Monday June 3, 2019

Christian O’Connell: Gold’s breakfast hope makes it to first anniversary

• ‘A pommy in the morning? No thank you – why have they done this?’
• His one big fight with ARN – and it was a good one!

By James Manning

Gold 104.3’s British import is hoping to celebrate his first birthday at his new radio home next Tuesday.

That is off course also survey day and Christian O’Connell didn’t want to jinx anything by doing his lap of honour too soon.

“One slip on Twitter or on Monday’s show and you could be writing a different article,” he told Mediaweek.

This time last year O’Connell had just finished hosting breakfast on the British FM station Absolute Radio. Now he is celebrating his first 12 months at ARN.

Speaking about the decision to pack up and leave the UK just over 12 months ago, O’Connell said there had been several periods of self-doubt. “We didn’t properly realise until we got here about the enormity of moving to the other side of the world. Everything is new.” He then rattled off a list of everyday chores that they needed to sort out – from Wi-Fi (“slower in Australia than in some African villages”), to doctors, schools and accommodation.

He has the latter finally sorted as O’Connell and his wife Sarah have just bought a home in Melbourne and they take occupancy in two weeks time. “Melbourne is home now, so the radio show has to work!

He recalled how audience acceptance took some time.

“After the first few shows I started to get a sense some people were wondering what they were listening to. ‘A pommy in the morning? No thank you. No one asked for it and we don’t know who he is. Why have they done this?

“I see all the texts and messages that come in – it’s my focus group. I read the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s the only way you can get a true measure of how you are going with your audience.”

There was plenty of bad initially.

The first message within the first 20 minutes of the first show was ‘Go back home’. It was then I realised I wasn’t going to be given the key to the city any time soon.

“But what has been a really nice thing are some of the emails I have had from people apologising (which they don’t need to do), admitting they hated me when I started, but have now changed their minds.”

One recent correspondent told O’Connell that he rang the station to complain when he started. “Now he tells me he loves the show and listens every day. I am going to get that framed. I love the fact he went from hating me, thinking I was as dull as bat shit, to going completely the other way. It says something about the Australian spirit. They will give you a go even if they are not sure at first.

ARN broke the breakfast mould with O’Connell by not having a comedian, a reality star or a former football star on the show.

That moved him to admit: “I have been doing breakfast radio for 20 years. The last 12 months have been the most challenging, and the most rewarding, in my whole career. It’s been the best thing I have ever done.”

O’Connell had an idea of what audiences liked in Australia. He knew Hamish and Andy and he listens to shows all over as almost a professional hobby. “Australian radio has had some brilliant presenters. I was a big fan of Tony Martin and Mick Molloy, also Kyle and Jackie O I was familiar with.”

He noted that he landed into a tough market. “This is so competitive in Melbourne. The regular ratings felt almost relentless and too stressful. Now though I have embraced it and I look forward to it. When you are new it is good to get regular reports on your progress.

Team O’Connell

Excuse the pun, but the breakfast star seems to have struck gold with his on-air team – Jack Post and Patrina Jones, aka Pats.

Appointing Post was one clever piece of insurance ARN bought for its new breakfast show. Post was known to a generation of younger listeners after 10 years with Hamish and Andy as Cacklin’ Jack. It automatically gave O’Connell and the station a link with Australia’s most successful radio duo.

O’Connell: “Any radio show is the result of a good team, and they are a great team. It was a big risk for them as I could have damaged them if I go down. I feel they might have learnt a lot from working with me and they enjoy being part of something that is new and different.

“I said to Pats she had been under used, she had been hiding in the shadows and I thought she could do a lot more. I said to her, ‘I’m not interested in you telling me what you think I should hear. I want you to tell me what you actually think.’

“We argue quote a bit, most recently about Frank Sinatra, who she said couldn’t sing, he just spoke the words!

“What I don’t like is the fact that so many women on radio are cast by male programmers to be a giggling woman. Pats is way more than that. She is funny, articulate and opinionated which is exactly what you should be hearing on breakfast radio. Pats is a secret weapon for the show.

O’Connell said he and the team have got most of the content right. “Although sometimes we don’t and I can feel the collective backside [of the audience] tightening up!” [Laughs]

One topic he misjudged was giving the Australian cricketers some stick. “In week one I went too early on that and I now realise it was too soon.” [Laughs]

O’Connell says his Gold breakfast show now gets was more calls than any of his previous UK programs – including his time at Absolute where he broadcast nationally on a handful of music formats.

