Tiny Tina Arena calls consumer radio ‘ageist’ says she is ostracised: Do you agree? 256



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We remember Tina Arena best as Tiny Tina from Young Talent Time right back in 1976.  In her first appearance she sang “Ring Ring” by Abba and she has had a mighty fine career since.  And this week, while receiving her welcome to the ARIA Hall of Fame on Thursday our 40 year-experienced star, now 48 years old took a stab at the music and radio industry  for its ageism and we think it is worthy of a conversation.

When did radio stations stop playing the legends and superstars we all have known forever in favour of one-time popstars to the point that they have to kick publicly when receiving on of our pre-eminent awards in music.  Do you think music and radio is ageist?

‘Why is it about our age and looks? There’s a big difference between a young lady of twenty years of age and a woman in her forties who has something to say,” said Tina on the red carpet.

‘What I have struggled with is the complete ostracism of a woman at a certain age. You need to be proud of your age, man or woman.’

Kylie Minogue, just a year younger than her at 47, presented Tina with the hall of fame award, and she did not hesitate to draw attention to the other older women “Over 40” and “still in the game” nodding at Kylie, and mentioning others like Annie Lennox and Madonna as testimonials.

She indicated that she wanted to make the most of her remaining career, and the opportunity to call out the industry.

‘Ladies over 40 are still in the game.

‘Keep doing what you’re doing, ladies, because we will decide when it is time for us to stop.

‘I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just trying to make the most of it.’

The crowd at the ARIAs was very supportive of her cries, and she aligned it with a desire to get radio to be more supportive of Australian music, regardless of the age of the performer.  It implies she has been having some difficulty getting her music to air.

‘Continue to support Australian music on the quality of the song and not the age of artist,’ she asked.

‘…don’t meet your Australian quotas because you have to. Exceed them because you want to.’

The Daily Mail reported that later in the media room Tina said she did believe commercial radio stations were ‘ageist’.

‘I do believe radio has been a bit ageist,’ she said.

‘Who decides in radio a woman at a certain point in her life no longer becomes valuable? Why shouldn’t she be allowed the platform to be able to express what it is that she has to say.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. You are a beautiful lady with a voice second to none but you really have to get over it Tina.

    1 REPLY
    • When was the last time you heard her on the radio? Most stations play old American or English stuff – never support local talent. She’s telling it like it is.

  2. Brilliant Tina. Spot on!! I will always listen to you. You are an inspiration. You have echoed the same protest as a lot of older women in the music and film industry. You have earned your spot and I, for one, will keep listening to you. More power to you. You are fabulous!

  3. I have no idea if they are ageist or not but they will play what the kids want now, just like in fashion , music changes and if you don’t keep up with current trends you are left behind

    5 REPLY
    • True. But we seem to be living in a youth driven world. I would rather watch Tina perform rather than youngsters gyrating with their bottoms calling it dancing. I love Tina and think she is ‘spot-on’. Place for youngsters but place for talented wise oldies too. She carries an important message.

    • Merran Heather Brown even in our day it was the kids who pay huge amounts for cd’s and Itunes that is why the market is aimed at them

    • Australia radio has never supported its own to the extent that it should. When was the last time you heard a Kasey Chambers on the radio – or Graeme Connors? Australia has great talent and even the ‘mainstream ‘ stations play old international stuff in front of Australian artists.

    • I am happy with most music, but I not running a radio station, I am assuming they are in it for the ratings and the dollars that are to be made. Kid spend the big dollars on music,so I suppose they chase what the kids want to hear

  4. Well said Tina. Radio ( as far as promoting and playing music) is geared to the the teenagers and twenty year olds. Why? Cause they buy the music. The radio and promoters etc are out to make money so it isnt a case of quality music etc but what sells to the market that has the most disposable income. Added to that is seems if you are female then you are on the scrap heap earlier. Its the same with fashion industry.. It seems you are not important once you reach a certain age . So sad. There is so much talent and experience in the “older” generation. Pity that those advertising and promoting havent realised that the over 40 generation are the ones with the most disposable income. Children gone ( or nearly) home paid for ( or nearly) .usually 2 incomes saving for retirement and travel. Time ( and money) to spend on themselves……

    3 REPLY
  5. No I don’t agree. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder since she was a kid. Get over it. When she lived in France she did the same thing. I think she might suffer from depression. She blames the world because life didn’t turn out the way she wanted. Welcome to the real world, nothing is easy in this life!

