Dobson quashes Kyle and Jackie O rumours: “that ship has sailed”

By Sarah Homewood and Rachael Micallef | 7 July 2015

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) executive director metropolitan operations Guy Dobson has put an end to rumours that the station will look to poach former station talent, Kyle and Jackie O. Dobson said the duo won't be coming back to its fold noting that for the pair, SCA is a ship that has left the harbour.

The rumours, which emerged from The Daily Telegraph suggested that SCA, which used to have the duo on its Sydney 104.1 station, and the pair's current employers Australian Radio Network (ARN), owners of Kiis, were in a bidding war to retain the top FM radio breakfast duo.

Dobson dispelled rumours that SCA would take Kyle and Jackie O back, instead pointing to its strategy for its embattled hit 104.1 station in Sydney. He said it has finally started showing “green shoots”, with its breakfast duo Dan and Maz recording its first growth after consecutive drops in the GfK radio ratings.

He also pointed to the result of its Triple M station breakfast show – which hit 8.1% audience share compared to Kiis' 8.6% audience share – as another reason why it wouldn’t poach its rivals.

“We haven't spoken to them [Kyle and Jackie O],” Dobson told AdNews. “The ship has sailed the harbour. We're out in the open seas.”

“I think the highlights for us this morning … is the slow incremental growth, but growth none the less across 2Day with our new format and our breakfast show growing on the hit network.”

The network also welcomed back Hamish and Andy on Monday into the national drive slot across the Today's Hit network.

The marketing campaign for the pair used the tag line “Starting July 13 but secretly starting a week earlier” which Dobson said was a strategy to allow the pair to “clean up the cobwebs” during the metro survey break.

But Dobson said there are still some points that the station wants to improve on with its Sydney breakfast show.

“I think for Sydney they've got to endear themselves to the audience – and not just niche audience but a broader audience than the target demographic themselves,” Dobson said.

“They've got to learn the attributes of what makes a great breakfast show, and it's very different to the attributes of a great drive show, which can be more generic in nature.”

“So there is a lot of stuff we're working with on a day to day basis to get better at.”

He said that now that Hamish and Andy are on the national drive show, Dan and Maz, who had a nationally syndicated drive show used until Hamish and Andy's return, will be able to focus on their breakfast show instead.

Also in today's ratings, network Nova Entertainment faired well across the group with the business touting it's the most listened to metro network in Australia with a cumulative audience 3.2 million. It has a lead of 244,000 thousand over the nearest competitor.

Paul Jackson group programme director for Nova Entertainment told AdNews that it was a survey where while their wasn’t much movement in terms of growth, only one station experienced an audience drop.

“Only one station went down this survey, when you're coming from an already strong position you can't expect to see huge growth each survey,” Jackson said.

One area which Nova has always excelled in is the coveted drive slot and with Hamish and Andy rejoining the sphere, Jackson is more of the view that more conversation around the medium of radio is good for all players.

“There's never been a more exciting time to be in radio, it's never been more talked about. Hamish and Andy will be a strong show in the market and you could see a situation where it's one, two, three in the drive space, they will have a really strong drive show, but that's not to say that it will be any stronger than the show we have in market,” he said.

ARN had a mixed result, with its Kiis breakfast pairing – Kyle and Jackie O – dropping in the period, but still retaining its top FM breakfast rating in Sydney. Its national drive show of Hughesy and Kate also dropped slightly in the Sydney drive ratings but saw a boost in Melbourne.

ARN national content director Duncan Campbell said what is important is that ARN continued to be “consistently strong.”

“The big thing for me is that we're seeing a consistently strong result. We're not talking about one off increases here, we're talking about consistently strong numbers,” Campbell said.

Its very easy to highlight the ones offs and there will always will be these but I think what media buyers look for and what clients look for and in terms of the network ARN has been delivering those for over 12 months.”

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