A lot of listeners also admit to enjoying a British accent at breakfast.

Although smoothfm is doing very well in Sydney and Melbourne at present, there’s still a big audience that enjoys the talent talking. “I just don’t want to be an iPod,” said O’Connell. Although he reminds the team each day how lucky they are to have the opportunity to talk to people. “But let’s not waste their time. Let’s make sure we have something to say.”

Reality TV is a no-go zone usually on his show. “The sweet spot for me is our listeners stories and their real life.”

ARN seem to have given him quite a bit of rope. “Every radio boss I’ve ever had told me initially they were going to leave me alone. I have pushed ARN a few times, but only once have they said no.”

O’Connell revealed that happened after he argued with ARN’s programming boss Duncan Campbell about a fire engine!

“I found a second-hand fire truck being sold in Sydney for $6,000. I wanted to get it, put Gold all over it and pay some kid to drive it around. I wanted $6,000 and I was going to fly to Sydney and drive it back.”

Campbell said “no”, after asking O’Connell if he was trying to wind him up.

“I eventually accepted his decision. But we have agreed if the show ever gets to #1, they will get me the fire truck. Duncan told me if the show gets to #1 he will drive the fire truck from Sydney to Melbourne and give me the keys.

Top Photo: O’Connell with the man poised to deliver his fire engineer – ARN’s Duncan Campbell

Troy Kinne enjoying his second chance at primetime at Network 10

Asking Troy Kinne if he was nervous about the launch of his first season of Kinne Tonight after winning 10’s Pilot Week last year seemed almost a bit rude to this young, yet seasoned performer.

By James Manning

“How do you feel ahead of the launch,” Mediaweek asked instead. “Nervous” he shot back quick as a flash.

“I have gone from nervous and anxious, and drifted into confidence and excitement. Having finished some episodes I think it’s half decent and I want some people to see it.”

And tune in they did. The first episode of Kinne Tonight last week did 392,000 metro viewers, slightly bigger than his Pilot Week crowd.

Kinne is in the middle of production of the six new episodes.

Asking if Kinne was surprised about his Pilot Week performance also seemed a bit rude.

“How did you feel about those ratings?”

“Surprised!” [Laughs]

Troy Kinne used to make videos at high school borrowing the library camera. “I used to show them to just my parents and next door neighbours. For me to be able to reach so many more people is something I find hard to fathom.”

Kinne started stand-up 15 years ago. He’s been a fan of many classic TV performers from The Late Show to The Comedy Company. But it’s a different world now.

We are in a phase now with YouTube where we are transitioning. You can either embrace social media or fall by the wayside.

“I used to have to watch Seinfeld when it was on or you didn’t see it. Now even friends of mine ask if there will be some of my show online. I have to say to the, ‘Try and watch it went it’s on.’”

There have been two people in particular who helped get Kinne on TV. More recently he points to 10’s Paul Leadon. “I have to give him credit, and I don’t see tis much in Australia, he came to my Sydney show and saw the reaction from my fans. He made the effort to understand my comedy and he got it.

Before impressing 10’s Pilot Week audience, Kinne polished his TV skills with two seasons on 7mate in 2014 and 2015. “They seemed to be experimenting on the channel and they let us have free reign with very little interference.

Kinne credits MaryAnne Carroll for kick-starting his TV career. “We worked so well together at Seven. I did a sketch show pilot for Seven before working at 7mate. It didn’t go ahead after initially looking like it would.

“MaryAnne Carroll got sent one of the early videos we did which was a parody of a Kia commercial. She got in touch with my manager about making a pilot. I said I’d already done one and wasn’t going to waste my time again. My manager talked me into doing it, luckily.”

His TV experience makes Kinne feel more confident about what works “When we did the Seven show there was a TV audience and an internet audience. Now I think they are both the same.

The audience now has a shorter attention span. “If I see a clip online over three minutes I probably wouldn’t press play on it.”

Working the TV audience is different to performing live, explained Kinne. “For the TV audience you have to warm them up a bit more. You have to tell them it is just like being at a stand-up performance. They are allowed to make a noise and react. It’s OK to let loose. Whereas people at a comedy club are there for exactly that.”

An episode of Kinne Tonight moves so quickly the audience never has a chance to get bored. The first episode had about 10 different setups in just over 20 minutes of show time.

“In a pitch for the show we had a note there was ‘no fluff’. We only do intros when a sketch needs it. We jut go straight to the content all the time. Never give the viewer a chance to reach for the remote.

