Thursday May 23, 2019

smoothfm: Agencies reveal why brand is attractive for advertisers

On Mediaweek’s final day of recognition of smoothfm’s achievements during its anniversary week we focus on its ratings highlights.

We also hear from three influential media buyers who are critical to the support of the overall radio industry.

smoothfm launched on 21 May 2012 with a 4.1% share in Sydney and Melbourne and 275,000 and 337,000 listeners respectively. Over the past seven years, smoothfm has grown in both share and cumulative listeners across the board, with both stations now number one FM with a 9.5% share in Sydney and a 11% share in Melbourne, the station’s highest share to-date, and a combined audience of 1,938,000+.

See also:
Sydney and Melbourne #1 FM stations celebrate seventh anniversary
• Tony Thomas and Paul Jackson on the cost-effective marketing coup

The station’s breakfast shows have increased in both share and listeners, in one of the most competitive day parts.

Melbourne’s smoothfm 91.5 More Music Breakfast Show, with Mike Perso and Jennifer Hansen, is now the number one FM breakfast show for the first time this survey, with the duo also achieving their highest audience number ever.

See also:
smoothfm anniversary: Melbourne’s Mike Perso on staying the course
• “Our listeners give us a lot more credit than many radio people have”

smoothfm 95.3’s Bogart Torelli and Glenn Daniel have been the number two FM breakfast show in Sydney for all surveys this year and grew their audience to 471,000 in the current survey.

See also:
Old school announcer: The smooth sounds of Sydney’s Bogart Torelli
“The success at smoothfm is partly about staying true to the format”

The results for smoothfm in all day parts and on weekends have been strong too with Ty Frost in morning recently securing the highest share (12.4%) and cumulative listeners in the Melbourne station’s history. Simon Diaz in afternoon is number one FM in Sydney (10.0%) and equal number two in Melbourne with 11.9% while Byron Webb in drive has held the number one position overall in Sydney for two consecutive surveys.

Cameron Daddo had the number one FM night show in Sydney (9.9%) and Melbourne (9.6%) in the latest GfK radio survey, while Melissa Doyle, Richard Wilkins and David Campbell on weekends were also number one FM in Melbourne (12.1%) and Sydney (10.1%).

Media agency executives on smoothfm’s ratings and revneue

Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper, national investment & partnership director, Spark Foundry told Mediaweek:

“smoothfm launched in Australia in 2012, previously known as Vega in Sydney and Melbourne. Vega wasn’t a success. In the whole time it was active, it was unable to break the 2% share threshold.

“Nova Entertainment did their homework, and with the creation of the smoothfm brand, along with its very strong marketing campaign and positioning, it has in some surveys eclipsed the successful Nova brand in Sydney and Melbourne to reach #1 FM status. This also helped the advertising revenue of smoothfm, with 2018 realising an 814% increase in revenue vs 2012 (when smooth first launched). It appears that this growing revenue stream has come at the decline of SCA and Macquarie stations, most likely from an older audience skew.

“In the past seven years, the smooth brand has carved out a very loyal radio listening audience and created engaging events such as the Smooth Festival of Chocolate. smoothfm has a point of difference compared to the other stations, and has in such a short period of time, become a dominant force within the Australian radio marketplace.”

Maya Richardson, group investment director at Zenith said:

“Since its launch in May 2012, smoothfm has grown from strength to strength, becoming the number one FM station in both Sydney and Melbourne. Its phenomenal success can be directly attributed to its easy listening, ‘feel good’ format, which is something truly unique in the marketplace.

This format, with a focus on less talk and more classic hits, is extremely attractive to advertisers. It provides a brand-safe environment, where other FM stations occasionally walk a more controversial line.

“All advertising content that airs on smooth is required to be in keeping with the overall station tone. This has the effect of a blurring of the line between content and context – which in turn has the positive effect of making brand messaging feel more integrated and ultimately helping cut through with listeners.”

