2Day FM breakfast show rethink was humiliating and I’m six months from imploding, predicts Em Rusciano

2Day FM’s decision to add Ed Kavalee and Grant Denyer to its Sydney breakfast show line-up was an ego blow for Em Rusciano, she has revealed.

Rusciano also had a dig at the media’s ongoing portrayal of her saying: “The media in Sydney especially, again, bunch of cunts. Like, Daily Telegraph – get fucked. All of you. I don’t care. Sydney Morning Herald – eat a bag of dicks. Print it. Awful.

Rusciano says the exit of Breen (pictured) hit her “really hard”

“I just, honestly, Daily Mail prints something about me every day. There’s someone who’s on my social media and just lifts a picture and makes up a headline. I’m just dizzy,” she said.

Daily Mail’s Rusciano obsession

“People report on tweets about shows and then they can a show because of what people have written on Twitter, and I’m like ‘Get fucked’. Seriously… if you’re a journalist listening now, and I’m sure the Daily Mail is listening and you’ve got five articles, you arseholes… there will be 20 stories off this… Hey Daily Mail, you’re a bunch of cunts… Make that the headline, arseholes… I hate you.”

Rusciano was speaking to Wil Anderson on his Wilosophy podcast, with the two discussing the toll breakfast radio can take on presenters.

Rusciano said the shake-up last year, which saw co-host Harley Breen depart and the show re-branded to 2Day FM Breakfast was a challenge.

“Harley leaving hit me really hard. And then, like Ed and Grant were, like, they were put in the show. That was it. And I all of a sudden got two co-hosts that I’d never really met or spoken to, and then I’m expected to have this instant chemistry with. And it was just hectic. And it was The Em Rusciano Radio Show. It was my show, and all of a sudden Ed’s anchoring, the show’s called the 2Day FM Breakfast Show, like I took all these big ego hits,” she told Anderson.

“They deemed me a failure and we need to inject two people.”

She insisted, however, that she’s not a failure, noting the show’s recent ratings improvement, and urged 2Day FM to give her another year.

Anderson also revealed he was invited to fill the void left at 2Day FM when Kyle & Jackie O defected to Kiis at the end of 2013, but knew it would be a poisoned chalice.

“When Kyle and Jack left, they offered me that job, and I decided not to take it, because I was aware of how it was going to be, and it has proved to be a real graveyard and a real poison chalice. And the more that becomes the story of that slot, the more every time a new person comes in to have a go at it, all people really want you to do is continue to fail and fail badly, because that’s a good story for them to keep writing,” he said.

Since Kyle & Jackie O left the Southern Cross Austereo-owned station, it has struggled to replicate their FM market-leading ratings and it has suffered from a revolving door of hosts including Rove McManus and Sam FrostDan Debuf and Maz Compton, and Merrick Watts, Jules Lund, Sophie Monk and former Spice Girl Mel B.

Rusciano also conceded radio had the propensity to bring out the worst aspects of her personality, and addressed rumours of her bad behaviour – conceding she never got along with Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli who she co-hosted breakfast radio with in Perth from 2006 to 2009.

Rusciano with her new co-hosts: “I don’t think I’m suited to breakfast radio”

“I struggle in a team environment. I always watch Hamish & Andy and how seamlessly they all gel together. Like, they’ve obviously got their vibe, but also they’ve picked their team. I often get put together with people I would never pick to work with, just because of my personality type,” she said.

“Radio brings out the worst aspects of my personality, hence the rumours that go around about me within the industry, and I’m hyper aware of that. And I’m tired as well. I’m not a morning person. All my best ideas come at 2am. Always late at night. And I’m impatient…

“I get desperate. I don’t think I’m suited to breakfast radio, although everyone argued with me… I struggle so much with it.”

Her suggested solution to the tensions is to hire her own staff and produce the show from start-to-finish – something she pitched to Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) when they hired her, but an idea that was ultimately rejected.

“I think radio would be a different ball game for me if I could just sell the show. So I pay all the staff. And I tried to fight them on this when they signed me. I’m like ‘Please let me produce the show and give me this much money and I’ll give you a finished product every day’. But they wouldn’t do it because they want some control in the show.”

As well as team tensions and the difficulties associated with the early-morning start-times, Rusciano said she struggles with the realities of commercial radio.

“[I struggle with] containing myself to not get too passionate or fired up about something, not swear, not roll my eyes at every single fucking thing that gets said. I just hate, I don’t want to be part of the numbing and dumbing of society. I think that’s going on enough. And sometimes I struggle with the idea of some of the things we do – it’s so frivolous and unnecessary and flippant. I work really hard to do this job, I don’t find it easy. I think I’m probably hurtling towards some sort of implosion in the next six months,” she told Anderson.

Anderson and Rusciano also used the chat to criticise the radio ratings system and the lack of innovation and creativity in commercial media.

Anderson called the methodology behind radio ratings surveys – which is based on listeners keeping a diary – “the most ridiculous thing of all time”, while Rusciano lamented the lack of risk taking due to a never-ending feedback loop.

“Media execs are looking at ‘10 negative tweets about a show’, and they’re like ‘Arr this show’s a failure’. That’s why we’re going backwards. They’re trying to second guess. They’re trying to keep everyone in mediocre bands, so not to be offensive, so we’ve just got to keep everything polite, so no one can write anything mean or negative and so the show will continue on. So no one’s pushing anything far.

“That’s why television’s dead because Netflix is fearless. ‘Cause you get to choose whether you want to be offended or not. That’s why podcasts will take over radio, because people fucking choose. They can’t write you a letter and say ‘You offended me’, like get fucked. You chose to download this podcast, that’s on you,” she said.

Anderson agreed, joking that the ABC may be the only exception.

“Well free-to-air TV is now, like the place for people who don’t know how to use Netflix, and the shows that are on free-to-air TV reflect that,” he said.

“A fair percentage of the ABC audience would not know how to turn on Netflix… It’s why you see so many cooking shows and dancing shows and dating shows and those sorts of things, because they want to make something that is safe and boring and no-one has the money or the creativity.”


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