‘There will be a lot of churn’: Triple M boss on why ratings for Marty Sheargold will take time
Triple M is going to give Melbourne audiences time to find and adjust to its new Breakfast offering The Marty Sheargold Show, the network’s boss has confirmed.
And once the numbers do roll in, starting with the results of Survey 1 tomorrow, Mike Fitzpatrick said he will not be looking at the overall share figure.
“The 10+ is a bonus, you know? It’s an ego number, really. It’s nice to be able to say ‘We’re #1 in 10+’, but it’s not what we judge the show on,” he said on the Mumbrellacast. “Can Marty deliver on that? Absolutely. Otherwise we wouldn’t have put him in there. Is he going to do it straight away? No. I would be surprised, and happily surprised, if that happens on survey day, but I think… we need to give shows time.”
Fiztpatrick said the show’s host is also well aware of the time it will take to bed in.
“Marty is able to sit back and understand that as well. In fact, he’s the one that said ‘This is going to take a while’. And we all agree on that. It would be wonderful to see numbers up early that indicate he’s going to be a huge success, but we’ll just be watching our key demos and our target demos and using our ears. And my ears tell me it’s going to be a great show. It’s funny. Every break is funny. And it is really engaging, and it sounds like nothing else on radio. Dynamically, it sounds different from every other show in Melbourne.”
This different sound, however, could jar some loyal Triple M listeners, who have become accustomed to the sport focus of the station, in particular that delivered by Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy’s The Hot Breakfast, which was on air for 11 years.
“If you’re an audience that’s tuning into Triple M to experience news and football, as you were with Hot Breakfast, you’re not going to get that with Marty, so there will be a lot of churn, and we’re fully prepared fo that, and we expect that,” Fitzpatrick said.
What if Sheargold loyalists from his long run at Nova as part of the national Kate, Tim & Marty Drive show, fill the void left by Eddie loyalists and prop up The Marty Sheargold Show though? Fitzpatrick said this is unlikely, and the show is going to have to find its own fans.
“We need to give time for the audience to find the show,” he said. “There are very few shows in radio that can do what Alan Jones or Kyle & Jackie [did], which is take the audience with them.
“Marty’s a new show. It’s not the show he did at Nova, it’s not the show he did previously at Triple M. It’s a brand new show. It’s called The Marty Sheargold Show. It has a new cast around him, it has a new team around him, and it’s finding its audience again that haven’t experienced him for a while.”
In the chat, Fitzpatrick also covered the recently departed McGuire-fronted The Hot Breakfast, and rejected claims it has fallen in the ratings in recent months and years.
“The thing to remember is, Eddie smashed our target demos every day of the week. It’s no secret that we generally target men between 25 and 54, that’s just where our format leans – rock, sport and comedy leans male. But 40%, and often in some markets 45% of our audience, is female. It doesn’t mean that that audience can’t enjoy our product, but the way that we’re set up is to win men, hands down, and deliver that audience for our advertisers. And Eddie did that. Every day of the week. And smashed it,” he said.
The long-running show will be regarded as one of the great Breakfast radio success stories, Fitzpatrick said, not only for its longevity, but for how it reset expectations and understandings of what FM radio could be.
“It really did remind people that FM radio didn’t just need to be, and I use the term, I want – I’m trying to find a way to say this that isn’t going to offend everybody,” he said. “It sort of, it made us realise that FM radio didn’t just need to be trite. And I’m not saying that we aways created trite radio, but we did try hard a lot of the time. And it could be a really lean-in, what’s happening right now, relevant experience, to the point where, when we first started the show, the number one complaint we got was ‘If I wanted to listen to news and talkback, I’d listen to AM.’ It was so uncommon to hear a show like that on FM.
“And I think that’s its legacy. It proved that radio is radio no matter where you are or what platform you’re on. And as long as you’re engaging and being relevant to your audience, that’s what matters.”
Fitzpatrick was talking on the Mumbrellacast where he also revealed the station’s thinking behind nabbing Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas for the new station in the West Australian capital.