Will Chrissie Swan go to Smooth?
It would certainly be something Nova Entertainment executives have considered. In fact, they may have already had discussions with Chrissie’s management.
Chrissie is one of the top testing talents in Melbourne, and also researches extremely well around the rest of the country. As well as having considerable radio experience, she did a great job on TV’s The Circle and Can of Worms
However, Smooth (Melbourne) recorded strong results in this weeks ratings with 7.2%. Spectacular results given the low cost model of Smooth. Since its launch it has been a resounding success, and you could easily argue it doesn’t need to improve its breakfast offering.
Furthermore, it is a clear point of difference in the market, offering a “more music” alternative to what is on offer elsewhere.
Given the brands age, it is just over 2 years old, I’m sure there is plenty of revenue growth to come from Smooth.
The big question is can Smooth maximise revenue without a stronger talent breakfast environment?
There is no doubt that advertisers will pay a premium for their advertising to be placed in a talent environment.
If Chrissie were to join Smooth breakfast, she could potentially add a couple of percentage points to Smooths breakfast share, taking it into the 7’s. It is likely this would largely be drawn from Mix / Kiis, therefore somewhat blunting the Kiis relaunch next year.
It would also have some impact on Fox, so could help sister station Nova maintain a strong ratings position in the Melbourne market.
Smooth breakfast is well beneath station average, Breakfast is rating 5.1 % with afternoons on 8.5 %
If Smooth were able to lift Breakfast performance, the station could be a challenger for the #1 FM position overall.
In fact, Chrissie could be an option for a national Smooth breakfast show in Melbourne and Sydney, although national breakfast shows have never worked in the past, partly due to the different sporting codes, amongst other things, but this wouldn’t be as big an issue given Smooth’s female skew. And a two market show would amortise the cost of getting Chrissie on board, although her price would be significantly lower than it would have been given she no longer has a (radio) role, therefore the strength in any negotiation would lie with Nova Entertainment.
Some major on air talent have been known to be challenging to deal with. It tends to go with the territory.
With exceptional talent comes a degree of complexity and fragility. Of course a lot depends on how that talent is managed. I don’t know whether Chrissie falls into that category as I’ve never worked with her. But, if that is the case, she isn’t the only Breakfast talent who has those traits to some degree or another.
Paradoxically, not having her contract renewed could be the best thing for Chrissie’s career. Whatever the reasons were for the relationship with ARN ending, being out of work can drive introspection and an improved self-awareness. Chrissie may be a far stronger asset to the right brand having gone through the experience of ‘losing’ a Breakfast role.
For Chrissie, you would think radio would be an important part of her career, opening up other sponsorship and endorsement opportunities. I would imagine there would be television opportunities for her also.
The other question in this Smooth scenario is, what significance is there in being the number 1 FM station, if only by around 1% point or so?
Sure it’s great for the ego, the teams at the network or station, but does it actually mean more revenue?
In my experience, a consistent, clear number 1 definitely does.
Advertisers look for consistency of product and ratings over a sustained period, and with that follows revenue.
Nova Entertainment however have put up a different, unique strategy with Smooth, making it a clear multi-media offering with the FM brands, Smooth TV on Foxtel and Smooth DAB+ in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, giving it a truly national footprint, as well as compilation cd’s etc
A talent like Chrissie Swan injected into the Smooth brand could take it to the next level.
It is not often that there is a strong ready made breakfast talent cut loose in the market. Seasoned breakfast performers who research really well and have had ratings success are rare.
Mind you, Chrissie is not the only option; the other ‘ready made’ breakfast talent in Melbourne who is available is the extremely talented, Jo Stanley; who has been doing weekend breakfast.
You would think that she may be interested in something more substantial for the New Year after a year off from her successful run on breakfast at Fox.
Jo would also be a good ‘fit’ for Smooth breakfast, and surely must have been considered to partner Matt on the relaunched KIIS 101.1.
Watch this space. It will be interesting to see where, or if, Chrissie or Jo appear on radio somewhere in 2015.
Brad March is a Director of Radio Today, is a former CEO of Austereo and has been named Media Executive of the Year. He’s Director of Marchmedia and Pacific Retail Management.