Triple J (JJJ) is multi-faceted Australian national radio station aiming to promote Australian alternative music. It stretches it’s influence from the constraints of an FM radio station to a variety of mediums – having a huge presence on social media platforms, in the festival scene, through it’s merchandising, and on video platforms such as YouTube. The field site for Triple J is expansive to say the least.
My ethnographic research will be based around the Triple J station, and aim to gain perspective on how it’s broader voice is used to reach and influence its audience. To do this I need to understand just how broad the Triple J voice is, so I created a rough brainstorm of factors in Triple J’s presence. Below I will go through and explain how each affects the brand.
Initially, JJJ’s sole reach was radio listeners around the Sydney area, but since its conception in 1975 it has evolved for content delivery curated over an array of media platforms.
It posts interviews, performances, and sketches to various social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. On top of this their website and app all allow a user experience that connects them to the Triple J brand.
One of my main focus’s for Triple J is it’s adaption to YouTube. This has allowed a massive reach boost for the station, with well over 500,000 video views and over 1 million subscribers. Their most popular videos stem from the Like a Version segment, where band perform an original and a cover song live on radio.
Presenters and Segments:
Triple J has become well known for the way it’s presenters conduct their segments. Many presenters become staples for listeners, and vary in genre-based programming or podcasting. They conduct interviews with bands, talk live with listeners, take requests from listeners, attend festivals for live coverage. Their media presence is an important part of how they recruit and communicate with audiences.
The presenters all offer differing segments that aim to please the varying genre preferences of listeners. Like a Version and Live at the Wireless are both live music focused, there are podcasted segments such as Hack – which looks at current events and youth related topics, and Dr. Karl – which examines listener questions on science topics.
Daily programming is a more interactive experience for listeners who can phone in or text requests, hear news stories, learn about music news and hear from more ‘popular’ bands. Then there are multiple genre-based segments for new music such as ‘short.fast.loud’ (punk, hardcore), ‘home and hosed’ (Australian music), ‘house party’ (house), ‘roots n’ all’ (blues, roots, reggae etc), and more. Each of these programs are aiming to satisfy the varying tastes of the Triple J listeners.
Triple J is a band of the ABC, and is government funded. It also has two sister stations, which aim to cater towards different demographics of music listeners.
Unearthed is an initiative that was formed in order to allow up and coming Australian musicians to share their music, and has become a station of its own – fostering Australian talent and allowing it to be heard.
Double J is another sister station that spins off from the youth orientated programming and caters towards a generally older demographic of listeners through its more archival music and interviews.
Events and Merchandise:
Triple J hosts a variety of events for listeners to really become part of and connect with each other. Polls determine favourite songs and artists, such as those in ‘Hottest 100’, ‘J Awards’, and ‘Unearthed High’.
Multiple festivals are created in conjunction with Triple J, allowing Australian artists to perform in front of listeners. Awareness for specific forms of music is raised through events such as ‘Aus Music Month’ – celebrating Aussie music, and ‘Girls to the Front’ – a day of programming driven only by women, delivering music as well as news and interviews from women all in the industry.
The ‘Like a Version’ and ‘Hottest 100 segments both’ allow for compilation CD’s to be made on a yearly basis, which are sold in many music stores as well as online at the triple J website. On top of this they have a large following who sport Triple J clothing merchandise, some being festival line-ups, some just being the triple J logo. They sell these mainly at festivals and through their online store, but frequently award items such as hats or shirts as prizes for small radio competitions.
The audience has evolved from being solely based in the Sydney area to that of an international one. While live radio broadcasts can be accessed throughout most of Australia now, it can also be accessed through their app or website anywhere in the world.
Triple J can also be heard presenting at some of its festivals, and appeals to a large social media audience. Not only are audiences young Australians, but the station caters to older audiences through its Double J programming.
To sum it, there is a whole heap of Triple J intertwined within the lives of many people. They have created a massive outreach all in the name of sharing a love for live music. You might hear them on the car radio, or see a post on Instagram, or have them pop up in your YouTube feed – their web is most definitely world-wide.
All images courtesy of the Triple J website.