Monday July 27, 2020

John Burns and Ross Stevenson
Bye bye Burnso: 3AW farewelling breakfast veteran John Burns

By James Manning

• “I don’t want to go out on a downer. It’s good to finish on a high at #1”

Asked on Friday if there would be a festival of John Burns for his final week as part of the breakfast team at 3AW, the co-host of Melbourne’s long-time #1 radio show told Mediaweek: “I have no idea what they have got planned. I didn’t want it to be a festival of anything.” Burns added it was hard to do much anywhere to celebrate in Victoria at present and added it’s hardly a party atmosphere in its capital city again in lockdown.

Burns was speaking to Mediaweek after lunch with his wife Monique. “I am sitting in my back garden with the bleak winter sun trying to warm me up. I am having a Cuban cigar and a glass of cognac.

After some speculation in 2019 that Burns would be replaced in breakfast, 3AW confirmed his departure late last year, subsequently naming Russel Howcroft as his replacement. A statement at the time indicated Burns would continue to contribute on other programs. He is not sure exactly what that means yet. “I have yet to speak to [3AW station manager] Stephen Beers about that, apart from him indicating some time ago a wish to keep me as part of 3AW.”

Burns’ final program is next Friday, with Howcroft joining host Ross Stevenson Monday August 3.

Social distancing at 3AW

Social distancing at 3AW with Ross (left) and John (right

Burns told Mediaweek he had never contemplated quitting 3AW before the station raised it. “When the time comes you have to get your mind around it. After having initially been told that nothing lasts forever, I have grown to accept the fact and you really can’t do the same thing forever. It has been a fabulous ride that has been so successful.

“I don’t want to go out on a downer. It’s good to be finishing on a high and sitting at #1 with perhaps 20 years that may never be repeated. Ross and I have been good mates for a long time and we still are. We don’t see each other much now because our lives have changed. He has a new family and mine have grown up and left home.”

When working as a barrister, Burns first started working with Stevenson on his Sir Lunchalot segment, every Friday for a decade. Burns leaves 3AW breakfast on July 31, 19 years and six months after joining Stevenson as a co-host in January 2001. It didn’t take the new duo long to build ratings consistency.

“In the first year I think we lost one survey, but every other survey we have won by a mile.” That ratings dominance has given the show an autonomy that not everyone earns in the media industry. “There has been absolutely no interference whatsoever over the years in the breakfast program. We have been fortunate to be virtually independent and been allowed to run our own race.”

John Burns

One of the smart decisions made by the hosts was the avoid politics, “Unless absolutely necessary,” explained Burns.

“We also avoided any news that was distasteful. We tried to have as much fun as we could and put a smile on people’s faces. There were certain periods where incidents that dominated the news we needed to follow. That included the Tasmanian mining disaster. Bigger than that of course was 9/11 which occurred during my first year. I had a call from station manager Graham Mott about 1am telling us about the disaster. We were on holidays. Ross was in Hong Kong and I was in Melbourne. I went into the studio immediately with then program director Steve Price and we had to cover 9/11.”

John Burns and Ross Stevenson

John Burns and Ross Stevenson

The politician rule has been broken, but only a few times. Only a few of the six prime ministers during the Burnso years got a guernsey. John Howard was prime minister during the first seven years of Ross and John, but he didn’t make it. “It might have been hard to make him funny,” laughed Burns.

Howard’s predecessor has been a guest, Paul Keating. “We also had Malcolm Turnbull on a number of times, including when he was leader of the opposition. We have had ScoMo on when he was leader of the opposition. We found out he was drinking at the local pub.” That is Burns’ local The Malvern Hotel, aka The Brain Dead.

Burnso’s bosses

“When I started Steve Price was program director and he said, ‘If you do well, you might last 10 years here.’ It turned out to be 20.”

Burns joined 3AW when it was in Bank Street, South Melbourne under the ownership of Southern Cross Broadcasting. Tony Bell was the chief executive and Graham Mott was the station manager.

Fairfax later acquired the business and the station moved to the top floor of the then new Fairfax House in Colling Street, Docklands. When the Melbourne station became part of Macquarie Radio Network, longstanding program director Clarke Forbes lost his job in 2015. Adam Lang (COO and then CEO) and Russell Tate (executive chairman) led Macquarie Radio, fiddling with 3AW in some timeslots, but largely leaving breakfast alone.

