Dave Charles chats with Kyle Sandilands
With your success and notoriety in radio and tv, have you achieved all of your personal goals in the media?
Kyle: To be honest, my goals were tempered, my goal was to be on air in Brisbane, which I achieved at Triple M but it was a day job and I hated it, but my wish was to do a breakfast show somewhere, and I was happy with the Gold Coast or any major region. I never thought I was ever going to be good enough to be on a cap city breakfast show. So, I exceeded my expectations and then I don’t really set expectations. I just sort of ride the wave. I go where to wind takes me.
For the next generation of talent wanting to sort of carve up their own career in radio and media, do you have any advice for them?
Kyle: Yeah, it’s a tricky tightrope that we walk. Doing something innovative and different than everyone else is doing, while also not becoming a carnival attraction and you’ve also got to pacify whatever programmer and whatever format you’re on. So you are always serving multiply masters. Your own desire, the program director’s desire, and you know, whatever the audience’s desiring, so, it’s a tricky thing, you just got to find your way. Push forward when you really believe in something but you can’t always win – you got to have a few losses. Push for your really important wins and you know, ease back and it’s not that important, let the programmer have a win.
When you go to work everyday is there something or someone that inspires you, is there any inspiration there?
Kyle: I’ll tell you, I used to have people that I looked up to in radio like Ian Skippen, Jamie Dunn, you know, John Laws, the old war lords. But now, it’s strange, I live in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney and I have to drive across the harbour bridge to the radio station and I never go in the tunnel, I always go over the bridge because driving across the harbour bridge at 5 o’clock in the morning with no traffic, I really enjoy looking at the bridge and I’m like you know, wow, I’m in Sydney. Like it’s still a bit of a pinch me moment even 22 years later.
You mentioned some of the big names before and you know that like Jeff Allis and Greg Smith have all played a big role in developing the Kyle & Jackie-O show. Is there anyone else that you acknowledge who’s played a really kind of major role in your career?
Kyle: Yeah, well Greg Smith definitely. He was the first person that found me like stashed in Darwin. He took me to Triple M, that’s when I met Jeff Allis – I impressed him. More so because I was a bit of a smart ass and I was a bit cocky to him more so than my on-air work because that was never that great on Triple M. But I think I take a piece from everyone. It’s just not radio people. It’s a bit of David Letterman, like you know, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I admire different things in different presenters. So, you know, I try and weave that in sometimes. I like the way that Letterman is a bit aloof, he doesn’t really know all the information.
Rather than rolling off a big shopping list of everyone’s achievements. It’s sometimes nice to go oh, aren’t you the vampire guy in that movie? And it sort of, it breaks the ice, it almost gives them a chance to re-establish themselves rather than the announcer always saying this person’s done this, they’ve won all these awards, they’ve won this, they’ve sold this many CDs. It works sometimes, you know, you got to pick your targets.
Do you have any regrets in your radio or tv career, or do you not necessarily look at it as regrets?
Kyle: Not regrets, but along the way I’ve been teamed up with many different people. I’ve really enjoyed every one of those partnerships. Whether it was like, I was on air with the program director in Mackay and then I was on air with this fantastic chick Helena in Triple M in Brisbane. You have all these grand plans, like this show is great, we’ll be able to take this whole show you know and go to a bigger market, but sometimes, you know, they just want you or they just want one of you, they don’t want necessarily the whole show. So, a lot of people I’ve thought oh well, if we can’t all go, then we’re not going. But I never did. I just cut the rope and move on to the next thing because I knew, I’m not going to sit here in Townsville attached to one particular person.
You’ve got to go where the jobs are and you’ve got to walk on those stepping stones. You’ve got to take the risk and take the dangerous chances and believe in yourself. That’s what I’ve always done. But saying that though, that once you find someone that you really gel with like Jackie, you know, you never want to, there’s nothing in me that thinks oh you know, we might split up one day and she’ll do her thing and I’ll do mine. I don’t think that’s in any of our brains.
And finally, you’re a dad now. Has that changed your life?
Kyle: Yes, Yes. I’m very tired. I used to be able to come home after the show and have like a 3 hour sleep if I wanted, but now I get home and it’s my turn with the baby. But it’s softened me a little bit. Made me a bit more empathetic and now I care about something else other than myself which is a refreshing change. But I believe that if I didn’t just care about myself in the early days, I probably wouldn’t have got here, because you know, it’s been a lot of bulldozering to get to this level.
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