Emma Wood


Emma Wood, I&A director at Wavemaker, said:

“It’s been incredible to watch the success of smoothfm over the years. Less than 10 years ago the future of Nova’s second Sydney and Melbourne stations was dubious. After two major rebrands that were on radically different tangents in Vega and Classic Rock, there was certainly some doubt that smoothfm would help to deliver greater share than its predecessors let alone reach its proclaimed #1 status. Here we are seven years on, as smoothfm celebrates its birthday in style with the release of strong survey two results.

The success can be attributed to the brand staying true to its offering, easy listening and great network talent (if you’re reading this Bogart, I’m a huge fan). The consistency of this approach over the years makes it an attractive platform for our advertisers. The content is brand safe and hosts have developed a strong connection with their listeners who are extremely loyal. It’s a cost-efficient network across all dayparts and appeals to a broad range of brands, with multi-platform opportunities across DAB+, TV and experiential.”

Top Photo: smoothfm’s Glenn Daniel, Bogart Torelli, Ty Frost, Cameron Daddo and Melissa Doyle

Vogue Codes 2019 expanded program of events being held in four cities

Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann has announced key partnerships and events for Vogue Codes 2019.

Vogue Codes returns next week with an expanded program of events and a line-up of local and international speakers to inspire women to be creators of the digital future and encourage female innovation.

Vogue Australia, in partnership with Westpac, is expanding Vogue Codes to four cities in 2019, as the event strives to encourage women to feel empowered by technology.

This year Vogue Codes welcomes the addition of events in Adelaide and Brisbane to the schedule.

Adelaide will host its first Vogue Codes on Wednesday 29 May, Melbourne will host its second annual Vogue Codes Summit on Wednesday 5 June and Sydney will see the fourth annual Vogue Codes Summit on Friday 14 June.

Vogue Codes Live, aimed at young tech-minded women early in their careers, and Vogue Codes Kids, supported by Code Camp, both return on Saturday 15 June. The program also includes a series of In Conversation Breakfast events in partnership with Audi in all four cities.

McCann said: “Vogue has long celebrated women achieving great personal and professional successes and we hope that by providing a platform for some of the world’s most impressive female entrepreneurs and business leaders we will help to challenge the societal norms. Our hope is that a successful career in technology will be something future generations won’t think twice about. While the statistics of female participation in tech related roles and industries are improving, they are still not good enough.

“The response to Vogue Codes since we launched the initiative four years ago has been overwhelmingly positive with tickets to this year’s events selling fast and most now sold out. With such exciting things happening in the tech space right across Australia, we are thrilled to be expanding the Vogue Codes initiative to Adelaide and Brisbane this year.

“We’re delighted to have Westpac return as presenting partner for Vogue Codes 2019 along with our returning supporting partner Audi. Through its host of internal initiatives, Westpac supports women and girls in their journey to a successful career in STEM while Audi has a long tradition of driving innovation and positive change throughout its celebrated history. We are very pleased to welcome Estée Lauder as a supporting partner this year, a company at the forefront of empowering women in science. Together with our partners, we are committed to making this a highly successful campaign which really makes a difference.”

Speakers participating in this year’s events include:

Jennifer Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer of Away, a direct-to-customer travel business founded in 2015 that has just reached ‘unicorn’ status with a US $1.4 billion valuation.

Shama Shukul Lee, founder and CEO of Sunfed, a software engineer turned food technology entrepreneur, who is reimagining the food system, starting with meat.

Karen Walker, designer, has consistently ranked in The Business of Fashion’s powerhouse BoF 500 for the past six years, reflecting her position as a global industry figure shaping the future.

Caroline O’Brien, VP of data science at artificial intelligence company Afiniti, is responsible for data, analytics and AI solutions in Asia-Pacific and leads the New Products R&D team globally.

Katherine McConnell, CEO and founder of Brighte, a leading Australian fintech startup that provides a marketplace and on-the-spot finance for home energy improvements.

Valeria Ignatieva, co-founder and co-CEO of Work180, a jobs platform that pre-screens employers on a number of female-friendly factors.

