[Newcastle radio] Luke Grant speaks about his dismissal from 2HD

Former 2HD breakfast announcer has finally spoken publicly about his dismissal in today’s Newcastle Herald. Grant maintains that the main reason for his dismissal was apparently for not playing some commercials, something the station has repeatedly denied. Here is the full story from The Herald:

DUMPED 2HD breakfast host Luke Grant says he wants his job back, and he is willing to go to court to get back on air.

Grant left the AM station suddenly last month.

Early rumours suggested that the conflict with management, a plunge in ratings and Grant’s refusal to play commercials on air were to blame.

After receiving letters and phone calls of support, Grant spoke exclusively to The Herald yesterday.

It followed Saturday’s announcement of Brent Bultitude as the new morning host.

Grant said his former breakfast show had been slowly starved of resources in recent years as new management tried to resurrect struggling sister station NEW-FM.

He said he was dumped because he continually complained about the lack of promotion and assistance for what was once the number one station in Newcastle.

Further, Grant described his former station as “stale” and he said he was worried about its future because it was slowly dropping Hunter based content.

“We have not kept our sound fresh,” he said.

“It was the same commercials, the same ID, the same secret sound competition. We have stopped being the local voice for the community.”

Grant, who had a year left on his contract, said he was unceremoniously terminated ostensibly for not playing two commercials and doing one on-air read in December, despite a computer system glitch.

“In 41/2 years I’ve played over 100,000 commercials and they allege I missed three and I wasn’t given an opportunity to prove otherwise, he said.

“After 20 years as a commercial broadcaster why I wouldn’t I play an ad?”

Grant said he had a strong caser for unfair dismissal and was scheduled to enter conciliation next month.

He described the weeks since he went off air as “tough” and said he wanted to return to the station.
“I think I have a good connection with a pretty substantial audience, I think there’s more far more to do in the market,” he said.

Grant, who said he was the highest paid at the station, said his sacking was not about the money.

He said that by the end, he was doing his own production work right down to writing the quiz questions.

The Herald was unable to contact 2HD station manager Guy Ashford for comment.

Posted under Newcastle Media, Radio

Written by Craig Wilson

36 Responses to “[Newcastle radio] Luke Grant speaks about his dismissal from 2HD”

So the hapless Caralis-ruled Super Radio Network churns out another human resource nightmare and the Fair Work Omubdsman and ACMA will do zip. The all rights to Bill model and none to listeners, staff and the industry is wrecking careers, lives and hundreds of radio stations in three states. We should start up a Victims of Bill website where casualties (including listeners) can recant their horror experiences.

Comment by Cathy on January 14th, 2010

Good luck to Luke i hope he gets his job back. I hope brent gets kicked out for it he is nothing compared to the big fella. We love you Luke.

Comment by Bill Kington on January 14th, 2010

Look, the Newcastle community needs to get behind Luke Grant here, Newcastle needs local voices on the radio standing up for Newcastle not someone who recites rubbish from Wikipedia, if enough people tune out of 2HD, they might see the error of their ways. What needs to go is the networked programming not local voices.

Comment by Julie on January 14th, 2010

The “Super” Radio Network already has a very vitriolic page on Facebook (something like “I Survived Caralis”) with a LOT of four-letter words from previous employees. It makes for fascinating reading.

Comment by Whoopsie Daisy on January 14th, 2010

Comment by Whoopsie Daisy on January 14th, 2010

What Newcastle and the Hunter need is another AM radio station. If such a licence was issued to a “consortium of locals” with , perhaps, a minority of shares going to someone like John Singleton (to provide access to Macquarie news and football calls)and if people such as Luke were employed and the station was well resourced it would provide genuine “talk”/AM competition for the networked 2HD.
Such a new station should have a local breakfast format of talk, sport, entertainment and quizzes; either a local or networked (From Sydney e.g. 2GB or 2UE) morning show; a local afternoon chat and music show; a local drive program (similar to the one Aaron Kearney used to provide on 2HD before he went to 1233 ABC or to the one he and Madeleine Randall ran on 1233, with local news, talk, sport and current affairs; a local early evening program (up until around 10.00 pm) with a mixture of news, talk, competitions and music; and a networked feed in the later evening and “overnight”.
But such anew local station should be a local broadcaster when most people listen i.e. breakfast, drive and early evenings.

