Radio
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Radio

Which way for radio?

Posted January 2nd, 2010 by debritz

We all know the drill. Like all other businesses, media companies are about making money and "creating value" for their shareholders. To do this, commercial radio stations compete to build big (or targetted) audiences, some of whom will buy the products and services advertised on the station. The basic principle is not rocket science -- but finding the right content to attract the audiences, and hence the advertisers, is getting harder and harder. Back in the 1960s and 70s, it was a matter of building a show around a format -- usually top 40 pop music or "talkback" radio -- and hiring, or creating, a big star -- a single person with an over-the-top personality and some crazy modern patter -- to host the breakfast show. The thinking was that if you win breakfast, people won't change the dial and you've got the day sewn up. Back then, there were relatively few commercial stations (in Brisbane, just five of them -- 4BC, 4BH, 4BK, 4KQ and 4IP -- all on the AM dial) and there was apparently enough advertising revenue to go around. Not many people were talking "double-digit growth" back then but the era of greed was just around the corner. In the 80s came the percieved need to hire a breakfast "crew" -- usually comprising an anchor man, a funny bloke and a woman whose job is was to laugh at the funny bloke's jokes. When B105 rocketed to the top of the Brisbane ratings and stayed there for more than a decade, there were also another three people in the backroom writing jokes and producing sketches and funny songs, plus producers, assistants and a small squadron of "Black Thunder" drivers to take the show to the streets. Radio not only got more expensive to produce, it became more competitive with the issuing of new licences. But, still, it was a small, exclusive club. You had to have deep pockets to be in the game -- the new FM licences were auctioned off for tens of millions of dollars, and sometimes more than $100 million -- and the government protected the players by restricting access to the airwaves. But things have changed dramatically in the past few years. Competition among the players for a dwindling audience has become much more intense, with stations splashing out millions in what would otherwise be profit on promoting themselves simply to stay in the game. And, somewhere along the way, there was a resurgence in commercial talk radio, with the superstars of broadcasting no longer being the DJs spinning the platters that matter but the likes of John Laws, Ray Hadley and Alan Jones and other so-called "shock jocks" who drew huge audiences with their forthright (and often far-right) opinions. In Brisbane, commercial talk has not taken hold as it has elsewhere in Australia, but FM ain't what it used to be either. Even though Nova 106.9FM is the No. 1 station, its parent company DMG Radio Australia recently sold off half its shares to Lachlan Murdoch for $110 million -- considerably less than half the amount the company initially shelled out on buying the licences for its network of Nova and Vega stations. Stringent cost-cutting has ensued at the low-rating Vegas in Sydney and Melbourne, while Sydney's Nova will begin this year with a revamped breakfast team. In fact, it's been a bit of a bloodbath across the board in Sydney, with every commercial station except 2GB and 2Day changing its breakfast line-up in the past 12 months. It's been reported that Triple M Sydney is poised to change again following the failure of its second new team in a year. In Brisbane, the situation is much more stable, but there remains a question mark over Nova's breakfast line-up, which was tweaked last year when Kip Wightman left to travel overseas and was replaced by Tim Blackwell, and Ash Bradman was suspended from the station after a drink-driving offence which led to him being admitted to rehab. Meanwhile, station mainstay Meshel Laurie was broadcasting from home in the lead-up to the birth of her twins, but she has said that she will be back on air as usual when the Christmas-New Year break is over. The ratings have held up for now, but maybe that's been on the back of the scandal rather than a true reflection of how the station is performing. Unlike in other markets, the overall picture in Brisbane remains quite competitive, with B105's Labby, Camilla and Stav, Triple M's The Cage with Ian Skippen, and 97.3FM's Bob, Terry and Robin all within striking distance of the No. 1 spot, and the last two with distinct markets more or less to themselves. On the AM dial, 4KQ had a small but no-doubt-welcome ratings surge towards the end of the year, consolidating its leadership over 4BH among the older demographic (although BH is still in the game), and 4BC, with a breakfast show hosted by former B105 ratings powerhouse Jamie Dunn, edging in the right direction but failing to capture the large audience share enjoyed by talk stations elsewhere in Australia. And while the folks at the commercial stations will tell you that they don't consider the ABC a threat, it must be of great concern to 4BC management that 612ABC's Spencer Howson was No. 1 overall in the breakfast slot in three out of eight surveys last year, and tied with Nova for No. 1 on two other occasions. The ABC might not sell adverts, but it denies the commercial stations the audience figures that allow them to charge more for their ads. (Community stations such as 96.5 also command a share of the audience, but the survey doesn't accommodate them, presumably on the grounds that the commercial stations don't want to know. If I was running a radio station, I'd want accurate figures for every player in the game and want to poach whichever listeners I could.) I don't foresee big line-up changes in the immediate future, but I'm sure budget cuts will continue to be the order of the day in an industry that is facing huge challenges -- not the least from the internet, where anyone can set up a podcast or a live audio stream. Once internet-radio receivers become more sophisticated and bandwidth and wireless reach becomes greater and cheaper, even the better quality and alternative streams afforded by digital radio won't stop the audience drifting away from the general offerings of the big broadcasters to targetted programing online. Radio stations no longer celebrate ratings survey wins as they once did (the old FM104 in Brisbane used to hire a band and offer free-flowing beer, wine and champagne to staff, advertisers and other media hangers-on -- me included -- each time it won a survey; these days the staff are lucky to be shouted a round at the pub after work.) The days of excess are over across the media landscape, because everything is changing. The networks have already started reassessing their stars' pay packets -- 2UE in Sydney just saved $1 million a year by losing Mike Carlton -- and there'll be further cuts, and more ruthless decisions, down the track. "Industry observers" such as myself will be keeping a close eye on Melbourne's Triple M, where Eddie McGuire -- a big attraction on television -- has been paid a motza to try to reverse the station's fortunes. At last report, the figures had a small move upwards, but there's a long way to go and Eddie and his bosses must be sweating. We'll also be keeping an eye on the experiment at Sydney's Vega, where the breakfast team has been axed altogether in favour of an all-music format. If it works, others will certainly follow -- it coud well be worth sacrificing a few ratings points to minimise the salary and promotion budget. Even 2Day's highflying Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, who survived a couple of scandals last year, are not bulletproof. They may well enjoy a few more ratings wins, but I think it's fair to say that their hey-day is over, and Austereo (the parent company of 2Day, B105, Fox FM and the Triple M network) is quietly panicking about what to do next. (As I've said before, I think Austereo is underusing its greatest assets, drivetime superstars Hamish and Andy). The big worry is knowing when to make a change, because a fall from grace can be swift but it can also take years for a new show to "bed in". And these days, no business can afford to wait years for a result, because the world is simply moving too fast.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz has been a regular guest on Spencer Howson's breakfast show on 612ABC for the past few years, and has previously been heard on 4BC and B105.

