The real Kyle & Jackie O story
The real Kyle and Jackie O story – what happened and what will happen next?
As a listener I was saddened and shocked to hear the news on Friday about Kyle and Jackie O leaving 2DAYFM.
I have a long history with Kyle and Jackie O and also with 2DAYFM.
I was lucky enough as Program Director to lead the team which took 2DAYFM to its first ever Number 1 ratings position in the 90’s – a position it’s held virtually ever since.
And Kyle and Jackie O have been the key to that success since they started on Breakfast in 2005. They have been the ‘glue‘ that holds 2DAYFM together.
I was amused to read Kyle’s comments in a recent interview with Scott Muller (here).
When asked by Scott what Kyle thought about my comments on the show and that he was Australia’s number 1 personality and up there with the likes of the great Howard Stern or Alan Jones he responded with;
That’s one of the great things about Kyle. He can still be like an excited child and he says exactly what he’s thinking. In fact he often is saying what lots of people are thinking but won't say. He’s self effacing and speaks his mind.
He can be dangerous but radio needs ‘dangerous‘ personalities. And Kyle is still excited by radio and, like a lot of broadcasters, I suspect he needs to be on the air and not just for the money.
When DMG Radio signed Fitzy and Wippa to a long term breakfast deal it didn’t give Kyle and Jackie O any obvious place to go. They had lost a lot of their leverage and so were negotiating from a much weaker position.
It is not surprising that Southern Cross Austereo’s share price dropped 5.6% last week with the news, which would have knocked more than $50 million off the value of the company.
Southern Cross Austereo have an army of brilliant programmers who will come up with a new show and over time will get it right – though not without a year of pain, building a new show and re-establishing an audience for 2DAY Breakfast.
Hamish and Andy aren’t likely contenders for 2DAY or a Network Breakfast show.
Southern Cross Austereo will be drawing on their talent pool heavily. Possibilities would include Wil Anderson, Fifi, Jules Lund, Sophie Monk, Dave Thornton, Dan & Maz, Angus O’Loughlin, maybe Tom Ballard and many others. Pilots will commence in earnest at Southern Cross Austereo immediately, if they haven’t already.
For any talent that follows on from a hugely successful show like this, the unfortunate thing for them is that they will pale by comparison to Kyle and Jackie O. Programmers almost always have to put in a ‘sacrificial lamb‘ to take the ratings hit and bare the brunt of being directly compared with the previous show – and then launch another show 6 to 12 months later. I've seen this happen with greats like Doug Mulray, Wendy Harmer, Andrew Denton, and many others.
It should be pointed out that Kyle and Jackie O are still very much at the top of their game. They may have some detractors but they have very serious ‘fans‘. They have still got many years of great radio to come.
So where’s the impact? Ignoring the possibility of Kyle & Jackie moving to a competitor for a moment, and assuming they go into “radio retirement” in 2014 …
2DAYFM’s share will drop to around 6%. The big winners will be breakfast at Mix and Nova (each up at least 1%), followed by WS’s Jonesy and Amanda, and Triple M. The challenge will now be on Fitzy & Wippa to see if they can rise to the top of the breakfast ratings and live up to their high priced long-term contract.
If they do (without Kyle & Jackie O on-air anywhere, that’s quite likely in the short-term), the far greater challenge will be sustaining it in the long-term over several years, as Kyle & Jackie O have done, and Wendy and the Morning Crew before them.
However, the latest reports suggest that Kyle and Jackie O are heading to the Australian Radio Network’s MIX. If this happens it will be a serious game changer.
This move makes a lot of sense.
Australian Radio Network CEO, Ciaran Davis, is reported to have said that the team would round out the company’s Sydney breakfast lineups. He said that he thought Kyle and Jackie O were one of the best teams in the world.
The Australian Radio Network, via its parent Clear Channel, are said to be organising Kyle and Jackie to be broadcast on 100 overseas stations – which would no doubt appeal to them both.
Whereas the Australian Radio Network can negotiate an incentive deal with the team given Mix breakfast is currently rating a low 4%, Southern Cross Austereo didn’t have that option as Kyle and Jackie’s current rating is already at the top of the breakfast ratings ladder.
Kyle and Jackie can probably lift Mix’s ratings to a share of 8%, making it one of the market leaders. This move will be seen as one of the boldest moves in recent times in radio. (more).
One thing is certain: 2DAY Breakfast will record a massive ratings result for its last survey with Kyle and Jackie O, released in December.
Success in Breakfast radio relies on a number of things. Delivering great content consistently every day, longevity on the air, uniqueness, quotability, relatability, lots of marketing and promotion, and the ability to make the audience laugh, cry or think. Yes, Kyle and Jackie O had a ton of marketing, but they delivered on the promise.
Brad March is a former CEO of the Austereo Network and is Managing Director of Marchmedia.