By James Manning
What he can’t do on air (‘HR gone mad’) and his new TV series
We published the first instalment of our two-part Marty Sheargold feature before his first Triple M breakfast program had been broadcast. The second part we publish today after hearing much of his first two programs.
And the news is good for SCA with the program on Tuesday already sounding like a worthy successor to Melbourne’s The Hot Breakfast. Sheargold speaks his mind which has always been a strong attraction for listeners. And who knew having the team together in the studio would work so well? Hearing the host and his colleagues working out how the new show works on air is a treat for listeners.
Listening to Sheargold interacting with callers was always a highlight on Nova, and it will be at Triple M too. Listening to Marty with a caller telling all about orgies in Melbourne was memorable this morning.
Sheargold has recently finished work on the new Kitty Flanagan sitcom Fisk for the ABC.
“That’s all been filmed and it is being edited as we speak,” Sheargold told Mediaweek. “The series is six half hours and what a great group of people it was to work with. I have done bits and pieces of acting work before, but in terms of turning up and working in a big block of time it was a new experience for me. I really loved it, but anything like this in the future would need to see me look very carefully at my time management. Fisk popped up at a perfect time for me as I was literally sitting at home.”
He was cautious about taking on more TV work if offered:
“I can see the amount of work it will take to get this breakfast radio show going and it is my absolute priority.”
“Blackers and I have been madly chatting over the break about the business we are in. We have both been incredibly supportive of each other’s projects and how we are all managing to keep moving through.
“Blackers has sent me links to his Nova podcast and I know it has gone through the roof. I listened to the Yungblud episode and really enjoyed it and some of his others have also done very well.”
“Coming into the AFL season we will have somebody to talk to about the football. But in the off season I don’t think we will be having many pre-season updates. I am a sports lover so it will remain a part of the show. But when you had Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy in the studio, they were always going to talk more sport than I would.”
“SCA is a much bigger company, a bigger operation. And you feel that when you walk in. SCA is a company where some of the brands have nearly 50 stations, versus a company that is running seven.
“I was very involved in the discussions to move back to SCA and my main contact was with Dave Cameron.”
As to what he’s not allowed do on air, Sheargold laughed: “I’m not allowed masturbate on air. I was surprised by that…it’s HR gone mad as far as I’m concerned, but that’s the world we live in.”
Mediaweek speaks with SCA’s head of content Dave Cameron tomorrow.
After a career at SCA and Nova over the past 17 years, Sheargold noted he’d never been approached by ARN for work.
“I have a lovely relationship with [ARN content boss] Duncan Campbell where we have a chat at major functions when our paths cross. For whatever reason, neither of us seem to have been on each other’s radar.”
Sheargold: “I think it is best to talk about these things taking longer. Triple M is demo driven – you might win a 10+ survey in this market, but be missing some of the right audience. If we can start to get to 29-54-year-old men against our competitors and keep increasing that will be a good result.
“I am not worried about 10+, I’m more concerned about winning the demo the network is chasing. Winning 10+ is great to go to the pub and talk about how great you are, but that result is not always servicing sales.”
“All you can do is make strong content choices, execute them well and be passionate about what you are talking about.”
Sheargold sounding convincing that he is very much up for the challenge of making breakfast work. He won’t be heading home at 9.10am every day.
“I don’t understand how somebody would get themselves into a position like this and the not work hard to make the most of it. If hard work is the criteria, then you shouldn’t really fail.
“I can only be me.” And being Marty Sheargold has got the broadcaster this far.
Broadcasters at SCA work in the shadow of some radio greats who had long periods of success. Something that is often referred to in the corridors and offices at World Square and South Melbourne.
Sheargold reflected: “There is a lot of choice now for audiences, something that wasn’t there when I started in radio.”
He added with a grin: “Prior to me starting people used to hi-5 each other because Doug Mulray or Wendy Harmer had gone #1. So they should have. There was only two radio stations. If I hear one more thing about Andrew Denton going #1 I’ll go fucking mental…I’m joking,” he added with his trademark drawl and giggle.
The Australian metropolitan commercial radio audience grew by 2% to nearly 11.1 million listeners in 2020, in a year dominated by COVID-19 which saw the number of people listening at home jump by eight per cent to 6.4 million.
Commercial Radio Australia’s annual listening summary, based on an average of the five official GfK radio surveys conducted in 2020, shows radio’s cumulative audience reached a record high and has climbed by 10% over the past five years.