When is growth not growth?

Posted December 30th, 2009 by debritz

Something seemed odd about this story in The Australian saying "commercial radio grew its average cumulative metropolitan audience by 1.7 per cent this year". Maybe it's because these figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the population is growing by 2.1 per cent a year. Now, if they haven't factored that in, radio audience numbers are actually going backwards in real terms.

ABC ends year on a high

Posted December 21st, 2009 by debritz

My full analysis of the year in radio is yet to come, but here's some interesting stats that may well relate to my earlier post about talk radio in Brisbane: 612 ABC has had its most successful year overall (average share) since 1996. In breakfast, Spencer Howson won the survey three times and tied twice with Nova 106.9, which won the other three times. Apparently 2009 has been the best year for 612 breakfast, position-wise, in 25 years.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz has been a regular guest on Spencer Howson's program during 2009, but this could just be a coincidence.

Broadcasting conditions

Posted December 20th, 2009 by debritz

While I was overseas, the Australian Communications and Media Authority imposed a new licence condition on radio station 2Day in the wake of the Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O lie-detector stunt, in which a young girl was quizzed by her mother about her sex life. According to this report in The Australian, the condition "states that anyone aged under 18 involved in a program must not be caused unnecessary distress or anxiety or be exploited or humiliated". It could be argued that this condition should apply not just to under 18s but to all people -- and that it ought to be imposed not just on 2Day but on all licence holders.

Radio ratings: it's a wrap

Posted December 15th, 2009 by debritz

Updated Dec 17
The results of the final radio ratings survey for 2009 are in but, because I'm at an internet cafe in St Petersburg, Russia, I can't access the full figures. From what I can glean from this online report and an Austereo media release, the situation in Brisbane is pretty much unchanged, with Nova 106.9 leading the way overall (with an increased margin) and in breakfast. 612ABC was second in breakfast, with B105 third. B105 was second overall. The big mystery in Brisbane remains: why is commercial talk doing so badly? In Sydney, Alan Jones on 2GB has a 18.6 per cent share of the audience, while Melbourne's 3AW breakfast team commands a whopping 19.2 per cent - and both stations top the ratings overall. The southern talk market is so strong that 2GB boss John Singleton is launching into Melbourne next year to take on 3AW. Meanwhile, Brisbane's 4BC remains way down the ratings ladder. Are Brisbane audiences really so different that they prefer music to talk, or has 4BC simply failed to engage its potential listenership?
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on 612ABC's high-rating Breakfast with Spencer Howson program.
There'll be more radio comment and news, and the usual blog offerings, after I return to Australia on December 20.

