• London radio tour – from Virgin Radio tower to tradie’s Fix Radio
By James Manning
Two of the most innovative stations on UK radio couldn’t be more different. One is a massive big budget nationwide play to take Virgin Radio ahead of the pack. The other is a bold recent launch targeting a niche market.
Both stations have two similarities though – they are both DAB+ and they both have Aussies and Brits with Aussie experience in key roles.
This past week Mediaweek was lucky enough to get inside the engine room of both operations.
The big budget play is at News Corp-owned Virgin Radio. Its Wireless Group brands have had success in talk with Talk Sport and Talk Radio, but more recently success has eluded the music station Virgin Radio.
In a bold move last year the station employed British-born radio executive Mike Cass who is best known to Mediaweek readers for his successful time at Nova stations in Perth and Melbourne earlier this decade.
To make a noise at the station Virgin then targeted the country’s #1 announcer, BBC Radio 2 breakfast host Chris Evans. The Evans bid was successful and he left the BBC just prior to Christmas 2018, taking some of his key on-air talent with him.
Two other things that made a difference at Virgin was a landmark deal with Sky TV, which gives them naming rights. The deal enables Virgin Radio be ad free in breakfast, with editorial content pointing to Sky at different times.
Cass then staffed up the station with a number of Aussies – Nick Daly, Deputy Content Director (former Nova 100 EP, ARN EP & Absolute Radio EP) Jayne Cheeseman, producer (former FBI Sydney) James Grove, Content Manager for Virgin Radio brands Chilled & Virgin Radio Anthems (former Gold 104.3 MD) and Ollie Geale, assistant producer (Nova & EON Sportsradio).
Host Chris Evans and his team work in spacious state-of-the-art studios high above the Thames in the top of the News Corp London tower.
Just across the river and up a bit is almost the antithesis of what Virgin Radio is doing.
Fix Radio is a minnow DAB+ station by comparison that targets tradies.
It pushes out a feed to London and Manchester and it too features Aussie radio experience. Recently departed Triple M announcer (Ugly) Phil O’Neil handles the breakfast show and his PD is a Brit with Aussie radio experience – Graham Mack.
Speaking to Mediaweek in what might be London’s smallest, all brick no window, studio, O’Neil said:
“I was keen to get back to the UK and my girlfriend was keen to get back as well. The position at Fix became available and I went for it.”
O’Neil had been doing daytime shifts at Triple M and he didn’t feel there was much scope to do something different. “To be honest I was a bit bored doing 10 second links.”
O’Neil was perhaps at his best in Australian radio when he worked nights. “I enjoyed the freedom to be creative. The limitations in daytime radio don’t allow that. At Fix they asked me what I wanted to do and said to have the freedom to do new and creative things on air.
“It’s a very small station as you can see, and they offered me the chance to come in and do pretty much anything I want within the boundaries of the format.”
Although O’Neil doesn’t choose his breakfast playlist, he has the opportunity to have artists perform on the show plus conduct a range of interviews that can cover everything from politics to lifestyle. “As a middle-aged man now, it gives me the chance to stretch my areas of interest.”
Fix launched just over two years ago aimed at tradespeople and is privately owned by a consortium. People can listen to the station on DAB+, stream on the internet or via the Fix Radio app.
O’Neil’s program director is Graham Mack who has a busy CV, which includes time spent in regional radio in Australia including time at 2GO on the NSW Central Coast.
Mack’s brief to O’Neil gives him a lot of rope. “Be creative and make some noise in the market.”
In the past, O’Neil has not seen eye to eye always with station managements. His career has seen him work on both sides of Australia on a handful of cap city commercial licences, in most timeslots from breakfast to evening.
His most memorable management run-in was perhaps in the early days of Nova 969 where he hosted the highest rating of the new station’s timeslots in drive. But he talked too much!
“I was told to play less music,” he remembered. “The program director wanted me to play 15 songs an hour. I then did two shows where I didn’t talk at all just to see how many songs I could get away. I could only manage 14! I just didn’t enjoy it so I left.”
Phil noted the irony that most major FM drive shows are now full of talk.
