Carlton is one of Australia's best known broadcasters
and newspaper columnists.
a journalistic career spanning more than 40 years,
he has been a news reporter and editor, foreign
correspondent, TV current affairs reporter and
anchor, radio current affairs anchor, humorist
brings a dynamic, experienced and uncompromised
edge to news commentary in Sydney and is supported
by the unmatched resources of the 2UE Newsroom
and the Southern Cross Network. (Credit:
Carlton is an Australian media commentator and
broadcaster. He currently co-hosts the daily breakfast
program on Sydney radio station 2UE with Peter
FitzSimons and writes a Saturday column as a left-wing
pundit for The Sydney Morning Herald. Carlton
in recent times has been noted for his criticism
of conservative public figures such as Prime Minister
John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
and radio personality Alan Jones, and for his
criticism of conservative governments, including
the US's Bush administration.
began his career as a field reporter for the Australian
Broadcasting Commission (ABC) in the mid 1960s.
His file reports as an ABC war correspondent in
Vietnam earned him great admiration within the
industry and a promotion to chief of the ABC’s
news bureau in Jakarta, Indonesia. Garnering further
accolades on his return with the pioneering 1970s
ABC-TV current affairs program This Day Tonight,
he moved to his first radio program as host at
Sydney commercial station 2GB in the early 1980s.
In the early 1990s he was a presenter for London's
LBC Newstalk 97.3FM, then under Australian ownership.
At first he presented the drivetime programme,
but it was as presenter of The Morning Report
breakfast programme that he came to prominence,
winning a prestigious Sony Radio Academy Award.
This programme became required listening in London
and helped to change the station's financial fortunes.
He later wrote a novel set at a London talk radio
station called Off the Air, which became a best-seller
in Australia in the late 1990s.
1994 Carlton returned to Sydney to host a morning
program on music station Mix 106.5. He then moved
to the drive slot at 702 ABC Sydney. Building
a large following and establishing a format that
he has largely retained in the years since, he
was then poached by commercial broadcaster 2UE.
Carlton hosted 2UE's drivetime (3pm-6pm) program
for a number of years, before moving to the breakfast
timeslot (5:30am - 9am). In a move to improve
ratings, 2UE management teamed Carlton with media
personality, fellow Sydney Morning Herald columnist
and longtime friend of Carlton's, Peter FitzSimons
on the breakfast show in 2006. The ratings for
the show gradually improved, however as of mid-2007
they remain well behind the top two AM talk stations
for the breakfast period. Carlton's former workmate,
now rival, Alan Jones continues to dominate the
Sydney radio ratings.
2001, conservative commentator Piers Ackerman
slammed Carlton as "hypocritical" for
attending an art exhibition held at a club that
bans Japanese and Korean people.
long-running feud with fellow 2UE broadcaster
Stan Zemanek, noted for his conservative views,
had become a feature of Carlton's recent career
prior to Zemanek's death in mid-2007. On 17 July,
2007, Carlton made comments regarding his late
rival. Responding to a listener's question as
to why he wouldn't attend Zemanek's funeral, Carlton
replied that it would be "an act of sheer
hypocrisy ... I loathed him." He continued:
"I'd only go to check that he was actually
dead." Carlton later apologised for his remarks.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, citing unnamed
sources, claimed that Carlton's career was "on
the line" as a result of the comments, that
he is "on borrowed time," and that he
"had to go" from radio 2UE. (Credit:
Mike carlton profile
at the boys' club, by Sue Javes - 28th January
The Sydney Morning Herald)
the biggest egos have departed, 2UE is reshaping
its game for the year ahead.
one of the clearest signs that it is a new era
at 2UE is John Laws's former office. For years
the spacious area was furnished with plush carpet,
leather couches and two Brett Whiteley paintings,
a symbol of Laws's towering presence at the station.
In a move away from the culture of ego-tripping
stars and obscene salaries, management has made
a deliberate decision not to hand over the space
to any of the current presenters. Instead, it
will be divided into three offices for management
the corridor, in more modest surroundings, Mike
Carlton and his new breakfast partner, Sandy Aloisi,
are still in their honeymoon phase after just
two weeks on air. It's no secret Aloisi was management's
third choice for the critical role. She was approached
at the 11th hour after Nine sports commentator
Ken Sutcliffe and Women's Weekly editor Deborah
Thomas turned down offers. But Carlton says when
Aloisi's name was first mooted by program director
Greg Byrnes, the idea was so logical and sensible
that it seemed extraordinary no one had thought
of it earlier.
was staring us in the face and we couldn't see
the wood for the trees," he says. "She's
got this beautiful voice, the journalistic credentials,
a really warm and lovely personality, and we've
been friends for 15 years."
recently, Aloisi had been a fixture at 2UE - initially
as a newsreader and later as news director and
program director. The strain of managing 2UE's
demanding stable of stars, however, combined with
tight budget restraints, convinced her to walk
away, and in recent months she has been a presenter
on ABC NewsRadio.
told her she will now be in the delicious position
of throwing star tantrums," Carlton jokes.
"Having, in her day, dealt with Jones, me,
Laws, Zemanek, Hadley, and been on the receiving
end of all that, she knows how to do it."
concedes she and Carlton did have a few good stoushes
back then. One famous incident made the newspapers
when Aloisi, as the new program director, suggested
Carlton would benefit from elocution lessons because
he occasionally mumbled. The veteran broadcaster
was outraged. Aloisi rolls her eyes when reminded.
"The best thing about Mike is you can have
a stoush and then it is over.
unlike some others, doesn't carryon a grudge or
sulk for days."
the first time in years that a woman has been
given a prime time spot on the testosterone-laden
2UE. Critics who considered Carlton and his previous
partner, Peter FitzSimons, too alpha male believe
the addition of a woman - a working mother, at
that - will help in the battle against ratings
leader 2GB. The 2UE breakfast program is currently
ranked sixth. With John Laws no longer on air
and changes to every shift, the station faces
an uncertain year. General manager Simon Ruhfus
is prepared for ratings to dip in the first few
months as the audience adjusts to the changes.
Carlton says he gave up setting audience targets
years ago. "You just do the best you can
and hope the ratings will follow."
years of newsreading, the challenge for Aloisi
is to sound more conversational and opinionated.
"But I don't think she'll be thumping the
table," Carlton says. "She's never going
to be the female Stan and Ray."