Bright spots included a 2% lift in listeners aged 25-39, which comprised the largest age group at nearly 3 million people, a 5% increase in audiences during mornings (9am to midday, Mon – Fri) and a 13% rise in audiences for DAB+ only stations.
“Radio proved its adaptability in emergencies and continued to deliver for listeners in a year where we contended with floods, bushfires, a global pandemic and digital disruption,” CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said.
“Radio also showed that while we’re dominant in the car, we’re not reliant on any one platform or place of listening. There has been a strong lift in listeners across digital, mobile and DAB+ platforms and we will continue to evolve and grow those opportunities in 2021.”
Overall, commercial radio reached 77% of all people aged 10+ each week in the five major metro markets and was popular across all age groups. Commercial radio reached 87% of people aged 10- 17, 75% of those aged 18-24, 76% of 25-39s, 80% of 40-54s, 78% of 55-64s and 67% of those aged 65 and over*.
Commercial DAB+ only stations attracted nearly 1.6 million listeners, an increase of 13% or 180,000 people compared to 2019. More than half of those listened to DAB+ stations at home and 676,000 listened in the car.
Audiences spent a total of 13 hours and 12 minutes listening to commercial radio each week.
Working from home and travel restrictions resulted in changes to listening behaviour. Morning audiences rose 5% to 6.3 million, while afternoon audiences (midday to 4pm) were up 3% to 6.9 million, overtaking drive on 6.8 million. Breakfast remained the most popular time to listen, with an audience of 7.5 million each week.
Forty-nine percent of time spent listening to radio took place at home (up from 42% in 2019), while 31% of listening was in the car, down from 36% previously, 17% took place at work and 2% elsewhere.
The first radio survey period for 2021 began this week with results to be released by GfK on March 11.
Sources: GfK Radio Ratings, Surveys 1-2, 6-8, 2020 SMBAP Cume 000’s. Total People 10+, Mon-Sun, midnight to midnight unless stated otherwise, all commercial listening (including commercial DAB+ stations). Comparisons made with Surveys 1-2, 6-8 2019 and 2015. *Cume %. Time Spent Listening (h:mm). Share of Listening calculated based on average audience (000s)
Independent media agencies are predicting a strong recovery from the effects of COVID-19, forecasting an increase in staff and revenue in 2021, according to data from the Independent Media Agencies of Australia’s (IMAA) second Pulse Survey of its members.
The results revealed that almost 90% of agencies expected to boost their workforce numbers this year, while 31% said they had already financially recovered from the impact of the pandemic.
For those still feeling the strain, almost half (47%) said they expected to financially recover by Q2 2021, with another 11% predicting a return to profitability by Q3 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant decline in client spend for many agencies, with almost two-thirds saying their revenue had been impacted by up to 50%.
The survey also showed working remotely is set to be the “new normal” for almost a third of agencies, with 32% saying working from home was now part of their work arrangements. However, nearly half the agencies surveyed (46%) had returned to working from their offices, with a further 7% expected to go back early this year.
The Pulse Survey was conducted among the IMAA’s members in November 2020 to gather feedback on market conditions. The survey is conducted twice-yearly among members. The inaugural Pulse Survey in June 2020 revealed a similar sentiment among agencies on their COVID-19 recovery, with more than a third expecting client spend to increase.
“The Pulse Survey shows the resilience of the independent media agency sector. Although many of our members were, like the rest of the industry, hit hard by the pandemic and reduced client spend, we have found they are bouncing back quickly and looking ahead to a more successful 2021,” IMAA General Manager, Sam Buchanan, said.
The latest survey data also showed 2021 is set to be a big year for CTV, BVOD and digital, with respondents nominating these media channels as their top three predictions for advertising growth year-on-year.
The 8-part local adaption of the global hit series will see the most fabulous and fierce local drag queens compete to be the first-ever Down Under Drag Race Superstar.
Going into production this week, the highly anticipated local version of the most awarded reality competition show in history will be hosted by RuPaul, with co-judge and Drag Race veteran Michelle Visage by his side. The drag queens competing in the premiere season of Down Under, the third judge on the main panel and celebrity guest appearances will be announced later this year.
The Stan Original Series will see queens serving high fashion realness, mini and max challenges, shady and heartfelt moments in the workroom, and of course, the all-important lip-sync for your life battles.