Mairead O’Donovan, head of growth at Atlassian, one of Australia’s leading tech success stories.

For more information on VOGUE CODES 2019 go here.

Preview: SBS at Women’s World Cup on television, radio and online

SBS has announced its broadcast schedule for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France with coverage starting on June 8 and the Matildas playing their first match on June 9. 

SBS will be covering the tournament, live, free and in HD across television, radio and online. All 52 matches will be live and free on SBS Radio in multiple languages, while on TV and online, SBS will broadcast the opening match, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, including all Matildas games.

Hosted by  Tracey Holmes and former Socceroo Captain, Craig Foster with exclusive analysis from ex-Matilda Joey Peters, SBS’s coverage will begin with the opening match on Saturday, June 9 from 4 am when hosts France face Korea Republic. The Matildas play their first game at 8.30pm Sunday, June 9 when they play world number 15 Italy.


Saturday 8 June from 4 am France v Korea Republic LIVE kick-off 5 am
Sunday 9 June from 8.30pm Australia v Italy LIVE  kick-off 9 pm
Friday 14 June from 1.30am Australia v Brazil LIVE kick-off 2 am
Wednesday 19 June from 4.30am Australia v Jamaica LIVE kick-off 5 am

SBS’s coverage of the Round of 16 will be announced throughout the tournament.

Friday 28 June from 4.30am Quarter-Final 1 LIVE kick-off 5 am
Saturday 29 June from 4.30am Quarter-Final 2 LIVE kick-off 5 am
Saturday 29 June from 10.30pm Quarter-Final 3 LIVE  kick-off 11 pm
Sunday 30 June from 2 am Quarter-Final 4 LIVE kick-off 2.30am
Wednesday 3 July from 4.30am Semi-Final 1 LIVE kick-off 5 am
Thursday 4 July from 4.30am  Semi-Final 2 LIVE kick-off 5 am 
Sunday 7 July from 12.30am Playoff for 3rd LIVE If Matildas are playing kick-off 1 am
Monday 8 July from 12.30am  Final LIVE kick-off 1 am

SBS will also be delivering the FIFA Women’s World Cup Today daily highlights show on SBS at 6 pm every match day. 

Every match live and free, in multiple languages

SBS Radio will broadcast all 52 matches of the World Cup, live and free via the SBS Radio mobile app with selected matches offered simultaneously in multiple languages including Mandarin, French, Japanese and Italian. The multilingual coverage is in partnership with respected sports broadcasters from around the world.

Former Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri will bring all the highlights, insights and behind the scenes buzz of the Matildas’ matches, exclusively from France during the group stage, while the live English match coverage will feature exclusive commentary by former Socceroo goalkeeper Clint Bolton and sports broadcaster Steve Pearce.

Download the free SBS Radio app available now at the iTunes App Store and Google Play.


The World Game website and app will stream all SBS matches live alongside the latest scores, video highlights, breaking news, and analysis from all 52 games.

All SBS live matches, replays and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Today daily highlights show will be available to enjoy anytime and anywhere on SBS On Demand.

Fans can also join the #WorldGameLIVE discussion show on SBS’s Twitter account, from 5.30pm ahead of every match.

SBS is presenting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in partnership with Optus Sport.

Visit the SBS Guide for details on how to watch the tournament when the competition kicks off on 8 June

The Weekly Times launches new mag- AgJournal

News Corp Australia has announced a new national agricultural magazine published by the nation’s largest rural newspaper brand, The Weekly Times.

AgJournal a 40 page gloss magazine will focus on the nations booming $60-billion agriculture food and fibre industry.

Published quarterly, the magazine will reach 700,000 readers in print, distributed with The Weekly Times, The Weekend Australian, Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Mail, The Advertiser, The Sunday Times and News Corp Rural newspapers in Queensland and Tasmania.

The Weekly Times editor Ed Gannon said: “The launch of AgJournal is a significant event for Australian agriculture. For the first time there will be a national magazine telling the great stories that are happening on farms and in agribusinesses.

