“So now we know.” What happens next in Melbourne’s radio wars?


Content from Craig Bruce:

The guessing game is over. After spending 45 minutes with Kyle on the Melbourne Radio Wars podcast, here’s what we now know.

1 Make up your own mind. This was Kyle’s idea. As he said a few weeks ago, “Nothing happens to this brand without us signing off on it” Kyle wants to lean into the brand and what it stands for, not pretend it’s something that it’s not. Conventional marketing says address perceptions, change minds. Kyle says face perceptions head on.

2 A focus on Melbourne will not be a strategy. You may see them at the Melbourne Cup and the Grand Prix, but you won’t see them at Nunawading handing out cans of Coke. The thinking is ‘We’re not from Melbourne, let’s not pretend to be. This is a national show with national ambitions, let’s make content that is universal rather than artisan.’

3 Kyle is pulling the strings tactically and it’s all about getting into the heads of Nova and Fox. Now that we know he’s playing mind  games, how will they react? Kyle is seeing this from a bigger picture perspective of how the show can expand nationally, but he’s also thinking about how he can win individual battles on the ground.

4 The truth is funny. Kyle is still surprised by the idea that the show and his performance is funny. In his mind, funny is the natural outcome when a show is being truthful. Hamish Blake said to me on the Game Changers podcast “Honesty is funny. I always try and use honesty as a root of humour. Things are always funnier if they have an element of truth to them.”

The lesson, be honest and talk about what’s real and the humour will follow.

5 Kyle will always be a radio guy. Out of all the people and podcasts he could have talked to, he requested to speak to our audience because it’s filled with radio people and fans of the medium. There’s a hundred reasons why he’s become one of the best presenters we’ve ever heard on radio, but at the top of the list would be that he’s never lost his passion for the craft.

6 Kyle and Jackie are partners – this is the foundational element of the show upon which everything else is built. This is a true partnership of equals. They never fight for airtime. They respect each others’ unique contribution to the show, they embrace the idea of being in this together. It’s been an equal partnership from day 1 when Kyle fought for Jackie’s equal pay.

And finally, after spending time with Kyle again, I’m reminded that, in the end, time always wins.

Time wins when a radio show can develop a short hand with each that, over time, becomes an undeniable on-air chemistry.

Time wins when a listener feels like they truly know the hosts that share the morning commute with them, once a bond is formed, it’s set in stone.

Time wins when presenters get to practise their craft everyday for close to 25 years.

Most of all, time wins when it gives you the confidence to know how you want to be heard on the radio. The Kyle and Jackie O show is defined by it’s refusal to follow radio convention, to listen to radio programmers like me who would have been suggesting tighter talk breaks, higher song counts, reflecting stories that are in the news and remembering the kids in cars after 8.

I’m reminded of the quote,(without attribution) The beginner plays within the boundaries. The competent explore the boundaries. The master knows when to ignore them.

The masters are now in Melbourne, let’s see what happens next.

Craig Bruce is an international specialist in the field of radio, podcasts, talent coaching, mentoring, strategic advising, author and co-host of the Game Changers Radio: Melbourne Radio Wars podcast.

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9 May 2024 - 11:52 am

“This is a national show with national ambitions” I’d watch out if I were a KIIS breakfast team anywhere else in the country. That $20m has to make it’s money worth.

This whole article – like a lot of the articles on this site recently – reads as a pure promo for K&J. Keep telling us how good they are.

They are obviously scared that they’re not getting buy in from Melbourne listeners.

9 May 2024 - 12:30 pm

Well, Robin and Kip in Brissy are as good as gone. If I was on Brekky at any of ARN’s regional stations I’d start looking for a new job now.

Have to laugh at the irony of Kyle acting like the radio industry’s Messiah, while signalling the loss of hundreds of industry jobs across the country.

10 May 2024 - 1:21 pm

Lesson number 7 don’t let your breakfast show cross the street and join the competition.

10 May 2024 - 10:03 pm

Bruce you are the one clearly threatened. They’ve had plenty of Melbourne listeners through the hour of power and iHeart radio. They will clean up in Melbourne, just you watch.

11 May 2024 - 6:35 am

Seems to be more about CB than Kyle.

11 May 2024 - 5:21 pm

The slow death of local radio! Just hurry up and make K&J national already so we can stop hearing about it. Brisbane is guaranteed to be next – the writing is on the wall. They’re a good show. It will work.


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