His radio journey saw him on everything from the pioneering Hot 30 program on Fox and 2Day where he hosted with his then wife Jackie O. He also worked in Perth at 96FM, Star FM on the Central Coast and spent many years at Triple M in several tours of duty, perhaps most successfully hosting The Rubber Room in evenings.
“I have good and bad memories about all of them,” he laughed. “Every experience is what you make of it and some jobs offered me more freedom than others.”
Did he get disillusioned about radio often? “All the time,” was his quick reply. But not where he is now.
“This is a small station and they are prepared to take risks and there aren’t a lot of risks in radio any more.”
As to people he enjoyed working with and learnt from in Australia, O’Neal mentioned first Jeff Allis. Others he named were Corey Kaye in Brisbane (now on the Gold Coast), and the great Guy Dobson.
For the time being O’Neil is thriving in his new environment. He also notes that age and experience seem to mean a bit more in UK radio. “When you get to a certain age in Australia you become no longer of any use at some stations. In the UK the majority of the broadcasters at big stations in key shifts are in their 40s and 50s. UK radio tends to hire more broadcasters than reality TV contestants.”
Top Photo: Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans at the top of the News tower
Award-winning Australian TV production company Charity TV Global has today announced an exclusive partnership with international business icon and original Shark on the hit TV show Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington.
Charity TV Global creates socially conscious broadcast content which has aired on ABC Australia, Nine Network, Seven Network and will soon launch in New Zealand on TVNZ.
With a mission to make a difference in people’s lives through the power of entertainment, adventure, travel and philanthropy, Charity TV Global’s unique casting process provides an opportunity for anyone to undertake an epic fundraising journey for their nominated charity and culminates in the filming of the adventure of a lifetime which is broadcast via Charity TV Global’s entertainment partners.
Charity TV Global has already made its charitable mark – supporting more than 30 charities around the world. Already established in Australia, earlier this year Charity TV Global began its proven fundraising campaign in New Zealand as well as in the United States of America.
This exclusive partnership with Kevin Harrington will see Charity TV Global make a significantly greater impact on charities as well as further extend its media presence worldwide.
“13 years ago, I started Charity TV Global as a side project. The idea was to incentivise people to be socially conscious by rewarding them with a starring role on a television show. Combining entertainment with philanthropy has enabled this concept to grow from one project annually to 30 filming and fundraising projects each year in multiple countries… to today, announcing this exciting partnership with Kevin Harrington. Together we will harness the power of television entertainment to deliver significant fundraising dollars to charities in Australia and across the world. In the next 12 months alone, we are committed to distributing $10 million to charities worldwide and our plan for 2020 is to film 100 projects right across the globe,” said Charity TV Global’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Troy Gray.
“I am excited to be partnering with Charity TV Global to provide even greater framework and support to their award-winning ‘entertainment meets philanthropy’ model. This partnership will see us fast-track Charity TV Global’s international expansion. I spent the first 30 years of my life figuring out what to do…the following 30 accomplishing everything I wanted to do and now I’m committed to spending the next 30 giving back,” said Harrington.
Top Photo: L-R: Troy Gray, Kevin Harrington and John Begley (Charity TV co-founder)
To further enhance its market-leading podcast slate, Pacific has forged a partnership with Acast, the world’s largest podcast company, and announced the launch of eight new podcasts.
From August, Pacific will boast a suite of 17 local podcasts with new titles including:
• Men’s Health Strength Sessions featuring interviews with Mark Wahlberg, Steve Plain and Chris Hemsworth
• marie claire’s Finding Fearless which will launch with an exclusive Drew Barrymore interview
• Tastebud Traveller by Better Homes and Gardens, with support from Collette Vacations
• Trolley Watch by New Idea for all Aussie shoppers who love a bargain and delicious food
The above new titles are supported by existing hit podcasts from Pacific including The Rock Star and the Nanny and New Idea’s Royals.
Acast is the biggest podcast platform in the world, working with major media organisations in the audio space including the BBC, Wondery, The Guardian and The Economist. Locally, the business has helped the likes of Seven West, Network 10 and Vice Australia to enter the podcast space.
