Adelaide radio stars Jodie and Soda share secrets of breakfast success

‘We have had some serious conflict… once Jodie walked out at 8.30am and didn’t come back.’

Mix 102.3’s Jodie and Soda share a trait similar to many successful breakfast radio shows. They aren’t big fans of air checks and they try to get away from work as soon as possible each day after their Adelaide Mix program.

“Quite often we find it is actually nice to live your life so you have things to talk about on air,” Jodie Oddy told Mediaweek.

Mark ‘Soda’ Soderstrom, aka Soda, told Mediaweek there is not much incentive to stay close to the studio. “It has no windows that look outside. We feel a little like bats in there. To get out and see some sunlight is important to keep us alive.”

The Jodie and Soda partnership is in its fifth year, although Jodie Oddy has been with the broadcaster for 11 years.

Sounding genuinely impressed, Soda chipped in: “Eleven years, that is astounding. I don’t know how many people would have been in FM breakfast for that long.”

That amount of service to an FM broadcaster would put Oddy in an elite club.

The ARN Adelaide station was the biggest improver across all the metro markets in GfK survey 1 this year. Its share 10+ grew 3.8 to 16.1%. While breakfast jumped an impressive 3.3 to 15.1%, the rest of the station boomed too with morning up 5.2 and afternoon, get this, up 6.0.

Adelaide content director Sue Carter (see Mediaweek tomorrow for more) is a big part of the success and ARN is now utilising her talents with a move to Melbourne.

MOREAfter Mix Adelaide explodes to 16% share, ARN moves content guru Sue Carter to Gold

Soda described his relationship with Jodie as “a bit brother and sistery”.

He added: “We will rip into each other and have digs but, when we need to stand up for each other, we do it straight away to defend them in a serious situation.”

Jodie: “In my experience the best partnerships are the ones where you have complete and total trust in each other. Knowing you have the full support of somebody is one of the secrets to doing well.”

Soda: “Sometimes I have to look at Jodie to know how far to push on a particular subject. We have had some serious conflict like you would have in a sibling relationship. There have been occasions where both of us have walked out on each other.

“Once last year Jodie walked out about 8.30am so I had to fill the show for the last 30 minutes. She walked down the street and didn’t return to work.”

As to special looks or signs they give to each other during a segment, Jodie said: “There is a middle finger.” Soda: “We are not afraid to give each other the bird. You get to read each other’s personality whether it be a look or a tone of voice. I know very well when I am about to be in trouble.”

The Adelaide breakfast show seems to cater to its audience well, not filling listeners’ lives with more discussion about topics they are well aware of, but having fun and taking a different angle on news stories.

Jodie: “It is not telling people we feel blah, blah, blah, blah… it is adding to conversations that are already under way.”

Soda: “We try to be mindful about who is listening and at what time. You can still give adults a chuckle without triggering kids to ask them what that means. We try to keep the content light and we take the P155 a bit.”

The serious side of the show is the awareness the program can make a significant difference for people in the community doing it tougher than others.

Soda: “We try to help people as much as we can.”

One recent example of that was making a dream come true for eight-year-old Alex Tann, who suffers from brain cancer that has taken away his sight. The Mix breakfast show gave him the chance to become a firefighter and along the way he also got to meet three of the city’s high-profile footballers.

The day included a simulcast with Penbo and Will from Fiveaa breakfast and drew a crowd of several thousand into the city centre.

Jodie and Soda make Alex’s day (credit: Meaghan Coles)

Jodie: “I have to credit my colleague Soda for this because he used some of his plentiful contacts with important people in this town to make that work.”

Despite the fierce competition between the Adelaide broadcasters, the Mix hosts said they were thankful Fiveaa got involved.

And after the recent Mix ratings results, the Fiveaa duo sent a congratulatory note to their rivals.

Soda: “Penbo took credit for it, saying a couple of points were added because he appeared on our show. There is a nice friendship amongst a lot of the people in this industry.”

He added they were welcome on their Mix show any time. “Except if they beat us in the ratings – then they can get stuffed.”

Both broadcasters are keen to see the ratings results every survey. “We are both very competitive humans,” said Jodie. “It is a lot easier to get up at 4.30am when things are going well.”

Soda: “It is the only measure of success we have outside some feedback from the bosses.”

After hours, Soda noted Jodie has lunch “with the girls” every day, while Jodie said, “He never shuts up. He’s on the phone 24/7 and constantly losing his voice, which does my head in.”

Soda: “I am very, very lucky because Jodie gave me the opportunity to join her on the show a few years ago. Occasionally I had done a bit of work with Triple M. Because I was so bust working for Seven I never had any great desire for a radio career too. Now that it has happened I am so grateful and it has opened up a whole new world for me.”

The duo motivate each other when needed. “We rely on each other to get back to where we should be,” said Jodie. “It is like a marriage in that you have to work at it with trust and respect.”

Soda: “We have had some really decent blues.”

Jodie: “And I was right in all of them.”

Soda: “There would have been occasions in the past four years where we both would have considered not continuing. We both have other work commitments and we both have three kids, which keeps us busy. There have been some fiery moments, even more great moments and we have a fantastic job that also lets us help other people.”

Jodie: “We have fun, but the best stuff is really helping other people.”

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