2DayFM shake-up: "they're going nowhere" says rival

By Sarah Homewood and Rachael Micallef | 10 November 2015

Southern Cross Austereo's 2DayFM has launched its third breakfast show in as many years, but radio rivals aren't bracing themselves for a fight, with Nova's Paul Jackson saying SCA has “blown the whole thing up”, warning the moves will be its downfall.

The embattled 2Day network launched its latest attempt at shaking up the breakfast market yesterday, with Sam Frost and Rove taking to the airwaves.

However, its competition isn't concerned. Group program director for Nova Entertainment, Paul Jackson, told AdNews if the network can withstand Hamish and Andy they can hold strong against anything. He said that some change can be a good thing, but not the amount 2DayFM has implemented.

“Everybody needs to change at some time otherwise you become stagnant. It depends where you are in your cycle, but if you're talking about 2DayFM then all they've done is they’ve blown the whole thing up,” he said.

“They've changed the name, they've changed it back, they've changed the presenters, they’ve changed them again, therefore they're going to go nowhere.”

While reception after day one has been mixed, SCA chief content officer, Guy Dobson, told AdNews he thinks the new show is “exceptional” given that it's only two days in.

“I've started great breakfast shows in the past that have sounded much worse from day one,” Dobson revealed.

“There is a lot of stuff to fix, but it's surface stuff, in terms of style and nerves. There is nothing there we need to worry about. The chemistry is great and once those guys get in a rhythm and a routine we'll have a really, really good show in Sydney.”

Once Sydney breakfast is strong, Dobson said he expects Hamish and Andy to see a boost in results in the market as well. The duo, largely hailed as saviours for the station, dropped 1.2 percentage points in Sydney this survey, landing on 5.6 % audience share.

“If you look at breakfast at the moment it's on 2.9% and drive is nearly double the breakfast figure,” Dobson said. “We just need to get breakfast right. Everything else about 2DayFM is perfect. We have a great environment for clients, we have a really good music product and we have a great drive show. It's just breakfast and we've gone to great lengths to fix that with a new show.”

As a case in point, Dobson pointed to Hamish and Andy's result in Melbourne, which has seen it top the drive ratings in two surveys on 12.6% audience share, which he said is related to Melbourne's strong breakfast show, Fifi and Dave.

Australian Radio Network (ARN) national content director, Duncan Campbell, said Hamish and Andy are a threat in Melbourne but he doesn't expect the Sydney changes to make waves.

“In Sydney, I don't see Hamish and Andy as a threat at all and I’ll be quite bullish on that,” he said. “It comes down to strategy and 2Day putting that breakfast show on the air as early as a they did is a major mistake.

“Melbourne is Hamish and Andy's strong market but they've fallen away a little bit - same in Adelaide and in Perth. So you could argue that nationally, Hamish and Andy have pretty much peaked.”

Jackson also believes that in the Sydney drive slot people gave Hamish and Andy a go, but then switched back to Nova. Hamish and Andy fell in Sydney by 1.2 percentage points, with Nova's drive team gaining 1.1 percentage points this survey.

“When you spend millions and millions marketing a radio show people are going to go and try it, but the fact is not nearly enough people went to try it, and the many that did ... after a few weeks have come back to us.”

Another station in the Nova Entertainment stable, Smooth, rose to the top of the book in Sydney, however it has now been pipped at the post by Kiis FM by 0.3 percentage points, however Jackson sees that number as within the margin of error.

“These stations are neck and neck really. Smooth is as well placed now as it was in previous books. If you'd said to me on previous surveys, would I take 0.3 off the top, I’d say 'absolutely yes'," he said.

However, Campbell says the numbers point to ARN's consistency as a network, which he said is a compelling factor for media buyers and advertisers.

In 2016, he said being a consistent network in a market in flux is going to be increasingly important for ARN. But he added that replicating the success ARN's Kiis station has had in Sydney in Melbourne is key among its priorities.

SCA is leading the pack in Melbourne with both its Triple M station and Fox FM holding strong in FM breakfast.

Campbell said to reboot Melbourne there is a music tweak on the cards off the back of some major market research along with an internal restructure to make sure its delivering on its strategy.

“I don't hide from the fact that Kiis in Melbourne has had a weak year,” Campbell said. “It's been a disappointing result, but it will be a very exciting year for us next year.

“If we can get Melbourne firing in 2016 that is one of the final pieces of the puzzle for us.”

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