The Spoonman

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The Spoonman
Nothing Sacred, No Topic Taboo, Everything is Utterly Fair Game
Genre Talkback (With Music)
Running time 180 Minutes / 3 Hours
Country of origin Australia
Language(s) English
Home station 2MMM
Syndicates Triple M Melbourne
Triple M Brisbane
Recording studio Austereo Sydney
Opening theme Spoonman - Soundgarden

Official Podcasts

Feed-icon.svg ATFS Podcast (MA15+)

ATFS Podcast

The Spoonman was an Australian late night talk back show hosted by radio personality Brian Carlton. Carlton is known professionally as "Spoonman". On 27 November 2008, it was announced that the following episode would be the last to air on the network.

He currently has 3 separate news "rants" throughout the day on Triple M and is the news reader for the Grill Team.

The Show[edit]

The show was broadcast from the Austereo studios, Sydney and networked to Triple M stations across Australia. Slogans for the show included "No Topic Taboo" and "Everything is utterly fair game".

Listeners could contribute to the show via phone, SMS, email or online web form at the Triple M website. The show could also be heard live online, or a podcast downloaded from the Triple M website. Due to the late time slot of the show, callers were often intoxicated.

The show was also unique in being one of the only radio shows on the Commercial FM band in Australia to feature traditional talk back style programming- it competed with other late night AM band shows such as "Tony Delroy's Nightlife" on ABC Local Radio.

The Staff[edit]

The show was hosted by Brian Carlton, who called himself 'The Spoonman' on air, and occasionally featured input from the show producers and panel operators, nicknamed 'Garfield' and 'Odie'.

The Spoonman's nickname came about as a collaboration between himself and management. Inspiration for the name is claimed from the hit song Spoonman, and also from Brian's character as a "self-professed 'stirrer'". Several versions of his on-air name are frequently used by callers, including "Spoony"/"Spoonie".

It is understood that Garfield's nickname originates from an instance whereby he gave a fellow staff member a copy of the movie 'Garfield' for their child's birthday- Odie received his nickname from the name of the dog also featured in the Garfield series.

Garfield was also the producer of Dolphin Juice, a radio show that aired on Triple M Sydney on Sunday nights, on which he had a small segment reviewing the week in sport.

Broadcasting Times[edit]

Most recently, the show was broadcast between 10pm - 1am (AEST) Tuesday to Friday; but previously the show was broadcast at different times, including 8pm - 11pm Monday to Thursday, and 9pm - 12am Monday to Thursday.

Cancellation in Adelaide[edit]

On 16 November 2007, thirty minutes before the show concluded, The Spoonman announced that the show would no longer be broadcast in Adelaide, South Australia. Previously, the show was broadcast there on 104.7FM- the reason given by the station for the change was new station programming. The Spoonman later confirmed that the show would only cease broadcasting in South Australia, and would return in 2008 in 3 capital cities.

Common belief is that a timeslot reshuffle was the likely culprit of the show's cancellation in South Australia, as due to timezone differences, the show would have begun broadcasting there at 7:30PM- the material discussed on the show would have been unsuitable for that timeslot according to Australian radio broadcast laws.

Show Format[edit]

The show usually begins with Spoony discussing the major news topics and current events for the day and setting an agenda for discussion. Each show from Tuesday to Wednesday typically revolves around two or three topics. Fridays are open to any topic (see below) that a listener calls in about, SMS's, or emails to the show.

The show also includes a number of regular and semi-regular segments including Brush with Fame, Get It off Your Chest and Spoony's War on Error. (Both Spoony's War on Error and Get It off Your Chest seem to have been phased out.) Spoonie has also proclaimed himself a dreamweaver and has consequently incorporated this talent into his show as an occasional late night segment although recently, it has been phased out. Also, sometimes he will do a rant on matters that bug him, such as his war against business ties.

