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Here yesterday, gone today

Posted July 24th, 2009 by debritz

On my spot with Spencer Howson on 612ABC we spoke about TV Burp (and my bold prediction that it will be a hit) and The 7pm Project, which is struggling to find an audience. I think the big problem with The 7pm Project is that it's hard to get that much good material night after night; it might have been better as a once-a-week show. Channel Ten seems willing to be patient to allow it to find an audience, but Channel 9 showed no patience at all with the American import Dance Your Ass Off. It got the A after one disappointing outing. As I've already noted, we'll see more of this in the electronic media as the companies chase a bigger share of the ever-diminishing advertising dollar.

Say goodbye to Kip Wightman

Posted July 22nd, 2009 by debritz

Brisbane's Nova 106.9FM has announced that Kip Wightman is leaving the station and heading to the US. You can send him a farewell message here. As I reported a few weeks ago, his likely replacement is Tim Blackwell. (Update: I've just discovered Blackwell's appointment was reported in the Confidential column in the Courier-Mail on June 19 - so all credit to them.)

The King and him

Posted July 15th, 2009 by debritz

For no other reasons than B105 sent it to me and it's Origin day, here's a picture of breakfast funnyman Stewart Davidson (a.k.a. Stav) putting a Snuggie (a.k.a. a daggy piece of clothing promoted on TV infommercials) over the statue of Wally Lewis (a.k.a. The King) outside Suncorp Stadium (a.k.a. Lang Park).

Tenors channel Barnsey

Posted July 15th, 2009 by debritz

Hear Brisbane's internationally acclaimed Ten Tenors sing a Jimmy Barnes classic here on the Jono and Dano show site.

Can Ten reclaim the nights?

Posted July 14th, 2009 by debritz

From what I can gather, Channel 10's new 7pm Project will be something like breakfast radio - but on TV and in the evening. The participation of Dave Hughes gives me some confidence - he was the best thing about the Logies - but I'm not sold on James Mathison. At least, in the promos, he no longer looks like a possum caught in a spotlight.

Best song? Never!

Posted July 12th, 2009 by debritz

That whiney grunge anthem, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, is, according to the listeners of Triple J, the best song ever. Hmmm, let's poll the listeners of 4BH, 4KQ, Triple M, B105, 97.3FM, K-ROQ, the BBC World Service and every other damned radio station in the world until we get the right answer.
PS: The full top 100 list is here.

Movement at the stations

Posted July 7th, 2009 by debritz is saying that Tim Blackwell, the co-host of Nova 100's Launchpad, will replace Kip Wightman at Nova 106.9 in Brisbane. Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that Peter Heliar and Myf Warhurst have been axed by the low-rating Triple M in Melbourne. I don't like to see anybody lose their job, but I think we can expect more of this kind of thing as radio stations' advertising income continues to drop and competition becomes more intense.

Meshel Laurie out of the picture

Posted July 7th, 2009 by debritz

Rumours - and facts - have been swirling around about the Nova 106.9 breakfast show in recent weeks. On June 23, I emailed Nova boss Sean Ryan to try to shed some light on the matter, but there was no repsonse.
Today, Meshel Laurie has tweeted:

Sorry, but I flatly refuse to pose for 'zany radio crew' photos, and I don't care if I get in the paper or not.

I presume there will be some sort of story in tomorrow's paper, with or without a photo, announcing changes to the line-up - in particular a replacement for Kip Wightman, who is reportedly heading off for an extended trip to the US. If the rumour-mongers - the ones who are trying to piece together a story around Ash Bradnam's cinematic ambitions, David "Luttsy" Lutteral's itchy feet and Laurie's pregnancy - are right, there could be more changes than that at Brisbane's No.2 radio breakfast show.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard once a week on Brisbane's No.1 breakfast show with Spencer Howson on 612ABC.
PS: It's another excuse to post my famous "Kip Spins a Spoon" video:

Kyle stands accused ...

Posted July 6th, 2009 by debritz

.. of being a"Twitter wanker". Apparently the number of followers for 2-Day FM's Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ballooned by 30,000 in the space of 18 hours, leading honcho Leon Hill to accuse them of using a computer script to add non-existent users. There are bigger scandals in the world, of course, but "King" Kyle courts controversy and gets it back in spades. More here.