More recently Nine Radio took control after buying out the shareholding of Macquarie Media’s John Singleton and other minor shareholders.

Nine Radio boss Tom Malone calmed nerves at 3AW when former operations director, and member of the extended breakfast show family, Stephen Beers, was re-employed earlier this year as station manager.

Early morning routine

Burns: “My alarm clock wakes me early enough to get to the studio about 4.45am. Ross gets in a little later after looking at the news at home. We don’t look at each other before we go on air. When we get on air we have no idea what we will talk about. We then have a conference at 6am [30 minutes after the show has started at 5.30am] for what we will then talk about.”

There is not much post-show analysis involving the hosts. “After the show we say goodbye,” said Burns.

“There is no preparation and no post-show debriefs. We need everything to be absolutely fresh.” Burns noted it’s a style that might not work for everybody. “Ross and I have an agreement that we don’t want to know what each of us is going to say. We want it to be a surprise to us and everybody else, and it tends to work.”

3AW breakfast team

The 3AW breakfast team

The 3AW breakfast team [L-R]: Kate Stevenson, Mikkayla “Rex” Mossop, John Burns, Ross Stevenson, Damian Tardio and Mark Davidson (Scorcher)

Burns: “We have a terrific dedicated team. Kate Stevenson is the senior producer. The assistant producer is Scorcher (Mark Davidson) and producer Mikkayla Mossop. The bloke who runs the panel –Damian Tardio – is just so good. He can pull audio clips to use seemingly sometimes before we have even thought about it. They are so dedicated and so loyal. A great team and we love them.

Breakfast replacements

Burns joined 3AW as a replacement for Dean Banks in 2001.

There had been all sort of speculation about who might replace John Burns before Howcroft emerged. The same sort of thing happened when Burns originally got the job 20 years ago. “The speculation about who was going to take over was enormous. There was a lot of high-profile people who applied for the job. It was Tony Bell who settled on me.”

Asked who had the final say this time, Burns said: “I really don’t have any idea.”

This isn’t retirement

Burns: “I have a T-shirt that says ‘I’m not dead yet.’ I might wear that on my last day. I am still very active and healthy and looking forward very much to the future. This isn’t the end of the world. I was 27 years a barrister and then this job came up. I have plenty of ideas about other stuff. Life can throw up things when you least expect. I have been lucky.

“But I am looking to the future with a degree of sadness. It’s been something that has been so great for so long, but you know it’s time.

“I hope my successor looks after Ross and the ratings continue, which I’m sure they will.

When I started this job I got a message from a bloke called Steve Vizard who said, ‘Don’t get a big head mate. People will be listening to 3AW no matter what.’ He may well be right, and good luck to Russel.”

Kate Llewellyn-Jones
Beyond International appoints CEO to run expanded distribution business

• Beyond Distribution and TCB Media Rights merge to become Beyond Rights

Beyond International has appointed Kate Llewellyn-Jones as CEO of its international distribution division.

Llewellyn-Jones’ first task in this newly created role will be to combine the Beyond Distribution business with its recent acquisition, TCB Media Rights, to create a merged business operating under a new name, Beyond Rights.

In addition to the Beyond and TCB teams in London, the new business will incorporate Beyond’s office in Dublin and team members based in Sydney.

Beyond Rights will then have a catalogue of more than 7500 hours covering an extensive range of unscripted genres and documentaries, in addition to scripted content, feature films, children’s programmes and formats. Key long-running titles in the combined catalogue include Love It or List It, Mythbusters, Abandoned Engineering, Underground Worlds and Border Patrol.

For the past 18 months, Kate Llewellyn-Jones has been a commercial consultant, working with a select number of distributors, as well as with Rights Tracker. Prior to this she was managing director of TCB Media Rights from 2015-18 and before that spent 12 years at Cineflix Rights, most recently as senior vice president, sales & acquisitions management, driving the content and sales strategy for the business.

Mikael Borglund, CEO and MD of Beyond International, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Kate to the team and look forward to working with her on strategy for the new Beyond Rights business going forward. We are extremely lucky to have someone with her experience, reputation and vision in this new role, and have every confidence that she will capture the best elements of both Beyond and TCB to create an exciting, fresh and dynamic new force in the international rights management business.”