As Pacific’s exclusive hosting and distribution partner, Acast will deliver the strongest technical infrastructure to manage, grow and distribute podcast content across all platforms.
In addition to Pacific’s commercial team, Acast will offer sales representation and the ability to buy Pacific’s premium content through contextual collections. Pacific will also be the first Australian company to access Acast’s ad manager platform which will allow for the self-service uploading of campaigns against Pacific’s inventory.
Pacific’s Head of Commercial Product Danielle Lowry said: “This partnership with Acast comes at a pivotal moment for Pacific as we continue to grow our podcast slate. Audio is an increasingly important part of our business as our audience and advertising partners continue to embrace audio content. Teaming up with Acast will help us take this to the next level.”
Disney has had another record-breaking weekend, with The Lion King having the fifth highest-grossing weekend in Australian box office history with $20.53m.
This is the second time this year that Disney has landed in the top five of the all-time Australian box office opening weekends after Avengers: Endgame took top spot earlier this year.
This also has the film on target for a top five spot for best opening week and gives it a fighting chance to be a top 10 all-time film at the Australian box office.
The Lion King was the only new entry to the top five this week knocking out Aladdin, Disney now has the top three films from the weekend along with Spider-Man: Far from Home and Toy Story 4 and adds to their recent smash hits over the last ten weeks of release:
• Toy Story 4– Five weeks $38.42m
• Spider-Man: Far From Home– Three weeks $33.24m
• Aladdin– Nine weeks $34.60m
Thanks to the top heavy box office this weekend there was a huge increase of 41% on last weekend’s total making $29.52m with over two thirds of that coming from The Lion King.
A huge opening weekend has the remake of the 1994 classic already surpassing the $20.10m made by the original, although it still has some ways to go to reach the inflation adjusted total of $37.49m. The film was the most seen film in the country being shown on 930 screens for a mammoth average of $22,084.
Relquinshing top spot after three weeks the web-slinging tale suffered a 62% decline on last weekend’s total but still managed an average of $3,728 per screen.
Now the third highest grossing movie at the Australian box office in 2019 the third sequela to the Pixar classic had the second highest average per screen (346 screens) at $5,784 after five weeks in theatres.
A quiet achiever at the box office after never featuring higher than second but managing to last five weeks in the top five the animated romp by Illumination has dragged its total to $17.58m, after averaging $3,315 on 279 screens this past weekend.
The least family friendly film in the top this week amidst a holiday heavy lineup the musical rom-com has managed four consecutive weeks in the top five after averaging $3,073 on 273 screens this week.
• Another night of semi-final Ninja Warrior wins for Nine
• T-Bone eliminated from MasterChef a second time
By James Manning
• Seven News 1,122,000/1,037,000
• Nine News 942,000/921,000
• A Current Affair 830,000
• ABC News 647,000
• 7.30 593,000
• The Project 262,000/512,000
• 10 News First 417,000
• The Drum 191,000
• SBS World News 141,000
• Sunrise 262,000
• Today 205,000
Home And Away did 678,000 on debut in week 30.
The House Rules final challenge sees the teams remaining having to create a luxury loft in a week. Best reno will be crowned 2019 champion. The start of the Grand Final was on 644,000 after 784,000 on Sunday.
Two episodes of S.W.A.T. then did 370,000 and 250,000.
A shoplifter featured on the first A Current Affair of the new week with 830,000 watching.
Episode two of the Ninja Warrior semi-finals then did 942,000 after 998,000 on Sunday night.
An episode of Murder, Lies & Alibis then did 442,000. The program featured the full never-before-told story behind the greatest bank heist in Australian history.
On The Project, Susie O’Neill spoke about swimmer Mack Horton while actors Travis Fimmel and Luke Bracey discussed a new film. The episode was on 512,000 after 7pm.
MasterChef Australia fan favourite Tim Bone, known in the MasterChef house as T-Bone, has been eliminated for the second time in the competition.
The Prince Harry doppelganger has fallen from the throne one night short of cooking in the Grand Finale, which means Larissa, Tessa and Simon are this year’s Top 3 and will battle it out for the coveted title tonight.
