Jackie O’s secret call to ditch Kyle
Jackie O encouraged her radio bosses to sack Kyle Sandilands after their disastrous first shows on air together.
Back in 2000, Jackie O was co-hosting the Hot30 Countdown with her then-husband, Ugly Phil. But when their relationship broke down, Ugly Phil quit the show and moved to the UK, leaving Jackie O to find a new radio partner.
"We'd gotten to a point where we'd auditioned quite a number of people," Jackie O told Osher Gunsberg on his Better Than Yesterday podcast.
But when they were unable to find a perfect fit for the show, the radio bosses decided to give Kyle Sandilands, who at that time was a relatively unknown music announcer from Triple M Brisbane, a shot.
"I think they just got jack of it and they went, 'Screw it, we're bringing in this guy from Brisbane and he's going straight on air tonight. No audition,'" Jackie recalled.
The radio boss who made the call was Jeff Allis, who is married to Boost Juice founder Janine Allis. "Jeff was just like, 'F***ing put him on air, I don't want to hear about it. Just give him a chance!'" Jackie told Osher.
Kyle's first show with Jackie O on the Hot30 Countdown was a shocker.
"He went on air and he said the 'F-word' as soon as he was on air in the opener," Jackie said. "I didn't know he was going to do that, but he knew in his head he was going to do that to shock me."
Jackie was less than impressed that this guy from Triple M Brisbane was "trying to be a shock jock", and she didn't think he was a good fit for the Hot30.
"He didn't know anything about pop music and when you do the Hot30 at night, it's all about the music," she said on the podcast. "You have to know every boy band, every girl band, every pop star there is. He didn't know any of that. I was just like, 'This is never going to work'."
Things went from bad to worse on their second night on air together.
"He had hung up on Victoria Beckham twice because he didn't know how to operate the phones," Jackie recalled. "I'm tearing my hair out thinking, 'How has this been allowed to happen?'"
An angry Jackie called one of her radio bosses after the second show and said, "Look, I don't know how much longer we're going to give this, but I don't think this is going to work."
They decided to give Kyle one more shot, a decision Jackie has never regretted to this day.
"I don't know what he went home and did, and I don't think he heard about the phone conversation, but I think he knew in his head, 'I'm not nailing this, I'm not delivering what I need to deliver'," Jackie said. "He came back the next night and was amazing and we just gelled and it clicked.
"Thank god Jeff (Allis) gave him a shot because that chemistry didn't happen immediately, it took us six or eight months to really develop it … but it just kept getting better and better.
"My life would be very different if it weren't for Kyle."
In February last year, Kyle gave his version of events about those first few Hot30 shows on the Game Changers: Radiopodcast. And he revealed he decided to drop the F-bomb on night one because of a piece of pre-show advice from Jeff Allis.
"He said to me: 'Just don't say f**k and you'll be right'," Sandilands said about Allis' pep talk.
"Jackie comes on … and she introduced me and I just said (live on air): 'Look, I've spoken to the boss and apparently if I don't say f**k everything will be fine'.
"She died," Sandilands said about Jackie's reaction. "Her whole skin changed colour. She was horrified and I thought it was excellent."
Kyle and Jackie O currently host the KIIS FM breakfast show, the number one FM breakfast show in Sydney.