Triple j Hottest 100 Decision

Triple j Hottest 100 Decision

By Erin Archer 


The recent announcement by ABC Radio’s popular Triple j station, to move its annual Hottest 100 Countdown to a different date in 2018, has sent shock waves throughout the country.

Back in August this year Triple j asked its listeners how they felt about the date of their biggest music celebration of the year, by conducting a voluntary internet survey which included open-ended questions to encourage ‘considered responses’.

64,990 people responded to the survey, and after an independent research company analysed a representative sample of the answers, it was revealed 60% supported moving the date, 39% didn’t support the move, and 1% had no opinion.

Image: triple j

Triple j management then made the decision late in November, to change the date of its Hottest 100 from January 26, to the 4th weekend in January from 2018 onward.

One politician who made his opinion on the change of date clear, was Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, after asking the board of the ABC to reconsider the decision.

“There are a relatively small number of people who have an issue with the fact that Australia Day is celebrated on January 26,” Minister Fifield said.

“Australia Day is our national day. The ABC should honour it and not mess with the Hottest 100.”

According to Triple j, the popular music program wasn’t created as an Australia Day celebration, it was purely just a celebration of its listeners’ favourite songs of the past year – and the change of date wasn’t a political move.


However one political researcher believes even if the decision was made for commercial reasons, and as a response to Triple j listener’s wishes, it has political significance and implications.

Associate Professor of Political Science at Charles Sturt University, Dominic O’Sullivan, said while in previous years there has been debate about Australia Day on the date itself, the fact this decision has been made 2 months prior, is a sign the Change The Date movement is gaining momentum.

Triple j’s decision also comes amid controversy surrounding some local governments changing the date of their own Australia Day celebrations and citizenship ceremonies, out of respect to Aboriginal people.

Professor O’Sullivan said these apparent stands against January 26 would need to continue and stay in the public sphere, for any change in date for Australia Day.

“I think with something like this, no one event or no one action by a radio station, or local authority, or any other entity is going to change the date – but collectively and over time these things do gain a little bit of momentum, and it’s possibly what we’re seeing here.”

Before the decision was made, the radio station revealed it also consulted musicians, community leaders, representative groups, Triple j staff, ABC groups, and a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media, language groups, and many of the Indigenous artists featured on Triple j.

But those against the decision believe it was a move which aimed to “delegitimise” Australia Day.

Liberal MP Alex Hawke shared Minister Fifield’s concerns regarding the change of date, and said it was ‘hard to see how it can’t be interpreted as a little bit political.’

“The Government’s view is that Australia Day should continue to be held on January 26 and it’s an appropriate day to mark the good things about our history and the things that aren’t so good about our history,” he said.

Professor O’Sullivan argues that those who want the 26th of January to stay as Australia Day need to be able to show how it is inclusive of everyone, including Indigenous Australians.

“The main argument for changing the date is that it’s not inclusive, so I think to counter that, the Keep The Date people need to show how it can be inclusive, how it can be respectful of Indigenous Australians – how keeping the date can occur yet still respect the concerns that Indigenous people are expressing.”


Here is National Radio News journalist Erin Archer’s full interview with Professor Dominic O’Sullivan.

About author

earche04 72 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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