Mikael Borglund

Kate Llewellyn-Jones said: “Following the recent announcements about expanding both its distribution and production capabilities, it’s certainly a very exciting time to be joining Beyond. I am looking forward to re-connecting with the team at TCB Media Rights and to getting to know the people at Beyond – as well as the wide range of incredible producer partners that work with both businesses.

“Bringing these companies together to create Beyond Rights is a unique opportunity and a positive message to a marketplace currently beset with much uncertainty. Beyond Rights will be able to provide scale, volume and stability, combined with creativity, innovation and flexibility – all of which I hope will prove a very interesting new proposition to buyers and producers around the world.”

Due to varying lockdown conditions, the full merger process is expected to last for a couple of months.

Michael Murphy, Beyond Distribution’s general manager, will be remaining with the Beyond Group in an executive director role working alongside Mikael Borglund on recent joint venture BeyondTNC, as well as corporate administration and business development.

Borglund said: “Michael is a long-standing and much-admired colleague, so we are delighted to be retaining his valuable experience and management expertise to help grow new opportunities for the Beyond Group.”

Murphy will be based in Dublin, where Beyond’s international operations are headquartered.

Top Photo: Kate Llewellyn-Jones

Nova’s #1 national drive show splits: Marty Sheargold stepping down in September

The Nova Network has announced that Marty Sheargold will depart the Kate, Tim & Marty drive show on Friday 11 September.

Sheargold joined Nova 106.9’s breakfast show alongside Tim Blackwell and Meshel Laurie in 2010. The following year the trio became Nova’s national drive show, with Kate Ritchie joining Blackwell and Sheargold in 2014 to form the successful Kate, Tim & Marty drive show.

Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment chief programming & marketing officer said, “Marty has had a fantastic 10 year career with Nova, initially in Brisbane breakfast and then as part of the iconic Kate, Tim & Marty drive show. We would like to thank him for his contribution to the network, the laughs and great radio moments, and wish him well for the future. We look forward to announcing who will be joining Kate and Tim in drive in the coming weeks.”

Kate, Tim & Marty has been the #1 national drive show across Australia for 26 consecutive surveys. During their time on air, the team have won seven Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRA) – Best Networked Program in 2015, Best On Air Team in 2016 and 2017, Best Syndicated Australian Program and Best Networked Show in 2018 and Best Networked Program and Best Syndicated Program in 2019.

Marty Sheargold said, “I’ve had a fantastic 10 years with the Nova Network, having worked with buildings full of talented and dynamic people. I’d like to thank Tim and Kate for their support of my decision and wish them continued success with the show. Now feels like the right time for me professionally to keep challenging myself and to embrace future opportunities with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.”

Local heritage brands are back at SCA: Hello again B105 and SAFM

SCA is bringing back two of its local metro brands – SAFM in Adelaide and B105 in Brisbane, along with two new breakfast shows.

The Hit Network name remains as it continues to ne the largest radio network in Australia encompassing 50 stations around the country, including its Hit DAB+ stations, with a strong focus on bringing back the big heritage FM brands of SAFM in Adelaide and B105 Brisbane. These two stations will join other metro heritage brands, 2DAY FM in Sydney and FOX FM in Melbourne, that are already part of the Hit Network.

Extending SAFM even further, Hit96.1 Mount Gambier will also rebrand to SAFM, delivering a strong, unified South Australian radio brand across the state’s two biggest cities.

The rest of the Hit-branded network stations nationally will remain as Hit and take on the network’s new look branding. In addition, Hit92.9 in Perth will remain unchanged for now – but with a further announcement to come.

New Adelaide breakfast with Lehmo

To further celebrate SAFM’s return to Adelaide, famous Adelaide-born comedian, Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann returns to the station where he started his radio journey in 2009, and from today joins Rebecca Morse and Cosi in the rebranded Bec, Cosi & Lehmo breakfast show.

In Brisbane, Hit105 returns to B105 with the same favourite shows that listeners love.

Bianca Dye joins Hit Network

Hit on the Gold Coast remains as Hit90.9, and today brings back local radio and TV personality Bianca Dye to her hometown. Dye joins the Hit90.9 breakfast team with Dan Anstey and Ben Hannant from today, creating the Bianca, Dan & Ben breakfast show.