Between the “longer” sketches, Kinne drops in one liners, or “short bursts of energy” as he calls them.

He noted that writing and filming the shorter pieces can be more of a challenge than the longer sketches.

Although Kinne Tonight goes to air quite late on Mondays, he has no complaints about the timeslot, coming off the back of Have You Been Paying Attention?

Kinne Productions is the vehicle for his TV and live shows. He is also getting into merchandise and has also published a book about one of his characters.

Kinne is looked after by Lauren Bergman alongside people like Red Symons, Glenn Robbins and Eric Bana.

For the rest of 2019 Kinne is planning some live shows – in Australia and perhaps the US if he can organise it. He played several shows in the UK last year.

Rory Heffernan appointed general manager of Atomic 212° Melbourne

Australian independent media agency Atomic 212° as appointed Rory Heffernan as general manager of its Melbourne agency.

Heffernan was the first employee of Atomic 212°, joining the Sydney office in 2010 and moving to Melbourne in 2013.

Previously Atomic 212° Melbourne’s digital lead, Heffernan will now be responsible for the operational leadership of the Melbourne office. He will report to Melbourne managing director and partner Claire Fenner.

Claire Fenner

Fenner said: “I’m delighted to announce Rory’s promotion to a key leadership role in our Melbourne business.

“Rory was one of the first employees in Sydney and moved to Melbourne to help set up our agency here. Over the past six years he has worked closely with a number of key clients, played an important role in building our business and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills.

“Rory is an invaluable member of the Melbourne team and I know he will do an outstanding job as our Melbourne general manager,” she said.

Heffernan said: “It’s a privilege to accept this leadership role within the talented and exciting Atomic 212° Melbourne team.

“After nine years in the business, I’ve seen the exceptional work and results that Atomic 212° produces, reflected in the strong partnerships seen in our Melbourne office. I look forward to playing my part in the next evolution of the agency, which has accelerated with the recent welcoming of new client partners and the continued focus on driving success for our valued existing clients.”

Heffernan’s appointment follows a series of recent client wins and reappointments at Atomic 212° nationally, including Spirit of Tasmania, Tourism Northern Territory, the Northern Territory Government, Beyond Blue, Programmed, NSW Police Force, NSW Rural Fire Service and Charles Darwin University.

Perth university student wins national Brian White Scholarship

Edith Cowan University broadcasting student Tom Durkin (pictured) has won the national Brian White Scholarship awarded by Commercial Radio Australia.

As winner of this scholarship, Durkin will now commence an eight-week paid internship in Sydney, consisting of two weeks each at the leading radio broadcasters Macquarie Media, Southern Cross Austereo, Australian Radio Network and Nova Entertainment.

Currently in his final year of study at Edith Cowan University, Durkin said he is very proud to have been granted this opportunity and believes it will give his journalism career a kick start.

“I have always dreamed of having a career in news radio. I am thrilled and very grateful that I will be starting my career with the Brian White Scholarship,” Durkin said.

Durkin was among nine other student finalists who attended a news workshop in Sydney on May 24 at the Southern Cross Austereo rooftop.

At the workshop, commercial radio news directors Deborah Clay (ARN), Michelle Stephenson (Nova), Erin Maher (Macquarie Media) and Natasha Jobson (SCA) shared insights about the journalism industry and set several tasks for judging.  

All of the radio news directors were impressed by the skills of the finalists, however Durkin was named winner due to his exceptional knowledge of the radio news industry and his ability to write a professional news script in a short period of time.

Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, congratulated Durkin on his achievement and said all of the finalists should be proud of their efforts.

“We want to congratulate Tom and all the finalists on their amazing efforts. To make it this far in the selection process is an exceptional achievement for all the aspiring journalists,” Warner said.

“This will be a unique opportunity for Tom to experience what it’s like to work in a dynamic radio newsroom and assist with producing live breaking news for millions of listeners.”

The scholarship is named after radio broadcaster Brian White, commercial radio’s first cadet journalist, who went on to cover historical wars, served as general manager of 3AW in Melbourne and chaired the Fitzroy Football Club.

Durkin will commence his internship on June 17. Applications for the 2020 Brian White Scholarship will open in March 2020.

TV Week 22: Seven regains the lead as #1 network YTD

The appearance of Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross on the Mediaweek podcast coincided nicely with the network reclaiming top spot from Nine as the #1 network year-to-date in combined channel share. (The podcast will be online later on Monday at iTunes and PodcastOne.)

