“I was pretty pumped… I jumped on Jack Ball’s shoulders”: Hit105 CD Mathew Eggleston on going #1
Brisbane continues to be one of the most tightly contested FM metro markets in the country, with just 0.4% share of listening separating first from fourth overall, but Survey #5 yesterday crowned a new champion.
Hit105 summitted the overall rankings for People 10+, emerging flat with an 11.8% share of listening, while previous leaders Nova 106.9 dipped to 11.4% (-0.8).
Meantime Triple M’s excellent gains saw them join the overall battle, up to 11.5% (+1.1), and with Marto, Robin and The Moonman on Brekky to 12.7% (+1.6).
Throw ARN’s 97.3FM in the mix with 11.6% overall (-0.3) and you’ve got a four-horse race on the FM band.
Led by innovative content director Mathew Eggleston and Aussie music champion Jack Ball as music director, its all smiles over at SCA’s station in the sunshine capital.
Radio Today caught up with the man they call ‘Eggo’ following the big win yesterday.
What was your first reaction when you saw this yesterday’s results, leading the overall as well as Brekky?
It’s such a tight battle in Brisbane you just never know what each survey will throw at you. Stav, Abby and Matt have been extremely consistent in the past 6 months results wise especially. So I was confident they were doing a good job to challenge from the #1 spot again but when the station 10+ hadn’t been number 1 since 2011 it’s always a thought “Could it be today” but you just never know…
So as you can imagine when the words came out of Damon our GM’s mouth I was pretty pumped… I think I jumped on Jack Ball’s shoulders… Rex Morris being the legend he is, gave me a hug and shook my hand and I think I ran straight down to the product/brekky team to give them the good news!
What kinds of strategies and work do you see paying off in these results in particular?
For me, it’s all about teamwork and consistency. The Hit105 product team are probably pretty sick of me banging on about the branding and keeping things as simple as possible for the best cut through. Branding is just so important and being consistent with the product. For instance, we’ve done the same tactic for this year twice stretching over 18-19 weeks on the air (Live For Free) which has had a huge impact on our figures.
Challenging the product as much as we can, looking for new ways to do things and how do we make a difference in the lives of our listeners in Brisbane. Our marketing team in Melbourne have also been a huge help this year as well with our messages in market and our GOA relationship, plus having the chance to update our marketing messages as much as we want and seize on things is something different and is creating talk from our brand.
What’s been the key to the music strategy, particularly on workdays, over the recent survey period?
It feels like every radio station is going for variety these days, We are trying to straddle the line between a CHR and variety type format. Jack Ball is the best MD in the country; the way he reads trends, the research into numbers and stats is something as a former music director I sit in ore of. He is constantly challenging himself and the format which you need at every good radio station.
Add to that workday announcers like Brad Wood and Rohan Edwards to bring the music to life and sell both the new and oldschool hits in creative and entertaining ways. It also helps to have an awesome national team, Gem [Fordham] and Irene [Hulme] have let us be more independent in the way we put our music together because of how different the Brisbane market is.
The levels of trust from them all the way up to Guy Dobson is a huge part of why we can continue to put a product on air we know Brisbane will love and it’s not flown in from another market or constructed outside of Brisbane.
Brisbane is one of the markets where music dominates, as opposed to Sydney and Melbourne with talk. What do you put that down to?
A really strong radio battle and live music scene. As a blues supporter and being from NSW I used to always look to QLD and Brisbane and think what a strong music market where our greatest bands have emerged from. Nova has been such a driving force to the music scene in Brisbane from their launch and having two strong new music radio brands in market, plus triple j championing not only new music but new Australian music and taking risks on songs over many years is probably a great way to build that culture in a market.
BIGSOUND is coming up too… anyone you’re looking forward to?
What a week, everyone walking the streets of the valley and taking in huge amounts of new music along with beer… what more could you want! I’ve been told Kota Banks is amazing live, Gold Coast boy Paces and CXLOE is making waves off the back of triple j Unearthed. We’ve been playing all 3 across our weekends and night playlists on Hit105 so it’s always great to get out and see what they can do live as well.
Brisbane continues to uphold its reputation as one of the tightest, if not THE tightest metro FM market in the country. Why do you think that is?
A lot of change… listeners for the first time in a while have had to re-think who their favourite brekky & drive show is. Robin Bailey has moved to the M’s and even with us having Osher Gunsberg on the show and then introducing Matty Acton. Hughesy and Kate have landed on the hit network from ARN.
I remember a couple of years back someone making the call “It’s a two horse race in Brisbane” and that right now couldn’t be more wrong. The best part is now the ones getting the benefit of that are the listeners of Brisbane, they get 4 really strong commercial radio FM brands that challenge each other every single day to go one better! Which is only a great thing for radio as a medium, we all love a good healthy competition.
After a lot of movement at the top over the last few surveys, do you think Stav, Abby and Matt can push on for a run of multiple wins on Breakfast?
100%, I know I’m going to be biased here (sorry Jay, Barry and Rex) but I think they are producing the best content right now in the market. They are challenging the norm and have been the most consistent show in town and they just work so bloody hard. We’ve got a gun behind the scenes crew led by Abi Benaud, her commitment and work ethic rubs off on the team and the support of Kaz Simpson, Scott McDonald and Adrian Mauro in production is amazing to see in action.
They deserve all the success the show has had especially over the past 6 survey’s they have won 3 and came second for the other 3. The challenge for them is now to continue to push themselves, keep thinking creatively but most importantly keep having fun. The more fun you have on and off the air the better the station sounds.
How do you see the rest of the year panning out in Brisbane for Hit?
It’s tight, it’s going to be an interesting end to the year. I think if we continue to be consistent, keep things simple and have a blast while doing it what more can you do? Everything else is completely out of our control and we know everyone will be coming for us and want to jump ahead but that’s why this is the best market to work in right now.
I think RNB Friday’s LIVE is going to be a big moment for us though, in November, we’ve sold out the first run of tickets and Frontier Touring have spoken to the council to get more which we’re almost sold out of as well. There will be 30,000 listeners of our brand at a radio station music event… how nuts is that!
Some strong gains for stablemates Triple M as well, with Marto, Robin & the Moonman moving up +1.6 on Brekky. Are you happy to see their success even as it adds another competitor to an already tight market?
Yep, Rex [Morris] and Scott Menz are doing an incredible job over on the Ms along with their team. There is no surprise or shock that the SCA strategy of Triple M having a strong Men targeted format and Hit having a strong Female-targeted product is what we strive for and a key to both stations success. For Hit105 to be a top contender in the market we need Triple M to be a top contender as well. It’s a great working model when you see results like survey 5 come through.
How competitive are you with the Ms team in the building?
We are competitive, which I think just creates an awesome energy and drive within the two teams but never over competitive. We push each other but a great example of the respect we have for them was after hearing their result yesterday our Hit105 product team went around to the Triple M wing and made a song and dance about how awesome their result was.