Dave Cameron on new music strategy

SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron said: “The Hit brand was first launched in Australia in Adelaide and we have since built the Hit Network to 50 stations nationally. However, chaotic and crazy times such as these often drive a movement back to nostalgia and comfort, and as such there has never been a better time to bring back the much-loved and trusted radio brands SAFM and B105 to Adelaide and Brisbane.

“Our audiences have great, passionate memories of these stations and they’ll be hugely excited to have them back again in their cities. More broadly, the Hit Network will also deliver a new, mood focused, ‘feel great’ pop music format nationally that listeners will love, alongside the most entertaining breakfast and drive shows around the country. The network also introduces a new, emotive positioning line ‘Get that feeling’ which will bring its new ‘feel great’ music and show philosophy to life.”

The new content and brand-led growth strategy will see the Hit Network broaden its relevancy and appeal to a bigger target audience of people aged 30-54 years, with a female skew.

SCA chief carketing & Communications officer Nikki Clarkson said: “The Hit Network now has a complementary and more sophisticated new brand with iconography and design assets consistent across all platforms and sub brands, reflecting the new content strategy. In conjunction with the new branding, the positioning line ‘Get that feeling’ reinforces what listeners can expect when they engage with the network.

“Around the country, the Hit Network will leverage its local heritage brands in metro cities and make audiences everywhere feel great with its positivity, entertainment and new music offering, all with a focus on a broader audience than ever before.”

Head of the Hit Network Gemma Fordham said: “Today is an historic day for the Hit Network and we’re excited to deliver a new look and sound to our audiences across the country to make them feel great! In addition, Bianca and Lehmo joining us are the cream on top of our already huge show and talent lineups.”

ARN splurges with high impact, multi-channel marketing campaigns

ARN is launching high impact, multi-channel marketing campaigns for its KIIS and Pure Gold networks in every metro market to coincide with the return of radio ratings.

ARN’s CEO Ciaran Davis (pictured) said the substantial investment was part of the company’s long-term strategy, to harness the proven power of advertising and maintain its dominant position as Australia’s market-leader in broadcast radio and digital audio.

“Since the last official radio survey in March, people have been listening to more radio than ever before as they spend more time at home. This has meant that ARN has seen record audience numbers and time spent listening to our stations across the KIIS, Pure Gold and The Edge networks, as evidenced in both CRA’s research and data from iHeartRadio.

“ARN is in a strong position but we never take that for granted. Investing in advertising is an investment in our company’s future growth because we know that advertising works. Every business is scrutinising their investments closely to make sure every dollar spent is delivering a strong return. We talk to clients every day, encouraging them to continue spending as we know the benefits of advertising in an economic downturn. It’s natural that we should do the same”, he said.

Part of the rollout includes the launch of new TVCs for Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1 Jase & PJ in the Morning. This marks the next phase of Jase & PJ’s ‘They’re always up to something’ multi-channel campaign that launched in January. The multi-channel campaign will roll out across TV, large format, street furniture, transit, print, digital and social in the coming weeks.

Developed with BWM Dentsu Melbourne, the ARN marketing and content teams, and Jase & PJ’s Jason Hawkins and Polly ‘PJ’ Harding, the mockumentary style TVCs bring to life the ‘They’re Always up to Something’  organising idea and showcases the sense of humour and chemistry Jase & PJ’s audience enjoy every day and captures the fun and unpredictability of the show.

ARN’s head of consumer marketing Donna Gordon said, “We know investing in marketing delivers results and we’ve developed high impact campaigns to ensure our brands remain top of mind across the remainder of the year. For KIIS 101.1, we’re excited to launch the next phase of our ‘They’re always up to something’ campaign for Jase & PJ. The TVCs are fun and brilliantly showcase Jase & PJ’s humour and everything their audience love about the show. BWM Dentsu were fantastic collaboration partners- we valued their local Melbourne expertise and they instantly connected with Jase & PJ and the KIIS 101.1 brand.”

ARN have also launched a multi-channel marketing campaign for KIIS 1065 and The Kyle & Jackie O Show in Sydney, as part of the ongoing celebration of Kyle & Jackie O’s 20 years together.  The campaign will run across TV, print, large format, digital and social.