A choice of listening ...

Posted November 20th, 2009 by debritz

Australians like to think of themselves as technically advanced. That may bave been true 20 years ago, but we just keep falling behind. Next year, the BBC will launch a popup online player with which UK listeners can access more than 400 UK stations -- from national BBC and commercial stations to local community and student broadcasters. And, according to The Guardian, the UK Radioplayer will allow listeners to "search every station on the UK Radioplayer network, identifying news programmes, sports highlights, musical genres or even individual songs, using a new search engine designed for radio. Users can store their favourite stations on preset buttons." I won't be holding my breathe until we see such a comprehensive device here.
PS: As I've noted before, web radio is a huge threat to the take-up of digital transmissions, which is another reason why I can't see the commercial operators in Australia joining forces with the ABC, SBS and community stations to share the goodness.

Who's on and who's off air in 2010

Posted November 20th, 2009 by debritz

The official word from the aptly named Lissner Street studios in Toowong is that there will be no change to the on-air line-up for Radio 612ABC in 2010 -- meaning it's still Spencer Howson for breakfast, Madonna King on morning, Richard Fidler for the Conversation Hour and early afternoons, Kelly Higgins-Devine in drive time and Steve Austin at night. As reported here first, Jamie Dunn has at least anohter year in him at breakfast on 4BC (although the station manager David McDonald told the Courier-Mail that reports [from me] he had signed for another year were wrong; they had merely agreed to take up the option for a second year), although there has been a reshuffle at nights, with Ian Maurice moving forward to share the early-evening former Sport Today slot with Peter Psaltis and Walter Williams taking the late-night shift. As I also reported first, there are no changes planned in breakfast at B105 or Triple M, which both did well this year. Presumably, Nova 106.9 will have Tim Blackwell and Meshel Laurie (who had said on Twitter that she will probably only take off a normal holiday period when her twins are born, an imminent occurrence), and probably Ash Bradnam after he returns from rehab following his drink-driving charges. However, there's still a vacancy in breakfast at Nova in Sydney following the departures of Tim Ross and Kate Ritchie. No word yet from 4BH, 4KQ or 97.3FM, but I'd be surprised if there are changes this time around. While they aren't hitting the ratings heghts, none of them are paying the big-numbers game and are content to do well in their chosen demographics.
Brett Debritz has been heard this year on 612ABC

Seeing Brisbane's City Sights

Posted November 17th, 2009 by debritz

As promised last week, 612ABC's Spencer Howson and I went on the Brisbane City Sights on the weekend. We'll be talking about it on air tomorrow, but first here's the video:

Local boy makes good

Posted November 15th, 2009 by debritz

Former Brisbaneite Bruno Bouchet is now producing the Mark E and Carmela show on Mix 106.5 in Sydney. He stars in this viral video that's just popped up on YouTube:


By the way, Bruno, I'm still available for that reality TV show we were talking about at Oktoberfest in Musgrave Park back in 2007 ...

Silence wasn't golden

Posted November 12th, 2009 by debritz

Here's some edited audio from the aftermath of the technical error at 4BC yesterday that saw the Remembrance Day minute's silence interrupted by music. First is Greg Cary in the immediate wake of the debacle, then Drive host Michael Smith reflects on it:

New voice at B105

Posted November 12th, 2009 by debritz

Radio B105 has appointed Matt Sutton as its afternoon announcer (12-4pm) and operations manager. Sutton, who was previously on the air in Hobart and Adelaide and on the Sunshine Coast, has spent the past year travelling the world affective immediately. According to a B105 media release, "his solo adventure lead (sic) him to being caught up in a military coup, hiking active volcanoes and losing all his possessions in Helsinki". Yeah, but is he ready for the cut-and-thrust of Brisbane radio?