    23 REPLY
    • Baloney. She says it like it is. To say she has a chip on her shoulders since she was a kid is balderdash. Her life has turned out pretty well I reckon. She said so herself. What more could she want. She has everything and has expressed her gratitude for what she has. She is not fearful of speaking up for equality for women just as Meryl Streep did. We can of course disagree I am not here to change your view merely to say I cant see how you can come to that conclusion.

    • Merran Heather Brown Correct. IMO the Australian scene appeared incapable of handling more than one pop star at a time. You were either in Molly’s group or out of it.

    • Tina has always been hard working and has had to fight to keep where she is. A wonderful performer and tells it like it is.

    • She can’t blame being 40 is the reason women’s songs aren’t being played it’s probably because the songs aren’t good enough just because you had hit songs in the past doesn’t mean all your songs are good

    • Get your facts right. She’s been top or near the top in France and Italy for decades. She is adored over there. Australian radio has a LOT to answer for when it comes to home grown talent. Take Air Supply for instance. They had more number one hits in the states than almost any of their contemporaries, yet they were never payed in Australian radio. Too “smaltsy “. Vested interests in radio here.

    • Martin. Can’t agree more. They love her in Europe. She has had a wonderful career. She is hilighting something important here in OZ. We should listen rather than can her.

    • I agree she has had the attitude ” poor me for soo long” – u never hear the others going on like she does – her music and attitude aren’t for everyone so be it – get over it and move on and not use the Arias for ur big bang whinge – ageing is inevitable but dont blame music media for the fact we all know age changes things- Fleetwood Mac has two mature age women who are still amazing always were but u never hear them saying this stuff- they get in with it and do an amazing job at whatever age – its all in the mind and personality – some say poor me others say look at me – negative or positive – she has always come across as the poor me type – fact

    • “Fact” in your mind. I’m sure you wouldn’t even have clue as to where she now lives even. Entitled to your opinion but “fact”. Educate yourself first.

    • What rubbish she had a huge career overseas just Australia that ignored her never seen evidence of a chip.

    • Martin Harrington, I remember back in their day reading an American interview with Air Supply, & they said Australia women were all rough stuff, considering most of their music was aimed more at the womens market I’d say that had a lot to do with a lack of success here in Australia, I remember after reading the interview I never had much interest in any of their music after that.

    • I knew the guys very well, in fact I was the recording engineer in their album that made them stars in the US. that interview would have been fabricated, knowing them as I did.

    • Have a look at youtube tina arena singing Vanina – then you will see how the French love her. FABULOUS. Now that – is talent. WOW.

    • I just saw a red carpet interview with her. The inane, juvenile questions the “showbiz” reporter put to her. Well. She handled it like a pro. Which she is. Classy lady.

    • If she has a chip she certainly has every reason to. I don’t believe she has. The truth is we turned our backs on her not her on us.

    • You Anne Lambrinidis seem to have no idea of what the music industry does in this country. You probably swallow all the rubbish and made up stories Xfactor the Voice etc push down Aussie throats all due to Sony.

    • I don’t think she has a chip on her shoulders at all. I think that people who say she has must be watching someone else. I agree with Martin. She is one classy lady. We could all learn a lot from her: style plus.

    • You have lost the plot
      If you are over 25 and female you are considered to be past it. That’s the reality. Tina Arena is one of our best. I nevet hear her music on mainstream radio
      Such an injustice.

  6. She has a point…..young DJ’s promoting young talent…..they do forget older tastes however us olds must remember that honey catches more flies than vinegar…..be careful wording criticism in this day and age

  7. I don’t know – people like Kylie and Annie Lennox seem to be doing ok. I’ve never been that big a fan of Tina though. I don’t mind some of her music, but I’d never go to a concert, or buy an album. She’s probably right about radio, but who listens to radio now anyway?

    4 REPLY
    • You’d be surprised if you went to a concert she’s fantastic. I was asked a few years ago and thought ‘why not’ thinking I liked a bit of her music but may not be fussed with most. Totally surprised- and funny, beautiful as well. Made me re think – was I just taking this talent for granted? She’s always worked really hard & the media has sometimes given her a rough trot.

    • She has never stood out from the crowd for me. There are far better singers out there who have not had half her success. They’ve worked just as hard, but never got that lucky break that everyone needs in the entertainment industry. I thought The Veronica’s and Jessica Mauboy out sang her in Chains on the night – but each to their own.

    • I haven’t listened to the radio in twenty years. Hate the announcers, most can’t even speak properly and the music …. what music.

    • I saw her in concert last year and going again in February. Her concerts are absolutely brilliant – first class!

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