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    Kyle & Jackie O’s Melbourne expansion due to rival SCA’s offer of national show

    The plan for Kyle & Jackie O‘s expansion to Melbourne was hatched in response to the duo’s former employer, Southern Cross Austereo, promising them a national show if they defected from ARN to return to SCA.

    Sandilands and Henderson began broadcasting in Melbourne this morning, but the city is just “the first cab off the rank” as part of wider expansion plans, the radio hosts told Mediaweek.

    “SCA offered it to us – they said ‘Come over here, come back here to us and we’ll give you a full national show’. Every station we’ve got, you’ll be on breakfast. That was very desirable to me and to Jackie, that’s a big jump,” Sandilands said, speaking to Mediaweek in the duo’s new North Sydney studios.

    “We told our current employers [ARN], ‘Hey, they’ve reached out and offered us everything we’ve ever wanted and a huge amount of cash’. We knew that we didn’t really want to leave, so we were hoping that they would match it and roll out their own national plan. Melbourne is the first cab off the rank.”

    In a statement to Mediaweek, SCA chief content officer, Dave Cameron, said that while, “we never discuss the nature of any talent contractual conversations”, the breakfast team on Fox “are on long-term Melbourne breakfast show agreements that have been in place for a while, and our ongoing firm commitment to this show has always been and remains unwavering.”

    The genesis of Kyle and Jackie O’s move into Melbourne came in July last year, when news swept the industry that SCA had been pursuing a deal with the duo in an attempt to bring them back to the network they left in 2014. Three months later, ARN Media and Anchorage Capital revealed their takeover bid for SCA.

    In November, the pair signed a monster $200m, 10 year deal with ARN, which resulted in Jase & Lauren being booted from the Melbourne breakfast slot to clear it for Kyle & Jackie O.

    The lead-up to Melbourne: ‘”Why don’t you go and ride the trams?” I said that’s ridiculous’

    “We feel good, we’re excited. It feels like a long time coming, even I didn’t realise it was going to be this long,” Henderson said, referring to the fact that there has been speculation about the show’s Melbourne launch date since January.

    A building move and some staff changes pushed back the start date, but that hasn’t put a dampener on today’s debut.

    “We wanted to make sure we were ready for it – but we are now,” she added.

    ARN has been on a promotions blitz in the lead-up, which has included Guy Sebastian and Sam Fischer singing in Flinders Street Station. It purposefully hasn’t included the pair sipping lattes by the Yarra, or being spotted riding a tram. 

    “They wanted us to do all these things. They said, ‘Why don’t you go and ride the trams and be seen drinking coffee in Chapel Street?’ I said that’s ridiculous – everyone knows where Melbourne is. We’ve all been there 1000 times, it’s just expanding the footprint of the show,” Sandilands said.

    “We could have done some big things, but I don’t want the people in Sydney to think all the fun is happening in Melbourne. We want everyone to feel included, both the Sydney audience, the Melbourne audience, and towards the end of the year, other markets as well.”


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    A post shared by Kyle and Jackie O (@kyleandjackieo)


    The Melbourne market: ‘It’s really anyone’s game’

    The Melbourne radio market has experienced some major swings in recent surveys, particularly for the FM stations. In the most recent results, Fox breakfast team FifiFev and Nick scraped back ahead of Gold to get the #1 FM breakfast spot, after losing it in survey one. Kyle & Jackie O will inherit a 6.4% share in breakfast.

    Instead of concern around what this will mean for a new show in the market, the duo is embracing the movement.

    “There’s no clear winner in Melbourne, everyone swaps every survey,” Sandilands said. “To me, that means no one’s rusted on. There are no super fans of any particular show, so it’s really anyone’s game down there.”

    Henderson agreed: “They don’t have that massive loyalty, and that makes it interesting because it’s anyone’s game all the time. But at the same time, when you’re number one you can just as easily lose it the next time and no one bats an eyelid.”

    Their boss, ARN CEO Ciaran Davis, told Mediaweek in an interview last week that: “The value of the Melbourne radio market is now bigger than Sydney.

    “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.”

    While this is the first time Kyle & Jackie O will be broadcasting at breakfast in Melbourne, it’s far from the first time they’ve been on the Victorian airwaves, which also boosts their confidence.

    “Every time we’ve been in Melbourne, we’ve rated very well – in the Hot 30 days and the National Drive days,” Sandilands said.

    “Everyone keeps asking how Melbourne will listen to a Sydney show, but it’s been going on with Triple J, Sunrise, and the Today Show since the beginning of time, and no one ever cared.”

    The strategy for winning over the city is simply to give listeners the show as it is, and trust that those who want to will embrace it; as Sandilands put it, “Some will love it, some won’t like it, but they’re losers anyway so I don’t care about them.”

    When asked what about the show will resonate in Melbourne, the pair pointed to the fact that their show is “offering something really different” to the city.

    “It’ll be something they’ve never heard before,” Henderson said.

    “For instance, we talk a hell of a lot longer than all the other shows do, our breaks can run for a good 25 minutes sometimes. It takes some people 25 minutes to drive to work, but on another station, they’ve heard two talk breaks, two ad breaks, and a song – they’re not getting a lot of content, to be honest. That gives our show a real point of difference from everyone else’s. 

    “The things we talk about, we’re not a conservative show and it’s not predictable. I think that will be refreshing for people in Melbourne.”

    ‘Staying alive’: Counting success

    Neither Sandilands nor Henderson have specific numbers in mind when they assess what will count as success in Melbourne. For Sandilands, “success for me is just staying alive and getting on with Jackie for as long as possible. I don’t think that’s ever going to be an issue.” 

    Henderson added: “As long as we still love what we’re doing and we’re having fun every day, that is success for us. Obviously, it’d be nice to do really well in Melbourne, that would be icing on the cake.

    “We’ll just let it play out – you can’t predict these things, so we’ll just ride with it and see what happens.”

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

    Top image: Kyle & Jackie O

    The post Kyle & Jackie O’s Melbourne expansion due to rival SCA’s offer of national show appeared first on Mediaweek.

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