On/ off relationship

Posted November 12th, 2009 by debritz

From the front page of couriermail.com.au:

From the story it points to: "[Meshel] Laurie, who is expecting twins, has started working from home after losing her license for accumulated points loss..."
So is she on the air or off the air? At the time of writing, I'm sure I can hear her voice coming from the radio.
PS: I'm not even going to suggest that Nova bosses are considering Laurie as a replacement for Tim Ross on Nova in Sydney. Oooops ... Mind you, "Merrick and Meshel" does have a ring to it.
Update: At 10am, the heading on the blurb now reads "Second Nova jock in driving ban".

Silence interrupted

Posted November 11th, 2009 by debritz

Radio 4BC has apologised after an automated system overrode the Remembrance Day minute's silence at 11 o'clock today. Station manager David McDonald offered his "deepest heartfelt apology" on the station's website:

"A directive has now been issued that the procedure to observe the minute silence will never again be allowed to be computer operated and instead, will be manually overridden on ALL future occasions."

Announcer Michael Smith has reportedly called on the person responsible to resign.

What's for breakfast?

Posted November 11th, 2009 by debritz

The word from the North Quay Austereo studios is that no line-up changes are planned at either Triple M or B105, meaning The Cage with Ian Skippen and Labby, Camilla and Stav should be back on air at breakfast time in 2010. I've also heard a rumour from Cannon Hill that 4BC's Jamie Dunn has signed on the dotted line, too.

Merrick and Rosso split

Posted November 10th, 2009 by debritz

Tim Ross, one half of Sydney's Merrick and Rosso radio double act, has decided not to re-sign with Nova. Acccording to the Daily Telegraph, he will leave the station next month, throwing into doubt the future of the Nova breakfast show he co-hosts with Merrick Watts and former Home and Away star Kate Ritchie. Although they are beaten in the commercial FM ratings by the Kyle and Jackie O Show on 2Day, Merrick and Rosso have been solid longtime performers for Nova, and the adition of Ritchie a couple of years ago is seen in industry circles as having merely extended an act that was approaching its due-by date. Ritchie is also expected to leave the station. As I have noted on many occasions, the entire radio landscape is changing. With Nova's Sydney sister station Vega opting for an almost music-only breakfast format, and with ad revenue in decline, anything could happen. Two things are certain: whoever replaces them will receive less money, and they will not pull the same audience, at least not initially. As Brisbane's B105 discovered a few years ago, building a new show takes a long time. Of course, the decision does give Nova something of an advantage in the next cycle, because it'll have probably bedded-in a new show by the time Kyle Sandilands leaves 2Day (which, despite his recent ratings surge, will be relatively soon.) When he does go, Sandilands will be the last of the megabuck radio stars in Australia as broadcasters look to the bottom line and discover that winning isn't everything when it comes to running a profitable business.

Spencer's Christmas cracker

Posted November 9th, 2009 by debritz

.. or should that be shocker? After encouragement from his colleague Kelly Higgins-Devine, 612ABC's Spencer Howson has made of video of himself singing his newly penned Christmas song. Listeners to the breakfast show (on which I'm a regular guest) have been invited to do better:

This has all the makings of a so-bad-it's-good cult favourite; spread the word and let's see if we can make it a YouTube hit.

Changes at 4BC

Posted November 7th, 2009 by debritz

Brisbane Radio 4BC will axe its Sports Today program, hosted by Peter Psaltis and Billy J. Snith, and replace it with a new 6-8pm program hosted by Psaltis and Ian Maurice. According to a staff memo from station manager David McDonald, the new show "will have a much broader focus on sports and recreational activities" (maybe they were listening when I told afternoon host Peter Dick earlier this year that BC should have an arts and entertainment program as well as its sports show!). Walter Williams will replace Maurice in the 8pm to midnight slot next year. Sports Today will continue over the Christmas holidays with Rupert McCall and Rick Mitchell in the chair before the changes take effect in the new year. Smith will remain with the station as a fill-in announcer.

ABC issues social media policy

Posted November 5th, 2009 by debritz

ABC managing director Mark Scott has issued guidelines for the use of social media such as Twitter by ABC staff and contractors. The policy's four enforceable standards are:

1. Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute.
2. Do not undermine your effectiveness at work.
3. Do not imply ABC endorsement of your personal views.
4. Do not disclose confidential information obtained through work.

Seems sensible enough to me.
Update: The Australian has a report on Scott's digital strategy, as revealed at the Media140 conference, here.

Why deliver them?

