Final hours … Kyle Sandilands did not lose any of his cheek when he asked PM Tony Abbott to take a ‘selfie’ in his jocks. Photo: Quentin Jones
It is the end of an era. After an unrivalled decade at the top of FM radio, Kyle and Jackie O celebrated their final “breakfast with the stars” on 2Day FM on Friday morning without any of the controversy that marked their reign on breakfast radio.
After an “Oscars speech” of thank-yous to staff, the duo ended the show which has dominated its time slot with an emotional diary package of the best bits of the year.
“We love ya,” Sandilands said. “Thanks for listening to us, whether it was every day or every now and then.
Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O will move to Mix, which will be rebranded for the duo. Photo: Lee Besford
“We have loved it here — we have made millions of dollars out of these people and we’ve made millions of dollars for this company” he said cheekily, before — as usual — Jackie O (real name Henderson) reined in her co-star to end on a nice note: “Happy Christmas everyone!” she said.
It was the final sign-off on a show which has held the No. 1 spot for Sydney FM radio for more than six years and for an incredible 51 surveys in a row.
“Kyle and Jackie are one of the world’s biggest radio shows and are joined every day by the world’s biggest stars,” ARN chief executive Ciaran Davis said. “It’s unprecedented to have the country’s No.1 radio team move networks to create a brand new station and we couldn’t be happier that they’ve made this switch with us.”
The industry heavyweights, who have been on air together for 13 years, are believed to be taking their dream team of producers with them.
Their last show on 2Day FM featured some of Sandilands’ and Henderson’s trademark cheekiness, with the duo managing to talk to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about his Lycra-clad package and asking him to tweet his first selfie.
They also convinced yo-yo dieter Ajay Rochester to reveal a secret to win $ 20,000 (it turns out she and Michelle Bridges had an all-in brawl in Hawaii during filming of The Biggest Loser, which ended with Rochester sitting on Bridges).
Kyle and Jackie O’s last morning was nostalgic yet upbeat, with the duo opting to play flashbacks of old interviews and taking with them plenty of warm wishes from the celebrities they had interviewed over the years, as well as from callers — some of whom were in tears.
They also had a laugh at their own expense, sending themselves up in a series of jokes about social media comments that had been made about them.
A plethora of stellar names called in, including Jennifer Aniston, Ricky Gervais, Eric Bana, Delta Goodrem and Shane Warne, while newsreaders Chris Bath and Jessica Rowe read news bulletins.
Aniston said she “always loved talking to you guys” and Warne, who phoned in to plug his new beer, invited the duo to his wedding to Liz Hurley.
Kylie Minogue tweeted, prompting Kyle to quip: “It couldn’t have killed you to ring up, Kylie!”
Goodrem phoned from Los Angeles to reminisce about having her 15th birthday party in the studio. She said of her acoustic re-imagining of Innocent Eyes, which is about to be released: “It’s like the weirdest full circle, you never forget that initial support.”
But it was the duo’s candid and awkward interview with the Prime Minister which highlighted the form listeners have come to know.
“It nice to be talking to you,” Abbott said before launching into his day’s activities, which Sandilands interrupted to ask: “What’s it like sitting in the back seat and seeing the Aussie flags flapping on the bonnet, do you say — ‘yeah I feel gangsta’?”
Abbott responded: “When you stop at the lights people suddenly say ‘hang on a minute who’s in that car?’ You’ve got to be on your best behaviour.”
Henderson asked if he took selfies of himself and when he responded, “No, I don’t believe I ever have”, she then asked him to “tweet us a selfie – tweet us your first selfie ever”. Sandilands took it a step further, telling him to take one in the bathroom in “his undies looking over the shoulder” and that everyone had already “seen the lot in the bike outfit”.
With a sense of humour Abbott said that would “probably be against telecommunications laws” and that he needed that “tiny shroud to protect every one to keep the mystery”.
During the duo’s “fat bet” segment that featured Ajay Rochester on an epic journey to lose 20 kilograms to win $ 20,000, the Australian actress fell 300 grams short of her goal, weighing in at 92.3 kilograms — 19.7 kilograms down from her original weight of 112 kilograms.
It prompted Kyle to offer her the 300 grams off if she revealed her big secret.
“There’s no love lost between Michelle Bridges and I,” Rochester said. “She was obsessed with concept that I was telling the media things and when we were in Hawaii shooting she kept saying ‘you’re a media whore, you’re a media whore’,” she revealed.
“It was at a party when I was drunk and off my face on [painkiller] pills … she backed me up in the corner and she was like ‘admit it admit it, you’re the one who leaks stuff to the media’ and she grabbed my wrist and I threw my water in her face. And then, according to stories (that’s the last thing I remember), apparently it turned into a WW-style wrestling match and apparently I sat on her.”
On-air replacements for the pair are expected to be announced by Southern Cross Austereo today, but a delay in finalising contracts means it is likely the announcement won’t happen until next week.
Talk has it that Merrick Watts, who did his last shift on sister station Triple M on Friday afternoon, will join Jules Lund and Sophie Monk to replace the duo.
But others considered for the plum gig include Mel B and last-minute contender Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who was spotted in discussions with the radio station last week.
Sandilands and Henderson left on an unparalleled high, with their last radio survey serving up a jump of 1.3 per cent to 11.2 per cent of the audience share.
But it was their their legions of loyal fans who brought home the sentiment for the pair and highlighted the gaping hole they would leave at 2Day FM.
Listener Nicole said, “thank you for brightening our days”, and a mother, Lisa, cried, saying: “I’m gutted, I’m speechless and I’m going to cry … listening to you guys in the morning has meant getting kids to go to school – which is worse than going to the dentist – is possible.” Another listener called in to say “you have been my reason for waking up in the morning, we’ll find you wherever you are”.
“We’ve worked with some amazing people over the years, so many good ones, and it felt a bit weird driving to work this morning,” was as emotional as Sandilands got, to which Henderson responded “it did, didn’t it”.
As Mix 106.5 trumpets their key signings, it is the end of an era for 2Day FM, which is losing its biggest stars.
ARN national content director Duncan Campbell said: “Kyle and Jackie are immense talent with a huge and loyal fan base who are going to be thrilled to be waking up with their favourite presenters on a new, energetic and entertaining station next year. It’s a fresh start and Kyle and Jackie are equally excited to be joining us.”
The battle lines have certainly been set.