It is also a significant venture for News Corp Australia, being inserted across the group’s major mastheads, including The Weekly Times and The Weekend Australian.”

The magazine will examine how agribusiness drives the nation’s economy, feeds and clothes the global population, pushes innovation, and manages this continent’s land and resources. AgJournal will also share stories of the people who are shaping agriculture’s future.

“Our launch issue carries our special ‘Who Owns Australia’ investigation, where we identify and profile the 20 biggest landholders in the country,” Gannon said. “It makes fascinating reading of the vastness and scope of our biggest farming operations.”

News Corp Australia has outlined some of the key issues covered in the first issue:

AgJournal dissects the recent rise of the alternative protein market. Consumers are hungry for meat-free proteins, which is creating opportunities in insect farming, plant-based meat substitutes and production of pulses and nuts, which thrive in Australian climates.

A wool investigation shows the fibre is on a golden run, with everyone from catwalk models to treadmill junkies wearing Australian Merino. AgJournal explains what’s behind the one-year run of astronomical price gains and how the boom is transforming wool growing communities.

The farm gate is just the start of the agribusiness value chain.

Employing 512,010 people and encompassing everything from genetic science and ag-tech to gourmet food manufacturing and high-fashion textiles, agribusiness is Australia’s original darling industry.

AgJournal stories will drive growth, attract investment, interest the next generation, stimulate innovation in the sector and excite the nation.

The magazine will be promoted in print, digital, radio and newsagents across Victoria and the Riverina.

AgJournal will also appear digitally on The Weekly Times website and will be inserted into the following publications:

• The Weekly Times – May 22
• Rural Weekly – May 24
• Tasmanian Country – May 24
• The Sunday Mail (QLD)  – May 26
• The Daily Telegraph (NSW) – May 24
• The Advertiser (SA)  – May 24
• The Sunday Times (WA) – May 26
• Herald Sun (VIC) –May 24
• The Weekend Australian – May 25

Foxtel appoints Paul Edwards as Chief Communications Officer

Foxtel has announced Paul Edwards as their new chief communications officer.  

Edwards joins Foxtel from Commonwealth Bank of Australia where he was a senior advisor in group corporate affairs since 2018. Before that, he was a senior executive at ANZ Banking Group where he lead corporate communications with group-wide responsibility for communications strategy, media relations, internal communications and digital and social media. Edwards also worked at BHP in public relations consultancy. 

Edwards will report to Foxtel Chief Executive Officer Patrick Delany and also join the broader News Corp Australia communications team led by Group Executive, Corporate Affairs, Policy and Government Relations, Campbell Reid. 

Patrick Delany said, “Paul’s extensive business and communications experience adds an important skill set to our management team at a time when engagement with external stakeholders and our own people about our strategy has never been more important.

“We are already seeing positive momentum in strengthening Foxtel for the future and we look forward to Paul’s contribution as part of our strengthened communications team,” Mr Delany said. 

TV Ratings Analysis: May 22

• MasterChef Legend Ottolenghi oversees team challenge
• Catch-up audiences push Lego Masters final audience to 1.73m
• Nine reports it has been the home to top 40 episodes of 2019

Wednesday Week 21 2019

By James Manning 

• Seven News 1,081,000/1,034,000
• Nine News 955,000/923,000
• A Current Affair 738,000
• ABC News 715,000
• 7.30 613,000
• The Project 263,000/450,000
• 10 News First 371,000
• The Drum 233,000
• SBS World News 135,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 266,000
• Today 185,000


Home And Away was the biggest non-news show last night with 671,000 after audiences close to 700,000 earlier in the week.

House Rules was on 573,000 after 597,000 a week ago.

The Bay then did 360,000 after 341,000 last week. The UK crime drama added 119,000 in the consolidated 7 data making last week’s audience 461,000.


A Current Affair featured cowboy tradies and video gaming with 738,000 watching. The program started the week with two nights over 800,000.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation held a bring a baby boomer to work day, which featured radio host Red Symons, actress Tina Bursill and comedian Peter Rowsthorn. The episode did 545,000 after 538,000 last week.

