Ch-ch-changes: Radio in 2018

2018 is shaping up as Year of the Drive show, with the FM networks poised for a major battle over the next 12 months.

The winds of change began howling at the end of 2017 when Hughesy and Kate bid farewell to KIIS FM and waved hello to SCA’s Hit Network, where they will replace Hamish and Andy.

Taking the national drive slot on KIIS are Perth’s former Hit92.9 Breakfast hosts, Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, while SCA will roll out Kennedy Molloy as a national drive show on Triple M from January.

That leaves Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty as the most established national drive show in the country. Having dominated the ratings across Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in 2017, they have the most to gain in the year ahead.

Whether any of these changes will bear fruit won’t be known until survey one results are released, on the second Tuesday in March.

What are your ratings predictions for 2018? Let us know in the comments below.

But the ‘radio reset’ hasn’t been confined to just drive, with ARN facing a double whammy in Melbourne, where national content director Duncan Campbell is replacing not one, but two breakfast shows.

Kiwi pair Jase Hawkins and Polly ‘PJ’ Harding will take over breakfast duties on KIIS 101.1, while there’s still been no announcement on who will replace Jo and Lehmo on Gold104.3.

SCA has also made changes to Breakfast on both stations in Sydney. On 2DayFM, Grant Denyer will join Em Rusciano and Ed Kavalee, while Mark Geyer has left Triple M’s The Grill Team after eight years.

National broadcaster ABC has also made changes to its lineup in key markets across the country.

In Sydney, Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer join forces to co-host an extended breakfast show (6am to 10am), with a 30-minute break for AM at 8am.

It’s a similar format for Brisbane, where Rebecca Levingston and Craig Zonca will present weekday Breakfast.

A dual breakfast show is also planned for Melbourne following the departure of Red Symons at the end of 2017. He’s been replaced by Jacinta Parsons and writer/comedian, Sam Shah.

Melbourne sports talk station 1116 SEN is also rolling out changes ahead of the anticipated Pacific Star-Crocmedia merger.

Former Tigers’ champion Kevin Bartlett has moved from mornings to afternoons/drive and will be joined on-air by Dr Turf aka John Rothfield.

And through all this, the AM giants of 2GB and 3AW sit back and watch and contemplate more ratings success in the 12 months ahead.

What are your ratings predictions for 2018? Let us know in the comments below.

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28 Dec 2017 - 9:04 pm

Interesting times ahead…..

Kennedy Molloy will make a big impact, my prediction would be SCA number one and two for drive.

Pure Gold Melbourne could see Dave Thornton appear as co host with ? on breakfast….. Could see a quick transition with familiar people.

Pure Gold Sydney could dip in day parts with the departure of Ron E Sparks and legend Charlie Fox.

As for 2Day breakfast, there maybe a slight spike in survey one, with Grant Em & Ed, however I can’t see any sustainability, as the line up just doesn’t add up.

ABC breakfast will be interesting as ABC listeners are loyal, due to great content and creditable news.
ABC will hold their leadership.

Damien H
29 Dec 2017 - 11:44 am

Hit: 2Day breakfast will lift slightly but not enough to compete with Nova or KIIS. I give Grant Denyer 12 months before he decides the pressures of breakfast radio and filming Family Feud are taking their toll on his family and he pikes. Gemma Fordham will “stand by” another ailing breakfast show before ultimately axing them and installing another breakfast show in, if not before 2019.

Hughsey & Kate will fail to resonate with the core Hit audience. Although ratings for the shift may spike, it will only be KIIS listeners switching across. While that was likely the strategy, 3 of the KIIS network’s 5 stations skew older and those listeners won’t hang around for the breakfast show.

RnB Fridays will likely lose it’s momentum this year as Hit seem to play the SAME RnB songs every Friday. The live shows have peaked interest but surely they are now running out of 90s and 00s one hit wonders to trot out for national tours.

Nova: Kate Tim & Marty are likely to dominate drive this year, largely thanks to the flip-flopping shows on their rivals. They have a loyal audience and regularly top the shift in a number of markets. Nova should look at getting Kate Ritchie on the publicity trail as Marty does HYBPA on Ten and Tim does Postcards on Nine.

In Sydney, much is made of Fitzy & Wippa’s third of fourth placings in ratings. Much like Ten in the 90’s, they have their place in the middle, and Nova makes money on them by syndicating to regional stations. As long as they don’t tumble to last place, they’ll be fine.

In Brisbane, Ash Kip & Luttsy (with part-time Susie O’Neill) continue to run 1st or 2nd to the ABC. They’ll be fine until their next contract negotiations. All other breakfast shows seem solid but will be interesting to see the impact of Hit’s new team on Nova’s now heritage team. If Nathan Nat & Shaun take a dive this year, Nova could be on the hunt for a younger team.

KIIS: The tale of two demos. While the idea of refreshing the ailing Mix network was a good idea, it’s important to remember it was only ailing in Sydney & Melbourne. Poaching Kyle & Jackie O and essentially replacing 2Day FM in Sydney was a great idea. And it has paid off well for ARN. But that’s about where it ends.

The rest of the “network” is caught between the youthful KIIS network and the the old MIX network, which was the core demo of Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth. Recruiting the youthful all-male duo of Will & Woody (clearly standing in for Hamish & Andy) may work for Sydney but won’t resonate outside of that. Add to that the bad publicity surrounding Robin Bailey, 96FM’s format change in Perth, and the recent talent cleanout, and it’s just not a good look.

ARN should look at whether a KIIS “network” is a good idea, or whether KIIS Sydney stands alone and the 4 other stations form a network.

Triple M: They seemed to have nailed a good mix of music and sport. The new drive show of Mick Molloy & Jane Kennedy should connect with the M’s core audience, harking back to the days of D Generation.

Pure Gold: This one is still up in the air with WSFM’s PD and a main announcer now gone. Interesting to see what plays out here in 2018.

scott james
6 Jan 2018 - 2:01 pm

Interesting time at the ABC. Not a fan of Sam Shah but that’s neither here nor there. Gerard Whateley leaving will have a big impact on Friday night football. SEN needed
to revamp the drive program it was a disgrace. The production team must now be held just as accountable as the host. Way too many ad’s. Another year of evolution for DAB+. Only wish the Govt would roll it out across the regional area’s. Its such a great tool and bypasses any emergency issues which maybe affected by transmitter problems. ( bushfire; anyone?). Its also time for the networks to realise the non ratings periods are a thing of the past. More people than ever now listen to summer radio and to not have the key broadcasters on at that time is costing them revenue. There is no such thing anymore as a non ratings period. If only the TV broadcasters understood this as well. 1950 its time to let go.

6 Jan 2018 - 5:11 pm

2018 will be the year of Kate Tim and Marty and Kyle and Jackie. Nothing much will change. Two superb shows.

8 Jan 2018 - 11:18 am

I think Talking Lifestyle will top the ratings as everyone decides they want to hear infomercials all day long.


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