Michael Barnard justly called “Her Majesty’s Permanent Opposition.”
Meanwhile — as with the Titanic, though at least that vessel was privately funded – the bands play on.
Dallas Frasca by Nicola Lautré
.Dallas Frasca Painted by Nicola Lautr'e

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IPA Review Vol. 48/1, 1995

Ziggy Zapata – PERFORMER INSURANCE (Via Anita Monk – Wrokdown)

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Ziggy Zapata Title


The author asserts his right to publish this information in the public interest
No responsibility is taken for consequences resulting from using any information contained herein


Many performers and musicians are completely unaware of their responsibilities and liabilities in their workplaces, Unfortunately, some entertainment industry employers and agents also do not have much of an idea of this and some have been demanding that performers take out certain types of insurance that in many cases is not required. The following information may be of assistance to all parties involved in the entertainment industry.


Since the advent of huge compensation payouts awarded in the courts, there has been much talk about performers having to take out public liability insurance. A lot of the information regarding this issue has just been wrong and many performers are compounding the problem by circulating misleading information. A number of agents in NSW are also doing the same and are also demanding that performers must be covered by their own public liability insurance.

I believe that the truth of the matter is very simple. Although self-employed people, such as sole traders and partnerships, should really take out public liability insurance just to protect themselves not only in the performing area but elsewhere, all venues that invite people onto their premises are legally liable for any damage or injury that is caused to those people.


For example, if a performer is booked to perform at a club, this constitutes an invitation to enter the club’s premises, therefore the club must accept responsibility for the safety of that performer and the activities that he conducts. If any mishap should occur that involves that performer, then the club’s public liability insurance should cover such events and be liable for any compensation awarded. If by some chance the club does not have such insurance, then the club is still liable to compensate the victim from its assets. However if performers commit acts of negligence, then they can be found personally liable for damages and courts have made such rulings in the past.


Probably the best reason for performers to hold public liability insurance is to cover them at times when they are not at venues and thus covered by them. For instance, if a performer was unloading his PA and musical equipment from his car onto the street outside a venue and a person fell over it and was injured, then that performer could be successfully sued for damages if a court found that the injury was caused by his negligence in creating an obstruction. Therefore to protect themselves at times when they are not at venues, performers would be very wise to hold public liability insurance.


There are certain circumstances where performers should take extreme care so as not to invite personal liability. For instance, many performers operate curtain opening mechanisms at venues, which is quite commonplace. However if the entire curtain hardware collapsed and injured people on stage, if those performers were not specifically authorised to operate the curtain opening controls, but took it upon themselves to do so, then a court of law could easily find that they were liable to pay any damages resulting from such accidents. The best way for performers to avoid such problems is to not operate any equipment that is not actually their own.

In my opinion, if public liability insurance for performers can be obtained at a reasonable fee, then it is worthwhile to be covered in any respect, as in these days of enormous litigation costs and multimillion dollar payouts awarded by the courts, to face a massive compensation debt that would destroy any entertainer is just not worth risking. Furthermore such insurance will cover the performer in situations outside of venues, such as if a person were to be injured as a result of falling over a performer’s equipment when it was being unloaded on a public footpath.

Of course another good reason for performers carrying such insurance is that some venues may not book performers that do not have their own public liability insurance because they have been advised to do so. The ludicrous aspect of this is that if a claim is made for an injury suffered on venue premises because of the activity of a performer, even though the performer may have his own public liability insurance, this will not protect the venue against the claim being made against its own policy.


This is an area where most performers are being misled by venues and agents that simply do not know the law or the requirements. Some agents now insist that all performers obtain workers compensation insurance when there is absolutely no legal or any other requirement to do so. Some venue consultants are even claiming that performers who are not Proprietary Limited companies cannot obtain such insurance and are trying to bill their venues an amount to cover a blanket workers compensation policy on every performer that they book. In my opinion this is ridiculous, totally unjustified and unnecessary. Furthermore it is not true that such insurance cannot be obtained by a private individual, as I have held such insurance when building my house for a period of nearly four years and I was not such a company, but merely a private owner-builder.

Here are the facts, taken straight from the NSW Government Workcover Subcontractor’s Statement. The first part of the statement is a declaration by the subcontractor, notifying a principal contractor (the employer) of his details and the type of contract work involved. This is very straightforward, however the rest of the declaration reveals the truth of a subcontractor’s liability for workers compensation insurance.

