REVEALED: ARN unveil major KIIS FM talent shake-up for 2018
It’s official, the arrivals and departures lounge at ARN HQ is at full capacity today as Australian Radio Network reveals its most significant talent shake-up since the arrival of Kyle & Jackie O in 2014.
And in doing so, ARN has simultaneously confirmed four of the radio industry’s biggest whispers; Hughesy & Kate and Matt & Meshel will depart the network this year as ARN confirms the arrival of a new national drive and Melbourne breakfast show for 2018.
First up comes the news that Hughesy & Kate, who began on-air at KIIS FM in 2015, will not be returning next year. Rumblings of ARN’s intention not to resign the duo started to gain steam about two weeks ago and reached a boiling point on Friday.
Sources tell Radio Today that Hughes and Langbroek are the likely heir to the Hit Network drive throne, set to replace Hamish & Andy who, as you all know, will end their extraordinary tenure with SCA at year’s end.
But speculation has been rife in recent months. Many other possible names have been thrown into Hit’s casting hat too; Tommy Little, Carrie Bickmore, Ed Kavalee, Sophie Monk and Osher Günsberg among the famous faces tipped to be in the mix.
Just last week the Hit Network’s Head of Content, Gemma Fordham, told Radio Today: “We’re very excited with our confirmed 2018 line up which we will be announcing very soon.” Note the word “confirmed”.
UPDATE: Within 20 minutes of publishing this article, SCA confirmed that Hughesy & Kate are indeed making their way to the Hit Network to host drive in 2018.
However, ARN’s National Content Director, Duncan Campbell, is wasting no time in announcing key talent hires. “Today’s first phase of announcements is part of a new strategic direction that has been in the planning for 12 months…,” he said.
Cementing what many insiders already knew, rising stars Will & Woody are the confirmed new drive show for the KIIS Network. The funny pair will leave behind current co-host Heidi Anderson as the lads relocate from Hit92.9 Perth to KIIS 101.1 Melbourne from where they will deliver their national drive show.
In a statement issued this morning, ARN said Will & Woody would bring their “infectious personalities and humour”, in a move designed to “shake up and re-energize the all-important national drive shift”.
Today’s second big announcement confirms Matt Tilley and Meshel Laurie will shortly sign-off on their final breakfast show on KIIS 101.1, making way for a new offering that would be best stamped, ‘Made in New Zealand’.
Jase & PJ – aka Jason Hawkins and Polly Harding – are chomping at the bit to bring their “Always Awkward” brand of radio to KIIS 101.1 breakfast in 2018. You may recall that Radio Today alluded to their move back in July.
Jase & PJ will play a key role for the station next year, says ARN, strategically setting it apart from other CHR brekkie shows in the competitive Melbourne market.
As to why Tilley and Laurie will not be returning to KIIS 101.1 next year, ARN said the pair themselves had decided not to renew their contracts with the network. The show struggled to compete with Fox FM’s Fifi, Dave, Fev & Byron and Nova 100’s Chrissie, Sam & Browny.
Today’s monster announcement from ARN is likely to set in motion even more stories of musical chairs, including the big one; who will replace Hamish & Andy? Expect a statement this week, say our sources.
Moreover, according to Campbell, further on-air changes are afoot at ARN too.
“The signing of Will & Woody and Jase & PJ is an exciting coup for ARN given the talent was also courted by other networks,” said Campbell.
“These changes not only enhance our national offering but also reinvents our approach for KIIS 101.1, marking a significant, bold step forward for Melbourne and the network overall.
“We’ll be sharing more details on the next phase of our strategy, developed to transform the network in 2018, in coming weeks.”