“Just make me laugh.” Dean Buchanan weighs in on Melbourne’s Breakfast radio wars


“I couldn’t give a rat’s bum if you’re in suburb A or suburb B. Just make me laugh.”

In the lead up to GfK Metro Survey 4 next week, former DMG programming boss Dean Buchanan has been sampling the current crop of Melbourne’s FM Breakfast shows.

Buchanan now has the luxury of listening as, well … a listener, not as a programmer who might otherwise feel the need to over-analyse or tinker.

And what he’s been hearing is a strong play for localism.

“The trouble with localism is, it’s all the same,” Buchanan says. “Same weather forecast, the same local news, the same talk points.”

“So personally, I don’t hear it as a point of difference.”

Speaking recently on the Game Changers Radio: Melbourne Radio Wars podcast, Buchanan boldly declared that Kyle & Jackie O will achieve a 10 share in Melbourne.

“What we all forget is that radio is not a 100% game. Starting with 5% in the ratings in Melbourne, I thought, was outstanding. When they get 8%, they’re in the money.”

“Which still means 92% of the audience don’t like them, in fact hate them, will never listen to them … they’re offended.”

“We know who we are and what we stand for. We signed a ten year contract. Next question?”

Now, less than a week out from Survey 4, content and music strategist Irene Hulme says Buchanan’s insights offer a healthy dose of perspective.

Staying on course when you’ve got a bold and polarising strategy takes guts.

ARN signed Christian O’Connell. They bought the act and believed in it and gave it time to find an audience, despite the industry criticism,” says Hulme. “That’s the courage they need again with Kyle and Jackie O.”

Hulme notes that Nova’s Jase & Lauren have remained on air over the survey break, instead of opting for pre-recorded ‘best of’ shows.

“They’ve been very live, very local and very topical.”

But Hulme questioned their recent studio interview with Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan on the polarising subject of pill testing:

“My first response was ‘This show needs to be fun.’ Which is where they shine, and this is a week when you’ve got Fox listeners and KIIS listeners probably coming over to sample, right? So put your best foot forward and be funny, because that’s what they do so well. I was a little bit surprised about that, but it IS local and topical.”

Former SCA content boss Craig Bruce reckons it was a smart move by Nova.

“I think it ticks every box. I love it … I think you can make me laugh AND make me think.”

Over at The Fox, Fifi, Fev & Nick also recently tackled a serious local topic – with an interview about suburban violence on the streets of Melbourne.

Whether this brand of localism resonates with the FM Breakfast audience  remains to be seen.

But regardless of what next book shows, creative development coach Wade Kingsley says Melbourne’s Breakfast battle is a marathon, not a sprint.

“This is a year-to-year battle. Not day to day or week to week.”

And it’s a battle with a difference.

“The hardest thing to do is sit on your hands, do nothing and back yourself in,” says Bruce.

But that could well be the strategy that wins the day.

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Jason from Mooroolbark Victoria
3 Jul 2024 - 2:57 pm

The breakfast wars are going to be wild n by Jase and nLaurenb

3 Jul 2024 - 4:52 pm

Fascinating all the opinions from so called experts who no longer are in the industry. Out of touch and no inner knowledge of working with teams on the frontline and the limited resources in this day and age.

Hats off to all the content teams who are working their backsides off and those who support them.

Deano is right
3 Jul 2024 - 7:29 pm

For me the biggest loser is Fox. They have a tired bfast show. We’ve seen their tricks and know what they deliver. Sooner or later when K and J go number 1 (and they will) they will be forced to make a decision, battle on or start a new show.

3 Jul 2024 - 8:46 pm

Is it just me or is it getting a bit tiresome hearing this weekly prattle from three people who haven’t worked on a #1 show in Australia in a decade? Same can be said for a majority of guests too…

Geoff Daniels
8 Jul 2024 - 9:57 am

Shout out to Dean and Wade for giving me a slot on network radio circa 2000-2003 at ” The Hub ” Albury …

Love & Beers Geoff Daniels

p.s Wade , Crows suck


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