Over the coming month, multi-channel campaigns will also be executed for WSFM 101.7’s Jonesy & Amanda in the Morning in Sydney, GOLD104.3’s The Christian O’Connell Show in Melbourne, 97.3FM’s Robin, Terry & Bob in Brisbane, Mix 102.3’s Jodie & Soda Breakfast Show in Adelaide and 96FM’s Botica’s Bunch in Perth.

Ciaran Davis continued: “This investment in marketing shows ARN’s commitment to remaining the leader in audio, which is demonstrated by the continued growth across our network offering. Retaining strong audience numbers across radio, digital, on-demand, music and podcast platforms is testament to ARN’s comprehensive audio content offering for audiences and gives our advertisers the best audio platforms to showcase their brands.”

The Australian’s new Hedley Thomas podcast series The Night Driver

The Australian has announced a new podcast series The Night Driver from the Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist behind The Teacher’s Pet, Hedley Thomas.

Launching on Friday 7 August, the investigative podcast series explores the murder of a young woman in a country town, Bathurst, which then turned on one of its most prominent citizens – its former top detective and deputy mayor – as the suspected killer.

The Night Driver is a story about an obsessive quest of the victim Janine Vaughan’s younger sister, a country music singer and Hunter Valley mum and her remarkable efforts to track down violent suspects, leads, cranks, and cops who might know something.

The Australian’s editor-in-chief Christopher Dore said: “Hedley Thomas is a master storyteller. He is a pioneer of podcasting in Australia, using his exceptional skills as an investigative journalist with 30 years’ experience in print to bring to life gripping tales for a new audience.

“Listeners are rightly addicted to our podcasts, and led by Hedley, The Australian is dedicated to bringing our audience world-class investigative audio journalism.

“I defy anyone to tune in for episode one and not be immediately obsessed with The Night Driver. Hedley’s podcasts have already been downloaded 50 million times around the world. Get ready to be mesmerised by this shocking story, which will also unfold in the pages of The Australian, and on our app and website.”

Thomas said: “The disappearance of Janine Vaughan has been a baffling mystery after investigations spanning almost 20 years by dozens of detectives, an anti-corruption inquiry and a coroner. The grief of Janine’s family is made worse because they do not have a body and they cannot lay her to rest. They have seen serious suspects come and go without charge. They have placed their faith in The Night Driver to sort the facts from town gossip and renew public interest to try to shed new light on what happened to Janine.”

Subscribers of The Australian will have first access to the series via the podcast player in The Australian app. Episodes one and two will be available to subscribers before they are released publicly. Subscribers of The Australian will always be two episodes ahead of the general public.

The Night Driver podcast is sponsored by Harvey Norman.

Juice WRLD
ARIA Chart: Juice WRLD takes top spot, Chicks and BTS debut top 10

By James Manning 

• Singles: DJ Khaled new to top 10, Daryl Braithwaite new to top 5


No change to the leaders again with the top three unchanged and Savage Road keeping Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo at #1 for a fourth consecutive week.

The only new arrival to a top 10 spot is DJ Khaled featuring Drake with Popstar at #10. It marks the continuation of a collaboration between the two. Along with Greece, new this week at #35, both tracks are from Khaled’s just announced next studio album Khaled Khaled.

The only other arrival on the single chart this week is Love Songs from Daryl Braithwaite at #43. The song was written by Grammy nominated Australian songwriter Michael Fitkin and LA-based writers Rozzi Crane and Charlie Synder. The tune was en route to P!nk when Braithwaite got his hands on it, performing it live initially to good reaction, before P!nk’s manager, and former Sherbert manager, Roger Davies gave Braithwaite the OK to take it to the studio. Believe it or not, this is Braithwaite’s first time in the singles chart in 27 years when The World as It Is peaked at #35 in November 1993. (Horses charted in 1991 hitting #1.)

Amy Shark continues to inch up the chart with Everybody Rise up four spots to #34 in its third week in the top 50.


Rarely does an album hit top spot after debuting lower down the chart. That happened this week when the posthumous Juice WRLD album jumped from #3 to #1 in its second week on the chart. ARIA noted it becomes the second posthumous album to top the chart in three weeks, following the #1 debut of Pop Smoke’s Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon which sits at #3 this week.

Last week’s chart champs Lime Cordiale slipped from #1 to #5 while the DMA’S went from #2 to #8.