Comment by Jack on January 14th, 2010

Why on earth would Luke want to go back to work for that fool Caralis ? I’d rather pack shelves at Coles…….at least the pay, conditions and environment are fair !

Comment by Mark on January 14th, 2010

Well Done Luke. You should know that you have a large contingency of people backing you. You have my support all the way. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘your listeners’ for some help. It will be a battle and at times you will wonder what the heck you are doing…but it will be worth it in the end. Good Luck.

Comment by Sharon H on January 14th, 2010

It’s no surprise to read the sentiment of emotion that has surfaced by what I think is probably the dumbest decision I’ve seen in more than 33 years of radio. I said before 2HD, you have awoken the beast this time and you will pay for it.

Luke Grant never achieved the huge ratings numbers of D & T at 2HD, although he did win against them for the first 2 books after they moved to KO early 2000, however Luke was a huge success for 2HD’s target audience and his listeners, more so the second time round in 2004 – 09. D & T didn’t have to put up with constant meddling (is that a word?) to programme matters from the station owner which had an indirect effect on their breakfast show. (2HD, apart from the John Laws show was very much a Newcastle radio station). That’s exactly what Luke and others, Cameron Williams, Warwick Johnson, Warren Moore, Christie Atkins, Leighton Archer, Gavin Morris, Richard King, Pete Davis, Mike Rabbitt, Gary Harley, Gary Stewart even Carter and myself all endured. Not to mention the multitude of off air people in Promotions, Production, Technical, News, Sales, Copy, Traffic and Admin. D & T were very clever and left not long after Bill bought the license.

As the former Program Director who lured LG back to 2HD, mate, my apologies. All of these radio professionals deserved so much better. Newcastle radio is poorer for your loss.

A former GM of mine and a sensational radio man always said, amongst other pearlers, “Fish always rot from the head down”. Unless you’ve worked for TSRN you can’t even begin to imagine the smell. It’s a disgrace how this company has cut away at local radio in Australia. I should add TSRN is not the only network to cut local content from regional Australia stations. The industry needs a huge shake up starting with license holders and the number of licenses they may control.

Comment by Kev Kellaway on January 15th, 2010

its about time 2hd management took response for the stations decline you have some wonderful announcers on 2hd for almost 68 years i have listened to this station and the replacement for luke is rubbish also you change the format to often even buy sell and swap sunday was fine but know saturday is garage sale day for most people wake up and give the listeners what they want to listen to not rubbish we have now . give luke his job back and sack the management

Comment by eileen on January 15th, 2010

Well said Kev I know networking is the way the radio industry is going but not to the extent TSRN has gone i mean there is absolutely no variety on 2HD just inane talk back 24/7 once they did have some music at various times of the day but even now the NEW breakfast show is all talk with questions asked by Brent who has little or no idea or patience for that matter bye bye 2hd. 2HD your new local community station.

Comment by radio nut on January 15th, 2010

Kev’s comments are pretty much spot on. Listening to the two new Breakfast shows on NEW FM & 2HD this week one can only draw the following conclusion: If Guy Ashford’s brief was to find the two worst breakfast shows to put on the air, then he has succeeded. What is coming out of the speakers now from BOTH Sandgate stations takes Newcastle radio to such a low place, it has never been there before.

Comment by Mark on January 15th, 2010

OK Kev, Why not you be the stimulus to drive for a new commercial AM radio licence for Newcastle / Lake Macquarie / Lower Hunter.
Track down and recruit the business interests.
Then track down and recruit former announcers to join Luke and blow 2SRN (formerly 2HD) out of the ratings race on AM.
You have mentioned some. There are many more such as Bill Grundy, Tony Briscoe, Ross Allen and others. Some have moved on to other careers but there must be a number who would love to be part of a new exciting local commercial AM venture in our area.

Comment by Jack on January 15th, 2010

Hey Jack, whether you like it or not, ACMA hands out the licences, not Kev and other radio professionals.

There are no new licences planned for Newcastle in the foreseeable future.

Comment by Whoopsie Daisy on January 15th, 2010

I am aware of that, “Whoopsie” but powerful lobby groups can achieve much, especially if they are supported by a wide cross-section of the community. Someone with connections needs to start the ball rolling.