Tasked with recreating Peter Gilmore’s White Coral, the dessert comprised of layers of white chocolate mousse, prune ice cream and jam, brulee, oloroso caramel, chocolate ganache and an oloroso whip.
The penultimate episode did 742,000.
Have You Been Paying Attention? was on 668,000 with a cast featuring Ed Kavalee, Abby Coleman, Marty Sheargold, Ash London and Sam Pang, with guest quizmasters Belinda Sharpe and Ricardo Goncalves.
Back Roads was in Victoria’s wonderful Fish Creek with 645,000 watching.
Four Corners featured part one of Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange from reporter Michael Brissenden and did 509,000.
Media Watch included a report on how Channel 10 had covered the George Calombaris salary scandal. The episode was on 503,000.
Q&A then did 352,000 with UK political strategist Alastair Campbell among the guests.
The channel has found another British Royal Family doco in Spending Secrets Of The Royals which did 173,000 at 7.30pm.
24 Hours In Emergency then did 151,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||2.5%||GO!||2.1%||10 Bold||3.1%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||2.5%||10 Peach||2.4%||Food Net||1.0%|
|7Food||0.5%||SBS World Movies||0.8%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.45%||7TWO||3.96%||GO!||2.26%||WIN Bold||3.27%||VICELAND||0.61%|
|ABC ME||0.84%||7mate||4.02%||GEM||3.58%||WIN Peach||2.13%||Food Net||0.83%|
|ABC NEWS||1.15%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.77%||9Life||2.73%||Sky News on WIN||0.69%||NITV||0.5%|
|7food (QLD only)||0.12%|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
News Corp Australia has filed an appeal against the controversial Voller defamation ruling, which found news organisations are liable for comments published on Facebook, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
The appeal against the NSW Supreme Court decision last month argues that the judge wrongly ruled media companies were publishers when it came to their Facebook pages, and incorrectly thought comments could be hidden from Facebook pages.
In a world-first judgment, NSW Supreme Court judge Stephen Rothman found media companies were liable for any defamatory comments made by third parties on their Facebook pages, even if they didn’t know the offending comments were there.
The decision was a preliminary ruling in a defamation action launched by a former inmate of the Northern Territory Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, Dylan Voller, who is suing three media companies over 10 anonymous and potentially defamatory posts made about him between 2016 and 2017 in the Facebook comments section of newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the Centralian Advocate, plus Sky News Australia and its The Bolt Report.
The appointment to the bench of ACT magistrate James Lawton has left a lasting impact on reporter Annika Smethurst.
Last month she had to stand and watch as police raided her home and rifled through her belongings. They came bearing a search warrant that had been issued by this magistrate four weeks after he joined the bench, reports The Australian’s Chris Merritt.
That raid, and a second on the ABC, was based on laws that protect government secrecy from whistleblowers and their allies in the media. They brought to a head the long-simmering conflict over the breadth of laws that restrict what the community is told about government conduct.
Smethurst and Nationwide News – a division of News Corp Australia – filed documents in the High Court on June 26 seeking orders that would strike down the legal basis for the raid for two reasons: the first is that the warrant issued by Lawton is said to be invalid due to legal errors. The second is that they believe the federal secrecy law that underpinned the warrant and the raid is unconstitutional.
Those who live in dictatorships understand something fundamental that seems to have been lost in our own debates around press freedom since the Australian Federal Police raided journalists from two news organisations back in June. Without it, all people are left with is government propaganda, writes Peter Greste in a column for News Corp Australia.
Press freedom is not so much about protecting the rights of a handful of privileged journalists to stick their noses into the guts of government.
It is about protecting the right of ordinary citizens to have a source of information about their government and the powerful that isn’t state-sanctioned puffery.
In the current digital world, where we all have access to vastly more information that at any other point in human history, it is easy to feel well informed. But quantity is not the same as quality.
Even before the AFP raids, my organisation – the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom – had been looking at the legislation that restricts the flow of government information, and limits the ability of journalists to look into its inner workings. We became so concerned that we published a White Paper with seven recommendations for legislative reform.
Peter Greste is the UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland, and a founding director of the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom.
