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    ‘This show will work’: ARN chief Ciaran Davis’s low-risk decision to network Kyle and Jackie O

    Ciaran Davis started running ARN in 2010. A few years passed before the chief executive secured what is now Australia’s #1 FM breakfast show – Kyle and Jackie O – for the rebranded Sydney FM station KIIS 106.5.

    On Monday April 29, he flicks the switch on a networked breakfast show. Once upon a time radio executives shuddered at the mention of networking breakfast. Not anymore.

    In addition to KIIS networking breakfast, Christian O’Connell is expected to be broadcasting into Melbourne and Sydney soon if he moves to Triple M.

    So far in the past 12 months, Davis has signed a contract to boost the already huge salary of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson. He’s also overseen a bid by ARN Media and partner Anchorage Capital for control of SCA. The networking of KIIS Sydney breakfast is probably the least risky of his recent decisions.

    ‘This show will work’: ARN chief Ciaran Davis’s low-risk decision to network Kyle and Jackie O

    ARN chief executive Ciaran Davis, Jackie O, Kyle Sandilands, and ARN content director Duncan Campbell

    Signing Kyle and Jackie a decade ago

    Speaking just days before the launch of Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne, Davis reminded Mediaweek that when he arrived at ARN it was a JV with Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) and APN News and Media.

    “There was an opportunity to refocus the success of the network by having a content-led strategy,” said Davis. “We wanted to drive bigger audiences and commercialise them better. There were many different formats tried and many different music positions tried.

    “At the end of the day, talent drives ratings on radio stations. Kyle and Jackie are known all over the world as one of the best breakfast shows in the world.

    “Having Kyle and Jackie on the network had huge appeal and was a priority for us.”

    Networking that breakfast duo is not a new idea. Davis explained: “Kyle has been keen to get the show into all markets since 2013.

    “With the advent of digital listening and its distribution, the awareness of what The Kyle and Jackie O Show does beyond Sydney is growing all the time. The success of the show on iHeartRadio and the national Hour of Power, plus podcasting, gave us proof points around their ability in other markets.

    “It is not a Sydney-centric show. It’s an entertainment show that would appeal to audiences anywhere in the world.”

    How long before ARN can run this graphic in Melbourne?

    K&J: Self-generating publicity machine

    The hosts plenty of stories from almost every show. Davis explained: “It’s the most-talked-about radio show in Melbourne this year and it’s not even on air. They are a magnificent PR-generating machine. But there is substance behind that as well.

    “They have demonstrated over the past 25 years their chemistry and their appeal as a brand. The show creates great content and generates new and younger audiences as the years go on. They have a finger on the pulse of what a lot of people want to listen to on breakfast radio.”

    See also: Will Kyle and Jackie O create a Melbourne storm?

    Ciaran Davis on controversial content

    “The show’s most controversial subject matter often attracts the most significant coverage. What we have been doing in Melbourne ahead of the launch is help change the perception that a Melbourne audience who aren’t listeners might have. That could come from what they have read about the show, not what they have heard.

    “We are asking the audience to evaluate what makes the show so popular. We want to drive the curiosity factor and have them make up their own minds.

    “There have been a lot of promos around the show’s Give Back segments and entertainment content they have done. They are being played as promos in Melbourne.

    “Already we are getting feedback from listeners in research that the show is a good listen. They say it is not at all what they thought it was.

    “The marketing we are rolling out will be about listeners making up their own mind.”

    Commercial upside

    “The value of the Melbourne radio market is now bigger than Sydney,” Davis pointed out. “Even year-to-date it is performing better than Sydney. Despite all our best efforts of trying to make a successful breakfast show down there, we have ranked around five or six. That does impact our commercial share.

    “This show will work. It’s a question of how long. When it works our commercial share ranking will improve to be #1 or #2 alongside Christian O’Connell.

    “We have a contract where there is a commercial uplift for the hosts based on our revenue success. We will be able to provide advertisers with a much more integrated offering across the two biggest markets in Australia.

    “Advertisers are now looking for more than just spots and coverage. They want native content and integration. We have our key talent incentivised to work with commercial partners to make sure the campaigns we do work and drive results.

    See also: ARN radio boss Ciaran Davis on Kyle, Jackie and Christian: Contracts, competition, networking, and risk

    Ad dollars already changing hands

    There have already been some commercial wins for KIIS 101.1.

    “Chemist Warehouse have come on board for the show as soon as we announced both markets.” Davis said ARN has done a number of advertiser upfronts ahead of the April 29 launch.

    We are seeing good revenue already. It’s not as if the clients are sitting and waiting. There is a level of anticipation and a level of excitement. Advertisers are leaning into the commercial opportunities and have been very engaged about what more we could do with them.”

    Networking means format changes

    A show that runs to its own timetable every day poses a few challenges for the broadcaster when it comes to networking. “Kyle and Jackie have control of the show and the ad breaks and where they go,” said Davis. “We have had to put a little more structure around the show. We will be running two ad logs from Monday so there needs to be a little more discipline around when the ads can play. There will still be flexibility, but we need to ensure we run the ad breaks correctly.

    “Because ARN is networking from 10am, the show has to end at that time. Some days Kyle and Jackie might keep going to 11am or later. We need a little more discipline, but making sure it doesn’t impact the flow and the quality of the show.”

    Mediaweek metro radio ratings coverage: Every station, every market, every survey

    The post ‘This show will work’: ARN chief Ciaran Davis’s low-risk decision to network Kyle and Jackie O appeared first on Mediaweek.

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