The Return of Hamish & Andy. They’re Back but What Does it Mean?


Hamish & Andy are returning to Southern Cross Austereo stations 2day, Fox, hit92.9, hit107, hit105 and the regionals this week. In the metro markets that means there’s now a three way ratings battle in drive with Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty and ARN’s Hughsey and Kate.

Since Hamish & Andy were on air full time* a few years ago they’ve had a highly successful television show on Nine which drew around a million viewers each week.

(* That’s if you can call a 2 hour show ‘full time’ as Tony Martin always used to say 2 hours is a show, 3 hours is a shift!)

Hamish & Andy started at Fox in 2003 and went to national Today Network drive in 2006 and recorded record ratings.

Drive talent based shows started back with Martin Molloy who were heard on 54 stations from 1995 to 1998.  Tony and Mick achieved a huge following, much deserved acclaim and record ratings.

Hamish & Andy have also recorded impressive record ratings in the past.

This time it’s different. The landscape has changed. Last time the duo were on number 1 FM stations with a strong breakfast lead in from number 1 FM breakfast shows like Matt & Jo on Fox and Kyle & Jackie on 2day.

Scott Muller, Director of MBOS Consulting Group, said:  “I’m not taking anything away from Hamish & Andy – they are one of the two greatest drive shows of all time, the other being Martin/Molloy.  But regardless of how great Hamish & Andy were and, hopefully, still are … back then Hamish & Andy had, quite literally, no competition worth mentioning”.

“But regardless of the increased and much improved competition at drive in 2015, the bigger picture for Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Australian Radio Network (ARN), and Nova Entertainment (NE) is this: the impact of afternoon drive on a station’s overall share is less than any other major daypart (by major daypart I mean breakfast, mornings, afternoons, and drive)”. 

“Breakfast and afternoons are the dayparts that correlate strongly with overall station performance, with mornings the next most important.  On the majority of occasions: breakfast goes up, overall station goes up; breakfast goes down, overall station goes down. Something similar is true of afternoons, and to a lesser extent, mornings”.

“Drive goes up or down … well, we’ve all seen how often drive can go up and the rest of the station can stay flat or go down – and vice versa.  There’s no causal link between the two – in fact, the correlation between the direction of drive share movement and that of overall station performance is so low it could be argued to be ‘statistically insignificant’”.

Duncan CampbellDuncan Campbell, ARN’s Group Content Director said: They are entering into the Sydney market with a radio station that rates 2.7 and that is going to be hugely challenging for them. The reality is there are two other very strong drive shows on FM. I suspect that the expectations within SCA are slightly misguided, particularly when it comes to Sydney. It’s just a different landscape and you do need a strong breakfast show to help drive listening and they simply don’t have that on hit104 at the moment”.

Scott Muller added “The history of the Today and Nova stations illustrate this point clearly – a few years ago, Hamish & Andy were dominant in drive in every market, and by a long shot.  But those Nova’s with strong breakfast and music still performed well overall, and those with weak breakfast and weak music didn’t. The key for ARN’s stations, and the Nova stations, will be to ensure their breakfast and music is spot-on – and to not get distracted by Hamish & Andy at drive.” 

There’s no doubt Hamish & Andy will make a lot of market noise.  And they are exceptional talent there’s no question about that.

SCA moving their return to July 6 (the day before) ratings is a smart move that will soften the blow if ratings are ‘soft’ (the day after) on July 7. It will also give them a week’s head start whilst the other shows are still on holidays during the metro survey break.

The drive talent shows won’t necessarily produce strong overall station ratings though they will provide a superior environment for sales/clients.

Quality breakfast shows and strong, well executed music formats across the workday remain paramount. As always, music differentiation remains key.

SCA as well as the other networks will need to make sure the rest – breakfast and daytime is right too.

With a deal worth a rumoured $8 million SCA will be hoping Hamish & Andy will prove to be winners again.

It is worth asking what if H & A only do one year? Given the size of their contract and their TV work it’s unlikely there would be a second term. If rumours are true about SCA trying to get Kyle & Jackie back for breakfast for 2day, which would make sense, it’s possible Hamish & Andy are a ‘ bridging ‘ measure until 2017.

But it’s almost certain that ARN would not let Kyle and Jackie return to SCA at any cost. But counter offers from SCA will certainly put their price up.

The upper limit on how much Kyle & Jackie O are worth to any given network has not come even remotely close to being reached – and any network could offer the pair quite a lot more than the published rumours suggest before it becomes economically unfeasible to realise a significant return on the investment.

Today marks the start of a new drive landscape.

Hamish & Andy will draw audience from everywhere but primarily Triple M and Nova.

In drive in 2015 the real winners are the listeners.

Brad March is a Director of Radio Today and a former Group Managing Director and Group Program Director of Austereo. He is Director of Marchmedia.





Scott Muller is Director of MBOS Consulting Group, and has previously overseen programming for the GWR Media Group UK, Capital Radio London, and Nova Sydney, amongst many others.

Click here to contact him.

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