Smoke the right J: praising Double J

The nation’s airwaves have been a lonely place to be a 29-year old music fanatic. Having quite clearly fallen off the inevitable cliff of Triple J’s “18-24” target audience, I’m surely not alone in being as yet unready to graduate directly to ClassicalFM – ostensibly the next step in the ABC’s dedicated music stable.

BAM. Enter digital-stage left: Double J.

Dedicated genre programs. Myf Warhurst. More than the one god-damned person picking the music. Old Radiohead, but not that old Radiohead. Charmingly awkward/awkwardly charming presenters. Voices with relatable adult diction. Myf Warhurst. In short – the public acceptance of those who have enough room in their hearts to embrace Sharon Jones and Clare Bowditch, back to back. Far out, what sort of monster doesn’t like Clare Bowditch and Sharon Jones anyway?

So, I’m saved. I’m excited. I can no longer even bring myself to bemoan that a tiny cut of my 8 cents** must go to Chris Uhlmann/San Cisco, because I know that Tim Rogers is again getting air. Life has meaning. Well. Life remains a meaningless ash, but does at least now come with a soundtrack worth living to.

Double J tweets

BUT YOU ONLY LIKE IT BECAUSE IT’S MADE FOR YOU TO LIKE IT. Yes. Yes, James Fahy, “Viceroy”, that’s exactly why I like it and exactly why I want it to be there. Were that more things in this world targeted to me and less to Soflange or whatever.

Of course, it’s not as though the chumps of my entitled generation have been dying in a vacuum. With the barest of nous, it’s easy to find many an oasis*** within this 24-65 no-man’s land. In many parts of the country, community radio stations provide wonderfully for music-lovers; and if you can access these, for goodness sakes do subscribe. For those living large in the more regional areas that mightn’t have such great offerings (West Wyalong, Geeveston, Sydney, etc.), there’s still the occasional gem from Auntie for you. RN’s The Inside Sleeve comes to mind. Indeed, in moments of peak bleakness, one can even turn to the ‘blogosphere’ for advice, a space where people willingly share their take on the music world as authority without-irony-yet-entirely-within-irony.****

Despite these ever-present options, Double J remains an absolute gamechanger. If nothing else, it is an acknowledgment that there is a national community of adults looking for contemporary music beyond the commercial spheres. Of course, not being specifically for baby boomers, it was only a matter of time before society would come knocking, asking for our happiness back. Only a fortnight in and Double J may yet find itself at the mercy of a game beyond its control. A game similar to Triple J, in that it operates for a narrow slice of society – however, the players are far sadder, and far less interested in beatz.

Enter stage right: The Abbott Government.

BOOM. CRASH. CLUSTEREFF. Despite living in times of national abundance (scarcely paralleled in human history), the ideological axe falls hard on the already hyper-lean ABC. My hair’s charmingly-but-pre-emptively greying at the idea that our new, rare, (annoyingly) digital-only haven may appear an easy target. Sure, it runs on the smell of a proverb, but it is also the newcomer and yet to burrow deeply into our hearts.

So, I’ve turned my delicate, princess-musician’s hands from one keyboard to another to implore Mark Scott to quarantine Double J from the coming cuts. Treading the radical, I’d even beg the ABC not to “waste a crisis” and use the chaos to fund an expansion of Double J. After all, so many Triple J’s genre-dedicated shows and 30+ presenters already appear to be a more natural fit to the broader world of music appreciation of Double J. It is after all chiefly a quirk of the system that sees these crowning jewels of our musical landscape gearing their work towards the distorted idea that 18-24 year olds are the key consumers of music.

So, sweet Mark, let it grow. Loving music doesn’t stop at 24 and there’s no shame in having a broadcaster that lets us all grow up with each other.

*haha, I’m an artist I don’t earn enough to pay tax.
** That’s how much it costs you a day to yell at Q&A once a week.
*** Lower-case ‘O’. LOWER. CASE.
**** This article certainly included.

9 responses to “Smoke the right J: praising Double J

  1. OR, as this Gen X 52 year old did, you can pick up JJJ again in your later years, because your kids are into it, and find that they have got over their decades of laborious and repetitive punk music of the 80’s, rap of the mid 80’s to early 90’s and monotonous grunge of the 90’s, and find that they are playing fantastic, interesting, melodic, new, rappy, electronic, rhythm and blues, indie and just wonderful new music all round.

    Why listen to stuff that you have already bought on CD’s. When on the radio, discover new music, and JJJ and doing it so well.

    Enjoy the new, it’s as good as new music ever was, and I say that genuinely.

  2. Ummmm – you haven’t heard of TripleR or PBS in Melb? Actually be better you stick with another pre-fab J – safer for you.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Those sure are great stations. Some years ago I actually did the announcer’s course at PBS, wonderful place and people.

      If you can find room in your heart to accept that not everybody is lucky enough to live in Melbourne, I can find room in mine to accept that not everybody reads past the fifth paragraph.

      All the best,


  3. Of course, there are options to endless playlists of one inane song after another…..
    The song is to music what comics are to literature.
    Expand your horizons.
    Grow up.

  4. Totally agree with Chris Endrey, short of listening to my substantive CD collection over and over, the invention of Double J is a beacon of light for this 49 year old Gen-Xer. Apart from having to buy a digital radio, another television or an iPhone my only concern is that as Chris says, “enter stage right: The Abbott Government” maybe the killer of Double J even before it gets an opportunity to engage with its Gen-X / early Babyboomer demographic. Long live the new Double J, I like The Doctor on Triple J, but it might be time for him also to stop pretending that he is still 24 and part of the hip generation. Hang it up Doc, you know you want to play your Celibate Rifles albums on Double J, come to the X side and embrace your generation, you know you want too.

  5. Thanks for the ‘heads up’ Chris.
    Shall go in search… a few (well)+25’s ‘out here’ that still like to hear what’s going on in the land of notes and rests (in between Radio National and Classic FM of course!)


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