Hamish Blake and Andy Lee celebrated their return to Southern Cross Austereo’s drive time slot after a five year hiatus – and a rumoured $10 million contract – with a flash soiree on Sydney Harbour last night.
After firing himself out of a canon in Sydney’s freezing Darling Harbour yesterday to celebrate the comedic duo’s return in the coveted Drivetime spot, Hamish and Andy’s Andy Lee told B&T he is suffering and coming down with a croaky voice.
“I’m losing my voice because it was so cold,” he said.” Hot water and lemon and an early night for me!”
The presenters held the People’s Launch Party on a boat in Sydney harbour for 300 fans and industry types to celebrate their return to Austereo who are pinning their hopes on the duo following tough ratings since the departure of Kyle and Jackie O to cross-town rival KIIS.
And firing Lee out of a cannon is just one of the stunts the twosome have planned. Lee said, “If it’s there for the taking I’ll do it.” With Blake chiming in, “Andy got shot out of a cannon and wanted to wear a monkey suit but the circus folk said he couldn’t wear one as it would catch fire.”
On-stage, the duo joked that former colleague and now rival, Kyle Sandilands, was copying them as had called the canon company asking to do be fired out of a canon.
Lee joked: “I said to the guy, surely you don’t have enough compressed air in the world to be able to launch Kyle? Even with explosives you’re going to struggle.”
Earlier on in the day the pair held their show from the boat, where one listener unveiled her new boob job and Delta Goodrem offered a personal message.
The duo actually made their return to the national weekday drive slot they once dominated a week earlier than planned, and Southern Cross Austereo bosses hope their show, on the newly rebranded Today’s Hit Network – which is across 42 stations, including 2DayFM in Sydney and FoxFM in Melbourne – will boost figures for the station.
Their departure from 2Day FM in 2010 sent SCA’s audience share and stock price plummeting, while Kyle and Jackie O’s new station, KiiS, and network, ARN, have soared to success in the Sydney radio market.
Austereo’s CEO, Grant Blackley, who called Hamish and Andy “rock stars” also revealed his joy at achieving 10/10 with Survey Four last week, and threatened his radio rivals that it’s just a matter of time before the network is “number one in every slot that we deem appropriate by demographic. It may take us a little while in some cases, but rest assured, that’s our goal.
Talking about Lee’s cannonball stunt, Blackley laughed, “I’m on my way home last week, just the second week in the role, and I got a phone call at about five o’clock and they said, ‘There’s something you didn’t sign before you left.’ I asked what? And they said, ‘the insurance because we’re firing Andy out of a cannon.’
“Hamish and Andy are rock stars and when they were on drive time, only a short period ago, they were delivering over two million listeners and it was Australia’s most successful radio show and we’re absolutely delighted to see them back at Southern Cross and back on radio.”
Speaking about Survey 4, he added: “We were rewarded with 10 performances that all improved across both the Today and Triple M networks on a national level.
“We gained 200,000 listeners in that survey and we’re now reaching, for those marketing we’re measuring, 4.3 million listeners across our metro cities, and that’s without the 74 radio stations around the nation. So an outstanding effort to everyone involved in that achievement.
“I think the most important thing through all the results I saw last week is that we were delivering directly on two key milestones, the first one being number one metro solution for 18-49s, and the second one, being number one metro solution for 25-54s.
“I actually think the talent we have at the network is outstanding. What we’re going to do is make sure over the ensuing months and years that we deliver more often in a number one slot as much as we can. In terms of the phasing of the Hit Network, naturally the first thing was the rebranding, and secondly we’ve got Hamish and Andy coming into that market.
“So we will be number one in every slot that we deem appropriate by demographic. It may take us a little while in some cases, but rest assured, that’s our goal.
“To actually achieve those goals we do have a fairly determined effort in everything we do and what I promise you is that we’ll do it with some priority and on a consistent basis, so you can rely on us more often than not. I think it’s a really strong and vibrant business, and my role is to make it a great business,” Blackley said.