Fitzy & Wippa, Can They Go From Good to Great?


I like Fitzy & Wippa. Their breakfast show on Nova is good. They are great guys.

They work hard, and are considered ‘ good blokes ‘ by most in the radio industry. 

So why is their Sydney breakfast show only rating 5.8%?


Ryan Fitzgerald and Michael Wipfli have now been together on breakfast for 3 years since 2011.

Fitzy & Wippa have strong chemistry, they are likeable and they are fun.

They know they are not comedians, they know to be fun not funny.

They are authentic and they sound natural. They are good with listeners and interact well with them on the phone.

Fitzy & Wippa arguably get more press coverage than anyone else in Sydney radio, powered by the force of News Corps Daily Telegraph (the exception may be Kyle) and their ‘stunts’ are second to none. And they do plenty of them.

They enjoy strong marketing executed well, have a great social media presence and tons of press.

So why aren’t their ratings higher?

Their Melbourne counterparts Tommy & Meshel are already rating  6.2 % in only their first year together. Tommy & Meshel already sound good and as one senior, highly respected Programmer put it recently “they are only an anchor away from being a great show”

Nova Entertainment Group Program Director Paul Jackson said after last surveys result:  “we are all allowed the odd down book here and there.”

But this year, since the Sydney landscape changed with the Kiis launch, Fitzy & Wippa have showed a steady decline. Their ratings share has dropped from 7.9 to 6.2 to 5.8.  They have been in either the 4th, 5th or 6th position. Surely not where Nova would want them to be.

Paul Jackson didn't respond to my phone calls and emails requesting further comment on Nova's breakfast performance.

The three main reasons for their lack of high ratings are content, content and content. Fitzy & Wippa do great stunts, generate huge press, but lack quality content.

They also lack direction, which is the most important factor for success aside from casting. Direction being even more important than marketing. Great marketing won’t help a weak product.

Fitzy & Wippa’s show isn’t broad enough. Male / Female duo’s like Jonesy & Amanda, FiFi & Dave or Tommy & Meshel have broader appeal, therefore deliver a bigger, broader audience.

Nova is a big metro Top 40 / CHR radio station so it needs a big, broad, powerful breakfast show for it to be a ratings leader.

Fitzy & Wippa don’t have the depth and dimensions needed to be a top rating show. The show lacks emotional range. They would be a much better and broader show with a well-cast, strong female co-star.

A good example is Kate, Marty and Tim on Nova drive. Another good example is the broadening of The (Sydney ) Footy Show on television with the introduction of Erin Molan. She gives the show broader appeal and greater dimensions.

Nova’s shift in music to block 2DayFM’s younger flanking music position may also have had some impact on its breakfast ratings this year.

Nova breakfast is a multi million dollar show and it is in the most competitive and most important breakfast market in Australia. The Sydney market being largely responsible for advertiser’s perceptions of the entire Nova network.

The show would rate well in Gold Coast / Brisbane / Adelaide markets, but isn’t the ratings leader Nova would like in the key major metro market of Sydney!

Nova had their key competitor poached by another competitor, thereby unsettling the whole market – an opportunity of a lifetime, which almost no show ever gets and have failed to capitalise on it.

Craig Bruce the Head of Programming at Southern Cross Austereo said: “As much as everyone loves Fitzy & Wippa – they are ripper blokes, and I personally like both of them – the show's not working “

If Nova Programmers swapped Breakfast & Drive, Fitzy & Wippa to drive and Kate Marty & Tim to breakfast, Nova could become a formidable competitor once again.

Nova Programmers and Management would have to be asking: Where are the big breakfast ratings in Sydney?

Can Fitzy & Wippa go from good to great, as that's what it will take to win Sydney breakfast ratings?


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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