Stan Original Series RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is a World of Wonder production in collaboration with Warner Bros. International Production New Zealand for Stan and TVNZ, currently filming in New Zealand. Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, Tom Campbell and RuPaul Charles serve as executive producers. Passion Distribution will distribute the series globally in line with Passion Distribution and WOW’s distribution strategy.
RuPaul, said: “I cannot wait for everyone to see that Down Under queens have some of the biggest charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talents in the world. Thank you to Stan and TVNZ for providing a platform for these outrageous drag artists to share their heart, soul and humour.”
Nick Forward, Stan chief content officer, said “You asked for it Australia, and now we’re bringing it to you – finally, our very own Aussie Drag Race, the new Stan Original Series RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under! The series is already a huge hit with our audience, so to now be working with RuPaul and the entire team at World of Wonder to create a local version is beyond a thrill. We can’t wait to reveal all the guest judges and see what our local queens bring to the global sensation that is RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Nick Tanner, Passion Distribution director of sales and co productions, said: “We’re proud to bring the Drag Race phenomenon down under in an antipodean showdown for Stan and TVNZ OnDemand! I can’t wait to see the best queens from Australia and New Zealand bring it to RuPaul’s main stage. RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under will be a fantastic addition to the ever expanding ‘ru-niverse.”
Executive producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of World of Wonder, said “The dazzling queens of Australia and New Zealand have always been an inspiration to us, so we are thrilled to team up with our local production partners Stan and TVNZ to bring the creative genius of drag down under to international audiences on WOW Presents Plus.”
Stan Original Series RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under will premiere in 2021, only on Stan.
By Trent Thomas
The Dry has continued its strong run at the Australian box office as it sits on the cusp of passing the $10m threshold after three weeks as it continues to establish itself as the most successful Aussie film in some time.
Speaking of success Wonder Woman 1984 continues to cement itself as the most successful film in Australia since cinemas began to re-open. Despite coming in at #3 over the weekend the film still made over $1.3m.
The only new entry to the top five this week is also an old one in The War with Grandpa which creeps back up to the #5 spot this week, replacing Monster Hunter which has made $2.46m over the last three weeks.
Overall, the Australian box office was down 8% on total revenue this weekend after making $8.09m.
The Aussie mystery drama has made it two weeks in a row at #1 after averaging $4,609 on 410 screens.
The animated flick has moved up to #2 in its fourth week of release and with a total of $15.84m now sits behind just Wonder Woman 1984 and Tenet as the highest grossing films in Australia since the lockdown.
The DC film was the most screened film in the country over the weekend after being shown on 415 screens in its fourth week of release making an average of $3,260. The film now has a total of $21.30m.
In its second week of release, the film has moved up one spot to #4 after averaging $2,642 on 179 screens.
After six weeks the family comedy finds itself again in the top five after averaging $1,979 on 218 screens. The film now has a total of $8.24m.
By James Manning
• News, return of Tracy, cops on the Goldie and a movie win for Nine
It was supposed to be the first night of the Australian Open tennis last night. That won’t happen now until February 8. Fittingly Nine managed to still win the night anyway, albeit with a smaller share than it will probably boast once the delayed tournament starts.
Driving Nine’s win was a news audience over 1m, and then Tracy Grimshaw returned from her summer break to start her 16th year of hosting the 7pm powerhouse as it pulled close to 700,000 viewers. Nine’s night then unfolded with Gold Coast Cops on 364,000 and 340,00 which was followed by the movie The Magnificent Seven on 260,000.
10 again had the #1 entertainment program with I’m a Celebrity on 746,000 which was marginally higher than any of last week’s episodes.
On Seven, the Big Bash League featured possibly the biggest six of the summer so far, but the audience failed to crack 400,000. It was not far off though with close to 380,000 watching each innings of the Hobart Hurricanes clash with the Sydney Thunder.
10 Bold pushed above 5% last night on a diet of Bondi Rescue, Law & Order: SVU and three episodes back-to-back of NCIS.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.7%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||3.0%||10 Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||2.1%||GEM||2.9%||10 Peach||3.3%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||1.9%||7flix||1.2%||9Life||2.1%||10 Shake||0.6%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.5%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.9%||7TWO||5.1%||GO!||3.8%||WIN Bold||5.6%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||2.8%||GEM||4.2%||WIN Peach||2.9%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||2.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||0.9%||9Life||2.2%||Sky News on WIN||0.7%||NITV||0.2%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
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
Ebuity-owned FirmDecisions has appointed Matthew Braid (pictured) to the role of Managing Director for its Australia and New Zealand offices. He will report to Dale Garvie, Managing Director APAC.
