Australian Radio Network’s head of content has vowed to give KIIS 101.1’s breakfast show “as long as it takes” despite it failing to gain any traction so far with listeners.
Speaking to B&T, Duncan Campbell said that while Jase & PJ has been delivering strong content that’s on target, the show is “struggling” to become familiar with listeners.
The Kiwi radio duo was brought this year to replace Matt Tilley and Meshel Laurie, but haven’t performed well so far in the radio ratings, having gone for three straight market share losses before a measly 0.1 per cent rise in the latest survey.
“The problem with Jase & PJ is that people don’t know them – that was always the challenge with this strategy, that the audience was going to have to get to know them, and that was going to take time,” Campbell said.
“We’re not blinking at all with that show. We’ll give the show as long as it takes for the audience to get to know them, because once they do get to know them, the chemistry and the content is there.
“We’ve got some very heritage-driven breakfast shows and they’re trying to make their mark in that. We’re also trying to create a level of familiarity within a very crowded place from a marketing perspective.”
Campbell said ARN plans to up the ante on its marketing strategy for Jase & PJ in the coming months.
The Melbourne duopoly dream
Of course, Jase & PJ hasn’t been the only new radio show added to ARN’s roster in 2018 as part of the network’s goal to have a Melbourne duopoly just like in Sydney with KIIS 106.5 and WSFM.
Christian O’Connell has been brought in as a replacement for axed brekkie team Jo & Lehmo on GOLD 104.3, and had a solid who had a solid ratings debut in the most recent survey, which has given Campbell confidence in the future success of the show and the station.
“Even though it’s only been one survey, for him to be introduced to the GOLD audience and to get some traction early is a real positive sign,” he said.
“It’s still early days, so we’re not going to get too carried ahead of ourselves, but GOLD is a strong station, and for him to be from overseas and to have a very different style, and for the audience to connect with that style early on has surprised me and is fairly impressive.”
Meanwhile, ARN’s new drive team across the KIIS network, Will & Woody, has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of its ratings across the different markets.
Campbell said the duo’s performance has been decent since joining ARN from rival Southern Cross Austereo, but some tweaks still need to be made to the show’s content.
“Like all new shows that people don’t know, you have to make sure that the content is targeted to those people, and I think sometimes there’s a risk in assuming that everyone loves the shows,” he said.
“It’s more of a long game than historically it would have been because it’s a case of building familiarity, and you’ve got to create content that makes the audience care about the show.
“Four surveys in, the performance has been good, but we want it to be excellent.”
Making amends with Jo
Earlier this year, sacked GOLD 104.3 brekkie host Jo Stanley claimed she wasn’t given a reason for being let go, and demanded an explanation from Campbell, who at the time said he had “reached out to her”.
ARN’s content boss was kind enough to provide an update on his contact with Stanley.
“I did make contact with Joe, and we had planned to meet. That didn’t happen for various reasons, and I took some leave for about a month, and then we just haven’t reconnected again,” he told B&T.
“There was no issue about meeting up – in fact, we coordinated a time and a date, and that changed at the last minute unfortunately.”