ARN remains tight-lipped over ‘the new KIIS 101.1 Breakfast team’

Former Editor & Content Director

With the resignation of Melbourne’s KIIS FM Breakfast co-host Polly ‘PJ’ Harding, speculation is rife as to who could replace her alongside Jase Hawkins.

Radio Today first speculated Harding’s replacement could be former Summer Breakfast host Lauren Phillips or recently returned radio stalwart Kate Langbroek, who currently appears on KIIS’ 3pm Pick Up program.

Now, articles are doing the rounds suggesting it’s Phillips who is Harding’s official successor, however KIIS owner the Australian Radio Network (ARN) isn’t playing ball.

“ARN haven’t confirmed a new co-host for Jase Hawkins and PJ will still be on air until June. We are looking forward to announcing the new KIIS 101.1 Breakfast team soon,” a spokesperson told Radio Today despite press to the contrary.

Harding announced her departure yesterday. She will remain with the program until June and then return to her home country of New Zealand.

ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell told Radio Today just this month, prior to Harding’s announcement, that he doesn’t expect any talent changes across his station this year.

“Look I don’t think so,” he said when asked if there would be any talent changes after Survey 1’s results. “I think we’re in for a consistent year. Obviously Kate Langbroek’s back and she’s sounding fantastic on 3PM, so we’ve got a very, we’ve got some of the best talent in Australian radio, obviously. And consistency is what we aim for, and the talent has signed medium to long-term which is great. SoI’d like a consistent year this year. We will have our challenges obviously, I think you can’t rest on your laurels in this business, and you’re only as good as your last survey as they say, but we’re very happy to be kicking off 2021 as the #1 FM network in the country, so I’d like a consistent year this year, that would be pretty good.”

He also flagged the network’s future stars would be sourced from its expanding podcast network.

“There’s obviously a lot going on in radio and obviously as we move towards a digital future, podcasting and streaming – they have their own challenges – but they are in many ways exciting, because we’ll be looking this year at our podcast repertoire and looking at talent, podcasting talent, and seeing whether we can place any of those on the network,” he told Radio Today. “I think the future talent for radio will come from podcasting, so we have to have some plans in place for that this year.”

The show had a 6.2% share in the most recent ratings, up 0.8 points from 2020’s final survey.

Campbell said he was pleased with the increase, however noted he needs to see a trend in order to feel confident.

After Survey 7 last year, he admitted his frustration that the show can’t seem to meaningfully break into the market.

“Very few people criticise Jase & PJ and the content they do. And yet it just can’t seem to get the traction we want. And every time we think we’re getting signs that ‘Yes, we’re going to get some traction here and some momentum’, then it doesn’t deliver,” he said at the time.

Other radio hosts across various networks have told Radio Today they hope the new host is Langbroek, because she will lift the station and the show, and is incredibly Melbourne, as well as “incredible at radio”.

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25 Mar 2021 - 1:21 pm

Jase will move to drive and a new show will be on Melb brekky from July

25 Mar 2021 - 3:21 pm

ARN seems to be unable (or unwilling) to learn the most important lesson in radio: quality shows start with quality management. If that’s not there, you can roll the dice and cross your fingers as much as you like but when the smoke clears you will still be TT dressed up as MIXX dressed up as KISS.

B̶o̶d̶g̶e̶ Someone else
25 Mar 2021 - 5:23 pm

I heard they are getting Bodge in to do KIIS brekky. Duncan is apparently a massive fan. No bullshit.

Stephen Hanson
25 Mar 2021 - 9:28 pm

Jase will move to drive? what about will and woody? i don’t see that happening , unless will and woody change to breakfast?

26 Mar 2021 - 12:53 am

Kate is most definitely great at radio, but she won’t be moving to Breakfast anytime soon. Why would she give up the sweetest of gigs right now of a one hour (pre-recorded) show for the 4:30 am wake ups of daily breakfast radio?

26 Mar 2021 - 1:59 am

They should just syndicate Kyle and Jackie into Melbourne. Both stations as kiss branded.
Then move jase to the 7pm slot. This would be cheaper. Arn would get more bang for there buck. Or even put jase with Kyle and Jackie o.