Two new arrivals found a home in the top 10:

#2 The Chicks with Gaslighter. The country rock group’s eighth is their second #2 album. The trio were prolific in their early days, releasing six studio albums in their first 12 years together. Since then just two – in 2006 and 2020 – as they took time out to raise families and take a break from music at different times. The band have courted controversy in the past with outspoken stances about causes they feel strongly about. Just last month they changed their name from The Dixie Chicks to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
#9 BTS with Map of the Soul: 7 – The Journey. The K-pop act topped the chart earlier this year with Map of The Soul: 7.

Just two other albums landed in the top 50 on debut:

#23 Oliver Tree with Ugly is Beautiful. The multi-talented American indie rapper/musician/comedian/filmmaker makes his ARIA Chart debut just as he announces his retirement from music!
#25 Ellie Goulding with Brightest Blue. The British singer/songwriter returns with her fourth album and her first in five years. Goulding most recently charted with Delirium which peaked at #3 in 2015.


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Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Seven West Media and Banijay enter early talks on Seven Studios deal

Seven West Media and French production giant Banijay Group are in exploratory talks on the purchase of the Australian media company’s studios business with an early range of between $170 million and $200 million on the table, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Seven Studios produces a range of programming including Home & Away, Better Homes & Gardens, Border Security and My Kitchen Rules.

Home & Away, in particular, is a valuable proposition with life of series arrangements in Britain, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and is sold into more than 80 countries, netting Seven about $30 million a year for the one production.

A sale for between $170 million and $200 million would significantly transform Seven’s debt situation. As of December 31, 2019, the Kerry Stokes-controlled broadcaster had $541 million of net debt. Since then, it has sold Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media Australia for $40 million and sold its West Australian Newspaper headquarters to property developer PrimeWest for $75 million.

[Read more]

ViacomCBS talks streaming, licensing power, but mum on Australia

ViacomCBS global chief executive Bob Bakish has touted the power of selling the company’s content to third-parties as well as its own streaming strategy, but remains silent on its streaming plans in Australia once existing content deals expire, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Speculation has been rife in Australia about the future of ViacomCBS’s Showtime deal with Stan, which is set to expire in early 2021. ViacomCBS, in May, renewed a short-term deal for Nickelodeon with Foxtel, which will expire about the same time as the Showtime contract.

Bakish, speaking at a virtual session of the annual Asia-Pacific Video Operators Summit last week, was asked about ViacomCBS’ direct-to-consumer streaming plans in Australia after these contracts expire – the company bought 10 out of receivership in 2017 and launched its streaming service 10 All Access in December 2018.

“I like Australia for a number of reasons,” Bakish said. “One, it’s an English language market and obviously we have tremendous depth of English language content that we can bring to bear. Two, we have a very strong presence there. We have a set of broadcast networks and we have a portfolio of cable networks and we have some early SVOD product in the form of 10 All Access. We have a lot to work with there.

“We just deepened our participation in the television sector in Australia. We just launched a new free-to-air channel called 10 Shake that really leverages a whole breadth of content from the ViacomCBS family, including from Nick, from MTV, from Comedy Central and CBS to the free-to-air space. We believe it fits into this broader multi-platform strategy for Australia, which does include streaming, and you’ll see us do more there.”

[Read more]

What to look for in media stocks this reporting season

Top fund managers believe the coming reporting season will be a sombre affair for the media sector, which was already under pressure before the COVID-19 pandemic, reports The AFR’s Natasha Gillezeau.

Wilson Asset Management equity analyst Shaun Weick and Martin Currie Australia investment analyst Patrick Potts have low expectations for the reporting season – advertising spending is down as much as 30 per cent to 40 per cent for the June quarter after advertisers retreated amid the pandemic’s spread in Australia.

“My view is that we are really just seeing an acceleration of the structural shift of media and advertising expenditure towards those digital and online channels. And that’s occurring in the traditional media formats like free-to-air, radio, magazines, newspapers and the like,” Weick said.

Potts, who is living through Melbourne’s second lockdown in six months, said that until recently, consumer and business sentiment had been expected to pick up off the trough as the economy opened again and that this would flow through to marketing and ad spending, and be a positive for media companies.

“But given what’s happened in Melbourne going back into lockdown, and concerns of a second wave elsewhere – a lot of that pre-activity getting ready for an increase in ad spend may be slowed until we are clearer on where we are going with restrictions.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Sunrise co-host David Koch signs new Seven deal

David Koch’s reign over Australian breakfast TV will continue for at least a further two years, Nick Tabakoff reveals in The Australian.