Turn up your radio

Posted June 26th, 2009 by debritz

The official switch-on doesn't happen until July 1, but my digital radio this morning discovered a whole new slew of stations, including about nine flavours of the (612 is not working yet, sadly) and SBS 1, 2 and 3, (plus two-hour time-shifted versions thereof). It's a brave new world ...

Todd lacks timing

Posted June 24th, 2009 by debritz

Entertainer and radio host Todd McKenney has reportedly asked his co-host on Sydney's Mix 106.5, Sonia Kruger, to have his baby. McKenney, who is gay, has already had a child by IVF with actress Anne Wood. But the timing of his interview with Women's Weekly is terrible, He should have announced it a few weeks ago in an attempt to give his flatlining radio show a much-needed ratings boost. It's now the non-ratings period which will expain why your favourite on-air team probably isn't on air).

Brand powerless?

Posted June 23rd, 2009 by debritz

One of the perils of networking is: what to do when your brand is strong in some markets and not in others? As the latest radio ratings survey demonstrates, Austereo's Triple M brand is doing well in Brisbane and Adelaide, but disastrously in Sydney and Melbourne. The Australian Radio Network's Mix brand is also having ordinary results in Sydney and Melbourne, but it's a powerhouse in Perth and Adelaide. The question for the network chiefs is: do you break up the farm or not? Especially with digital radio rewriting the rulebook of how people tune in to their favourite station, the temptation would be to start again with a new name in the markets where it's not working. But, of course, that makes networking a very difficult propositon.

Ratings: B105 back on top

Posted June 23rd, 2009 by debritz

B105 has regained the overall lead in the Brisbane radio ratings survey. The former longtime No. 1 has returned from the wilderness of the past five years, eclipsing Nova 106.9 overall and coming a close third in the important breakfast shift. The breakfast results are now 612ABC's Spencer Howson in first place, followed by Nova's Meshel, Ash, Kip and Luttsy and then B105's Labby, Camilla and Stav just 0.4 percentage points behind. Then come Triple M's The Cage, which rebounded from a shocker last survey, 97.3FM, 4BC and 4KQ (tied), 4BH. Overall (all people, 10+), the list reads: B105, Nova, 97.3, Triple M, 612ABC, 4BH, 4BC and 4KQ. In the by-session results, the overall order is B105, Nova, Triple M, 97.3, 612ABC, 4BC, 4BH, 4KQ. There was some respite for 4BC breakfast star Jamie Dunn, whose ratings went up slightly. Nova suffered falls across all day sessions and most demographics (except 10-17 and 55+), while national youth network Triple J is again slowly building audience in Brisbane - except in breakfast. In the sessions, the biggest gainer was B105 at nights and the biggest drop was by Nova's breakfast team.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on the top-rating Spencer Howson show on 612 ABC on Fridays.

Jamie Dunn: back on Monday

Posted June 22nd, 2009 by debritz

Correction: My error; Jamie has been on leave, he's not been ill, and will return on Monday.
Just to clear up the rumours doing the rounds in Brisbane: the official word from 4BC on Jamie Dunn is that he has been ill and will be back on deck on the breakfast shift on Monday.

Who listens to the radio?

Posted June 21st, 2009 by debritz

It's mid-year report time on Tuesday when results of the fourth official Australian radio ratings are released. Many of the breakfast teams are on holidays at the moment but all of them will be looking out for the all-important numbers. With the tight advertising market, the commercial stations will all be keen to be seen to be heard. Stay tuned for the results and my analysis.

Networking is the new "local"

Posted June 21st, 2009 by debritz

The days of local television are all but over. The Nine network's decision to axe Extra was just about the final nail in the coffin. Apart from the news, just about everything Queenslanders watch on free-to-air TV comes from somewhere else. The only survivors are a handful of "sponsored" shows - the ones where an advertiser picks up the tab in return for product placement that compromises the editorial integrity of the show (and, often, its entertainment value). While the networks will blame a changing media landscape for this, their greed and incompetence are also big factors. The fact is that local programs will never produce the amounts of money their shareholders expect them to earn (let alone pay off their massive debts). It's happening in radio, too. Most stations - including Nova, which not so long ago made a big deal about having 100 per cent local content - source great slabs of their content from interstate. So, what are the poor cousins north of the border to do? We can complain, of course, but that will do no good. What we need to do is support what local media there is left, and encourage newcomers. And, of course, the federal government could make the provision of a minimum amount of local content a condition of broadcast licences. But I won't be holding my breath for that.