Seven also finished the network week ahead of Nine – 31.3% to 28.2%. The primary channel battle also went to Seven, but the margin was a little closer – Seven on 21.0% to Nine’s 19/3%.

Seven News and Home and Away were key to Seven’s win, with support from House Rules, particularly on Sunday and Monday where the episodes were both over 700,000.

Seven’s combined channel share got a big boost too from #1 multichannel 7mate where on three nights of the week its share was over 5%.

The AFL was again a key pillar for Seven with Friday and Saturday primary channel shares of 25.0% and 23.1%.

Before Easter Nine has 13 successive weeks of primary share well over 20%, yet in the five most recent weeks that share has been sitting just under 20%.

The channel’s best week 22 offering was The Voice with all three episodes the only non-news content to go top 10.

Nine News had the edge at 6pm in Sydney and Melbourne, but across the metro capitals Seven News is well ahead.

10 had its best primary share since January with 11.9%. Have You Been Paying Attention? was the channel’s strongest performer and the only program to rise over 700,000.

Five episodes of MasterChef then each did over 600,000.

Both HYBPA? and each MasterChef episode were on the list of the top 10 shows under 50 for the week.

The new Aussie drama Five Bedrooms was then the next best with just under half a million watching its third episode.

Weekend news bulletins remain the ABC’s strongest performer.

Next best was Anh’s Brush With Fame with the Danni Minogue episode on 682,000.

The Weekly with Charlie Pickering also performed well, cracking both 600,000 and the week’s top 30.

On SBS the newish series Medicine Or Myth was the broadcaster’s only program over 300,000. It even managed to outrate Who Do You Think You Are?, which was down to 268,000 this week.

ARIA Chart: Ed Sheeran lands another single, 5SOS new at #12

• Albums: Soundtracks rock the top 10 – Aladdin and Rocketman

By James Manning


It is week six at #1 for Old Town Road from Lil Nas X, while I Don’t Care from Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber spent a third week on the chart. After debuting at #1, I Don’t Care has spent the past fortnight at #2.

Ed Sheeran also had the highest debut this week as his partnership with Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock hit the chart at #6. The track is from a forthcoming Ed Sheeran 15-track album of tunes due July 12 called No. 6 Collaborations. Sheeran said just last week: “For me, this is a compilation album of artists that I’m a fan of.”

New to the top 10 was Tyler, The Creator as Earfquake jumps two spots to a new peak at #9 after two weeks on the chart.

Three other tunes debuted inside the top 50 this week:
#12 5 Seconds of Summer with Easier. This is the first track released from their forthcoming fourth album.
#17 Young Thug with The London featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott.
#41 Joyner Lucas with Isis. The third single from the rapper’s ADHD album.


Billie Eilish’s debut album is back at #1 for the third time since release. In its nine weeks on the chart, When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? has never been lower than #2 on the chart.

Vacating top spot is Conrad Sewell with Life as it spends its second chart week at #3.

Meanwhile P!nk is climbing higher again with her former #1 Hurts 2B Human back at #2 on its fifth week on the chart.

Two new albums debuted in the top 10 and they are both soundtracks from hit movies.

Aladdin was the highest debut this week with the soundtrack to the Will Smith live action film new at #4. The soundtrack for the animated movie from 1992 peaked at #15.

Two places further down the chart is Rocketman with Taron Egerton, playing the role of British singer-songwriter Elton John. Egerton and John duet on the new track (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, while Egerton performs the bulk of the tunes on the soundtrack.

A wave of Elton John nostalgia is flooding the market with the movie’s release. His collection of hits called Diamonds moves from #22 into the top 10 at #8 after 51 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile his classic former #1 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is back on the chart at #40 after 71 weeks in total on the chart.

Just three other albums debuted top 50 this week:

#22 Amyl and the Sniffers – the self-titled debut album from the Melbourne band has been attracting great reviews here and overseas.
#25 YG with 4Real 4Real. In 2015, US rapper YG survived an attempt on his life. Earlier this year Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed. This fourth album from YG is his tribute to Nipsey.
#44 Middle Kids with New Songs For Old Problems. A six-track EP from the Sydney trio.

Top 10 Game Charts: Sonic races to #1 in first week

Sega’s Team Sonic Racing from developer Sumo Digital accelerated its way directly to the top of the charts this week; not an immense surprise considering the iconic power of Sega’s high-speed hedgehog and the lasting respect for Sumo Digital’s two previous Sonic- and various Sega character-based kart racers.