Braid joins FirmDecisions with over 20 years’ experience in finance roles within the media and advertising industry. Most recently, Braid held the Finance Director role at Ikon Communications (part of the WPP AUNZ network) and the Finance Director role at Bohemia Group where he helped oversee the sale of the agency from STW Communications to the M&C Saatchi group.
Prior to this, Braid was the Finance Manager for Foundation, a media agency within the Omnicom Media Group. He has also held Finance roles at Publicis Groupe and George Patterson Bates.
Braid’s hire is the latest in a string of senior hires led by global CEO, Federica Bowman, who took over in August. Under her leadership, FirmDecisions has committed to continually refresh and expand its expertise for its clients by recruiting senior specialists out of agencies with unparalleled industry knowledge.
Commenting on his appointment, Matt Braid said: “Contractual transparency has long been an important topic for marketers and agencies alike. For over 20 years, FirmDecisions has been a champion of this issue by helping its clients work with their agencies to achieve this. When this rare opportunity came up to join Dale and the team, I couldn’t pass it up.”
Dale Garvie, Managing Director APAC said: “Matt brings to our clients extensive industry knowledge and a proven track record of untangling commercial complexities within marketing and media agencies. His hire demonstrates FirmDecisions’ ongoing commitment to continue investing in specialist talent with up-to-date knowledge in an industry undergoing rapid change. I look forward to working with Matt and wish him every success.”
The Australian’s Cameron Stewart is not the only US-based Australian reporter returning home to work domestically for their employer.
ABC US bureau chief David Lipson reported on social media on the weekend about his decision not to return to the US capital to finish his latest international assignment:
“My time in Washington DC has come to an end for now. We have another baby due in April and decided to have it in Australia. I was due to return to DC next week for a final stint but will continue to watch in awe and admiration. Thanks to ABC for the opportunity of a lifetime and for all the support through this time. I’ll be popping up a bit here and there on Aunty while we sort out our new/old life in Australia. Thanks for watching/listening/reading.
“The one-man superpower known as Greg Jennett will lead the team. ABC Washington is in very good hands.”
Meanwhile the ABC’s duo of Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones have arrived in the US with Ferguson reporting on the aftermath of Donald Trump shortly on Four Corners. Ferguson is expected to be in the US for six months and the posting comes after she was unable to take up a posting in China during 2020.
Late last year David Lipson wrote about a year of living and reporting in the US through COVID, civil unrest and a drama-packed election campaign.
The ABC has responded to Sinclair Davidson writing in The Australian Financial Review on the weekend, calling his column a basket case of inaccuracies about the role of the ABC and its value to Australians:
Davidson, a professor of economics at the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, is also listed as an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and is the co-author of the publication “Against Public Broadcasting: why we should privatise the ABC and how to do it”.
His 15 January piece “The ABC no longer has a purpose” displays a lack of understanding of the critical role of public broadcasters such as the ABC in the modern media age.
And the main contention – that Australian audiences are not as reliant on ABC services as they once were – is blatantly wrong.
In 2020 Australians turned to the ABC in record numbers, highlighting its role as Australia’s most trusted and valued media organisation.
Among the audience data:
• ABC News was the nation’s #1 digital news brand every month for the past 12 months.
• ABC News’s average daily digital audience is up 79% on 2019 to 2.2 million people and its average monthly audience is 38% higher at 12.5 million.
• ABC TV was the #3 network in 2020, for the first time since 2013.
• The ABC News channel achieved its highest-ever monthly reach in March of 6.4 million viewers.
• ABC TV was the only free-to-air network to experience significant growth in reach in 2020 (up 1.4 percentage points on 2019 to 46.9%).
• ABC Kids is the #1 channel among children, achieving a share of 53% among 0-4 year olds. ABC Kids is also #1 among 5-12s during daytime, with ABC ME in 2nd place.
• ABC Radio was the nation’s #1 radio network in 2020 with a share of 25.3% (combined metro, regional and national). In total, our radio networks also reached 37.2% of listeners across the five major capitals.
• All ABC Radio networks increased their share and reach this year.
15 of the top 20 ABC TV programs in 2020, across broadcast and ABC iview, were Australian.
Simon Hobbs is pretty chuffed with his new office digs, reports TV Tonight.