The final episode of Decades: The Amazing Noughties did 401,000.

Nine also reported yesterday in the one week since the grand final of Lego Masters, audiences continue to flock to the last episode.

The Winner Announced segment of last Tuesday’s final was watched by an additional 315,000 viewers in the past seven days to record a national consolidated average audience of 2.329 million (Metro: 1.734 million / Regional: 595,000).

The episode also continues to be streamed at a bumper rate and has currently achieved a VPM of 106,000 on 9Now.

With the inclusion of an additional 392,000 viewers who tuned into encore screenings, the total national viewing audience for the Winner Announced segment of last Tuesday’s finale increases to a massive 2.827 million.

Together with Married at First Sight and the Australian Open, the performance of Lego Masters now sees Nine as home to all 40 of the top 40 highest rating individual metro programs of 2019.


A big legend was on duty at MasterChef last night for the team challenge – Ottolenghi. The program was #1 at 7.30pm with 634,000 after a Wednesday audience of 644,000 a week ago. The program was #1 for the night under 50.

Next best on the channel was The Project with 450,000 seeing Albo talking ALP leadership and Maggie Rogers explaining how she has moved on from talking about Pharrell Williams.

The second week of Five Bedrooms was on 428,000 after launching with 503,000.

MasterChef and Five Bedrooms were the top two programs for women under 50.


Anh’s Brush With Fame was on 626,000 after 558,000 a week ago.

The Weekly was on 573,000 as it featured Eurovision and the election. The Proclaimers featured on Hard Chat.

You Can’t Ask That then did 410,000.


The biggest audience was at 8.30pm with 186,000 watching 24 Hours In Emergency.

Earlier both Going Places With Ernie Dingo and Great British Railway Journeys were just over 170,000.

Week 21 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.0% 7 19.2% 9 17.7% 10  12.7% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 3.9% 10 Bold 4.9% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 2.9% GEM 1.6% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.8%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.5%            
TOTAL 19.2%   28.1%   25.9%   20.1%   6.6%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.0% 7 21.1% 9 13.4% WIN 10.3% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 4.1% GO! 3.6% WIN Bold 5.2% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 4.4% GEM 2.3% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 3.2% 9Life 2.1% Sky News  on WIN 2.6% NITV 0.1%
    7food (QLD only) 0.6%            
TOTAL 18.4%   33.3%   21.4%   20.1%   6.8%


86.0% 14.0%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,081,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 1,034,000
  3. Nine News Nine 955,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 923,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 738,000
  6. ABC News ABC 715,000
  7. Home And Away Seven 671,000
  8. Masterchef Australia 10 634,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 627,000
  10. Anh’s Brush With Fame ABC 626,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 613,000
  12. House Rules Seven 573,000
  13. The Weekly With Charlie Pickering ABC 573,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 550,000
  15. Talkin Bout Your Generation Nine 545,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 450,000
  17. Five Bedrooms 10 428,000
  18. You Can’t Ask That ABC 410,000
  19. Decades Nine 401,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 394,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 194,000
  2. Home And Away Seven 130,000
  3. Five Bedrooms 10 128,000
  4. Talkin Bout Your Generation Nine 128,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 118,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 312,000
  2. Nine News Nine 244,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 240,000
  4. Seven News Seven 229,000
  5. Talkin Bout Your Generation Nine 228,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 331,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 304,000
  3. Nine News Nine 300,000
  4. Seven News Seven 278,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 273,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 219,000
  2. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 193,000
  3. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 183,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 167,000
  5. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  6. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  7. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  8. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  9. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  10. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  11. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  12. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  13. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  14. Molly And Mack PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  15. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  16. Neighbours 10 Peach 144,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory Tx1 9GO! 140,000
  18. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 133,000
  19. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  20. Nella The Princess Knight AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  1. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 112,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 80,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 79,000
  4. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 76,000
  5. Richo Sky News Live 63,000
  6. Credlin Sky News Live 61,000
  7. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 57,000
  8. The Simpsons FOX8 51,000
  9. The Simpsons FOX8 51,000
  10. The Matty Johns Podcast FOX LEAGUE 48,000
  11. Speers Sky News Live 48,000
  12. Mrs. Brown’s Boys UKTV 44,000
  13. Family Guy FOX8 40,000
  14. PML Later Sky News Live 40,000
  15. Homestead Rescue Discovery Channel 38,000
  16. Beverly Hills: Real Housewives Of… ARENA 36,000
  17. Thronecast FOX SHOWCASE 33,000
  18. NCIS TVH!TS 32,000
  19. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  20. Mrs. Brown’s Boys UKTV 30,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Nova Entertainment appoints Melbourne group sales manager