Luke Reilly, games editor, IGN Australia

The arguably overdue follow-up to 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Team Sonic Racing sheds the previous game’s transforming vehicles and wide cast of Sega characters from outside the Sonic franchise, focusing purely on arcade driving with Sonic and his crew. The twist this time is the co-operative racing, where drivers must work together in teams of three to share special slipstreams, initiate slingshot manoeuvres, and leapfrog each other to gain ascendancy. It’s definitely different from its predecessor but the result doesn’t seem too shabby.

Trailing Team Sonic Racing last week is a selection of number ones from the last several weeks, including Mortal Kombat 11, Rage 2, and PS4 exclusive Days Gone, doggedly hanging onto its spot just above five-year top 10 chart veteran Grand Theft Auto V.

The only other fresh face in the charts is Total War: Three Kingdoms, a well-received turn-based grand strategy game for PC (also published by Sega), though it’s unlikely that will remain in the top 10 for long.

TV Ratings Analysis: June 2

• Jack Vidgen helps lift The Voice to biggest audience this season
• House Rules records season high and first 800,000+ audience
• It took a decade – MasterChef makes fiery Queensland debut

Sunday Week 23 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 1,194,000
• Nine News 1,024,000
• ABC News 675,000
• The Project 264,000/407,000
• Insiders 289,000
• 10 News First 266,000
• Offsiders 180,000
• SBS World News 131,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 230,000
• Today 206,000


House Rules made it just over 800,000 for the first time this season. The judges couldn’t separate the work of team Katie and Alex and team Tim and Mat with each receiving a total of 24 points last night. The audience was up from 740,000 a week ago.

Sunday Night then did 643,000 after 561,000 a week ago. The episode featured Matt Doran’s forensic account of how a Qantas pilot saved the lives of 315 people on QF72 over a decade ago.


The Voice hit a season high thanks in part to Jack Vidgen returning to performing after a five-year break. The former AGT winner got all four coaches to turn around and he then chose Guy Sebastian to reignite his career. The audience was 1.105m after 1.090m a week ago.

Just short of 40 years since the death of Azaria Chamberlain, Charles Wooley reported on the recent attack on a 14-month-old by a dingo on Fraser Island. The episode did 673,000, down from 756,000 last week.

Suburban Gangsters then shone the light on Lennie McPherson and Stan Smith with an audience of 301,000 after 306,000 a week ago.


Waleed Aly made the long trip to Spain to watch Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on Sunday morning. He reported from outside the stadium for The Project on his team’s triumph. Aly is spending less than 24 hours in Spain before he returns home to re-join the show in Melbourne. The Sunday audience was 407,000 at 7pm after 444,000 a week ago.

Beautiful one day – delicious the next. MasterChef has finally made it to Brisbane for a special week of programs, 10 years after the format launched. For their first night up north, the contestants had to create from a mystery box in a kitchen set up on the banks of the Brisbane River. They then had to work in a convoy of food trucks, which was explosive in more ways than one. The fat caught fire in one truck, sending the contestants rushing for safety and the diners wondering where their meal would come from. The episode was on 621,000, down marginally from 645,000 a week ago.


In the Sunday night dramas, Shetland was on 509,000, outrating Harrow on 461,000.

Shetland was down from 561,000 week ago, while Harrow was down from 486,000.


Part two of Epic Warrior Women was titled Gladiatrix and did 124,000.

Week 22-23 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.2% 7 25.0% 9 18.5% 10  10.3% SBS One 3.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.1% 7TWO 4.6% GO! 2.7% 10 Bold 2.7% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 5.5% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.4%            
TOTAL 15.4%   37.9%   26.0%   15.0%   5.7%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.4% 7 23.1% 9 12.9% 10  6.8% SBS One 3.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 6.5% 10 Bold 2.7% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 6.0% GEM 7.8% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.3%     NITV 0.3%
    7Food 0.8%            
TOTAL 17.3%   35.7%   29.5%   11.7%   5.8%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.2% 7 21.7% 9 23.9% 10  11.2% SBS One 3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 2.6% GO! 2.3% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 5.1% GEM 2.0% 10 Peach 1.6% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.5%            
TOTAL 15.6%   31.7%   30.3%   16.3%   6.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.6% 7 22.3% 9 20.8% WIN 8.2% SBS One 3.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.2% WIN Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 6.2% GEM 4.3% WIN Peach 1.5% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 2.2% Sky News  on WIN 0.8% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.6%            
TOTAL 15.8%   34.6%   30.4%   13.7%   5.4%


