There was fighting talk from Southern Cross Austereo last night at the launch party for Hamish and Andy's return to the air, as newly installed CEO Grant Blackley pledged to reinstate the network to number one.
“As you know Hamish and Andy are rock stars … when they were on drive time a short period ago – they were delivering two million listeners and it was Australia's most successful radio show, so we're delighted to have them back at SCA,” he said.
Blackley also gave praise to the rest of SCA's “outstanding” on-air talent for the network’s performance in last weeks ratings survey period which saw 10 performances that all improved, and a gain of 200,000 listeners bringing its combined audience to 4.3 million listeners across metro cities, calling it an “outstanding effort”.
The most important thing through the results he said was the network's delivery on “two key milestones” - the 18 – 49 demo and the 25 – 54s.
“What we're going to do is make sure that we deliver more often in the number one slot. We will be number one in every slot that we deem appropriate. It may take us a little while in some cases, but that's our goal. We have a determined effort in everything that we do – and we'll do it with priority and on a consistent basis so you can rely on us,” he said.
“I think it's a very exciting company with extremely good assets, brand and momentum, hopefully we can make it a little bit more in the future, it's a strong and vibrant business and my role is to make it a great business. My priority is to let the organisation achieve those goals.”
SCA is hoping that Hamish and Andy's return will lay a foundation to revive the network, although Australian Radio Network (ARN) CEO Ciaran Davis suggested the duo will not be “the silver bullet” SCA believes.
Media buyers at the launch event yesterday were also unconvinced that Hamish and Andy will have advertisers rethink the network – although one said it will help improve the network’s performance.
Blackley, former CEO of Network Ten, was named CEO in May as Rhys Holleran's replacement. At the time it was speculated that his appointment could signal a shake up of management roles at the network, as well as on-air talent. At the time, he told AdNews he would be reviewing every department and agency relationship. Read the interview here.
To celebrate their return to the air, the network fired Andy out of a cannon, at a launch party for listeners yesterday.
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