Craig Bruce – #7 The Challenges – The Wins
After each survey we chat to Group Content Directors on how their brands and stations performed. Earlier we chatted to ARN’s Duncan Campbell and next is Craig Bruce.
For Craig Bruce 2015 has been a challenging one on many fronts. Take your pick around the country, some fails and some wins, it comes with the territory.
In our wrap of Survey #7, we will find out if Eddie and Mick are locked in for 2015. KIIS in Melbourne, what does it mean for SCA? Every other network has their drive teams starting in January, yet Hamish & Andy won’t surface until June, is that a concern?
For SCA we will start in Melbourne.
Blair Sullivan: A small decline overall for the station targeting people who 'pee standing up', however Triple M remain #1 FM in Breakfast.
Craig Bruce: (laughs)….. that’s obviously a memorable line Blair. Clearly Fitzy has done his job.
Blair Sullivan: He has, it stood out.
Craig Bruce: Yeah, a good strong result for Ed, you know we would love every survey to go up. But a seven and half share, and you can’t do any better than be number one on FM. We will take every single one of those results.
But look, a great breakfast result and certainly a great drive result with James and Billy. You know we have announced all our football line-ups for next year, which are bigger and better than ever. Brian Taylor coming on-board.
The product is in great shape and yes, numbers a little off today but certainly no reason to hit the panic button as Paul Jackson would say.
BS: And on Triple M Melbourne – Eddie and Mick locked away for 2015?
CB: Yeah, having consistency in breakfast is critical for every station's success and 3MMM is no different. I listened to them on the way in this morning from the airport – they are just in a sweet spot at the moment. In my opinion on their day they are the best show in the country by a country mile and we are absolutely wrapped to have them on board.
By the way Luke, Eddie, Mick even Rosie – the chemistry in that studio, that is incredibly precious and we are happy to have them on-board for a couple of more years.
BS: A strong result for Fox, which is a clear #1 FM in Melbourne.. happy about that?
CB: Very happy about that. A fantastic ten plus result, a brilliant result for Dan & Maz. Off a little in breakfast but you know overall the Fox is such a strong and powerful brand, it has been for a long period of time. I think it is well set-up for what is going to be a real challenging year for us next year.
BS: ARN have drawn a line in the sand for Melbourne with the arrival of KIIS – what does that mean for you?
CB: Well there are positives and negatives, and challenges and opportunities – however you want to word it. Dave & Kate might potentially take some audience off Nova, obviously there is a Dave & Kate fan base that would be on Nova. So there are potentially some losses there.
You know Chrissie Swan is not coming back, that’s my understanding. I think there is a huge fan base for her on that breakfast show. Whether some of those Chrissie fans come over and have a look at what Fifi and Dave are doing, there is a very good chance of that.
Matt and Jane will be new and working together for the first time and that brings challenges and it will take a while to find its feet.
I certainly don’t think Duncan and Ciaran are expecting the free kick they had in Sydney this year. It is a very different situation. I understand why they are changing the brand, I am sure that neither of them will be thinking they will have some out of the box survey one result.
I am assuming they will see Melbourne as a very competitive market and I am sure they are thinking about building for the future as we are with Fox.
BS: I’m just going from memory here but Hughesy & Kate had some good male appeal as well, is that likely to impact Triple M?
CB: Yes possibly, Dave certainly has that Male fan base. Look I think Triple M is in a different situation, certainly during football season – we just play in our own sandpit to be honest. But hey it's all up for grabs and we'll have to see how it all plays out.
BS: With Dan & Maz going into 2Day Breakfast, putting aside their 2Day ratings given the well-documented overall issues there, do you take confidence from their performance in other markets where they are growing, particularly Melbourne where they're #1 FM?
CB: And a clear number 1 FM. They had a good day today – I think they are steady in Sydney and Adelaide off the back of breakfast shows going backwards in those markets. And good results in Brisbane and Perth. Where there is a level playing field in terms of breakfast shows giving them a lead in, they have done very very well.
There is no question they have got an audience and there is no question we can build a position for ourselves in Sydney. So yeah it was encouraging to see that. I think we can step it up again next year.
BS: And what about the 2Day brand… have you made any further in roads on what you are going to do with that one?
CB: Ah, nothing I can share with you at the moment.
BS: Triple M Sydney has improved, with a big jump 25-39’s
CB: An excellent result and really just a brilliant result for the Grill team – that 6.5 or 6.7 share is very good in the market where you have got some great shows that we compete against.
When you think about the Grill Team, they were a 2.9 or a 2.7. They may have been 4 or 5 years ago and now 6.7, so whilst we have had a show that hasn’t worked in Sydney, we do know how to rebuild them as well. And the Grill Team is a great example of a show that over time has built an audience – a really loyal audience. I am absolutely stoked for the boys, they work really hard.