Comment by Jack on January 15th, 2010

i spoke to a former Sydney On-Air talent & NEWFM breakfast host (& Co-Host) last Monday (Jan 15) who told me that a major player offered Dill Caralis more than $8m for 2HD & NEWFM about 10 years ago & then double that amount in 2007,for both stations.Caralis’s string-pullers answer (both times) was “mate why should he sell it when he can let them go down the gurgler & use it as a Tax dodge” ?

that same person (the former NEWFM breakfast host & Co-Host) was in chats with a bigwig from the Nova network last night at a restaurant in Hamilton.so caralis can keep his shitty stupid-radio-network & as for Luke Grant fans (& Newcastle’s more selective & appreciative fans of GOOD radio in general) get ready for an infiltration of a decent radio station (minus never-was’s of the ilk that are running the sinking ship at sandgate).& i can assure you all the good blokes who are still around like kev kellaway & luke grant will be the first ones poached to run it.you read it here first.

Comment by dismist on January 15th, 2010

I was so glad to hear Luke’s side of the story. Our family and clients all want you back Luke and it’s obvious we’re not alone!!! To the Management at 2HD, I’m (currently, however this may change soon) an advertiser with you and Newcastle’s a very small town so word travels fast. From what I’ve heard you need to pull your head in and spend more time promoting and fine-tuning the talent that’s available to you (LUKE!) instead of re-hashing old, useless no-hopers we rejected the first time over just because you’re friends with them or because they can give you a free lunch at their restaurant!?!! We pay your bills and we need you to have good talent to sell our products. Luke was good talent! He was entertaining and across every issue and genuinely loved his community and job! And what options do we have now?? I would rather listen to someone scrape their nails down a blackboard than listen to the monotonous, predictable, childish and ill-educated banter coming out of 2KO’s breakfast has-beens and the new 2HD breakfast show should be bottled up and sold in the chemist to help people get to sleep more easily!2HD you have made a big mistake! and don’t think we haven’t forgotten that Luke was fired one week out from Christmas!!! Hang your head in shame Mr Ashford!

Comment by Angry Advertiser on January 15th, 2010

After reading Luke Grant’s article in last weeks Newcastle Herald and the many concerns voiced on this forum in regards to the welfare of 2HD,it is with great delight to share with you on a more positive note on how much I’ve been welcomed back to the fold since my return to radio on a very casual basis at 2NURFM.

From the moment I stepped through the front door it has been a pleasure to be doing on air work there. I must admit I was pleasantly suprised on how well the radio station is run on a day to day basis which is a great credit to all the people in senior roles and the many volunteers who do an outstanding job.

Radio to me will always be in my veins and to be given to opportunity to continue my dream albeit on a casual basis remains very important to me.

To Wayne,Todd,Kath,Jack,Dave C and all the great staff thanks for thinking of me.Radio to me will always remain a part of my life and it is with a lot of great pleasure for me to say that I am pleased to be able to come on here and talk about what a great experience I have had so far.

I thought a bit of positive news would lighten up the doom and gloom of the many comments on this forum.

Good radio is still out there, it’s just a matter of finding it.

Pete Davis

Comment by Pete Davis on January 16th, 2010

Tune into 1233 Pete.
A bit like what 2HD was!

Comment by Jack on January 17th, 2010

Hi Dismist, Are you talking of a digital radio station, a new AM station, a new FM station or a relocation (of say 2NM)?

Comment by Jack on January 17th, 2010

Pete are you saying 2NUR is good radio? Mate 2NUR is as stale as 2HD!

Comment by Adam on January 18th, 2010

g’day jack.if the conversation i took part in (in parts) becomes actuality,it’s going to be all of the above except the 2NM section.

BTW.great to see pete davis,one of the most astute gentlemen in radio & a top perfectionist of his on-air craft, back in this area & back doing a job in front of the microphone.here’s hoping you’ve received a positive welcome back.

Comment by dismist on January 18th, 2010

My friend at The Herald that tiped me off about Luke being in the paper last week just called to say he is talking to chanel 9. They are not sure what is happening but it looks like this thing is turning into somthing bigger than one thought. Good work Lukey we are all behind you 100% Ashford and Bultitude suck!

Comment by Bill Kington on January 21st, 2010

A tweet on Twitter from Luke today thanked people for the support he has received and stated that the fight to right the wrong would go on with more news to come shortly.

Why would you wish to return to HD, though, Luke?

Other opportunities must exist for you.