Friday Monster Free-for-All[edit]

Every Friday night, The Spoonman turned the show over to his listeners to talk about whatever topic they like. Although he began the show by briefly talking about the day's major news headlines, listeners are free to call in and talk about anything of their interest or concern (he stated that this was in response to the media criticism that he had complete control over the subject matter of the show on 22 May 2007[citation needed]).

It was common for topics to include anything from current events to previous topics of discussion or something going on in a caller's personal life. Callers will often raise topics near the beginning of the program which are then sometimes continued by other callers wishing to give their opinions on the matter. Spoony stresses that this was one of the most "dangerous things in talkback radio", as he hands the show completely over the listeners. It was consequently a favourite with listeners as they get to voice their opinions and views on the air.

Occasionally on other days of the week free for alls may occur. On every day during the final week of broadcast a free for all happens every night.

Brush with Fame[edit]

Brush with Fame was an occasional segment on a Tuesday night for callers to talk about their encounters with celebrities. Callers are encouraged to talk about who they met, how and where they met them, and what they were like when they met; were they nice to them, or did they give them "the brush"... hence the name of the segment. This segment, however, was not always on Tuesday night due to other topics.

Spoony's Bulging Sack[edit]

In this segment, The Spoonman reads and replies to off-topic emails and emails regarding previous topics that are received throughout the week.

Get It off Your Chest[edit]

Get It off Your Chest was an occasional segment that allows callers to call in and "confess their sins". Spoony describes the segment as "radio's most dangerous confessional". The confessions vary from caller to caller, and can vary in seriousness. Most calls are typically for minor acts, such as petty thefts (or borrowing without returning) or lies.

In one instance, a caller confessed to an elaborate lie to an ex-boyfriend about giving birth to a child of his (which was actually miscarried) and subsequently putting the child up for adoption.[1] The caller admitted to faking documentation (such as borrowing a friend's ultrasounds and photos) and that she never intends to confess the truth to him, despite losing significant sleep over it.

As of 10 July 2008, "Get it off your chest", has returned and will become a regular Thursday segment. The same night marked the first time ever on the show, where no callers had called for the topic. After Spoonman went back on air, he explained it was the first time no callers had called up. Soon after a full switchboard of callers appeared.[2]

Letters to Spoonman[edit]

This was an infrequent segment that Spoony does whenever a listener sends him a Letter to Spoonman. The letters are usually from a listener asking for advice (from both Spoony and other listeners) about a personal issue in their lives. Such issues are often about a relationship of some kind, such as an unfaithful partner or a partner caught-in-the-act of doing something unsettling, and in some cases if they feel they have been mistreated by society.

Special guests[edit]

Spoony occasionally has guests on his show. Notable guests include porn star Belladonna, Ziggy Switkowski, "Weird Al" Yankovic, 2007 Australian of the Year Dr Tim Flannery, celebrity scientist Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, Hunters and Collectors frontman, Mark Seymour and Henry Rollins.

Spoony Tune[edit]

Every night towards the end of the show, Spoony was allowed to play a song from his own personal music collection. This was called the Spoony Tune. Spoonman plays songs from many genres, many of the songs are tracks you would not normally hear on Triple M or on commercial radio in Australia at all. The list of songs can be viewed here [1] at the Triple M website.

Phased-out segments[edit]

Over the history of the radio program, several segments have been phased out.

30 Second Soap Box[edit]

This segment usually happened on a Monday night. The basis for this segment was to give the listeners 30 seconds to speak about anything without being interrupted by Spoony. However, after the 30 seconds are over, the listener was automatically cut off, regardless of their topic discussed. This segment came about after criticism that he "cuts and drones out listeners". As the listener speak without being interrupted, this makes it more dangerous than the "Free-For-All" so Spoony has set a few rules.
He can cut your call if you:

  • Break the Law
  • Break the Broadcasting Act
  • Advertise.

