Adelaide’s New Hit 107. Will it Succeed? Here’s the Verdict.


Southern Cross Austereo have taken the bold step of rebranding and relaunching SAFM. I think it’s a good move and will do well.

Given SAFM and its main competitor Nova have been close in 18-39 ratings, there wasn’t a major compelling reason to rebrand; however, as a 30+ year old brand, with numerous format, music and talent changes over the years, its brand attributes and perceptions must have been severely eroded.

The move I expect is a practice run, or precursor, to what is likely to happen in Sydney, Brisbane and other markets. Despite denials I anticipate that SCA will roll out the new brand over summer.

The new name Hit works well. It is strategically sound. It says what the station is, and describes the music it plays.  It is ideal for a station contesting the hit music/chr position.

Original SAFM Program Director and former Austereo Group PD Greg Smith said I have very fond memories of programming SA.FM.  It was the first FM station in Australia to go number 1 & it was the beginning of the Austereo network.” 

“I am disappointed to see the brand disappear. Personally I would have tried to rebrand it as the “All New SA.FM” but I do like hit107 as a brand. I presume my good friend, John Musgrove, provided Craig Bruce with overwhelming evidence that a name change was warranted. When Nova was launched in Adelaide & Brisbane, both SA.FM & B105 stayed too old for too long.  I’m glad to see timeless Top 40 techniques now being applied”

The use of the word ‘Hit’ as the new brand name is similar to when Mix was launched (in the US and in Sydney). Mix means variety to listeners, so when Mix was launched, the brand name instantly described the music format in one word.  Mix’s competitors over time had to remove the word Mix from the air.

The same will happen with Hits competitors. In that sense it’s a master stroke.

For Southern Cross Austereo, the Adelaide relaunch will help rejuvenate the company and help its Programmers and Management get their confidence and swagger back.

And for that reason alone it was worth doing. Confidence is a great thing.

Listeners will respond quickly to something new, different and fresh in the market.

That was the case when Nova launched in 2001, 13 years ago, it was the new fresh brand. The Today network of stations were tired and old.

I remember the last major format flip and relaunch for SAFM. The format change to Top 40 was designed sitting around on the grass of an Adelaide park with Group PD Jeff Allis (right), PD Phil Dowse, GM Noelene Buddle and myself. That change took the station to number 1, very quickly.

Hit 107 have done a good job with imaging / production, its sharp and a refreshing change from the old SA production. 107 demo 141014.mp3

The launch promotion “ Festival Free for All ‘ where you can win tickets to Coachella will resonate with listeners.

It’s easily a winner for the target.

The choice of Amos and Dani for breakfast is a good one. In their first week, it is clear they’ve got huge potential. They’re playing more music ( 8-9 songs an hour, which is a good thing while the show develops, and also works for younger demo’s )

Dani has now chalked up plenty of on air breakfast experience in regional markets and is sounding very strong and comfortable in the new role. Amos is a very funny guy with great comedic timing. Being an Adelaide local will help a lot.

(editor note: Amos was mentioned in The Top Comedians Who Are The Future Stars of Radio)

He’s raw, natural sounding and tells a great story. Amos is definitely a star of the future. Dani and Amos will take time to develop and SCA execs will know that breakfast shows take time.

At the end of the day, even with the nuances of rotations, the music on Hit & Nova will be similar. The main differentiator will be the shows. Hamish & Andy back to 2 hours each afternoon will help the stations growth. The Breakfast shows performance will be critical. Whichever station has the best Breakfast show will largely determine which station wins the ratings.

With seasoned programmer Irene Hulme at the helm, Hit 107 is in very good hands. Irene is one of the best exponents of building breakfast shows in the country.

There wont be any real indication of how well Hit is performing until Survey 1 is released in March 2015.

I expect the market will react very positively to the new brand and breakfast show.

However, a word of warning to SCA programmers. You can’t rely on a new brand name alone for success. And it sounds like they haven’t. The execution and quality of the shows (and to a lessor extent the music) will determine the success of the new station.

The current hype will die down, leaving differentiation and execution as the key factors in this new Adelaide battle.

With this relaunch SCA have upped the ante on its competitors. Competitors of Hit 107 will have to review their product and strategy. Now the big question is will SCA do the same thing and win in Sydney?

Brad March is a Director of Radio Today, is a former CEO of Austereo and has been named Media Executive of the Year. He’s Director of Marchmedia and Pacific Retail Management.

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