Dr Mumbo

Why some live reads simply don’t work

Radio people love to talk about the power of radio, and perhaps there is no bigger (or newer) advocate of its power than its latest recruit, Russel Howcroft.

In perhaps the least surprising revelation of the week, Howcroft told marketers that “as crazy as it might sound” (not that crazy, Russel) he can’t wait to do live read scripts.

Fellow 3AW presenter Neil Mitchell, however, had a less flattering take on live reads, particularly when he was pushed on how to make it work.

Liana Dubois, Russel Howcroft, Neil Mitchell, Brooke Corte and Ralph van Dijk at The Big Ideas Store

It started off awkwardly enough, with Nine Powered’s Liana Dubois asking Mitchell in The Big Ideas Store: “The power of a presenter’s voice behind live reads is really significant for an advertiser. What are the sorts of things that advertisers need to keep top-of-mind when they’re working with presenters in a live read space?”

Mitchell answered: “Working with me, I don’t do live reads.”

Dubois, quick as ever, responded: “No, we know that”.

And then, Mitchell was off, calling himself a “dinosaur”, and noting live reads “complicate” a presenter’s message and “cause a conflict journalistically”, before offering up his take on live read disasters.

Not everything that can be read, should be read 

“I listen to a lot of ads, some of them live reads, and some of them clash with me. I heard Ross Stevenson [Howcroft’s soon-to-be on-air partner] the other day, who – Ross doesn’t have to speak, he just sits there. Ross is a genius of Australia radio, and he’s underrated. He really is. He’s a brilliant performer. And he did an ad for menopause. Some sort of menopause supplement or something. And I thought ‘No. No. I don’t know why you’d be listening to Ross about that’.”

It might not work for Mitchell, but personally, Dr Mumbo can’t wait to hear Howcroft’s hot take on hot flushes.


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