Brett Debritz, Brisbane, Australia

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Below the belt

It's a tough world out there in commercial radio land. Last week I mentioned how Stav Davidson from B105 had had a Brazilian wax for the benefit of the station's breakfast show. This morning, David "Luttsy" Lutteral on Nova 106.9 was heard showing his pubic hair to Boy from Oz star Chrissie Amphlett to prove he was a natural redhead. Of course, these kind of stunts are nothing new. The old B105 Morning Crew regularly broadcast in the nude, and stations in the US a few years ago (before federal authorities began to crack down on such things) competed to come up with the most outrageous thing they could do. From memory, the tables turned when somebody killed a pig live on air. Tasteful?

Wrong station

I think I've been spoiled by Google, a search engine that almost always finds what I'm looking for. The TransLink (formerly Transinfo) site is ultimately very good at finding train and bus information for Brisbane, but often not very smart on interpreting what its users are looking for. Try keying in "Windsor Station" in the "suburb, landmark or station" box and it provides a list of suggestions of what you might have meant, the first being Windsor Fire Station. The second is Windsor Railway Station.

Weighty matter

The promo for A Current Affair tonight promised an expose on "weight loss cures". Presumably they are the things that cure your weight loss. Like eating more and not exercising.

Anniversary schmaltz

So, this is what we've been waiting 50 years for: Channel 7 will be celebrating a half-century of television in Australian with a reunion of the original cast from A Country Practice. A gala event hosted by Mel and Kochie (that's Melissa Doyle and David Koch for the benefit of the 19,500,000 Australians who don't watch Sunrise) on September 17 will also see a reunion of the Daddo brothers - Cameron, Andrew and Lachie - and will feature appearances by Hollywood actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly (who, presumably, will just happen to be in the country at the time flogging their latest film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). Other "big" names to take part will be John Burgess, Lindy Chamberlain, Alan Bond, Stuart Diver and Molly Meldrum. It's so exciting.

Hugh's still cruising

How many degrees of separation are there between Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman? As has been reported almost everywhere, Cruise has been sacked by Paramount on the basis that he's weird and he hasn't been giving the studio sufficient return on its investment. Jackman, meanwhile, is touring Australia with what is likely to be a very profitable production of The Boy from Oz, both for him and for the show's producers. The connection is that both of them have brought into focus the issue of "star power" and how much it is worth. Cruise was expendable but Jackman, at least for now, is deemed to be worth the reported $250,000 per performance he is getting for Oz. Indeed, the show would not have happened without his participation. If nothing else, that's something to think about next

Burnett's boning

The Courier-Mail is this morning saying what yesterday's Channel 9 media statement implied - that Rick Burnett was sacked from Extra. ("Spending more time with his family" is generally regarded as a coded statement.) The C-M says Burnett failed to get assurances from the network about his future after speculation raised first by the C-M's Dianne Butler on Saturday. Former Nine sport reporter Chris Bombolas is quoted as saying he fears there'll be more blood-letting at the station. Inevitably, speculation about the long-term future of the one-of-a-kind Extra will now resume.

Rick Burnett leaves Nine

Longtime Extra host Rick Burnett has left the station to "spend more time with his family", according to a Channel 9 press release issued today. In the statement, Burnett says: "After 15 years with Extra I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved. It’s been tremendously hard work, but very fulfilling. I’m now looking forward to the new challenges ahead." As rumoured over the weekend, he will be replaced by newsreader Jillian Whiting.

Robin robbery

Somebody has stolen the master tapes of a new BBC series of Robin Hood and is holding them for ransom. I wonder if they'll give the proceeds to the poor?

Spot the difference

Channel 9 is a sponsor of this coming weekend's Riverfire event, so you'd imagine its staff would know when the fireworks begin. Well, they do - but it took two attempts. Click here for audio of two similar promos that both went to air, with one important difference.

Sign catches up with the times

What a difference half a day makes. This morning, the first working day of new traffic arrangements at Bowen Hills, the sign on the corner of Bowen Bridge (Lutwyche) Rd and Campbell St was still telling motorists (erroneously) that they could use Campbell St to get on to the Inner City Bypass. By late afternoon (when it was raining, hence the quality of the picture), that had changed.

And the Emmys go to ...

Good thing I didn't have money on the Emmys. Seems 24 was the big winner on the night, picking up the best drama award and a gong for star Keifer Sutherland. A.lso in the winners' circle were past favourites Alan Alda (The West Wing) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Chirstine). CNN has more here.

Radio star stays put

Breakfast radio star Meshel Laurie is officially staying put in Brisbane. Nova national program director Dean Buchanan says he has no plans to change the current Nova 106.9 breakfast lineup.

Bad taste award

Here's a line from award-winning Edinburgh Fringe festival comic Phil Nicol: "They say being a hostage is difficult. But I could do that with my hands tied behind my back." The Independent newspaper named that as one of its top 50 oneliners from the festival. Others include:

No wonder Bob Geldof is such an expert on famine. He's been feeding off I Don't Like Mondays for 30 years. - Russell Brand
My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in customs. - Patrick Monahan
Americans only re-elected George Bush to prove they had a sense of irony. - Scott Capurro
Two aerials on a roof fell in love and got married. The wedding wasn't great but the reception was fantastic. - Jimeoin

Emmy awards tips

The Emmys kick off in a few hours. Here's what the BBC has to say about the chances of various shows. Although it takes the angle that The West Wing may become the most-awarded prime time show in Emmy history, it also points out that no show has yet won the best drama award after its network run has ended. Step forward Grey's Anatomy ... maybe.

Musical mayhem

What's the world coming to? Elton John is going all hip-hop on us. What next? Eminem's favourite polkas? A Julie Andrews cover of Anarchy in the UK? Pat Boone sings heavy metal? Hang on, that last one has already been done.

Will Rick cop the chop?

In The Courier-Mail this morning, columnist Dianne Butler tips that Jillian Whiting will host Channel 9's Extra next year. I imagine this is based on the information imparted recently by a person from another station that Extra rated higher when regular host Rick Burnett was absent earlier this year and Whiting was in the chair. It's an interesting suggestion, and it certainly makes a change from the usual annual prediction that Extra - the only show of its kind in Australia - will be axed altogether.
PS: In other Channel 9 news, 4BC breakfast show producer Bruno Bouchet tells me he's leaving the world of radio to become a producer at A Current Affair.

Prayers already answered?

Community radio station Family 96.5 is asking its listeners to join in prayers for rain from 8am tomorrow. It might just work. The Weather Bureau is already predicting showers for early next week.

Post-modern moment

Here's the audio from 612ABC this morning of Spencer Howson and me listening to Campbell Newman on Nova.

Sign of the times

The stickers on this Brisbane train have the word "graffiti" with a circle and a slash superimposed. If that's meant to tell people not to vandalise the vehicle, it's not working.

Early birds

The warmer weather over the past few days has been a clue, but it's now official that spring has sprung in Brisbane at least a week early. Lorikeets have returned to my backyard.