All People Rankings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 978,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 906,000
  3. Nine News Nine 860,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 795,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 660,000
  6. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 582,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 582,000
  8. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Seven 571,000
  9. ABC News ABC 554,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 523,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News – Sat Seven 864,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 717,000
  3. ABC News-Sa ABC 686,000
  4. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Seven 518,000
  5. Shakespeare And Hathaway ABC 494,000
  6. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football – Pre Mat SHeven 412,000
  7. Call The Midwife ABC 389,000
  8. Getaway Nine 318,000
  9. M- Men In Black 2 Seven 315,000
  10. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line (R) Seven 290,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,194,000
  2. The Voice Nine 1,105,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,024,000
  4. House Rules Seven 805,000
  5. ABC News Sunday ABC 675,000
  6. 60 Minutes Nine 673,000
  7. Sunday Night Seven 643,000
  8. Masterchef Australia Sun 10 621,000
  9. Shetland ABC 509,000
  10. Seven’s AFL: Sunday Afternoon Football Seven 486,000
  11. Harrow ABC 461,000
  12. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 407,000
  13. Suburban Gangsters Nine 301,000
  14. Sunday Afternoon NRL Live Nine 297,000
  15. Insiders AM ABC 289,000
  16. 10 News First Sun 10 266,000
  17. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 264,000
  18. Landline PM ABC 253,000
  19. M- Taken 2 Seven 236,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 230,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. M- Thor: The Dark World PM (R) 7mate 200,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 193,000
  3. Motorsport: 2019 Motogp Live 10 Bold 134,000
  4. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  5. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  6. Bondi Rescue Ep 3 (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  7. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  8. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  9. Nella The Princess Knight AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  10. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  11. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  12. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  13. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  14. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  15. M- Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The 7mate M 116,000
  16. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 116,000
  17. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  18. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  19. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 112,000
  20. Motorsport: 2019 Motogp Post Show L 1IV0EBold 112,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: NRL Titans V Cowboys FOX LEAGUE 214,000
  2. Live: AFL Essendon V Carlton FOX SPORTS 503 138,000
  3. Live: AFL West Coast V Western Bulldogs FOX FOOTY 133,000
  4. Live: AFL St Kilda V Port Adelaide FOX FOOTY 126,000
  5. Live: Sunday Night With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 90,000
  6. Live: World Cup: Ban V Rsa FOX CRICKET 80,000
  7. Live: Bounce FOX FOOTY 76,000
  8. Live: Sunday Footy On Fox FOX FOOTY 62,000
  9. Live: NRL Pre Game Sunday Ticket FOX LEAGUE 61,000
  10. Live: World Cup Innings Break FOX CRICKET 58,000
  11. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 54,000
  12. Gentleman Jack FOX SHOWCASE 53,000
  13. Sink The Bismarck! FOX Classics 51,000
  14. Live: MotoGP FOX SPORTS 506 50,000
  15. World Cup: Australia V Afghanistan FOX CRICKET 50,000
  16. Outsiders Sky News Live 48,000
  17. The Meg Foxtel Movies Premiere 44,000
  18. Outsiders Sky News Live 44,000
  19. Live: World Cup Innings Break FOX CRICKET 43,000
  20. Motherfatherson BBC First 42,000

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Media News Roundup

Business of Media

News Corp’s Michael Miller: Foxtel profitable, papers facing staff cuts

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller has re­inforced the company’s commitment to invest more in Foxtel to drive uptake of its iQ4 box, Kayo Sports and acquire new programming, and says the dominant pay TV company is “making good money”, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

In an interview with The Australian and Weekend Business on Sky News, Miller lauded the success of News Corp Australia’s online publications in signing up 500,000 paid subscribers, with The Australian joining The New York Times and The Washington Post as the only newspapers in the world to have paid digital subscribers total more than its historic print daily circulation peak.

However, the News Australia boss warned that staff needed to prepare for further cuts across the company in keeping with the rest of the industry, with jobs likely to be lost across all major metropolitan newspapers’ editorial, marketing, advertising and human resources departments.

Top Image: Michael Miller

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Nine appoints Steve Shervill as general manager of Darwin outpost

Andy Bruyn has stepped down as general manager of Nine’s Darwin operations and his responsibilities will be taken over by Steve Shervill who will also continue to lead the sales team.

