hit107 – 7 days in – part i
It’s not very often as a Content Director you get the chance to not only blow up a station that has been an Adelaide radio icon, but then also launch a totally new brand to the market.
Irene Hulme, SCA Group Content Director in Adelaide and her team got to do exactly that.
Just 7 days ago today, they finally took the wraps off and hit107 launched into the Adelaide market.
A new sound, new branding and imaging, a new breakfast team and workday line-up.
In part one we talk with Irene about the first week with hit107. We get the lowdown on how long she and the team had to work the new format through. We talk about the battle with Nova and hit107’s point of difference and more.
Blair Sullivan: 1 Week down… how has it been so far?
Irene Hulme: Sensational first week. Perfect launch. The aim was to create something sonically different and we did that. Looking back there is nothing we would do differently.
It was great hearing it all come together – it was hard getting a true sense when you hear everything in isolation. So Monday was a pretty big moment for everyone involved.
We all had pretty high expectations and those expectations were definitely met.
Everything about the new brand is great – the logo, the tone, the shows and people.
From an internal point of view the corridors are absolutely buzzing. There is an inner confidence from the team that I’ve not seen anywhere before.
I would say it was the perfect launch. It’s been a great week on the air. A great week!
BS: How would you describe hit107 in a few words… are there a few words???
IH: The tone we were aiming to get to was Playful, Social and Colourful and in every aspect I think we have nailed that brief.
From the shows, through to the music features and the imaging – we have absolutely delivered that brief.
The aim was to create something that moved away from conventional radio, creating something fresh, and a sound that has not been done before.
BS: Once you guys drew the line in the sand for SAFM, how long was your lead-in to craft the sound and format for Hit107?
IH: Not long enough to be honest, not long enough (laughs).
It was about 6 weeks and a lot of blood, sweat and tears from a lot of people, both local and interstate. It was big effort and a lot of hard work.
It was really rewarding for everyone involved. It was literally day and night and none of us had any sleep over that time.
Launching a new brand is by far the best bonding exercise, I’ve got a new team on and off the air and it feels like we have been a collective for 12 months.
Whilst it has been a very tight time frame, it was a really rewarding thing to do from a bonding point of view. Really great comradery amongst us all. It was just the greatest thing to do for anyone involved in radio – it was a lot of fun.
Hard work but a lot of fun.
BS: Is Adelaide regarded as an older, more conservative market?
IH: Adelaide is a conservative market, but from a radio point of view, there is a combination of heritage radio stations and very conventional sounding radio stations, so it felt like the right time to launch with something fresh and new.
Nova have been on the air for over ten years now, it sounds pretty conventional from that point of view – so it felt like to right time to launch with something fresh.
BS: How did you know that this was your sweet spot to target with hit107? Was it researched?
IH: Hit music is the heart and soul of the Today network. So we were never going to move away from the format from that point of view.
It needed to be different, not only in the market but also sonically different to SAFM.
Hit music is one element, it was how we present it differently, that was the biggest challenge for us.
BS: High rotations on the hots, seem to be about 90mins to 2 hours. Is that a Launch tactic for cume or is that where the format needs to be ongoing?
IH: The high rotates have increased slightly, 2 hours would be about right. The aim is to play the big hits and play them often. And that is a fairly broad CHR strategy. That is not exclusive to Hit107.
The key for Hit107 is we are playing a lot of music and that is pretty important for our audience, and especially when you are launching a new brand. We’ve done that.
We came up with a new way of doing that with 20 hits in a row. It’s had incredible cut through. Really, really quickly.
Pretty important when launching a new brand, news shows and line-up.
BS: Just on the 20 hits in a row position… are you slicing and dicing tracks to fit more in per hour.. outside the standard.. speed them up a smidgin?
IH: Yeah, that’s a dirty question isn’t it (laughs).
We are playing edits, again that is not exclusive to hit107, certainly most hits stations do it. 3
On average we are playing I’d say five edits across the workday. So it's nothing substantial and most pops songs these days are 3 minutes in length. So we are not finding we need to edit them down any shorter than that.
BS: You certainly appear to be flacking Nova’s bottom end… now if we look at survey SIX for numbers right now – Nova is a mile in front for those under 24..
Do you reckon you can reign them in to Hit107? How long are you giving yoursel?.
IH: Nova has never been challenged.
On or Off the Air to be honest.
It’s an obvious move from our point of view. In regards to Nova, they have been on the air for over ten years, they are a heritage brand… they are conventional in their sound.
They have done a pretty good job of owning the streets. We've got a great plan from that point of view.
It is definitely the right time to launch underneath them and we are confident that what we have got is fresh and new and really exciting for that target. It’s only a matter of time….
In Part ii of our chat with Irene Hulme, we will talk talent. Cover off the new breakfast team of Amos and Dani. Talk the production values of Hit107 and some of the marketing in play.