Radio drama: The Melbourne Breakfast battle that’s playing out like a soap opera


“It’s going to be a big day for radio and I can’t wait to see what happens.”

With Kyle & Jackie O now just a couple of days out from being networked into Melbourne, the surrounding hype has moved up a notch and the general interest in Australian radio right now is off the charts.

Ahead of Monday’s launch, entertainment writer Andrew Bucklow says it’s all been playing out like a soap opera.

“Because you’ve got these big Sydney heavyweights Kyle & Jackie O, who are trying to expand their empire, and in doing so, they kick off Jase & Lauren from their network,” he says on Episode 3 of Game Changers Radio: The Melbourne Radio Wars podcast.

“Jase & Lauren were the #2 FM Breakfast show when they lost their gig. Jase is also an old mate of Kyle’s, so that’s pretty dramatic.”

“And then Nova throws Jase and Lauren a lifeline, and they get to try to exact revenge.”

With KIIS Melbourne Breakfast still sitting well behind the pack on cumes after GfK Survey 2, it’s fair to say the Sydney duo have their work cut out.

Having previously narrowed the FM Breakfast battlefield down to KIIS, Nova and Fox, experienced programmer Irene Hulme says “It’s currently a two horse race between Nova and Fox.”

Tim Burrowes – founder of media industry analysis newsletter Unmade – observes “There’s a lot more volatility in Melbourne. We’re definitely seeing it bounce around at the moment. It’s fascinating to see Nova already beginning to move a bit.”

Though Hulme says it’s worth nothing that Ben, Liam & Belle were holding down the Nova Breakfast shift for the majority of the latest survey period.

Also worth noting, says Burrowes, is where Kyle & Jackie O fit into the survey period.

“It’s actually going to be August before we get a completely clean set of numbers, that is only their data,” Burrowes says.

K & J are well known for pushing the boundaries.

But former SCA content boss Craig Bruce questioned whether some recent banter between the pair – which went to air between the hours of 6 and 7am – was taking things a step too far.

“The content was extreme. I don’t think there’s any other way to put it. It sounded like two knarly YouTube podcast hosts talking about things that shouldn’t be on the radio.”

Have the boundaries changed? Or has the rule book been thrown out altogether?

Burrowes says “The audience is so used to what they hear. If you’re a parent with a kid in the car, you’re probably not tuning in to Kyle & Jackie O.”

“Certainly, unless you accidentally stumble upon that station, you know what you’re going to get.”

Subsequently, Burrowes says, shocking content has become something of the norm.

“It’s just less of a story these days. Therefore, the line moves, and they get away with more.”

But if Sydney audiences are accustomed to this kind of content, how will it be received by the Melbourne audience?

“Will there be enough people who will listen past the smut to make up of the huge number of people who won’t?” asks Bruce. “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Interestingly, Bucklow believes Melbourne listeners will be more intrigued by Jackie than Kyle.

When it comes to the ‘clickability’ factor, he says Jackie is killing it right now.

“I think she’s a bit more relatable. She’s a mum. She’s been through a divorce. I think there’s been big female interest in Jackie as well.”

“She’s easily the more bankable star.”

And expect K & J’s arrival in town to be all over the news.

“I would love a ticker – like the worm when they have a federal election debate – just people tuned in to each breakfast show, giving their little graph of what they might be liking and not liking,” says Bucklow.

“You can guarantee Kyle is going to say something newsworthy.”

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Neil Alexander
26 Apr 2024 - 10:02 pm

Let the games begin

Jason, Andrew Toppin from Mubarek Victoria
27 Apr 2024 - 7:27 am

Triple M is part of the drama well triple M Triple M are Seeking to poach Christian O’Connell from gold 104.3 because Marty Hugo rates very poorly at triple M.

Ex JL fan
29 Apr 2024 - 12:20 pm

Must say, I was hesitant to tune in to KJ and had moved to Nova when JL left Kiis… however curiosity got the best of me, I listened in, then flicked to JL after all the sex innuendo… only to realize just how boring and safe Jase and Lauren are… so sorry Nova, but I’m up for entertaining content as well as music, so I’m now sticking with KIIS and am a KJ convert!

Well done to the KIIS Melbourne Content team. You managed to transition us alleged Melbourne nay-sayers well and seamlessly


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