Nine Network COO Brett Dickson told staff:

“Andy’s association with our business spans some 37 years – going back to when the business was Territory Television – and I want to take this opportunity to thank him, both personally and on behalf of Nine, for all his significant efforts over more than three decades.

“Andy advised me of his decision in recent weeks and wanted to pass on these thoughts to us all.

Bruyn said: “I’ve been GM for 28 years – a privilege I have thoroughly enjoyed and in which I’ve taken massive pride but the timing is right to step aside for a new era at Nine. I’ve been fortunate to work with Steve and the marvellous team that makes Nine – here and across Australia – the powerhouse that it is. There have been some great talents come through our doors and go on to significant television careers elsewhere. I’m fortunate to have been part of their journey. The team we have today continues that trust. They are a huge credit to themselves and the Territory that has nurtured them. As for the future, Darwin’s home for me — I will be staying in the Territory.”

Shervill also has a long history with Nine, joining the Darwin sales team in 1988 before working in Port Moresby and Brisbane, returning to Darwin as sales manager in 2001. He is also the first Territory-born person to lead the NT’s top broadcaster.

News Brands

News Corp newspaper editors ‘listened to electorate’s pulse’

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller has credited his newspaper editors for correctly picking the mood and concerns of the country ahead of the Coalition government’s surprise federal election victory, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

News Corp Australia’s major metro newspapers (including The Australian) editorialised in favour of re-electing the Morrison government, with the NT News endorsing Labor, and the Hobart Mercury not taking a side.

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News Corp Australia regional newspapers no longer for sale

In Michael Miller’s first interview with The AFR in his current role, he flagged jobs are expected to go across News Corp Australia, including but not limited to journalists, as the company brings in different expertise to cater to its audiences, reports Max Mason.

“Our objective is profitable growth,” Miller said in his first sit-down interview with The Australian Financial Review since re-joining News Corp in 2015.

Miller also said News Corp was no longer fielding offers for its regional business and was happy with how it was integrating into the wider portfolio. It pulled the pin on a potential sale of its regional business last year because “we didn’t see value in the offers we were given”.

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Ex-2GB producer Chris Bowen prepares for lawsuit against Ray Hadley

Lawyers for former 2GB producer Chris Bowen have been making discreet inquiries about star announcer Ray Hadley in preparation for a lawsuit that The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Hornery reports could be filed as soon as the end of June:

Part of their investigation has been to compile witness accounts in the form of affidavits to be used in court against Hadley.

In March, Bowen made his bullying accusations against Hadley public in a series of Facebook posts.

He subsequently appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 program to make more claims against his former friend Hadley and was joined on camera by another of Hadley’s accusers, ABC rugby league caller Andrew Moore.

In April, it emerged that Bowen had engaged the services of Laxon Lex Lawyers’ John Laxon, a highly-regarded workplace law solicitor.

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Brave Melbourne FM radio hosts to risk their health for ratings

A doctor will be on call and vitamin drips on standby as two Melbourne breakfast radio hosts risk their health in a bizarre bid to boost ratings, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Melbourne KIIS FM breakfast hosts Jase Hawkins and Polly “PJ” Harding are to attempt a bizarre 56 hour live broadcasting marathon.

The pair will kick off their descent into sleep deprivation at 6am on Wednesday (June 5) and plan to host their show through until 2pm Friday.

“We have done it three times before (in New Zealand) for 51, 52 and 53 hours,” Hawkins said.

“I know this sounds ridiculous but we are pretty smart about the way we do it. We have full medical checks and from about the 20 hour mark we get checked every four hours with the doctor on call if we are feeling a bit off or if we start freaking out a little bit.”

The sleep-free marathon could be the wake-up call listeners need to check out Hawkins and Harding’s KIIS breakfast show.

The pair have struggled to get traction in Melbourne breakfast radio ratings races since they launched their show last year after enjoying success in the New Zealand market.

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Nine hose down rumours Karl Stefanovic will return to Today

Karl Stefanovic has been out of action from our TV screens for six months and his heavy $3 million pay packet is weighing on the minds of Channel 9 executives. One boss revealed why he was moved on from Today while he hosed down speculation of a Today return for Karl, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

Today’s poor ratings coupled with the recent re-signing of radio breakfast star Alan Jones to Nine’s majority owned Macquarie network – and Stefanovic’s star turn on the bill at a Nine sponsored hospital charity fundraiser on Thursday night – were last week driving industry speculation Nine CEO Hugh Marks is preparing to exhume Stefanovic and reinsert him into the ailing breakfast show that still pays his salary.