Moving newsrooms from Nine’s historic Willoughby Studios to North Sydney, he is seeing the benefits of having all his team under the one roof.
“It’s been a total game changer for us,” he tells TV Tonight.
Hobbs is News Director for Nine News Sydney, but his role encompasses much more than the 6pm news. It includes the news bulletins in Today, all national news bulletins across the day, late news, foreign desks in LA & London plus Canberra.
“We’ve never had our whole news and current affairs division in one place. 60 Minutes has always been in the (Willoughby) cottages. A Current Affair was down in the old Scott Street building before they moved into a separate part of the building. And the Today show was separated from News.”
In the centre of the new newsroom is a news editor hub, similar to a BBC model. Raised above several ‘spines’ of journalists it allows for news to permeate from one place, quickly out to all teams. Having all news teams on the one floor at 1 Denison Street is also reaping benefits.
Bali Nine drug runner Renae Lawrence has been accused of cashing in on her criminal notoriety after being paid to do an interview about her love life behind bars in Kerobokan Prison, reports The Australian’s Steve Jackson.
The convicted smuggler received financial remuneration for opening up to glossy magazine New Idea about her longstanding relationship with Indonesian partner Agus Erna Wijayanti, whom she met while they were both serving time in the notorious Balinese prison for drug-related offences.
Under Australia’s Proceeds of Crime Act, it is an offence for anyone convicted of an indictable offence to derive “any benefit … from the commercial exploitation of (their) notoriety” as a result of their criminal history.
The editorial team at New Idea magazine would not discuss whether paying Lawrence breached the Proceeds of Crime legislation when approached for comment on Monday.
Neil Mitchell is back in the studio after his most challenging work year yet, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein. The 3AW talkback radio king returned on Monday for the first time in 311 days.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard, it was the hardest year I’ve ever had in journalism,’’ Mitchell told the Herald Sun.
“I was getting a salary, working comfortably from home with minimal risk and lots of engagement.
“Without question (it was challenging) because it was uncertain.
“Last time I was here I was arguing why the Grand Prix shouldn’t go ahead and today I was arguing why the Australian Open shouldn’t go ahead,’’ he said.
“There are reasons for optimism. We don’t know the impact of the vaccine but hope that will be positive, and the fact we’ve learned a lot of lessons like hotel quarantine and how to handle that.”
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant Toni Pearen is not happy that there are two new members joining them in the jungle, reports news.com.au’s Bianca Mastroianni.
On Monday night’s episode, former Gogglebox stars Adam and Symon received a very frosty reception when they entered the I’m A Celeb camp.
“Colin… I can’t do it anymore,” Toni cried to celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge.
“I can’t handle any more people,” she continued.
She later explained her dramatic reaction to camera: “We’re all exhausted, we’re depleted, we haven’t been eating properly. We are empty. The only thing that is filling us is each other.”
The producers of UK period drama Peaky Blinders have confirmed that filming on the sixth, and final, series has begun.
“Peaky is back and with a bang”, says creator and writer Steven Knight. “After the enforced production delay due to the Covid pandemic, we find the family in extreme jeopardy and the stakes have never been higher. We believe this will be the best series of all and are sure that our amazing fans will love it. While the TV series will be coming to an end, the story will continue in another form.”
Caryn Mandabach (executive producer) confirmed the announcement with this message to the fans: “Along with our wonderful, supportive, partners at BBC and Netflix, we have been working diligently to ensure we can get Peaky safely back into production; the safety of our cast and crew is always our priority. Thank you to all the Peaky fans who have been so unwaveringly supportive and patient. Series six marks the end of an epic story that has entranced audiences since it first started in 2013, but the world of Peaky Blinders will most definitely live on.”
Tommy Bulfin (executive producer for the BBC) added: “We are very excited that filming for Peaky Blinders has begun and so grateful to everyone for all their hard work to make it happen. Steve’s scripts for series six are truly remarkable and provide a fitting send-off which we are sure will delight fans.”
The sixth series is written by Knight, Anthony Byrne returns as director having directed series five to great acclaim, and Nick Goding will produce. Executive producers are Caryn Mandabach, Steven Knight, Jamie Glazebrook, David Mason, Anthony Byrne and Cillian Murphy. Tommy Bulfin is executive producer for the BBC and Lucy Bedford is executive producer for Tiger Aspect. Peaky Blinders, from Caryn Mandabach Productions, is co-produced with Tiger Aspect Productions and distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.