Nova Entertainment has appointed James Hansford (pictured) as Melbourne group sales manager.

Hansford will be leading the agency sales team responsible for the Publicis agencies (Zenith and Starcom) as well as independent agency Nunn Media. His team will drive the commercial success for all of Nova Entertainment’s brands and provide tailored brand solutions in collaboration with Nova’s media partners.

Tamara Pannett, Nova Entertainment’s Melbourne head of agency said, “James has a proven track record in delivering commercial outcomes for Nova Entertainment that leverage the breadth of brands within our portfolio. In the three years he has been with the Nova Entertainment family, he has gone from strength to strength. A brilliant contributor to team culture, combined with his sound commercial performance, positions James as a key team member for our future success.”

With over seven years experience in the media industry, most recently Hansford was a senior sales executive for Nova Entertainment in Melbourne. He joined Nova in 2016 as an agency sales executive, he was promoted to senior agency sales executive before taking on his new role as group sales manager.

Hansford was previously a sales executive with Nine Entertainment from 2014 to 2016.

James said, “I am excited to continue delivering market-leading experiences for our commercial partners, with the support of the talented team at Nova Entertainment.”

Hansford will commence in the role on Monday 27th May and will report directly to Tamara Pannett.

Mushroom Music Publishing restructures under new MD Linda Bosidis

Mushroom Music Publishing has a new company structure under Linda Bosidis, who was promoted to managing director at the beginning of this year.

Having overseen Mushroom Music’s international operations for over twelve years, Zoe Coverdale has been elevated to senior director, international where she continues to manage existing partnerships and establish new relationships and opportunities for Mushroom Music’s international business.

Tahlia Ryan has been promoted internally to international assistant and will support Coverdale. In addition to her role with Mushroom Music, Coverdale is also working in a business development capacity with the Mushroom Group’s recently launched neighbouring rights company, Good Neighbour.

Erol Yurdagul has been named head of A&R and creative. After several years as A&R manager, he will be responsible for our domestic writers, with a major focus on signing new writers. Julian McGruther, Dom O’Connor, Bill Page and Dean McLachlan will be part of his team.

Julian McGruther’s role as creative manager has been expanded to facilitate collaborations and co-writes both domestically and internationally.

Formerly the creative manager of Mushroom Sync, Jules Bain has been promoted to head of sync for both publishing and labels within the Mushroom Group. The sync team includes Abby Page, Ricky Birmingham and Lisa Businovski. Bain’s focus includes generating new business in Australia and internationally.  

Dom O’Connor has joined Mushroom Music full-time as A&R assistant, after 12 months of working as a scout in their Sydney office and four years at Lunatic Entertainment/Laneway Festival. In his expanded role, O’Connor will work closely with Erol Yurdagul in developing new publishing signings, working with the existing catalogue in a creative fashion, maintaining relationships with existing writers.

Photo: Zoe Coverdale, Erol Yurdagul, Jules Bain, Dom O’Connor

TV mogul Reg Grundy’s ‘love child’ in fight for slice of $800m fortune

The man who claims to be the long lost son of late TV king Reg Grundy has appeared at court for the first time, looking remarkably like the media mogul, to claim his slice of the $800 million fortune, reports News Corp’s Sarah Crawford.