Nine’s director of news and current affairs Darren Wick was quick to scotch rumours of a Today show return for Stefanovic.

“We’ve gone in a dramatically different direction with Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight to where we were with Karl and while we know we haven’t got it quite right yet, we are happy with where we are,” said Wick.

“No one is panicking about the ratings.”

The Nine news boss will sit down soon with Stefanovic to discuss his future.

“We will sit down and work out where to from here,” Wick said.

“Karl is an incredible talent. “We’ve just got to find the right fit for Karl — and Nine.”

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The Sunday Telegraph rates Nine’s Today show team

In an accompanying piece to a report about the future of Nine’s Today show, News Corp’s Annette Sharp rates the breakfast show team:

A-Richard Wilkins
Wilkins has more on-camera presence than the rest of the team combined…should be recalled.

A- Deb Knight
Looks too often to be neglected by Nine’s hair and makeup – something that can stick out like a sore thumb sitting next to glamour girl Georgie Gardner.

A- Steve Jacobs
Looks exhausted…would be a true A with a month’s R and R and a shave.

B Georgie Gardner
Still lacks warmth and personality on the desk but is clearly working at it.

B Tom Steinfort
Is a capable autocue reader…banter sometimes awkward.

C Brooke Boney
Should be given her start on Today Extra and dressed in age-appropriate clothing.

Today show tweaked: News presenter Tom Steinfort promoted to co-host

There are some significant changes to how Nine’s Today breakfast will look on air, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Today’s hosting duo of Deb Knight and Georgie Gardner will effectively become a trio. The show’s newsreader, Tom Steinfort, will figure much more prominently, as Today strives for the elusive winning formula.

Expect to see more of Steinfort in all facets of Today from now on, breaking up what viewers perceive to be a competitive dynamic between Gardner and Knight. Weatherman Steve Jacobs will also take more of a role.

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Double trouble: Infamous Blakeney twins return to Ramsay Street

Two of Neighbours’ biggest stars from the 90s, twin sisters Gayle and Gillian Blakeney, who played Christina and Caroline Alessi, are heading back to Ramsay Street.

After 27 years the Blakeney twins will be stepping back into the shoes of the characters that made them household names.

Gayle Blakeney will get to know her character Christina Alessi again and she should have a lot of catching up to do. Christina left her mark on Ramsay Street as one of Paul Robinson’s (many) ex-wives. But this one was with a twist.

Meanwhile Gillian Blakeney will slip back into the role of the fiery and a sometimes naughty Caroline Alessi, who is best known for being Paul’s lover!

On their return to Erinsborough, Gayle said: “We were tickled pink to be asked back and we knew if they wanted to reprise the characters after nearly 30 years, it had to be for a great story line which it is. We’re really looking forward to filming it.”

Gillian added: “Strangely enough it feels just so comfortable and familiar despite the obvious changes, the cast and crew have been so welcoming.”

Gayle and Gillian Blakeney will to the Logie-nominated Australian drama series in September 2019 on 10 Peach.

Photo: The Blakeney twins – Gayle (left) and Gillian

Wil Anderson savages Logies and refuses to go for his nominated show

Comedian Wil Anderson is scathing about the Logies and refuses to attend despite a nomination for Gruen, the show he hosts on the ABC, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Stand-up king Wil Anderson has left no doubt about his thoughts on the Logies, describing the TV awards as a “complete joke” despite his ABC show scoring a nomination.

Anderson, who hosts Gruen, which is nominated as Most Popular Entertainment Program, declared on his Triple M Hot Breakfast show “you could not pay me to go”.

“The Logies are a complete joke and you could not pay me to go there in a million years,” Anderson said.

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Sports Media

Optus Sport coverage of European football breaks audience records

Optus chief executive Allen Lew will probably be feeling pretty good about the world when he arrives at work this week, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s John McDuling.

Less than a year ago, the number two telco he leads had a genuine public relations crisis on its hands amid the #floptus World Cup streaming debacle. On Sunday, its coverage of European soccer’s biggest annual event broke all audience records.

Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League Final, in a glorious moment for fans of the Merseyside club. (In the interests of full disclosure let me confirm, yes, I am one of them). It was also a triumph for Optus.

The SingTel owned carrier said that its exclusive online telecast of the game generated 16.5 million live streaming minutes. I’m not sure exactly that means, but it was 20% higher than the old record, set during the recently ended Premier League season.

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