Kyle & Jackie O for Sydney/Melbourne brekky ?


Rumours sweeping the radio industry are that Kyle and Jackie O will be networked in Melbourne and Sydney on ARN's Mix Network next year.

ARN are looking into re-branding the stations to fit with the new talent lineup. A source close to the ARN project suggests a change in the station brand name may be on the cards, and that one consideration is to adopt the 'Kiss FM' brand.

'Kiss' is one of the most successful commercial radio brands in the USA, and is used by ARN's 50% owner, Clear Channel, across numerous stations in the states, including the famous Kiis FM in Los Angeles.

ARN may need to convince Melbourne based community station ‘Kiss' to sell them the name. Kiss has been in operation since 2005 and is a contemporary dance music format. The brand names are slightly different so would require some legal clarification regarding usage.

Whatever the new brand name becomes it's been suggested that the stations will most certainly be re-branded which causes some issues with the Mix networks 'sales' brand for advertisers.

CEO Ciaran Davis (right) has made some bold moves since arriving 4 years ago. He removed the General Managers in each market and with Group Content Director Duncan Campbell (left) has launched new 'all female talent' breakfast shows in Melbourne and Sydney. And ARN ratings, revenue and profit results have been strong. WSFM is generally towards the top of the FM rankings in Sydney, ARN's Melbourne stations are performing well, and ARN's Brisbane and Adelaide stations are the market leaders for music stations. Other networks should be envious of ARN's business and ratings performance since Ciaran and Duncan came on board.

The format being suggested for the newly branded MIX is Hot A/C which is close to where it's positioned musically now – and a near-perfect fit for the next step in the history of the Kyle & Jackie O Show. A major adjustment in music strategy and direction will not be required. (Although it is worth noting that some people who work in the radio industry will perceive it to be a big step: the average listener simply won't hear it in that much detail, and most will barely be able to notice the shift).

With the Today Network being Adult CHR and Nova being a Pop CHR it will be an interesting 3 way battle in 2014.

Great talent on ARN like Chrissie Swan (left) will no doubt be utilised elsewhere. I'd be surprised if the Network would let a talent like her loose. Possibly a network drive show.

The Mix brand has been diluted recently with the launch of dmg's smoothfm.

The meaning and perception of Mix was originally 'Variety'. The station was based on the first Mix station KHMX FM launched in Houston by programming legend Guy Zapoleon in 1990.

Prior to Smooth being launched, Mix also meant 'soft' and 'relaxing' – positions now clearly owned by DMG's Smooth brand.  And, as anyone who has listened to Mix 106.5 in recent times knows, the station's music strategy is strong, well-defined and it is not really competing for those perceptions that Smooth is so well-focused on.

With the Kyle and Jackie O move, ARN will be attempting to own the key breakfast position in the 2 key markets – competing with new shows being launched on 2DAY, FOX and NOVA Melbourne. In Sydney it would still be possible for Kyle & Jackie O to top the FM breakfast rankings, as the show content wouldn't have to be diluted – little of the show's content, if any, is distinctly 'Sydney'. In Melbourne, there maybe a perceptual challenge if the show is perceived as "coming from Sydney" – though there are ways around that, and I'm sure it's an issue ARN will factor in and address. 

Furthermore, ARN's timing could not be better. If ARN were to re-launch Mix in Melbourne under a new brand name with the Kyle & Jackie O Show at breakfast focused on "breakfast with the stars" – at exactly the same time as both Nova (right) and Fox (above) are launching new breakfast shows after the long-standing heritage shows from both stations have departed – ARN stands as good a chance as any of its competitors of growing the show and station ratings during 2014. That would, of course, require a considerable investment in external marketing.

One thing seems clear, ARN's CEO Ciaran Davis understands that radio is a content driven business.


Brad March is a former CEO of the Austereo Network and is Managing Director of Marchmedia.


Thanks to Scott Muller at MBOS for his input into this article.

Scott Muller is Director of mbos consulting group, a creative strategy consulting firm. He can be contacted in complete confidence here.


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