‘There are no quick fixes with breakfast radio’

Staff Writer

If you haven't yet seen the results and analysis from Survey 2, see it all here.

You can also see the press releases and the ups and downs.

Yesterday I spoke with Craig Bruce, Head of Content at Southern Cross Austereo (Today / Triple M).

Mark: Let's start in Sydney. 2Day FM held steady 10+ and breakfast was up a bit. A better result than you expected going in?

Craig: The 2Day result was encouraging. We understand the context and there's a heap of ground to make up but for both breakfast shows in Sydney to go up today was a positive for us.

I'm going to sound like a broken record but there aren't any quick fixes with breakfast radio. We're not replacing Kyle & Jackie O, we're actually rebuilding with a brand new product. As much as I'd love to find a shortcut to success there actually isn't one. You talk to any expert from Brad March to Greg Smith to Brian Ford to Guy Dobson, it's 18 months to 2 years to build a breakfast show and for us to have at least a small increase, yes it's off a small base and I'm not trying to get ahead of myself, but to have a small increase in our second survey is an encouraging sign.

Mark: Triple M Sydney was up a bit 10+ but how does the male target look this survey?

Craig: The thing with Triple M is you have to pull apart the numbers and it's not spin, the Triple M format is unique in terms of what we do and how we put it together. In Sydney we're number 1 with males 18-54, so are The Grill Team. We're also number 1 across the workday 25-54 men.

It's a very similar result for Triple M Brisbane, regardless that the 10+ has gone down, we're number 1 25-54 men, we're number 1 40-54 men, we're number 1 in breakfast 25–54 men and we're number 1 across the day and in drive with 25-54 men.

On 2MMM, 3MMM and 4MMM we have exactly the sorts of numbers we program for in terms of strong male figures.

The Triple M Melbourne story is an interesting one. It's incredibly tight with all 6 FM's within striking distance. Whilst Fox and Triple M are off a little we still have the equal number 1 breakfast show and Fox is a clear number 1 from a cume perspective. We're always a chance of turning that cume into fans. I think the Fox and Nova breakfast battle will continue across the course of the year.

As we head into footy season we'll do some work around the music on Triple M. I think there are some adjustments we can make to give us some better TSL across the workday.

Mark: You'd be pleased with the under 40 increase at B105?

Craig: We have a good profile under 30. We're number 1 all people under 25 and we have some good numbers at breakfast, workday and drive with that demo. We want to be an all people under 40 brand as the good top 40 stations are but that will take a little while to grow.

We need to continue to market relentlessly in Brisbane.

Mark: You've talked about Triple M Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but what are your thoughts on Triple M Adelaide today?

Craig: It's up a little. We're doing a bit of work on how we position it musically. If you look at Cruise and Mix, they essentially have it all to themselves over 40. We're looking to see if we want to play more in that space. I'd like to make it difficult for Duncan (Campbell-ARN) in at least one market (laughs). There's the potential there with the breakfast show with Blakey and with Roo and Ditts (drive) being a strong over 40 male proposition, so there's possibly a music position we can take that is more reflective of those shows.

Mark: Upstairs at SAFM, your thoughts on how they are travelling?

Craig: The numbers don't reflect the sound of the (breakfast) show. It's not a 6.5. In Adelaide we're marketing SAFM in a meaningful way for the first time in a long time. You don't suddenly get a result just because you've got a billboard in the market, it's a combination of a bunch of factors. For us, we have to maintain the rage around tactics, marketing and street activation. With those 3 factors we've let Nova have a free kick on for a period of time. I'm more than happy with how the SAFM breakfast show (left) sounds, we just need to tell the audience about it.

Mark: In Perth having Mix 94.5 number 1 is always a good thing but 92.9 is in a similar position to some of the other Today stations – early days for a new breakfast show.

Craig: Heidi, Will & Woody (right) is the poster child for what we're going through as a group right at the moment. It's all upside for these guys, it will find an audience at some point we're absolutely convinced of that. It will take some time though and we're up against a really strong breakfast show at Nova.

Nathan and Nat (Nova 937 breakfast) have been in that market for 12 years, they were in the wilderness for probably 4 or 5 of those years when we absolutely smashed them with Em and Wippa etc. They've held strong over a long period of time and their numbers are strong right now. It comes back to – if we believe in the shows and the people that we've hired, and we do, it's now about marketing them, supporting them with coaching and mentoring and being patient.

Mark: 'Rebuild' seems to be the main theme for SCA at the moment?

Craig: It sounds like spin and an excuse for poor results but anyone that understands radio gets that with new shows and the significant changes that we've been through it takes time. We enjoy the rebuild process just as much as we do holding onto an audience, it's fun hearing the development of new shows. Internally we're out of step with the rest of the world looking in saying 'where are the numbers?', if we follow the right process they will come.

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