Nine’s Greg Byrnes on talk radio’s next generation
Who are the next generation of radio talk presenters?
More to the point – where do we find them? And who will listen to them?
According to Nine Radio Head of Content Greg Byrnes, the next generation of talk – presenters and listeners – is coming through.
And – just like long standing broadcasters Ray Hadley, Ross Stevenson and Neil Mitchell – they’re being given respect.
“But at the same time, we’ve had this successful formula built around the Rays and the Rosses and the Neils, and so we didn’t want them to go anywhere. We needed them. And the audience expects them,” says Byrnes.
While reflecting on the GfK Survey 5 results with our sister publication Radioinfo, Byrnes says “What I’ve noticed just as a listener across our network … we’ve always had younger opinions, but there seems to be a lot more of them at present.”
“I think that’s because (younger people) are used to expressing an opinion and being heard.”
“Dare I say it? Younger people are more than prepared to let you know how they feel and we offer a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider section of the community rather than just maybe a narrow social media funnel.”
Responding to the observation that talk radio doesn’t tend to poach TV reality stars, Byrnes says simply: “It’s hard work. I’m not saying they’re afraid of hard work, but it’s tough.”
Byrnes believes EPs make great hosts.
“They arrive at work each day and set an agenda and call it as they see it. It’s not easy. It’s relentless.”
Byrnes notes “The key shifts have terrible hours and you’re probably going to lose some friends along the way. And that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.”
“I think a lot of people would like to think they can do it. But few can do it well.”
While 2GB took a hit in Survey 5 – dropping 2.7 points for a share of 11.6% – Melbourne’s 3AW enjoyed some big gains in Breakfast and Mornings.
“Breakfast is at 22.3. Neil Mitchell‘s a 20,” says Byrnes.
“Streaming numbers are through the roof. It is football season in Melbourne and we tend to see a bit of a spike at this time of year.”
“We’re hopeful that strong result in Melbourne will continue for the rest of the year.”
Of the 2GB result, Byrnes says “Certainly Mornings has narrowed for this survey, but Ray is still the clear number one.”
“I suspect the trend will wash out over the next survey or so and that consistent lead that he’s held for many, many years will continue.”
Byrnes believes the AM stations have always been at somewhat of a disadvantage due to the nature of the frequency.
“As we’ve all – as a society – developed over decades, I think people would expect, and are entitled to expect, a better product. AM is tough. Whether it be train lines in Melbourne or rail corridors in Perth, they interfere with signal.”
For AM stations, apps have been a game changer.
“The beauty of the app is, we’re on a level playing field with the FM sound and the accessibility of it.”