For SCA’s chief content officer Dave Cameron, January 18 was a big day with new breakfast shows in Sydney and Melbourne. “We probably haven’t had this much change at the one time in a least 10 years,” Cameron told Mediaweek.
SCA also had new a breakfast show at Triple M Perth, and altered breakfast line-ups at Perth’s MIX and Brisbane’s Triple M.
“We took the opportunity last year to look at all of our shows and our brands. We subsequently made some significant changes and 2021 is now very exciting for us. There is a real buzz in all of our markets with new products on the air.”
The single most critical new show to the business is Dave Hughes in Sydney where getting 2Day FM back on the radar will have ramifications for advertisers buying the Hit Network. SCA is again bringing in someone from another market on 2Day, but Cameron said this time it is different.
“Hughesy has a national profile regardless of where he has been living with family in the past few years. He has successful national TV shows and he’s been on two successful national drive radio shows that were #1 in Sydney. He has a huge following from the Sydney comedy circuit. He’s a national treasure, we also have Erin Molan for a local spin on things for us and Ed Kavalee has previously lived in Sydney for 14 years. He also got a good national profile from Have You Been Paying Attention?”
Cameron said the new 2Day breakfast show production team will all be based in Sydney.
Cameron said the company will be backing the new show for as long as it takes to crack the market. He is not expecting to steal away listeners from a previous 2Day breakfast team either.
“There is no assumption from us that any Kyle and Jackie O listener will be leaving that show for us. We are interested in the ones who don’t listen to Kyle and Jackie O. We are interested in offering a product that is nothing like The Kyle and Jackie O Show. We are offering comedy, something that has been lacking for a little while except for Triple M’s Moonman.”
Hit Network’s target market and music
There should be no longer confusion about who the former Today Network is now targeting. “We took the opportunity last year to redefine Hit,” said Cameron. “We have moved it away from being something of a disposable Top 40 brand. It is now more of a pop-centred slightly older female format and that is now consistent across the network.”
Cameron notes the network might have lost its way a little in recent years with various states developing differently. The new target market is part of returning the heritage brands SAFM and B105 to Adelaide and Perth respectively and moving across MIX in Perth.
While there will be some contemporary hits, Cameron noted: “I don’t believe a pure Top 40 format is a successful radio format of the future. The landscape has changed with music streaming players offering Top 40 playlists among everything else they can offer. We think our new format is more sustainable than what we had five or maybe 10 years ago.”
Cameron said the playlist will be a mix of nostalgia and Top 40 hits, with little unfamiliar new music.
Triple M Marty
“Marty Sheargold has a vision, as I think all great radio talent has,” Cameron said about the new Triple M Melbourne breakfast host. “He knows what he wants his show to be and we have worked closely with him building that.”
Cameron said the decision to hire Sheargold was pretty instant when he approached them. But Sheargold didn’t just speak with SCA. “Marty was very clear with everyone, his own company at the time [Nova Entertainment], and competitors, about what he would like to do. There were companies that didn’t listen to Marty, and there was us that embraced what Marty was saying.”
After several days of pilot programs in the week before launch, Cameron said Sheargold already had a good product.
Cameron is hosing down any talk of quick results from any of the changes around his networks. “There are no outrageous expectations from us that all of our changes are going to automatically land us at the top of the stack in the next couple of months. We are rebuilding our shows in our key metro markets for the next 5+ years.”
As Sheargold explained it to Mediaweek this week, existing listeners could notice significantly less sport on the show.
Cameron added: “The difference between this show and The Hot Breakfast will be footy won’t be as central. It won’t be footy centric, but like any show has, it will have an AFL flavour to it.”
SCA is hoping that both Marty and Hughesy will find an audience by delivering something that market is not getting a lot of. “I have a really strong view we are delivering shows that won’t sound like anything in their markets. Hughesy has his own style and comedy and we don’t think it will get in the way of what Moonman is doing. And it certainly won’t sound anything like Kyle and Jackie, Fitzy and Wippa or Jonesy and Amanda.
“People in radio can get straight away what a new show is offering, but audiences need time to wrap their heads around the changes.”