With Sunrise winning the 2020 ratings year already (in July!), we’re reliably informed that Koch will this week formally sign on the dotted line with Seven to extend his stint on the show to two decades.

In these perilous times for free-to-airs, it’s most likely Koch has had no pay rise on his previously reported $800,000-a-year salary. Two more years will complete 20 years in the Sunrise chair, the longest unbroken run for a national breakfast host.

[Read more]

In pursuit of the mysterious Night Driver: New Hedley Thomas podcast

Janine Vaughan’s family is tormented by an anguish few people could comprehend. For almost two decades, they have been in the dark about their beloved sister’s fate and final resting place, reports The Australian’s Steve Jackson.

After an evening out clubbing with friends in December 2001, the 31-year-old store manager was seen getting into a car near Bathurst’s Metro Tavern shortly before 4am, disappearing into the night, never to be heard from again.

Now, in the eagerly anticipated follow-up to his acclaimed The Teacher’s Pet podcast, award-winning investigative journalist Hedley Thomas promises to do what he can to shed new light on the mystery.

Launching on August 7, The Night Driver delves into the murky details surrounding the young woman’s disappearance, probes long-held family secrets and scrutinises three “persons of interest” who went before a coroner in 2009 with no adverse finding – one of them being the country town’s former top detective and deputy mayor.

Thomas said he had been captivated by the case and the family’s obsessive quest to find its sister’s killer, along with the run-ins with violent suspects and dramatic red herrings it entailed.

“The disappearance of Janine Vaughan has been a baffling mystery after investigations spanning almost 20 years by dozens of detectives, an anti-corruption inquiry and a coroner,” the two-time Gold Walkley-winner said.

[Read more]


KIIS and Pure Gold owner ARN plots Kyle and Jackie O ad blitz

The owner of KIIS and Pure Gold radio networks will roll out a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, featuring top stars Kyle Sandilands and Jackie “O” Henderson, ahead of the resumption of radio ratings, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Despite a significant softening of ad revenue since the pandemic struck, ARN chief executive Ciaran Davis says the campaign will run across outdoor, print, broadcast and digital to underpin its market stronghold and showcase its value to advertisers during the coronavirus crisis.

“It is a large amount and it is cross-platform and it is supporting all our major brands,” Davis told Media.

“We’re obviously doing it from a ratings perspective to show that our brands are very alive and well, and the content that we’re doing is as relevant, if not more relevant, today than it ever was.”

[Read more]

B105 and SAFM are back! SCA to re-brand Brisbane, Adelaide radio stations

Southern Cross Austereo is expected to revert two metropolitan radio stations to their original names in a major change to a national marketing and content strategy that took several years to implement, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

The broadcaster, which runs the Hit and Triple M radio networks, will change Brisbane metro station Hit105 back to its heritage name – B105 – and Adelaide’s Hit107 back to SAFM as part of a broader national strategy aimed at localising the Hit Network, which could be announced as early as Monday.

Southern Cross Austereo filed applications for the terms “B105” and “SAFM’ to the trademark register early last week. Southern Cross Austereo declined to comment.

For Brisbane and Adelaide, the decision is a return to well-known heritage station names for local audiences. Brisbane’s Hit105 was called B105 until five years ago, while Adelaide’s Hit107 went by the name SAFM until October 2014.

[Read more]

'Baptism by fire': How Christian O'Connell won over listeners

In just two years Christian O’Connell has gone from being a British import with a “stiff upper lip” to Melbourne’s top-rating FM breakfast host, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

“The first six months was a baptism by fire,” O’Connell says. “There was a huge backlash.”

In the broadcaster’s first standalone survey of 2018, Gold FM suffered the biggest drop in audience share of any Melbourne breakfast show. O’Connell was also 2.9 percentage points behind Fox FM rivals Fifi Box, Brendan Fevola and Byron Cooke.

“I’ve been doing breakfast radio for 20-odd years,” O’Connell says. “But coming here I was a complete outsider. And not just an unknown, but the worst kind – a Pom. I was going to work every day and there were texts going, ‘Who are you, you’re not funny, go away.’ ”

[Read more]

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