Australia’s media regulator says television broadcasters acted responsibly in coverage of the Christchurch massacre following a four-month investigation, but left the door open to a review of the industry’s code of practice, report The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and Leo Shanahan.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said after reviewing coverage of the Christchurch attack from networks including Sky News, Nine, Seven, SBS and the ABC, it did not intend to make findings against any broadcaster.
ACMA’s investigation included a review of more than 200 hours of broadcast footage as well as analysis of the information provided by the broadcasters about the editorial decisions they made in relation to that footage.
Bob Murphy and Andy Maher are the new hosts of SEN’s drive show, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.
The pair replace Dr Turf (aka John Rothfield) and Kevin Bartlett, who made a shock exit two weeks ago after 15 years at the station.
Murphy, the former Western Bulldogs captain, and Maher, the current afternoon host, will take the reins on Monday from 3pm-6pm.
In other SEN news, breakfast hosts Garry Lyon and Tim Watson, out of contract at year’s end, have extended their deals with the station.
Murphy said of his new role: “I was hoping for something like this down the track.
“I’ve done a two-year apprenticeship and I’m a jack of all trades.
“The way I look at it and the thing that’s always been conveyed to me in the footy world is you were custodians of the jumper, there was no ownership. This is an iconic timeslot on the SEN dial.”
Maher has long been heard on SEN and also appears on ratings juggernaut The Front Bar and Channel 7’s cricket coverage.
You can have too much of a good thing.
It’s true of cake. It’s even truer of wine. But it’s especially true of a TV series such as Big Little Lies, writes The Age’s Siobhan Duck.
The finale of season two has just aired and, just like the rest of the series, has sadly proven to be an exercise in ego and OTT theatrics, more suited to daytime soap opera than a primetime drama spearheaded by Hollywood heavyweights.
I honestly wanted to love this. I wanted to support a project spearheaded by women so frustrated by the lack of interesting roles offered to older actresses in Hollywood that they decided to write the narrative themselves.
But it just didn’t live up to the promise of what was undoubtedly ground-breaking television in the first season.
WARNING: SPOILERS IN THE LINK
Once-troubled Hollywood actor Lindsay Lohan has emerged from her winter hibernation for the first time since landing in Sydney last week, reports News Corp’s Sally Coates.
Lohan was captured making a quick dash between the Park Hyatt and Four Seasons hotels on Monday.
She is in town for the filming of Channel 10’s new reality show The Masked Singer, where she will sit on a judging panel alongside Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, Dannii Minogue and comedian Dave Hughes.
It is understood Lohan met up with her fellow judges for the first time on Monday. Despite jetting in to a string of gorgeous winter days, sources say Lohan has been holed up in her hotel since arriving in the Harbour City.
A sports reporter with Nine Entertainment’s The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper has attacked Australian swimmer Mack Horton’s high-profile public protest against China’s Sun Yang at the world titles last night, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Horton refused to stand on the victory dais for the medal presentation after Sun won the 400m freestyle.
The Chinese swimmer is facing Court of Arbitration for Sport tribunal in September following reports that his entourage smashed blood vials during a fumbled dope-testing raid.
On social media platform Twitter, SMH reporter Andrew Wu questioned where Horton’s “public stance against drugs in sport when three Australian swimmers missed doping tests? I suppose it’s much easier to take a stand against athlete from another country.”
It was only given its last rites as a regular program three months ago, but a permanent comeback is a possibility for former ratings powerhouse The Footy Show, reports News Corp’s Oliver Caffrey.
Channel 9 has confirmed the Sunday Footy Show panel will front a special on the Friday night before this year’s AFL grand final.
“The Sunday Footy Show has been doing a great job delivering entertaining footy content and dominating the Sunday morning timeslot, so will step up for a special grand final eve edition on Friday September 27,” a Channel 9 spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.
“It’s going to be a massive grand final week on Nine.”
But Essendon great Tim Watson said on his SEN breakfast program this morning that the one-off show could pave the way for an incredible regular return.
Footy Show pioneer Eddie McGuire said a regular return would be a “big step”, but did not rule it out completely.
“It’s only history repeating itself because the first show that was done (in 1993) was the Sunday Footy Show as a Friday night grand final eve,” McGuire said on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.