Simon Thomas Russell, a two-time mayor of the Bayside region in Victoria, sat in the gallery of a Supreme Court close to Dr Grundy’s estranged daughter Viola La Valette and widow Carolyn Joy Chambers-Grundy who are already fighting over the division of the estate.

Russell’s barrister Nicolas Kirby told Justice Geoff Lindsay that they had tested a biological sample of Dr Grundy to prove his paternity but the results were, “inconclusive”.

He said they had a “fortuitous find” of a “biological sample right under our noses at (pathology company) Douglass Hanly Moir,” however, “once testing was completed it had insufficient DNA to construct a profile, those results came back inconclusive.”

Grundy was an entrepreneur and media mogul who made his name by creating numerous hit TV shows including game shows Blankety Blanks, Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right and soap operas Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, The Young Doctors and Neighbours.

The case was adjourned until June 21.

[Read the original]

Rupert Murdoch is a ‘big feminist,’ says his wife, Jerry Hall

Anyone who doubts Rupert Murdoch’s feminist bona fides hasn’t checked with his wife, Jerry Hall, reports The New York Times.

“He’s a big feminist,” Hall said Tuesday night at an event to promote the Equal Rights Amendment, which would inscribe gender equality into the Constitution. “He has lots of highly paid women executives, and he always treats women very fairly.”

The many women who have sued Murdoch’s Fox News network for sexual harassment may disagree. Nonetheless, Hall said her husband is “a big supporter” and “pays for ads” for the amendment, which states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

[Read the original]

News Brands

Russian broadcaster hits out at BBC show parodying Putin

Russia’s government-owned news service RT has denounced a BBC comedy chatshow featuring a 3D animation of Vladimir Putin interviewing the likes of Alastair Campbell, reports The Guardian.

The BBC described Tonight With Vladimir Putin, which has yet to air, as a “television first” with new technology enabling a “3D digital cartoon of Putin to walk around and sit behind the desk, interviewing real human guests in front of a studio audience, all in real time.”

In response, RT – described this month by the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as a “weapon of disinformation” – published an article describing the show’s concept as a “regurgitated dystopian nightmare copied from the popular Channel 4/Netflix series Black Mirror but bastardised almost beyond recognition”.

[Read the original]

TV Tonight reports why Tonight With Vladimir Putin may not be a world first.


Foxtel return: Wentworth is the prison break Australian TV needs

It’s an authentic homegrown success story. As Wentworth returns for a seventh season, it becomes the longest-running locally produced weekly drama currently on Australian television, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.

In addition, the “reimagining” of the women’s prison drama, Prisoner, has sold to more than 140 territories around the world, including the tough-to-crack US market. Versions of it have been produced in Turkey, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. And 20 more episodes will start production in Melbourne in October.

As the new, 10-part season begins, three months on from where the last one ended, the stage is set for a battle between undercover cop Rita Connors (Leah Purcell), who’s been cut loose by the police department, and crime matriarch Marie Winter (Susie Porter). Karen “Kaz” Proctor (Tammy McIntosh), the reigning “top dog”, battles to maintain control, Sue “Boomer” Jenkins (Katrina Milosevic), who’s been helping to care for the increasingly forgetful Liz (Celia Ireland), is scheduled for her parole hearing, and Governor Vera Bennett (Kate Atkinson) is further along with her first pregnancy.

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How Wentworth pulled off ultimate TV jailbreak escaping death row

When Australian drama Wentworth finished filming season seven last July the cast believed they’d probably just shot the final episode ever, reports News Corp’s Cameron Adams.

“We weren’t certain whether it was going to come back,” Kate Jenkinson, who plays inmate Allie Novak, says.

“When we finished we all said goodbye, not knowing for sure whether we’d ever be on that set again.”

Season seven was planned as the final series of Wentworth; a secret designed to be kept from the outside world, who didn’t know the show was on death row.

However word soon leaked that Wentworth was potentially no more, with production company Fremantle’s silence on a definitive answer either way fuelling fan freak-outs.