26 Mar 2021 - 10:31 am

With the Adelaide Mix 1023 breakfast team pulled from air for no real reason this week (Mix claimed host Soda was sick but he has been presenting 7 News sport every night) it looks like maybe they are going to take K&J national?

Stephen Hanson
26 Mar 2021 - 1:11 pm

syndicate Kyle and Jackie into Melbourne! Jase to panel , did you hear the opening intro to kyle and jackie show this morning? interesting chat 🙂

27 Mar 2021 - 4:48 pm

Good luck to PJ finding happiness back home.

The interpretation of Jase & PJ ‘s performance over these last few years has been a frustrating read. Be assured they have performed really well in the hardest gig in ARN’s stable of stations.

The latest outcome has delivered a station successfully repositioned in the market to be more youthful and CHR-directed than before.

To have even come close to challenging the very consistent Fox (with Nova also applying pressure) is no easy thing to do. Jase & PJ’s tenure at least leaves the station feeling more sure of itself, a contrast from the identity problem it had for most of the time since TT-FM got dropped in 2001.

I reckon it’s time to assert the KIIS brand with all its current strength and bring in Kyle and Jackie O.

Here’s a case for Jase Hawkins to join a national panel breakfast show in the model of New York-based Elvis Duran morning show. In the Elvis model, Scot Langley a.k.a “Froggy” is situated in Florida studios, ensuring the national Elvis Duran Show is never just out of New York City.

To merely bring a Sydney show into Melbourme is risky. To be fair, Jase should be number one pick to join the panel, much as that seat is a back seat to Kyle and Jackie O. He has set up the shift for such a thing to happen.

Kyle and Jackie O syndicating to Adelaide?

That straight away means Melbourne does not get the attention it needs. it also feeds the false narrative that KIIS is a nationwide-city network (commen-sense informs you Perth’s 96fm is painted into the wrong logo and is certainly Pure Gold material by the time Triple M forces it to be, while Mix 102.3 and 97.3 are destined to be AC formats, not CHR-KIIS formats).

There are bean counters reading these rumours. Please don’t give them ideas such as fully national bteakfast shows.

27 Mar 2021 - 9:46 pm

“Resigned” is a nice word for “Your things are in a box. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

30 Mar 2021 - 11:25 pm

If KIIS network Kyle and Jackie into Melbourne, watch as they reach Macquarie taking Lifestyle ratings.
Kyle and Jackie O do not work in Melbourne. It’s madness to think they will get the same results as they do in Sydney. It’s a very different market.
I for one will permanently remove the preset from my radio if they try Kyle and Jackie O for more than the intolerable 6pm hour they have now.

31 Mar 2021 - 12:49 am

Just an outsiders perspective here, however I am from Melbourne.

I am almost willing to bet no one commenting that ARN should syndicate K &J to 101.1 breakfast is from Melbourne. K & J are not that popular here and even the ‘Hour of Power’ that airs 6-8pm on 101.1 is only small snippets & celeb interviews with plenty of music in between. Many people I have spoken to here in Melbourne really don’t warm to K & J, and speaking from personal experience as a Will & Woody listener after having given K &J a go I usually switch off 101.1 after W & W finish these days.

Not to mention a syndicated Sydney breakfast show on 101.1 would give Fox and Nova endless ammunition to dial up Melbourne based marketing to say “Made in Melbourne” (or words to that effect), as everyone here knows K & J are very much a Sydney show.

I will agree that 101.1 Melbourne does seem to be the poisoned chalice of the ARN network. Jase and PJ were certainly not a bad show but it is difficult for two people who (to my knowledge at least) had never lived in Melbourne prior to the show commencing on 101.1, to gain any real traction in the city. Again, most people here would see the billboards and think “Who are they? and What is KIIS?” Just as a side note, I think TV appearances certainly could have helped boost their personalities, HYBPA is just an example.

I think the only real winner here for ARN in terms of replacing PJ is Langbroek, engaging to listen to, and well-known in the Melbourne market. The only real question is how good would the chemistry be with Jase.

Ultimately if ARN want KIIS to succeed in the Melbourne market, they have to demonstrate to the local audience that they are putting together a station for Melbourne, not just a cheap cut and paste job from Sydney (which people here really don’t warm to). Maybe a thing or two could be learned from the 96fm re-structure in Perth, and a little closer to home, the Christian O’Connell show on Gold, on appealing to local audiences.


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