Dave Cameron admits SAFM is still struggling to recover from its Hit rebrand

Former Editor & Content Director

Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) chief content officer Dave Cameron has conceded his Hit Network Adelaide station, SAFM, is still being punished for its bungled rebrand.

The legacy SAFM radio brand was killed off in 2014 in favour of ‘hit107’, as SCA attempted to have more consistent station names and branding across the network.

At the time, it targeted young women in their 20s and promised to be “playful, social and colourful” radio.

The hit107 branding adopted in 2014

Last year, however, SAFM was revived as the Hit Network underwent another revamp.

The hit107 experiment, Cameron said, did not pay off, and is largely why the station is still languishing with just a 7.1% share, behind Mix (13.0%), Nova (11.5%), Cruise (11.1%), FiveAA(10.8%), Triple M (10.1%) and ABC Adelaide (10.0%).

“We changed that brand for seven years, and it was confusing for the audience here in Adelaide,” he said after Tuesday’s ratings. “The hit107 brand did not resonate with the market…. It’s a change that unfortunately wasn’t a strong change seven years ago…

“It was a change made with a different leadership team at a different time, and that leadership team is no longer in place.”

Cameron said when he reintroduced the SAFM brand, he knew it would take a few years to get it back to a market-leading position.

He pointed to SCA stablemate Triple M, and in particular its Roo & Ditts Breakfast program, as examples of successful long-term programming and planning.

Roo & Ditts climbed to an 11.2% share in Breakfast, up 2.1 points from the prior survey. In the FM Breakfast battle, this places the show only behind Mix 102.3’s 12.3% share.

SAFM’s Bec, Cosi & Lehmo, meanwhile, slipped 0.8 points to a 7.8% share.

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Come in Spinner
4 Jun 2021 - 1:08 pm

“White Man Blames Others”

SAFM was rating 9.5 in March this year. 2 months ago!

But it’s the colors of hit107 from a few years ago that’s to blame for it slipping to 7.8 in the last two books? Really?

4 Jun 2021 - 1:14 pm

Should of kept it’s name like 2DayFM did …

4 Jun 2021 - 1:40 pm

If that’s the reason given, we’re in la la land. Maybe it’s the garbage coming out of the radio that’s the problem, not a picture

4 Jun 2021 - 1:50 pm

I really like their CD Flack. He’s recently vegan and doing great things for the radio and the environment. And they gave away $10K this morning so he’s clearly generous

4 Jun 2021 - 2:10 pm

The board need to make some serious changes, the DC spin machine is clearly broken.

4 Jun 2021 - 5:17 pm

This show has no chemistry. That’s the problem.

4 Jun 2021 - 7:14 pm

Dave Cameron wasn’t a part of the leadership team 7 years ago?

4 Jun 2021 - 9:32 pm

It’s not any ‘bungled’ rebranding that Adelaide listeners are punishing SAFM for. It’s the dull content coming from the Breakfast show.

When Mix and Jodie Oddy went their separate ways, SAFM should’ve swooped in and secured her; it would’ve rattled Mix’s dominance (a bit like ARN did in Sydney with K&J). Instead, Mix regrouped and SAFM missed a massive opportunity to capitalise on their drama.

4 Jun 2021 - 10:29 pm

Whether it’s Hit or SAFM has no relevance. The breakfast show has no chemistry. They should be in a battle for #1, instead the show is consistently bottom of the ratings. If the station is serious about getting back to the top getting a good breakfast show should be the priority.

5 Jun 2021 - 7:08 pm

They should have just rebranded the whole network. Like nova is. 5 stations same name. If it works for nova. Why couldn’t they do it. The name hit sounds boring. Plus the format is the same. If they have rebranded with a different sound then it would have worked.

6 Jun 2021 - 3:06 pm

Throwing away the heritage brand SAFM was their first mistake. WSFM is a great example of “not scaring the horses.” After FM conversion 2WS maintained the heritage they had built over many years as we did in Perth with 6PM. We preserved the heritage built up over several decades. As soon as Austereo bought the station, they threw away the heritage and rebranded it into the Hit Network which was an abject failure. Recently the rebranded it into the Triple M network. The jury is still out about the success or otherwise of that move.
So much failure all because someone has an ego far larger than their ability. Pitiful.

7 Jun 2021 - 5:13 pm

Well I suggest Anthony ” Lehmo ” Lehman moves to Adelaide if he is serious and also could he start at 6AM when the show starts, like all the other brekky talent in Adelaide. Who in their right mind hires breakfast to only work 7am to 9am and not even live in the market. The odd press pic of Lehmo in the ‘ Barossa Valley ‘ does NOT make him local.

8 Jun 2021 - 6:41 pm

Congratulations to SCA for not killing off Fox FM (its most successful brand), but really…did they seriously consider doing so?

Such is how different it is applying a brand as generic as HIT to Orange NSW compared with Melbourne VIC, in terms of population size and relative competition situation.

No doubt the rationale for becoming Melbourne’s HIT 101.9 would have followed ARN’s rationale to turn TT into MIX years before. No doubt also the risk involved would have involved stubbornly not learning from history and also no doubt it’s why they put FOX last on the list to flip.

Some of the last of the heritage brands to flip to HIT were done as recently as 2019 and that’s possibly for the very reasons of pupulation size and relative competitive situation not just limited to the five major metros (now that MIX 94.5 is the Hit station in Perth).

Ironic they flip HIT to SAFM in Mt. Gambier (motivated by the decision to have fewer breakfast programs across the network), yet bury brands with a pack of heritage like Sea FM (Gold and Central Coast) and NXFM.

Ironic also they have taken some HIT stations out of certain regional markets altogether – flipping them to Triple M.

It raises doubts about how much confidence they really have in HIT as a brand.

SCA was very keen a few years back to purchase i98 in the Illawarra.

Looking through a 2021 lens, if SCA had the chance to buy it, and given Wave is with Grant, how likely would SCA be prepared to flip it to HIT 98.1, with Grant predictably responding with a rally cry of “Wave FM – 100% Illawarra” ?

9 Jun 2021 - 12:18 pm

DC comment about SAFM is probably correct as are some of the other comments here. If the breakfast show is still settling then the music position is more pronounced and the rebrand to Hit would be the recall. Given that CHR is In decline and Nova has a fair slice of it anyhow’ SAFMs current share is understandable.


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