As well as the obligatory online #SaveWentworth campaigns and petitions, there were claims one fan even flew a drone over the drama’s top-secret Melbourne set to see if rumours that the purpose-built prison had been dismantled were true.

Diehard fans even threatened to cancel their Foxtel subscriptions if Wentworth didn’t come back.

Season eight and nine of Wentworth will be filmed back to back in Melbourne, starting around September, airing in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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Finding her feet: Michelle Williams steps into Gwen Verdon’s shoes

In the history of American dance there are few figures like Bob Fosse, the director-choreographer behind the iconic musicals Chicago and Cabaret, and the only man in history to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award in the same year.

What did not seem to endure – at least in terms of prominence in the history books – is his partnership with Gwen Verdon, his wife and frequent collaborator, once described as the greatest Broadway dancer of all time.

That relationship – professional and personal – is the basis of the new cable drama Fosse/Verdon, which stars Sam Rockwell as Fosse and Michelle Williams as Verdon.

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Amazon’s Fleabag is horror-show comedy and close to perfect

There are some things I don’t quite get about Fleabag – like how can a show about grief and guilt be so damned funny, and how can a story about failed relationships be so uplifting. It’s a puzzle, writes The Age’s Karl Quinn.

In its second season, Fleabag (Amazon Prime) picks up “371 days, 19 hours and 26 minutes” after the first ended. Our unnamed heroine (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is still running a guinea-pig themed cafe but now it’s thriving rather than failing. She has also sworn off getting smashed and using sex as a way of avoiding emotions. Or so she says.

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Internet comedian Troy Kinne ready to tackle prime time TV

Last year Troy Kinne ran in his own election campaign, reports News Corp’s Cameron Adams.

The Melbourne comedian’s TV sketch show Kinne Tonight was one of the eight programs in Ten’s Pilot Week experiment.

“It was a weird feeling to be in a competition with other people,” Kinne says.

“But once you’ve made the decision to be in it, you had to make the most of it and get as many people on Facebook to watch it as possible. I felt a bit guilty at the time, I’m not sure why, but I’ve built this (following) up so I may as well use it. It quickly went from anxiety to excitement.”

Kinne Tonight was the highest-rating show in capital cities (beating Trial By Kyle) and the heavy social media engagement and positive online reaction saw it green-lighted for six episodes, which start next Monday.

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A Game of Thrones sequel not an option for HBO’s top executive

Two days after saying farewell to Game of Thrones – with a series finale that ranks as the cabler’s most-watched episode ever – HBO programming president Casey Bloys is ready to look to the future, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Bloys was asked about three prequels still in the mix, two in the script stage and the third a pilot to be filmed this summer.

“I am not clarifying anything other than yes, we shoot the first pilot in June. There are two more in development and beyond that, there’s nothing else to report.

“There are no plans currently to put anything more in development. We’re not actively looking or going beyond what we’ve got in the current pilot.”

Have you considered exploring sequels? Specifically, Arya Stark as she travels west of Westeros?

“Nope, nope, nope. No. Part of it is, I do want this show – this Game of Thrones, Dan and David’s show – to be its own thing. I don’t want to take characters from this world that they did beautifully and put them off into another world with someone else creating it.”

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Sports Media

Former host Bec Maddern sad to see The Footy Show go

Former host of The Footy Show Rebecca Maddern says she was sad to see to the demise of the once much-loved TV favourite, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

Maddern, who is now fronting Channel 9’s upcoming Cricket World Cup coverage, says the show was a career-defining gig for her.

“It was a really life-changing career moment for me, being part of The Footy Show and such an iconic TV show in Australia.

“I am really saddened by the ending and it wasn’t a great thing. Many things don’t end well, otherwise they wouldn’t end.

“It was a big part of my life and it really changed the trajectory of my career and for that I’m really thankful.”

Maddern was a host during the Australian Open tennis in January and said being involved in the Cricket World Cup was another great opportunity for her “at a really interesting time in Australian cricket.”

Maddern is currently in post-production of the new series of Australian Ninja Warrior, which she co-hosted in Melbourne.

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