#1 in Melbourne by year’s end? “If anyone can do it, they can”


Kyle Sandilands has made no bones about the fact he expects Kyle & Jackie O to be the #1 Breakfast show in Melbourne by the end of the year.

He’s well aware it might take a few surveys to get there.

In fact, to achieve this feat, the KIIS duo would need to grow five points in five books.

Can it be done? Is it even possible?

Experienced programmer Irene Hulme says “Yeah, I think it is.”

“If anyone can cause that kind of commotion, it’s Kyle and Jackie O.”

Hulme and former SCA content boss Craig Bruce offer their own insight into what’s been billed as the most exciting battle in radio history in Episode 1 of the Game Changers: Melbourne Radio Wars podcast.

Hulme says “Whilst they’re not starting until April 29, there’s so much going on in Melbourne … they’re everywhere. You’re hearing about them now.”

“I think if anyone can do it, they can.”

Bruce and Hulme have narrowed the Melbourne Breakfast war down to a battle among Nova, KIIS and Fox.

Hulme notes that in Melbourne, there are five FM stations with cumes over a million.

“That suggests it’s a very competitive market. It also suggests it’s a very level playing field.”

Bruce and Hulme discussed the possible strategy behind K & J’s Melbourne commencement date, which, if nothing else, has given the competition a massive head start.

“There’s an idea that if the starting base is low, then it’s all up-side and it’s less of an issue,” says Bruce.

“If that is the strategy, it’s unbelievably risky, isn’t it?”

Hulme has her own mail on that:

“I have heard, on a tech perspective, they needed to get it right.”

“If I was (ARN Chief Content Officer) Duncan Campbell, the last thing you would want is to launch Kyle & Jackie O with any technical glitches.”

“But in terms of who it benefits? I think it benefits Fox and Nova far more,” Hulme says.

Bruce observed Jase & Lauren now have two different levels of connection – KIIS listeners who already know and love them, and their new audience on Nova 100 Breakfast.

Hulme says “What I’m hearing is almost an assumed sort of knowledge that the Nova audience kind of know them.”

“They sound really comfortable, and that’s a good thing.”

“But it’s just really important that they don’t forget that they’ve got to win that Nova cume, as well as convert that KIIS cume.”

Bruce and Hulme addressed Campbell’s recent comment from a Radio Today article that he was surprised Jase & Lauren ended up going across to Nova.

Hulme says “I would have hung onto them in some form. I would have seen that momentum and said ‘I’m not going to let you go.’”

Both were critical of Campbell’s suggestion in the same article that Taylor Swift ticket giveaways were a factor Jase & Lauren’s ratings rise at KIIS.

Hulme says “I was offended for them, to be honest. They worked really hard.”

Bruce adds “Hot take: It wasn’t the Taylor tickets. Everyone was doing it.”

“It’s like, please – that wasn’t the reason. They were just a very good show with momentum, and well programmed.”

Is ‘live and local’ the future of radio – or is that concept overrated?

Radio futurologist and podcast guest James Cridland says “I think the most important thing is a real human being talking about relevant things for (their) audience.”

“We know Kyle & Jackie O are a massive hit in Sydney. We know they should do well in other parts of Australia as well, because great content is great content.”

Will Kyle & Jackie O will be the #1 FM Breakfast show in Melbourne by the end of this year?

Cridland can’t see it happening.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think they’ll be number one in terms of just the survey.”

“I think if you were to look at their total weekly reach, then perhaps they would be number one, but it would include things like on-demand.”

“But I think if you were to look at live radio, I think that Christian O’Connell would still be number one.”

“The reason why I say that, more than anything else, is that radio is going OLDER. Radio is an older thing, it’s consumed by older people, and if we’re purely looking at market share, then that of course includes not just the number of people who are tuned in, but how long they end up tuning in as well.”

“And so my suspicion is that output that is aimed at older audiences, output that is not aimed at very young audiences, will unfortunately win some of that battle there.”

“And that’s a bad thing for the future of radio as a whole. But I think from that point of view that Gold stands more of a chance of remaining as #1 than Kyle and Jackie O.”

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9 Apr 2024 - 9:40 am

OK, so five Melbourne FM radio stations have a cume of a million. Which of those five station’s Melbourne listeners are going to jump ship and make the permanent switch to Sydney’s Kyle and Jackie-O? Which station are we going to see that bleed from? You could say Nova, because the demo is similar, but they burned that bridge by publicly screwing over Jase and Lauren, and hence, their audience, and hence once more, KIIS’ desired audience.
I just can’t see how this isn’t a slog for 3rd place in Melbourne for So Sydney’s Kyle and Jackie-O.

Ding Dong
9 Apr 2024 - 10:17 am

Jase and Laurens numbers were hardly a trend, they were a low 7’s breakfast show for most of last year and had 2 good books in survey 7 and 8- the last after the announcement they were leaving which always creates listenership.

The high comes are more of a reflection of how weak the whole breakfast market is at the moment – everyone is listening to everyone and no station is making them stick.

One thing K&J are good at is making listeners stick- unfortunately for radio in general, they are going to rip this market apart.

9 Apr 2024 - 10:34 am

Just what we need ‘ expert ‘ commentary from two out of work programmers.
They must be bored all I can say.

9 Apr 2024 - 10:37 am

No commentary on FOX here? Fifi, Fev and Nick, the most listened to SHOW in Melbourne and not even a look in Radio Today! Strange.

Chuck Tuna
9 Apr 2024 - 12:27 pm

Clint will make all the difference!!!!!

Jason, Andrew Toppin from Mubarek Victoria
9 Apr 2024 - 2:06 pm

Clint will bring listeners from 3AW kiss and Gold due to his channel 9 connection

Let’s be fair
9 Apr 2024 - 3:50 pm

Christian isn’t Number 1, Ross and Russ are.

9 Apr 2024 - 4:50 pm

Pretty sure they will play with rivalry card between Sydney and Melbourne to engage listeners from both cities…. Probably they will lift % at the begging for KIIS but we have to remember it’s not like rebranding from Mix to KIIS in 2014 ( was huge that time)…
They should be somewhere in the middle or 3rd….they are people in Melbourne who likes to listen about dicks, sex and vaginas in the morning…..

Let The Battle Begin
9 Apr 2024 - 5:01 pm

Great Podcast by Bruce Hulme on one of the most intriguing moments in Australian radio.

Looking forward to the analysis.

9 Apr 2024 - 9:22 pm

Thanks Craig & Irene it was an interesting podcast , K & J will do well but there might be some surprises as to where their growth comes from !

10 Apr 2024 - 1:06 pm

They keep saying the delayed start was due to technical issues, but why? KIIS already pipe multiple shows into Melbourne (the pick up, nights etc.) so what would be the issue around breakfast?

The other thing, “they’re everywhere, everyone’s talking about them.” But a lot of that talk is not positive. I know there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but if they’re starting off a low base, against already established names, with that inherent perception that Campbell talked about, then it’s going to be a long hard slog.

10 Apr 2024 - 2:00 pm

It will come down to the desire for Melbourne listeners to remain loyal to Melbourne at breakfast. This has always been the ‘elephant in the room’ in this market. Perhaps the old Fox FM connection will prove beneficial to K & J, but personally I doubt this. FM #1 remains with Christian for my money. But I am certainly no longer in a demographic any FM station is chasing!


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