Craig Bruce reveals the latest clues in the Today Network plan

When SCA’s Head of Content, Craig Bruce (CB) booked a call to radioinfo this afternoon, our money was on him announcing that Brisbane’s B105 would be rebranded hit105. “I love how, in this industry, rumours so quickly turn into fact,” says CB. “We’re nowhere near talking about a rebrand of Brisbane yet.”

Not that he would reveal anything before he was ready to, but everything that’s happened at the network over the past few weeks seems to point towards a rebrand in Brisbane and then… Sydney. 

Although he’s really happy so far with the way Adelaide is sounding, CB points out, “We don’t even have any ratings yet. We don’t have anything other than anecdotal feedback from clients, which is very positive. And some online stuff. But that’s not enough data for us to be making big decisions around other radio stations.”

Few pundits would have been surprised by the announcement that Hamish and Andy will return to the national Drive show they vacated at the end of 2010. But the selection of the current Drive presenters Dan and Maz to take over the troubled Breakfast show says volumes about the likely future direction of 2Day-FM. 

CB sees an opportunity to attract a younger audience and is keen for the station to sound different to what’s currently on air. By sounds of it, from 2015 the new 2Day will sound more like Adelaide’s hit107 than the old 2Day of the Kyle and Jackie O era. 

“2Day FM hasn’t rated at all this year, so I don’t want to be disparaging to any of the other shows, but clearly, Sydney is a market of older shows hosted by older people. From Jonesy and Amanda to The Grill Team. And Kyle and Jack are in their mid 40’s now. Fitzy and Wippa are in their late 30’s with a male skew. There is really nothing on FM that is genuinely, authentically targeting under 35 listeners.

“We did extensive research with Dan and Maz earlier in the year and it was incredibly favourable. In fact the person who conducted the research on our behalf said it was as strong as for Hamish and Andy in the early stages. We compared Dan and Maz with three other FM Breakfast shows at the time – Fitzy & Wippa, Kyle & Jack and Sophie, Jules & Merrick. Dan and Maz had much better scores than all of those shows.

“The opportunity for us next year with Dan and Maz is all around how we can be different and how we can exploit that young, fresh approach (of theirs)”, says CB.

Another clue as to where 2Day is headed concerns the music content. “If you use Adelaide as a guide, we’ve gone from four songs an hour to 10. And every piece of research I see on listeners under 30 says that music is content the same as talking is, so we’ll try and design a show that puts music right at the forefront,” says CB. 

But what of Jules Lund and Merrick Watts who even today are stoically going down with the sinking ship? According to CB, both men will have a place with SCA going forward. Say Craig Bruce, “Jules will do Drive for the first six months of next year and then move into a 6 – 7pm show which will be a multi-media, new to radio idea that he’s been developing for some time now.

“We’ll announce some news around Merrick, hopefully by the end of next week.

“Both of them are ripping blokes, we love having them in our business. You can see with the video they did yesterday. It’s been a difficult year for all of us – purely from an ego perspective, it’s not nice being bottom. But they’ve held their heads high and kept their sense of humour and that video shows they know how to poke fun at themselves. We like them both and we want them to stay with us,” says Craig Bruce.

On news of the changes, SCA shares rose by 12%. Read more in our related report and check news of SCA’s Investor Presentation here.

Tags: | | | | |