Cruel Quiz[edit]

The first Cruel Quiz was held on Monday, 2006-06-26[3] and had become a regular segment, which ran most nights. This quiz contained five general knowledge questions. At the beginning, 10 callers are lined up ready to play. Each caller was allowed five seconds to answer each question (known as the five-second fudge factor). The short time limit was designed to reduce the ability of a caller to quickly Google the answer. In one instance, a caller by the name of Edwin attempted to Google the Austrian capital when Spoonman heard his light typing and cut him off the line.

If a caller answered a question correctly, they moved on to the next question. If not, Spoony moved onto the next caller. The caller to answer the fifth and final question correctly won a limited edition Spoonman singlet, whose value peaked at $105 on eBay. If a caller answerd all five questions correctly, they also won a bonus pack of CDs and DVDs—this first happened on 13 February 2007.

If, by the end of the set of 10 callers, questions remained and the final question has not been asked, a new set of callers were lined up over the break. If the final question has been asked, but was not correctly answered, the quiz entered a penalty shoot out. (This was usually implemented when the show was running short on time.) In this situation, rather than lining up 10 callers, listeners were asked to keep calling and one caller was picked off the switchboard at random after the break. This was to make it fair because the listeners have time to look up the correct answer. This "Shoot out" method had rarely been used in the quiz's more recent times. On one occasion, the last question of the quiz was not answered before the show's end, so it was finished the following day.

Since its inception, the Cruel Quiz has been both praised and panned by listeners. On Tuesday, 2006-09-12, after Spoony received an SMS stating that everybody hated the quiz, he ran an e-mail and SMS poll to determine how people really felt about it. During the course of the evening, he mentioned that it was roughly a 50/50 split and that he would put the topic on the agenda for Wednesday's show. The exact results of the poll are unknown. The quiz has become an "on occasion" segment on the show, and was no longer an every night segment.

By far the most popular Cruel Quiz caller was William of Melbourne; he rings every night and almost always was the first caller through. William was lucky enough to win a free holiday to Queensland as one listener liked him so much that he deserved to be rewarded.

As of 13 December 2007 (the last show of the year) The Cruel Quiz has finished. Spoony stated live on air that the "Cruel Quiz" will not be returning in 2008.


Usually on a Wednesday night, Spoony will open up the phones and take calls from people who have recurring dreams, but are unable to work out what they mean. His job as the "dreamweaver" was to work out what the dreams mean, and suggest a way for the person to remove the dream or change the dream, when it occurs again. Spoony says that recurring dreams are usually our subconscious trying to alert us to something in our life. Spoony informs the listeners that he has had successful experience with colleagues etc. Spoony says that not being able to see the caller's body language or facial expressions when he was talking to them on the air, makes it more difficult to examine people's dreams.

Spoony's War on Error[edit]

The War on Error was dedicated to exposing errors spotted by listeners, anywhere they happen to see them. Sometimes, this will even include errors made by Spoony himself. This segment was usually run on Wednesday nights, although Spoony will occasionally mention minor errors throughout the week.


On Fridays a set of short editorials recorded by Spoony (approx. one minute each) are played throughout the day, giving his final opinion of the week's major topics. They are archived on the Triple M website for listeners to download. [2]. Spoony did not release any new editorials from the beginning of 2008 to the cancellation of the show.

The ATFS Podcast[edit]

ATFS, or After the Forking Show was a podcast only segment, introduced in 2008, which one could argue was a separate show in itself. It contained explicit content and language, so much that it cannot be broadcast over the airwaves, as it would be in breach of the broadcasting act. These rules (in Australia) need not apply to podcasts. Even still, some of the first podcast was censored out (which was Odie naming Britney Spears' genitalia a "bulldog chewing mayonnaise") In a special ATFS podcast (where Spoony was not included because he was ill), Garfield and Odie remarked that there would be no more censorship in future podcasts, confirmed by using the word cunt. This podcast revealed what was censored out of the first podcast but subsequently got taken down due to "a request from Britney's Management". The word cunt was still used in future podcasts. The topics raised are mostly things on the news and stuff going on in the guys lives, and the podcast was basically a "rant" (talk) between Spoony, Garfield and the little heard Odie. Running themes in ATFS are "Garfield's Bible Quote of the Week" and Odie's "Challenges", in which one was not to swear an entire podcast, and punishment being per profanity was to eat a banana paddle pop and lick the stick, two things he hates.