Posted November 4th, 2009 by debritz

As a follow-up to my recent post and radio rant about phone books becoming irrelevant, here's the pile of uncollected Yellow Pages outside my apartment building:

Left hand, right hand

Posted November 3rd, 2009 by debritz

One of the Google Ads that occasionally pops up on this page, in the top left-hand corner, exhorts visitors to "Keep up to date with the latest Happenings on Brisbane Radio" and refers them to the following link: brisbanetimes.com.au/radio. If you go there, you'll get this message: "Sorry your page was not found ..." Appreciative as I am that Brisbane Times is placing ads that find their way to my site, I think it'd be in both our interests if the page to which they point actually has some interesting and relevant content. Of course, if they are in the market for a radio writer, I am available.
PS: In case someone from Google is reading this, I don't click on ads on my own site, I cut and pasted the URL displayed on the ad.

Survey 7 radio ratings results

Posted November 2nd, 2009 by debritz

In the seventh and penultimate Nielsen radio ratings survey for 2009, the news in Sydney is that Kyle Sandilands' job seems safe, with a 1.2 percentage point increase putting 2Day at 11 points in breakfast, one point behind Adam Spencer at 702ABC and 5.6 behind 2GB, which is marginally up with the return of Alan Jones. Mix 106.5, which recently dumped Todd McKenney and Sonia Kruger and replaced them with Mike E and Carmella, has also registered a small increase, as have Nova 96.9's Merrick, Rosso and Kate. Overall, the top three were also 2GB, 702ABC and 2Day. 3AW continues to blitz allcomers in Melbourne, especially in breakfast, but Fox FM is also rating very well. The much-trumpetetd return to the raido airwaves of Eddie McGuire only had a marginal (and statistically insignificant) impact on Triple M, which is still languishing near the bottom. In Brisbane, 612ABC's Spencer Howson has retained his lead in breakfast, just 0.3 points ahead of Nova 106.9, whose Ash Bradnam has been in the headlines lately after being charged for drink-driving and entering rehab. Third is Triple M, whose The Cage had a big jump, followed closely by B105. In a good sign of healthy competition, the top four breakfast shows are within 1.6 percentage points of each other. There's good news for Jamie Dunn at 4BC, who has added 0.4 points and pulled away from his commercial AM competitors at 4BH and 4KQ. Overall, on the by-session tally, the leaders are Nova, B105, Triple M and 97.3FM. By demographic for people 10-plus, the positions of B105 and Triple M are reversed.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard each Wednesday morning on 612ABC's Breakfast with Spencer Howson program.

Meshel Laurie's going nowhere

Posted October 30th, 2009 by debritz

There's been a lot of speculation (some of it by me) about how long Nova 106.9 breakfast co-host Meshel Laurie will be off the air after she gives birth to her twins. In a tweet, Laurie sets the record straight:

Sorry to disappoint the Courier Mail, but I won't be taking extended maternity leave. Probably just my normal Xmas break.

Who'll listen to the radio in 2010?

Posted October 24th, 2009 by debritz

>As interesting as radio can be for the listener, it's the behind-the-scenes manoevres that often have the makings of real drama. The past few weeks have seen lots of high-level meetings and contract negotiations as the networks attempt to put together winning schedules for 2010. In Brisbane, some big names have already signed on the dotted line for next year (although not at megabuck, pre-recession rates), while the futures of others is still up in the air. In many cases, final decisions won't be made until after the release of the seventh and penultimate 2009 metropolitan ratings survey on November 2. Eyes in Brisbane will be focussed on the figures for Nova 106.9, the longtime No.1 station. The impact of Ash Bradnam's drink-driving charge and subsequent absence from the breakfast team will be of particular interest to Nova's management. It's been suggested that Nova, whose other star attraction Meshel Laurie will soon be going on maternity leave, will build a new show around Tim Blackwell, who took over from longtime anchor Kip Wightman mid-year and there will be no place for Bradnam in the 2010 breakfast line-up, even if he does return to the station. This will create a big opportunity for B105, whose highly promoted team of Labby, Camilla and Stav has been nipping at Nova's heels lately in the race for FM supremacy and the lion's share of the commercially desirable 18-29-year-old audience. Lower down the ratings ladder, it's demographics that will either save or sink other shows. If you've got the young female or grocery-buyer audience onside, you don't need to have the largest overall numbers. As I've said in the past, though, financial imperatives might mean that some stations start to look for outside-the-box solutions such as increased networking, even in the until-now sacrosanct breakfast shift. And of course the elephant in the room is not just digital radio, which allows more choice under the control of the current licence-holders, but the convergence happening around the internet and portable devices such as the iPhone which means it's as easy to listen to (and interact with) stations around the world, or your favourite podcaster, as it is to tune in to the broadcasters in your own backyard. If the big four commercial operators -- Austereo (B105 and Triple M), ARN (4KQ and 97.3FM), Fairfax (4BC and 4BH) and DMG (Nova) -- aren't worried about that, then they've got their heads in the sand.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on Wednesday mornings on the top-rating Breakfast with Spencer Howson show on 612ABC.

