Official launch of Double J, the new name for Dig Music, with Myf Warhurst hosting the first show. Photo: Wayne Taylor
The ABC launched its newest radio digital station, the reborn Double J — a Triple J for grown-ups — at midday on Wednesday with a reel of greatest hits from on-air moments at Double J and Triple J over the last 39 years, a nod to the station’s nostalgic bent.
Anticipation that a surprise first track might be played — as a possible homage to the original 2JJ launch on January 19, 1975, which played a banned Skyhooks song — didn’t amount to much. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Get Ready For Love, came first, a safe choice played by new daytime presenter Myf Warhurst.
Forty-eight hours after the nation’s newest station began playing renditions of NWA’s Express Yourself continuously, including local versions recorded especially for the occasion, Double J officially sprang to life.
Warhurst drew rapturous applause from about 200 launch party attendees at Melbourne’s Kelvin Club by smashing a small guitar with the words: “‘I do declare Double J to be open.”
Among those in attendance at the launch party were Wally de Backer aka Gotye, Kevin Mitchell from Jebediah, The Bamboo’s Kylie Auldist and ex-Powderfinger guitarist Darren Middleton, Kate Miller-Heidke, Ella Hooper, Lance Ferguson and the band The Audreys. Miller-Heidke and Paul Dempsey performed songs.
The second song played was Cobbler by American soul-pop artist Kelis, who is a headliner at the Splendour in the Grass Festival in July — its bill often includes Triple J favourites. Other early songs were Miller-Heidke’s O Vertigo, Spring Rain by The Go-Betweens and Avenger by The Bamboos and Dempsey’s Deja Vu.
Warhurst said part of the station’s aim was to “celebrating iconic artists of the past few decades” and also shine a light on emerging talent through a variety of programs. Her own program will be broadcast between 11am to 3pm weekdays.
ABC managing director Mark Scott said Triple J had enjoyed “remarkable success” with both audience reach and impact and the launch of Double J would strengthen the ABC’s digital radio offering by “catering to the demographic between Triple J and the other ABC networks”. The station will be aimed at the over 30s on air and on mobile.
Scott admitted the band he’d most like to be in was The National, although he’d have to grow back his beard.
The live broadcast lasted only an hour before settling into the pre-programmed format that will provide most of the content.
The first hour’s programming included the announcement of several regular shows, including Sunday afternoon slot Artist in Residence, whose presenters will include punk icon Iggy Pop, ex-Go Between Robert Forster, The Cat Empire, Henry Rollins and Adalita.
Warhurst’s daytime show will be between 11am and 3pm, while different hosts will front archival show The J Files on Thursday evenings — a former Triple J program.
Other shows will include The Beat Eclectic, hosted by 3RRR and ex-Triple host Karen Leng; Sky High, a dance and soul show on Saturday evening presented by The Bamboo’s Lance Ferguson; Caz Tran’s Saturday afternoon show featuring archive material, live music recordings and Tim Shiel’s Tuesday night slot Something More.