Possible ATFS Return[edit]

On 7 April 2009, Odie, the former phone operator of the Spoonman Show reported that ATFS would return, if enough fan support resulted.

The ATFS enjoyed a partial return with 2 Random Raves, including both Garfield and THE Bryan Madigan (Odie), giving fans the hope of a continued return. However, with THE Bryan Madigan leaving the M's in early 2010, it seemingly putting to rest any further hope of a return.

Biggest Fan Award[edit]

The 'Official Spoonman Fanclub' officially voted young William of Melbourne 'The Biggest Fan of the Spoonman'. He was a regular caller. Spoonman announced this on the radio 12 June 2007. After a Bad experience on a Connex Melbourne Train, a person only known as the Aldi man, gave William and his mother a free trip to the Gold Coast.

William - Missing person[edit]

William was reported as a missing person on Tuesday the 25h of August, 2008. He had left his house at 2:30 pm Monday, and It was believed he was going to the local park to kick a football, and check his savings account at an ATM in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. William has brown, curly hair, was wearing a black and red 'Holden racing team' jacket, Grey tracksuit pants with white piping, and black 'Nike' football boot. He was also carrying a yellow football.

It was announced on 28 August show that William has been found alive and well, after walking into a police station in the morning.

Controversial Comments[edit]

The show was promoted as a "controversial talk show", and Carlton freely admits that he speaks his mind and raises his opinions with much vigour. There have been occasions where his comments have created some controversy from the media and some of the show's listeners. Prominent comments of this nature are the discussion that was created on the suicide attempt of the then leader of the NSW opposition, and Spoonman's opinions expressed on the day of Steve Irwin's death.

August 2005 - John Brogden[edit]

In August 2005, he was criticised after discussing the suicide attempt of the then-leader of the NSW Opposition, John Brogden, describing the method, wrist-cutting, as 'half-arsed'.[4]

September 2006 - Steve Irwin[edit]

In September 2006, on the evening after Steve Irwin's death, he raised issues concerning Irwin's treatment of animals, criticising Irwin for regularly harassing and provoking them in his documentaries. He did however merit his contribution to animal and habitat conservation at a species level. The following day, he apologised for "putting a narrow focus" on Irwin's Death and accepting that he was incorrect in believing that Steve Irwin was not seen by many people as someone of respect or celebrity in Australia, claiming that "plenty of Aussies thought he was just a wanker". He came to the conclusion that he was incorrect for saying these comments the following day after he received hundreds of emails and SMSes in fact showing the opposite ideals. He allowed callers to speak their mind about Irwin on this second night.

Nationwide Cancellation of Show[edit]

On 26 November 2008, Spoonman announced his retirement from presenting "Late Night with the Spoonman" on Triple M. Triple M executives stated that the axing of the show was a result of a re-direction of resources to breakfast shows and Spoony's slot would no longer receive resources. The new direction of Sydney's Triple M may have been a factor in the decision to cancel the show also.

2009 - Present, Return to MMM[edit]

He was reading the weekday news from 10am-3pm (from 2009 to 2010) on Triple M Sydney and also doing editorials on the hour which are available for download from the Triple M website and iTunes.

From 2009 to 2010, Spoonman was a regular contributor on Ugly Phil's night show.

He is currently reading the news on Triple M's Sydney breakfast show "The Grill Team"

On 4 October 2012 Spoonman announced on Twitter that his contract with Triple M would not be renewed for 2013


External links[edit]