Jamie Angel and Matt O’Reilly drive that show better than almost any Content Director and EP combination in the group and its always good to see reward for effort.
BS: Brisbane, One up, one down….. Good result for b105… nice to see.
CB: Yeah, number 1 under 40 females and a clear number 1 under 25 females. We want better 25 to 39 figures and we will work towards that. Good to see that turn around.
Triple M to be honest is disappointing today. I was in a meeting only looking at 4MMM numbers three or four weeks ago. In book six we were a dominant 25 to 54 year Male number and a dominant 25 to 54 all people across the workday – you know the audience profile couldn’t have looked any better.
I know our male numbers have held up and we are still a clear number one but the share, the preference would have been to go up a little to reflect that.
Yeah it was a reasonable result, as you said one up and one down.
BS: Over in PERTH, Mix94.5 regains its crown this round with a 14.5, it is now one point clear of Nova.
CB: Yes, we thought it was going to be really close. We actually have expected to get pipped at the post, good to see that turn around.
Mix is a great brand, it has been for a long period of time. Those variety brands as you see with what ARN have done with Adelaide and Brisbane are very very strong in those smaller markets.
We are thrilled to see that result.
With 929 a good little lift for them. And next year Heidi, Will & Woody having had the team on the Air for 12 months and they are only going to continue to improve – we see them as a young show getting better. There is plenty of upside for us in Perth.
BS: Last time we spoke about Perth, you mentioned about Nova spending a motza on marketing, how did you guys fair this time?
CB: I reckon that Gary Roberts has a bloody treasure chest down at Scarborough Beach that no one else knows about. They work their tactics budget like no other radio station and we do our very best to compete with them and we do obviously on creativity. Just throwing cash at a radio station isn’t always going to get you the result you want. They are certainly a formidable competitor.
We had a good four weeks of tactics. We did some experiential tactics around our music position on 929 and for Mix we had the secret sound. So potentially those numbers might have reflected that, or we might have just had a good bounce.
BS: With Adelaide, while still way early days for the brand Hit107 secured an 8.2 share just down a little bit on survey 6.
CB: Oh really 10 of the 12 weeks were SAFM, so I don’t think you can draw anything.
CB: But having said that, if it went up I would have claimed it .. you know that.
It is too early to tell, I don’t think you can read anything into any number we will see between now and the end of the year. I think survey 1 is when you will get a better sense of it.
All I can tell you is that anecdotally the feedback is very very strong, you know I was at different events across the course of the weekend. For the first time, unsolicited people coming up telling me about their kids changing radios over to hit from Nova. That hasn’t happened in that Adelaide market, certainly as being a resident of that market I haven’t heard that kind of feedback in a long time.
What I hear out of the speakers is a young fresh brand, we were really encouraged by Brad’s report card (see here) a couple of days ago. We have had lots of feedback from other people we respect in terms of what we have done there and we know it’s a long road, but I think that Irene and her team have done an outstanding job outing that together.
BS: For TripleM, a little bit of movement down to pull a 9 share but you would have to be happy with the Triple M breakfast result?
CB: The opportunity I think for Triple M is the 40 to 59 growth, which we haven’t seen yet that I think will come at some point. If it’s sitting at 9, I think there is still a 10 or 11 share in that station. And certainly Roo & Dits with a 9.5 share, half a point off Lewis & Lowe are in great shape. We think that is going to be a powerhouse show for us in the next 3 to 5 years. Triple M Adelaide is really well set-up.
BS: And Sean Craig-Murphy joining the team in the New Year as well?
CB: Sean is a great mate of mine. We have known each other for 30 years and we have worked with each other at Austereo at different stations along the way. I’ve been pestering him for the last six months to get the right sort of opportunity for him.
And creatively one of the very best people I have worked with in the business, still really good on the Air. Loved by listeners, he has been in the market now for a long period of time. He is well known and well loved. He is going to give us some real creativity behind the scenes and we are bloody pumped to have him back.
BS: The last question, Hughesy & Kate on national KIIS drive from January. Kate, Tim and Marty on national Nova drive from January. Hamish & Andy on national Today drive from July. Which means they're not going to influence survey results until survey 6 at the earliest. Is that a concern?
CB: Ah.. I mean we would like to have them on Air from January, no question of that. But I think we will come up with a product and a plan that will give us every opportunity to find an audience in those first six months of the New Year.
And let’s not forget, Dan & Maz in Melbourne is a great example of Drive reflective of Breakfast. The only show I haven’t seen that happen, the only show to buck that trend if you will is Hamish & Andy.
We are talking about good solid Drive shows, being Marty, Tim and Kate and Dave and Kate, and Merrick – they are really good shows but they are reliant on their breakfast offering. So I think if we can get that right, and we certainly have plans to do that – then we will be more than okay for the first 6 months of the year and be ready for Hamish & Andy in the second half.