Comment by Jack on January 22nd, 2010


Comment by jan on January 24th, 2010

Soemthing has to be done, the only voice brent bulitude likes to hear is his own. It is painfull.
We need Luke back on the air and someone to replace “howdy” on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and dawn.
We had a great station (once) lets try and get it back

Comment by Not happy Jan2 on January 26th, 2010

2HD has gone to pot. Late night news broadcasts are a day behind the times, local sport and news has taken a back seat, and local personalities with a following in the area have been replaced with tripe shovelled in from outside. Luke Grant was informative and entertaining, and seemed to give his advertisers a good coverage. I’ve tried to listen to Brent a couple of times, but he just doesn’t come up to the mark for me, so I don’t listen to 2HD any more. Luke Grant’s axing was the last straw, following on from Mike Rabbitt and the pathetic treatment of Richard King. Don Burke, buy sell and swap, weekend talk shows and Talkinsport with the same callers every day all add up to a pretty boring format, so I can’t see 2HD surviving long-term without major changes at the top and a bit of stability in their dealings with staff. I seem to recall that Cameron Williams when he left made the same comments as Luke Grant about lack of support and resources, so obviously the clowns at the top don’t learn from past blunders. Luke, I hope you have success in the future, whether you manage to win back your job or not, although I can’t imagine why you would want to continue working for a pack of boneheads. It’s a sorry state of affairs for what used to be the Hunter’s leading radio station.

Comment by Trevor on January 27th, 2010

What has happened over the past couple of months is a sad indictment of the state of Newcastle radio. OK, it’s every management’s prerogative to make changes to their on air line up for whatever reasons…..but to replace Luke Grant with a totally inept and incompetent announcer called Brent is sheer lunacy. If this new guy had been better, or even the equivalent of Luke, then you’d have given him a go, but seriously, he is totally unlistenable. However, I’m told he IS a very good friend of the General Manager…just like his counterpart on NEW FM. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. One thing the audience knows Mr A, is how to vote with their Nielsen diaries and if you thought you were failing and going backwards in 2009, wait till you see what the survey Gods deliver you in 2010 !

Comment by Ian Patrick on January 27th, 2010

Don’t understand the politics. Came from 2re found 2hd loved Luke Grant his content may have been stale but he was not. Importantly he made me laugh, kept me informed and cared about the community. He was your best 2hd so I guess I will try 1233 and hope we get told when Luke finds a new position without having to do a google search what happened to Luke Grant (best of luck Luke)

Comment by Sandy on January 28th, 2010

maybe luke grant was sick of steve st.john acting as if he’s part psychiatrist,part lawyer,part educative genius,part journalistic genius,part supersalesman etc,etc.what’s the old saying ? jack of most trades,failure at all ???

Comment by gunsnmoses on January 29th, 2010

Moved up to Salamander Bay from Sydney 2 years ago.Luke was a breath of fresh air. Won’t be listening again until he returns.
the new guy is so boring and full of his own importance!!!

Comment by jackie williams on January 31st, 2010

A mate is doing some work for Luke and he was telling me about how Luke said he was surprised with all the workmates who have come forward to agree to be witnesses for him. He reckons if it goes to court it will be very embarassing for a couple of people. This is about to get interesting.

Seen some comments about his replacement and have to agree. If he was better then give him a go but he is unfunny and stuck in the 70′s. Aaron has now got me at brekky.

Comment by Glen on February 3rd, 2010

yer bring back luke my wife misses him and the quiz .good luck luke

Comment by allan on February 24th, 2010

just a query.has anyone from the herald been able to contact guy ashford yet or is the 2hd/New fm phone still disconnected presumably from not paying their bill…or in this case paying their Bill Caralis ?

Comment by annzidifone on April 18th, 2010

Pete Davis and Luke Grant both spoke their mind and weren’t afraid to do so. They were excellent announcers on 2HD and now that they are gone the station has lost, to me, a lot of its appeal.I’d love to see them back as they were sunshine in my day.

Comment by val on April 21st, 2010

I’m happy that Luke is here in Melbourne .
All I can say to Managemnt of Super Radio Network is…
You have given MacQuarie Radio Network/Pacific Star Network someone of great tallent and I thank you for this.
By you sacking Luke From 2HD has given Luke a great chance to relocate to Melbourne and help develop MTR 1377.

Comment by JASON FROM BORONIA VICTORIA on July 18th, 2010

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