That's life, Derryn

Posted May 31st, 2009 by debritz

My, how the world has changed. Derryn Hinch is accusing somebody else of arrogance. In this case, it's his 3AW colleague Neil Mitchell. Hinch also says of the station:

"It's a lot of the same old faces, not enough females. It's a travesty that when you walk in the foyer of 3AW all you see is a line-up of middle-aged blokes on the wall."

It's true that there are too few women in commercial radio, especially on the talkback stations. But I think Hinch is being ageist here: middle-aged and older people are actually underepresented on the airwaves (and the media in general), if you count the whole spectrum and then look at the total Australian demographic. I just pity the 50- and 60-somethings on music stations who are obliged to try to sound younger than they actually are.

A pair of twits

Posted May 26th, 2009 by debritz

Melbourne radio's Dave Hughes and Sydney's Kyle Sandilands have been having a Twitter war. I'd like to see it spill over from the virtual world to the real one, with an extreme wrestling competition. No rules; winner takes all. Who's with me?
PS: And don't tell me they wouldn't both look hilarious in Lycra.

Glorious digital radio

Posted May 25th, 2009 by debritz

Test transmissions have been going on for a few weeks, but today apparently marks the official launch of digital radio in Brisbane. Only a few folks with deep pockets have receivers yet, but my sources say the improvement in sound - especially for AM music stations such as 4BH and 4KQ - will be worth the expense for audiophiles. The other advantage is that you'll get extra stations not available on the AM or FM bands. As I mentioned on 612ABC a couple of weeks ago, you might pick up a set cheaper by buying online than by going to your local retailer. Although, as Spencer Howson pointed out, you must make sure you get a compatible DAB+ set.

Radio star shifted; who's next?

Posted May 15th, 2009 by debritz

The axe has fallen on Philip Clark, who has been moved from his night-time gig on Sydney's 2GB. Don't feel too sorry for him because, if rumours about the size of his pay packet are anywhere near correct, he'll be OK for a while. What it does mean, though, is that the recession is biting in radioland, and we can expect more on-air changes - and not just in Sydney.

On-air changes

Posted May 15th, 2009 by debritz

At least one Brisbane commercial station is tweaking its format in the aftermath of the ratings results issued on Tuesday. But will we see major on-air changes?

Networking not working

Posted May 14th, 2009 by debritz

Among the inferences to be drawn from the latest metropolitan radio ratings survey is that the Triple M brand is pretty much stuffed in Melbourne and Sydney. The station's audience share has been trending downwards for quite a while, and the breakfast show in Sydney is now on a pitiful 2.4pc share - less than Radio National and ABC Classic FM and under threat from News Radio. The logical solution would be to jetison the Triple M brand and come up with something new - except that the Ms are doing pretty well thank you very much in Adelaide and Brisbane (although there's been a worrying audience leakage here, which some folk are attributing to the most recent change in the breakfast line-up). Of course, as we've seen in the world of television, it wouldn't be unusual for somebody in Sydney to pull the plug on the "provinces", but maybe there's a case for the Austereo's group No. 2 national brand to be dissolved, and market-specific solutions to be put in place. After all, radio is supposed to be a local medium, and offering 100pc local content in each market might be a winner.

Radio ratings results

Posted May 12th, 2009 by debritz

In the Brisbane radio ratings it's: Nova106.9, B105 and 612ABC overall and, in breakfast, Nova, 612 and B105. Triple M - which is now fourth in breakfast, six percentage points off the pace - and 4BC - where star signing Jamie Dunn can't seem to make a difference - seem to be the major losers of the third survey. The biggest gainer in breakfast was 612ABC's Spencer Howson*, who put on 1.1 points. B105's Labby, Stav and Camilla are finally real contenders in the cornflakes shift, in third place and narrowing the gap with leaders and FM rivals Meshel, Kip, Ash and Luttsy at Nova. In the overall results, B105 and 97.3FM made some good audience gains, seemingly at Triple M's expense. 612 picked up older listeners to the detriment of 4BC, which I understand was expecting a much better result. In Sydney, 2GB, 702ABC and 2Day continue to fight it out at the top of the ladder, while Mix 106.5, vega95.3 and Triple M are in dire straits indeed. The lesson down south seems to be that big names and big pay packets don't necessarily mean big audiences.
* Brett Debritz is heard on 612ABC on Friday mornings.

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