Networked Breakfast shows: “If management isn’t 100% behind it, then you’re in trouble”


Would the Kyle & Jackie O Show work in Melbourne?

That’s the burning question after Fox FM’s Brendan Fevola sent the rumour mill into overdrive this week.

Fevola’s ‘inside’ mail was that the KIIS Sydney Breakfast duo would be on air in Melbourne next year.

Richard Stubbs is someone who knows only too well the challenges of hosting a networked cap city Breakfast show.

It was close to thirty years ago now that Triple M made the bold move to network Stubbs’ Melbourne Breakfast Show to Sydney in the years following Doug Mulray’s departure.

Stubbs tells Radio Today that while management at that time had a vision and was super keen, he himself was hesitant about taking the show to Sydney.

“I had to be dragged to the equation. I could see all sorts of issues. Nothing revolutionary – just the traditional issues that you would name now if you were doing it. I don’t know if they apply 30 years on.”

“I don’t know how much we’ve changed.”

“And also, to be fair, I wasn’t the juggernaut that Kyle and Jackie O are.”

“The power of that brand is enormous and can’t be underestimated.”

“I think also our fascination with celebrity and the inside word and all of that sort of stuff has only got bigger. So a show with that sort of content, as well as everything else … it’s pretty powerful.”

As for his own experience, Stubbs says finding a balance of content to cater for both cities wasn’t as difficult as it might have seemed.

“Not really. Every shift has challenges.”

“I think if I were to review it, I’d say those challenges are a lot easier now.”

“We’re a lot more centralised in our information now. You and I read the same news story whether we’re in Sydney or in Melbourne because of our feed. All that kind of stuff.”

“Some things were specific to the market,” Stubbs says. “We recorded a separate AFL and NRL segment with different people, and just dropped it in at the same time.”

“But if you’re talking specifically about Kyle and Jackie O’s show, I don’t know how much of it is distinctively local.”

Stubbs says support at the top is crucial to the success of a networked radio show.

“I would say that if management isn’t 100 percent behind it, then you’re in trouble.”

Stubbs notes that ‘homogenised’ programming can have its pitfalls.

“Making it all neat and tidy doesn’t allow for the strength of radio – which is to make connection.”

Is a networked Breakfast show doable today?

“My unique perspective says it’s not impossible,” says Stubbs, whose own networked show ran for about two years.

“I think that we are more global than we were thirty years ago. We’re less parochial. We’ve still got parochial things about us, but there’s more stuff that we talk about and enjoy – particularly related to celebrities – than ‘I like this football or I like that football’ … or ‘I don’t get your reference to the Montague Street Bridge.’”

“If I were to comment, it would be to say my experience tells me that a show would definitely fail without solid management support.”

Tim Smith and Brigitte Duclos were part of the Richard Stubbs Breakfast Show when it was networked to Sydney.

Smith tells Radio Today “Doing a national network show is difficult, especially when you have time differences.”

But he says you can make it work.

“You just lose the suburban stuff in the local city but it’s all good.”

Smith and Duclos would again venture into networked territory when Triple M decided to have a crack at sharing another Melbourne Breakfast show – The Cage – with Sydney.

Duclos saw it as an exciting development, telling the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003 “It showed faith in us as a Breakfast team.”

“I think people are terrified of losing a local angle but we’re still very local, we’ve got local windows for news and weather and traffic which are the three things people desperately need to know about their own cities,” she said at the time.

Stubbs notes there are other important considerations when it comes to successfully networking a show:

“How do you program it when one market loves it, but the other market doesn’t?”

“What happens if Sydney loves the program in the surveys, but Melbourne doesn’t? What are you going to tweak to make Melbourne like it, while making Sydney still like it?”

“Sydney’s a very difficult market. I think it’s a good to have Sydney as being dominant and then bring the product to Melbourne rather than the other way around.”

Whilst Radio Today readers are split on whether a networked Kyle and Jackie O Show would work, MW makes a salient point: “Forget localism, there’s only one metric that actually matters: Is the show good?”

“K & J’s mammoth audience would indicate that the answer’s a resounding ‘yes.’”

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Chuck Tuna
16 Aug 2023 - 2:54 pm

People want to be entertained simple as that, most wouldnt care where the show came from if they liked it .

16 Aug 2023 - 11:35 pm

I’ve said this for a while now. KJ needs to go national. Not just Melbourne. Arn needs to rebrand the whole network to kiis. Nova is very successful with syndicated programming. They do a lot of it. The average listener doesn’t even notice. It only makes sense. Network the show. Push separate new traffic and weather make that local and syndicate the rest. If anything arn should do a high lights show in the holidays and network that. See if the audience likes the vibe of the show.

17 Aug 2023 - 5:34 am

Radio. Gets you where you live.

17 Aug 2023 - 10:41 am

KJ won’t work outside Sydney. Nobody outside Sydney understands why they’re popular there. Jamming them into Melbourne, or Brisbane, or anywhere would be a disaster.


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