2UE’s Bold Revenue Target

2UE General Manager, Bob Miller, has set an ambitious target of boosting revenue by 50% over the next year, from $20 million to $30 million.

Miller made the prediction three months after coming on board and immediately feared: “That will come back to haunt me.”

In a report, in The Australian Financial Review, rival radio executives say the target is extremely ambitious and unrealistic, given 2UE’s problems.

The former #1 rating station has struggled since the defection of Alan Jones two years ago to 2GB.

Revenue has slumped an estimated $10 million in that time. In survey #3, 2UE ranked eighth – the same as once undisputed morning king, John Laws. In breakfast, which generates half of a radio station’s revenue, Mike Carlton sits at fourth.

Miller concedes 2UE has to lift its ratings. But, he says direct advertisers account for 60% of 2UE’s revenue. And, direct advertisers are not obsessed with the vagaries of ratings surveys.

“Direct advertisers want to know the composition of the audience we deliver, but they are not focused on ratings. All they are interested in is whether or not the ad works.”

Miller’s brief is to lift revenue, find new sources of revenue and contain costs for 2UE.

“Like all radio stations, 2UE is geared to sell air time. But, there are opportunities to create new revenue streams from this business that are not based on selling air time.” He has not revealed those opportunities.

Miller says 2UE needs to book revenue of about $2 million a month to make a profit: “We made a profit in February and March. We didn’t make one in April. I’m not sure if we’ll make a profit in May, but we probably will in June and July.”

Miller has also been tasked with bringing some stability to 2UE, which had been “debilitated” late last year by the aborted merger of its back office functions and newsroom with 2GB.

He has introduced some changes over the past three months, but says he is moving slowly: “Changing everything overnight would have put everyone into shock. This place had been pretty well shocked to death by all the merger stuff last year. It didn’t need any more drama.”

Although not directly involved in programming, it was Miller’s idea to use retailer, Gerry Harvey, as an unpaid one day fill in for John Laws: “Using Gerry made for interesting radio. It was event radio. Some people didn’t like it, but at least they were talking about 2UE.”

Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, has been offered a temporary gig on 2UE. Miller says: “His advisers are thinking about it. It could be interesting.”