The subcontractor has to state that he has employed or engaged workers or subcontractors during the above period of this contract or if this is not the case, the subcontractor is an exempt employer for workers compensation purposes.

Note 6 on the back of the form states that for Workers Compensation purposes an exempt employer is an employer who pays less than $7500 annually, who does not employ an apprentice or trainee and is not a member of a group.

So it is easy to see that unless performers actually employ others on a payroll or engage other subcontractors, then they are not required to hold workers compensation insurance. Unfortunately some venues and their entertainment agents are misleading performers by insisting that they be covered by such insurance. Some agents have even tried to bill venues for a blanket workers compensation policy, when this is totally unnecessary.

My suggestion to performers is that if they do not employ workers or subcontractors and venue consultants demand that they hold workers compensation insurance, that such a demand be refused. The people making such a demand should be referred to the actual law and the requirements contained within. Pointing out Note 6 on the back of the Subcontractor’s Statement should be more than adequate. It is nonsensical and most unfair that some agents are intimidating performers into taking out expensive insurance when they do not require it.

There is a further requirement for subcontractors who employ workers to pay payroll tax and ensure that their employees are paid, however this is not relevant to those subcontractors without employees, such as most performers operating in NSW.


One interesting factor that has emerged is that some agents and venue consultants are claiming that they are holding workers compensation policies that cover the performers that they book. Workers compensation insurance covers employees, however the Entertainment Industry act specifically prohibits agents from being employers. Therefore any workers compensation policy held by those agents cannot possibly cover the performers they book, simply because those performers are not employees of those agents. Venues need to be aware of this.


Even worse, some venues, having received erroneous advice about protecting themselves against liability, are now stating that performers who are sole traders or are in partnerships will only be booked for engagements if they become companies (Pty Ltd) and be employees of their own companies so they can legally obtain and be covered by workers compensation insurance. This is very unfair and completely unjustified, simply because such a situation would not absolve venues from their legal liability or duty of care to anybody on their premises. This sort of fallacious policy will deny many performers the opportunity to obtain engagements unless they submit to this ridiculous demand.

Click here to open the Subcontractor’s Statement in PDF format in a new window


As with the other forms of insurance, some venue consultants and entertainment agents are demanding that performers take out sickness and accident insurance. This is not only unfair and unwarranted, but none of their business.

Sickness and accident insurance protects people from loss of earnings if they are incapacitated by an illness or accident. In the entertainment industry, whether a performer is covered by such insurance is no business of any agent. If a performer wishes to take the risk of income loss if injured or ill by not having sickness and accident insurance, this is entirely his own choice and does not affect any agent or club.

I believe that sickness or accident insurance is strictly a matter for the individual and should not be made a condition of being booked by an agent or venue. Such a demand is intrusive and unwarranted and should be refused.


I have come to the following conclusions as they relate to performers.

  • Public liability insurance is a good idea, although venues already carry such insurance and anybody on their premises is covered by it.
  • Workers compensation insurance is only required by those who have employees or engage other subcontractors. Most performers do not fall into this category, therefore workers compensation insurance is NOT REQUIRED for them.
  • Under the Entertainment Industry Act, entertainment agents and venue consultants are specifically prohibited from employing performers, therefore any workers compensation insurance that they have and claim to cover those performers is completely invalid and worthless.
  • Sickness and accident insurance is a matter of personal choice of the performer and absolutely no business of anybody else.
  • Agents and venues that make demands on performers, such as requiring them to take out insurance that they do not require by law should be informed of this and such demands be refused, as they are oppressive and unnecessary.

I sincerely hope that this has helped to clarify the whole insurance debate, but legal advice should be sought in any dispute.

Jades Lava Lounge !

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Click On The Link To Go There Now ! !

Click On The Link To Go There Now !

Click On The Link To Go There Now !

2013 The Year of the Unsigned Artist

Welcome to the home of unsigned Bands and Artists.

The lava Lounge is a world wide video/music channel giving all unsigned artists the opportunity to be seen and heard. We currently have artist from all Genre around the world appearing on the Lava Lounge. We would love to see an artist who has been shown on the Lounge signed and have their career take off (When you win an award don’t forget to mention us lol).

The Lava Lounge has Radio and Record Labels watching from time to time so what are you waiting for ? We also have live streaming available so if you would like us to stream your gig live to the world just send your info to us and we will give you a quote. Agents, Management and Business in the industry are welcome to have an advert shown on the lounge as well, just contact us.

