A hot “Hot Breakfast”

A chessboard and its pieces is an analogy that’s been used before to describe events these past few days in Melbourne FM radio. And it’s a spot on description.

Jane Hall out and Meshel Laurie in at KiiS101.1, while Chrissie Swan takes the chair vacated by Laurie at Nova 100.  Meantime, Brigitte Duclos and Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann come out of contract.

And while this game of “Musical Breakfast Chairs” is being played out, Eddie McGuire and The Hot Breakfast watch on.

It wasn’t that long ago that Triple M Breakfast was, itself, in trouble.  A lack of direction and a ‘clear voice’ in a market dominated by some heavy hitters saw the station on its knees.

That was 2008 before the return of the prodigal son; Eddie McGuire who back his radio career at the “House of Ms” back in the late ‘80s.

Now in it’s eighth year, the Hot Breakfast has helped turn the station around and enjoys ratings success.

“I must admit, I was searching for something to listen to myself.  I enjoy the AM stations, but invariably they are pitched at a very older demographic.  I enjoy the FM stations, but invariably they are pitched at a younger demographic and I was finding that there was nothing in between”

“At the time, breakfast was rating a 2 and a half or 3 or something like that. People in the Triple M organisation said ‘if we can get this to a 5 or a 6 share, we’ll be beside ourselves’.  And I’m thinking: well, no. I’m not going to be getting up at half past four in the morning to come in and not put together a show that I believe could be a top rating show”.

As much as Eddie had an idea about what would make a successful breakfast, it took a while for the Hot Breakfast to gain traction and begin to attract listeners.  It eventually found its feet with the inclusion of Mick Molloy and Luke Darcy.

“It had a couple of incarnations early on. Tony Mohclair and Mieke Buchan were initially involved. Tony went to 3AW and Mieke moved back to Sydney. 

“The show we have now is probably the show we always wanted.  Mick Molloy is pretty much the person I always wanted to have with me on the show and Luke Darcy has been great. It’s just been fantastic to see Luke’s development as a broadcaster.”

Having proved the critics wrong, it would be easy for McGuire to enjoy watching the rival breakfast shows implode mid-survey.  He doesn’t.

“I know it might sound all ‘convenient’, but in a lot of ways I don’t actually see them as opponents.  I see them as radio colleagues, who are servicing a market. 

“I think Melbourne breakfast radio has been very well serviced and I think all the shows have been really great. But I look at those organisations and I think they just go too early.”

“Those other shows that are being mixed up at the moment, all those performers are great.  But you’ve got to let people find their feet. The audience has to find you.

“The thing with breakfast radio is if the higher rating shows are doing well, there’s no reason for people to turn over. You have to wait for them to ‘muck up’ or change the line-up.  Then people come across and sample”.

It’s been a wild ride to the top and in part 2, Eddie McGuire offers his thoughts on what makes the Hot Breakfast successful, the team behind the show and the importance of keeping it local.

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