Radio great sets retirement date

Posted October 20th, 2009 by debritz

Majella Marsden from ABC websiteShe's produced the big names of Brisbane radio -- Wayne Roberts, Jamie Dunn and Ian Skippen, Peter Dick, and now Spencer Howson -- she has the best contact book in the business and a knack for tracking people down in the wee hours to talk on air. Now the word from 612ABC, where she is piloting the top-rating breakfast show, is that Majella Marsden is set to retire in February next year after three decades in the biz. Few people are as well connected and universally admired in the broadcasting industry as Majella, and I hope she receives a huge send-off.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on 612 ABC on Wednesday mornings.

Unfortunate tie-up

Posted October 15th, 2009 by debritz

A case of bad timing? Nova 106.9 - the Brisbane radio station whose breakfast announcer Ash Bradnam got charged with drink-driving last week - is offering members of its Club Nova the chance to win packs of Berocca, the famous hangover cure.

Sophie to replace Kyle?

Posted October 14th, 2009 by debritz

Sophie Monk PETA adA cryptic gossip item on the Daily Telegraph website suggests Sophie Monk (pictured in a PETA advertisement) will "take the controversial shock jock's seat on his morning radio show later this month". Are they suggesting that Sandilands will be oustered or that he will just be away? I can't really see Monk as being the panacea to 2Day's problems. As I've already said, if I was an Austereo suit, I'd be looking closely at possibilities involving Hamish and Andy.

Battle of the Brisbane media

Posted October 14th, 2009 by debritz

Meshel Laurie publicity pictureLooks like we've got ourselves a good, old-fashioned media feud going in Brisbane between the Q Confidential column in The Courier-Mail and Meshel Laurie at Nova 106.9. Laurie has Twittered her displeasure with QCon in the past, and today the newspaper attacks her for allegedly making irresponsible remarks about alcohol (saying she could tap a keg at the age of 4). The current backdrop to this is the drink-driving episode involving Laurie's colleague Ash Bradnam. One blow I know they won't take well at Nova is QCon calling the station the former No. 1. In their minds, they are are still leading in breakfast because they don't think the ABC (whose 612 Spencer Howson show really is No.1) counts.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on 612ABC on Wednesdays about 6.40am.

Broadcast news

Posted October 13th, 2009 by debritz

Ash Bradnam's temporary depature from the Brisbane airwaves after his drink-driving charge and admission of an alcohol problem creates a problem for his employer Nova 106.9. The top-rating FM breakfast show has undergone a few changes in the past months and its lead on its rivals, especially direct rival B105, has narrowed. Longtime anchor Kip Wightman left the show a few months ago, David "Luttsy" Lutteral has not been a regular part of the line-up this year and Meshel Laurie is pregnant with twins and will presumably take some time off next year. The dilemma for Nova boss Sean Ryan, who has admirably said he will stand by Bradnam, is whether to try to keep the exisiting show together or create something new. This is the time of year that the 2010 contracts will be inked, and with advertising revenues down, decisions made now -- not just at Nova, but across all networks -- will have a huge impact on future profitability.
PS: On a personal note, I've known Ash for many years and I wish him all the best. I sincerely hope he gets the help he needs and I believe he has a great career ahead of him.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz is heard on Brisbane's No.1 AM (and overall) breakfast show with Spencer Howson on 612ABC.

New day, new time, same station

Posted October 12th, 2009 by debritz

You read it here first: like all good things, my regular segment on 612ABC on Friday mornings has come to an end. The good news is that I'll now be heard in an extended segment at 6.40am on Wednesdays, starting October 14, in which Spencer Howson, Susan Hetherington and I will address the big issues of the week. The segment will include some of the subjects I address on this blog and Susan's family entertainment reviews. Listeners at 6.50am on Friday will hear a guest from news and views website Crikey.com.au.

Nova's Ash on DUI charge

Posted October 12th, 2009 by debritz

Ash Bradnam from Nova websiteNova 106.9's Ashley Bradnam is taking time off work following his arrest for allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit. Nova says it will stand behind Bradnam, who apologised to listeners this morning and admitted he is "again struggling with a drinking problem which first emerged a few years ago".

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