Other services the Lava Lounge can provide your act include Website set up and monitoring, monitor and update all your social network sites, Promote your next major gig with global exposure, Info and tips to improve the visibility of your act, we are a one stop artist shop just contact us. Send all your new videos and gig details to and we will add you to the play list.

Unsigned Artist across the globe are encouraged to be apart of the Lava Lounge.

Get your videos in to us.
Don’t forget to click the “Watch Now” tab to view some great videos.
We ARE the voice of the unsigned artist.

2013 The Year Of The Unsigned Artist

Thanks Guys

“Steve has a great ear and eye for talented independent artists worldwide of multiple genres. His station Jades Lava Lounge has helped myself and many other artist to gain fans and listeners. In addition, lava Lounge has helped listeners find a lot of great music that the “mainstream” has yet to acknowlege. Working with Steve can make all the difference!” July 25, 2012
William Roch IV, Musician, composer and producer, Self-Employed

“Steve’s hard work and dedication to independent music are inspiring. His passion and work ethic are also to be admired. He is always true to his word and communicates quickly and effectively. I have enjoyed all of my experiences with him and I look forward to many more.” June 13, 2012
Allison Gray, Owner, Allison Gray Music

“Steve is insightful and dedicated to the Australian Music Industry.
He is a Team Player and strong contributor.
Steve would make a perfect addition to any Industry Think Tank or as a Consulting Advisor. I cannot recommend Steve highly enough.
Tom McLeod
(Australian Music and Entertainment Scene.)” June 7, 2012
Tom McLeod, Creator / Publisher / Editor / Promoter, Australian Music and Entertainment Scene

“”Steve has provided a voice for the unsigned musician.he’s given bands like us and countless more a chance to be heard through jades lava lounge,an online network where musicians get to showcase there music for free.from the unsigned artists point of view,the world could do with a few more Steve Porters out there…”” June 3, 2012
Rob Chapple, Musician, Tranzphat inc
worked with Steve at Jades Lava Lounge

“Steve is ingaging and motivated. Loves what he does and shares that passion with the music industry.” May 31, 2012
Pete Murr, Manager / Producer, Riffhangar Records
worked with Steve at Jades Lava Lounge

“Steve is passionate and determined in his work, he know the music industry and works hard to help musicians and industry professionals to make the important connections that matter.
A true professional that is a pleasure to work with.” February 28, 2012
Dave Tyler, Marketing Manager, Audio Rokit

Click On The Link To Go To "Australian Music and Entertainment Scene Now !

Click On The Link To Go To “Australian Music and Entertainment Scene” Now !

Click On The Link To Listen Or Buy AMES- Unsigned and Original Now !!
Click On The Link To Listen Or Buy AMES- Unsigned and Original Now !!

Ben TV !

Click On The link To Go There Now !

Click On The link To Go There Now !

Click On The Link To Go There Now !

Click On The Link To Go There Now !


What is Ben TV ?

Ben TV is an interactive Gig Guide and Promotional Tool for aspiring Artists. Collectively ran by Ben Howman (Melbourne, Vict., Australia), Paul Gregerson (Hokes Bluff, Alabama, USA), they promote Artist’s and Venues through the resources gathered by the collective on their fortnightly Program.
Mark Gardner, Angela Butler and Ben Howman cover Melbourne.
Mis Divine in Brisbane.
JuZ (The JuZ Show) has a Heavy Metal show also appearing on the Online TV show
The show airs every 2nd Tuesday of the month and is dropped in on our facebook page as well as our Wiya page ;

(Wiya stands for – ‘What’s In Your Area.’)

Mis Divine of Brisbane will be getting bands and solo artists out to her Studio’s, doing an interview, perhaps creating a song for her Mis Divine Music Challenge, and promoting one of your originals.

Click Here To Go To Our facebook Page Now !

Click Here To Go To Our facebook Page Now !

The Melbourne team is focusing a lot on going to live venues, talking to the entertainers, the crowd and the venue owners.

Mark Gardner, Angela Butler and Ben Howman cover Melbourne … Mis Divine covers Brisbane.

We welcome any interested artist on the show.

All you need do is send a message to either Ben Howman at his facebook page –



Paul Gregerson –, – on his facebook page –

Owner · Camberwell, Victoria · October 2010 to present
Wiya stands for the little guy, Wiya also stands for What’s In Your Area.
visit for more info