The timing is not brilliant, but SCA is proceeding with plans it has been working on to refresh regional breakfast shows on the Hit Network in New South Wales and Queensland.
The Hit Network breakfast shows impacted are Gosford’s Maz and Matty, Gold Coast’s Bianca, Ben & Lakey, Newcastle’s Nick, Jess & Ducko and Townsville’s Cliffo & Bronte.
There has been little revealed yet as to what will replace these shows. There is speculation that SCA could have a single regional breakfast show for NSW and Queensland, broadcasting out of Newcastle and Gold Coast respectively.
The regional move comes at a bad time for SCA. Corporate raider Anchorage Capital is hoping to gain control of SCA’s Hit Network stations as part of the bid involving ARN, and would presumably be looking for ways to cut costs. Broadcasters and staff impacted by these moves from SCA could be forgiven for thinking the future might be bleak regardless of who is running the business.
A spokesperson for SCA provided Mediaweek with the following statement:
SCA Head of Regional Content, Blair Woodcock, announced today there will be a new breakfast line up for 2024 on 90.9 Sea FM.
After returning to the Gold Coast earlier this year and joining the breakfast team, Danny Lakey will usher in 2024 with a new radio partner with an announcement soon.
Current breakfast hosts Bianca Dye and Ben Hannant will not return in the new year, opting to focus on new pathways.
“Ben and Bianca have always gone the extra mile and have even put themselves on the line to help community groups and individuals up and down the coast with their generous nature and positive energy, and they’ll be missed from the speakers in 2024. We are set for an exciting time as we plan the new show that will be waking up in this amazing part of the world,” said Woodcock.
Bianca Dye was not on air today, with Ben & Lakey hosting.
The moves first became public last week as the last Maz and Matty Show went out on Sea FM in Gosford. The fans of the Hit breakfast show heard Maz Compton and Matt Baseley farewell their audience. Their combined 19,000 Instagram followers also saw farewells from both hosts.
Writing about the decision to axe the show, Baseley said: “The powers that be have decided that our show won’t be coming back in 2024, in what has been a tough couple of weeks processing it all, we went out with a BANG this morning.
“It’s been a privilege sharing the studio with these fine humans and the airwaves with NSW for the last 16 months.
“Who knows what 2024 will bring, but I’m kinda excited to see.
“As Dr Suess said, ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’. #thatsshowbiz”
Friends reaching out on social media included Merrick Watts (Baseley produced him on breakfast at Nova 969), industry publicist Bec Brown and former Nova network program director Dean Buchanan.
Commenting on her departure, Compton said: “Ah radio…what a ride. Thank you & bye bye airwaves. I’m grateful to our wonderful listeners for tuning in each morning, and I feel incredibly blessed to have been part of the magic of the Maz and Matty breakfast show.
“A dream team and a dream run. I’m hanging up the headphones for now, taking some time out of the biz to decompress and figure out what’s next.”
Friends and colleagues reaching out to Maz included former SCA announcer Ash London and Maz’s former Nova and SCA co-host Dan Debuf who commented, “Know them feels.”
Regional radio: SCA has been here before
The marginalisation of regional radio is nothing new. In mid-2020 Mediaweek covered what was labelled “Black Friday” as we explained to readers:
SCA gave notice to the hosts of 19 regional breakfast shows around Australia they were no longer needed.
Breakfast shows around the Hit Network went out with their heads held high, explaining to their listeners “an internal restructure” meant the shows were coming to an end.
Commentary from SCA at the time was:
SCA has adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 environment and will deliver a different programming model across our Hit regional network. The changes will mean that unfortunately a number of our local breakfast shows will be impacted, and we would like to thank our dedicated and talented people who are affected today by this new approach. We are actively looking for redeployment opportunities for some of these roles, however, sadly some of our people will be leaving SCA.
(SCA chief content officer, Dave Cameron)