Op-Ed: Why FM radio threw MAFS a huge reception
With the sixth season of Nine’s reality show Married At First Sight wrapping up this week, radio has lost one of its key content pillars of 2019.
MAFS has been a powerful and pervasive force on FM radio for the duration of its most recent season.
“The number of programmers I speak with about the ‘magic’ of MAFS is staggering,” former Kyle & Jackie O EP Bruno Bouchet tells Radio Today.
“There is no bigger thing in Australian media at the moment than MAFS.”
Radio news pages have been flooded with the latest gossip, stars of the show have made regular appearances on just about every FM Breakfast show in the country, and our inbox has been a steady stream of news about the show.
“Think of MAFS’ content as a recipe,” Bouchet explains.
“Without the right ingredients, you never, ever would’ve had that delightful dish on your plate.
“Radio is exactly the same – great content doesn’t come from dud presenters – it comes from the voices of personalities who were born to entertain … either you have it or you don’t.”
As the months wore on, headlines and subject lines began to tire.
Radio Today was assured by time and time again by radio PR that Matt or Jess or Nic or Melissa’s appearance on Fitzy & Wippa or Stav, Abby & Matt or Jase & PJ was a revelation.
As MAFS ramped up towards its finale, the number of appearances by cast members on Brekky shows, as well as catch-up videos on FM stations’ news sites, began to redouble.
“There isn’t a single FM radio producer in the land who hasn’t been hands-on in reflecting that MAFS magic on their shows,” opines Bouchet.
“First and foremost – because your show would be an irrelevant piece of garbage if you didn’t. Secondly – because the content is so compelling and real that every listener would be able to relate to it on some level.”
So what exactly is it about Married At First Site that’s seen commercial radio leverage its content like nothing else?
“All media are very conscious of keeping their audience and they are always on the lookout for content that is engaging a big audience,” MediaWeek’s James Manning tells Radio Today.
“This season of MAFS did that in such a way that FM radio needed to cover it or risk losing some of their audience.”
“These were real emotions by real people being served up on a silver platter to FM radio producers in the form of this season of MAFS. The good FM shows reflected it, the great FM shows capitalised on it,” adds Bouchet.
On top of that, the ratings have been beyond sensational.
According to TV Black Box, MAFS delivered Nine its best start to the TV ratings year in the history of OzTam ratings.
The show averaged 2.58 million viewers per episode. That’s just shy of 10% of the entire population of Australia.
“Despite the fragmenting media audiences, the access to TV ratings means media gets to know almost instantly what is attracting people and what is not,” Manning said.
“Netflix is starting to offer popular content, but without ratings you never get to know exactly how hot the various series might be.”
Combining huge TV ratings with a direct crossover of the MAFS audience and commercial radio’s bullseye demo, and what you get?
You guessed it, a match made in heaven, and one we probably could have done without!