Cast changing, Triple M sticking to its roots: Mike Fitzpatrick

Triple M’s Group Content Director Mike Fitzpatrick tells radioinfo more about the changes to Triple M Drive next year.

Merrick is back, Joe Hildebrand is leaving and stay tuned for news on Matt Tilley.

The station is still solidly targeting “people who pee standing up.”


radioinfo: With Merrick going back to Triple M drive, what will the show sound like in 2015?
Fitzy: It will be in the same vein as the One Percenters, what will be different are the hosts. We are building a show that will be smarter and funnier than other shows on offer at the moment.
radioinfo: So who will the other host be?
Fitzy: The co-host we are talking to will complement Merrick and bring irreverence.
radioinfo: Is it Rosso?
Fitzy: A couple of people have said that… This show will have great content, it won’t be another set and forget phone show, it will be a smart and funny show that will suit Triple M’s audience well.
radioinfo: I assume you can’t say who it is, but there’s a lot of speculation out there that it will be someone from a rival network.
Fitzy: This person has worked in radio before, he and Merrick have been mates for a while. It’s not another comedian. The deal is not finalised, that’s why I can’t say who it is.
radioinfo: Joe Hildebrand is leaving. What happened there?
Fitzy: Joe started a tv career, a newspaper column and a radio show in the same year as he became a father. That’s a heavy workload and something had to give, so he won’t be back with us next year.
radioinfo: And Matt Tilley, is he out of contract?
Fitzy: I can’t discuss contract issues.
radioinfo: Let me rephrase that. Will Matt Tilley be going to Mix (KIIS)?
Fitzy: Your guess is as good as mine. He might be going to Mix, he might be going to smooth, I have no idea.
When we heard about the changes at 2Day breakfast we wanted to bring Mez back to Triple M drive with the others, but when Matt made his decision that just meant we could do a bit more.
radioinfo: When Merrick was on Triple M drive previously, as Merrick and the Highway Patrol, how did it rate?
Fitzy: We never look at Triple M’s ratings as a 10+ station, we look at it from the point of view of the target audience, men. The Highway Patrol was wining men and doing what we wanted it to do.
radioinfo: How many stations will Merrick’s new show be heard on?
Fitzy: It will be on all 38 of our Triple M stations. In Melbourne and Adelaide we do double drive shifts, because people in those cities want to hear about AFL, so the current show will continue in addition to Merrick’s shift in those states.
radioinfo: It is shaping up to be a busy year in the Melbourne market, rumours of Dave Hughes going to KIIS Drive, with or without Kate Langbroek, Matt Tilley going across to a rival station… What do you see for the Melbourne market in 2015?
Fitzy: I don’t think too much about that because Triple M is in a unique position. We create content for anyone who pees standing up! Our audience is mostly white collar men now, but still retaining traditional blue collar men as well.
We have no direct competitor for our audience. No one can stand up against Eddie and the breakfast team, which is still dominant. This year’s changes haven’t affected Eddie’s show at all.
Apart from the cast of Drive changing, the music and the rest of the station will remain consistent. Too much change is death in radio.
Eddie and Merrick both understand and are excited to work with clients. They can deliver great ‘content solutions,’ as opposed to ‘contest solutions,’ and we expect our clients and our audience will continue to get plenty of benefit from Triple M in 2015.
radioinfo: Will you give the new show a name?
Fitzy: I quite like One Percenters, so maybe we’ll keep it, or maybe not. We could call it the radioinfo show, or anything else… Names don’t matter much.

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