Craig Bruce ‘Dan & Maz our standout new show’

Staff Writer


With survey out today we've had a chat with the three Group Programmers of the metropolitan FM networks; ARN's Duncan Campbell, SCA's Craig Bruce, and Nova's Paul Jackson.

Today, we'll publish our chat with Craig, with the others to follow tomorrow.

Mark Hales: Craig, so let's go with the good stuff first. Triple M Melbourne, equal #1, and #1 Breakfast, you've been talking up 3MMM for a while, and it really is a strong result.

Craig Bruce: Yeah it's hard work from lots of talented people over a long period of time. The station rebuild has been close to 5 years in the making, but I think we've built the foundation for a really successful era for 3MMM.

MH: And with Fox doing well today, you're #2 and #3 FM in Melbourne. Given the change of Breakfast on Fox, and the Drive change this year, are you happy with where it sits?

CB: Really happy. We've been seeing really positive signs with both Fifi and Dave and Dan and Maz in our research, and certainly our ears have been telling us that both shows are in strong shape. It was good to see that reflected in today's results.

MH: It really is a tight market isn't it. 0.9% between #1 FM and #6 FM.

CB: Yeah lots of strong brands, lots of strong shows. It's a really healthy sign for the industry.

MH: Okay let's touch on Perth, another ripper result for Mix 94.5, it really is a consistent station isn't it. 

CB: The new breakfast show is absolutely terrific, with so much upside still to come. Erica Hodge and her team are one of the best product teams we have in the group, I'm really pleased for her and the team that they are seeing the rewards for their efforts.

MH: And tell us about 92.9, it's been a tough couple of years, but positive signs are emerging, particularly in Breakfast with Heidi, Wil and Woody. Pleased?

CB: Heidi, Wil and Woody are going to be one of our great shows. We've talked about the generational change that we're going through right now on the Today network, and these guys are one of the best examples of why our future is so bright, I gotta wear shades. (laughs)

MH: Yep agree, they're a good show. Okay let's talk about Brisbane, it's been a tough market recently for SCA, and B105 came off a bit this survey, are you comfortable with how that station is progressing?

CB: Depends what you call tough. B105 is number 1 for under 40 females right across the board, starting in Breakfast where we're 5 points clear of our nearest competitor, and only a point behind Nova 10 plus, who pip us because of their all male breakfast show.

I still think B105 is really well placed for a strong second half of 2014.

MH: Triple M Brisbane, up nicely, Brekky up a bit, but great across daytimes. Were days a focus, or is it the format doing what it should do?

CB: The opportunity for MMM has always been around TSL and we're seeing that now along with some positive signs with the new Grill team combination. The great news for SCA in Brisbane is we have the number 1 male and female stations in this market.

MH: So we've talked the good stuff. We need to discuss Adelaide and Sydney, let's talk Adelaide first. What's going on with SAFM.

CB: For some reason the Breakfast show is not connecting. I think we have, collectively, all the talent we need in this current line-up, but at the moment it's clearly not resonating and obviously we need to work out why.

MH: You're a fan, and have gone on the record as saying you rate 'Michael, Hayley and Burgo' highly, but does there come a point where you consider that the market may not be accepting them and make a change?

CB: I accept that we are in a business that is driven by win/loss numbers and right now those numbers are not where we'd like them to be in Adelaide.

We're going to try to find a way forward with the existing combination.

MH: Given the format tweak, did you expect Triple M would come off a bit before it grew, as happened today?

CB: Possibly, but I think when it does eventually grow it will do very well in this market.

MH: And a breakfast change on Triple M, yet you go up. That's almost unheard of. What's the deal with that?

CB: Roo and Ditts are a great combination who have an audience that love them. Don't be surprised to see this show climb through the rankings over the next 6 months.

MH: Okay to Sydney. Firstly Triple M, flat overall, but a good Grillers result, only up a bit but enough to go to #3.

CB: Yep for the Grill team to beat Fitzy and Wippa in a year where they have had the biggest free kick they'll ever get is as exciting for us as it would be disappointing for them.

MH: 2Day is down again. Did you honestly expect another fall?

CB: All 3 Top 40 stations in Sydney fell this book. Kyle and Jackie have just had the second down book, and Fitzy and Wippa have been beaten by MMM.

The number was lower than we thought it would be, but the show continues to sound better everyday.

MH: Even though it's only 6-months old, at 3.0%, what is the ratings point where you reconsider what you're doing on 2Day Breakfast, or are you committed to it for now.

CB: We are committed to seeing it through.

MH: What's the internal vibe at 2Day like? Must be tough. Is it?

CB: Not at all, and I realise that anything I say here will look like spin, but 2day is in better shape internally than we have been for years.

It's a completely different vibe for all the right reasons.

MH: Just finally, I should mention Dan & Maz, they are outperforming station average on every Today station, although the daypart helps, but still they are doing very well.

CB: It's a cracking show. We've launched half a dozen new ones this year, but Dan and Maz would be the stand-out.

They have so much upside still to come Mark!

MH: Thanks for your time Craig, all the best for the next book!


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