Drive’s new leaders but for how long?

If you thought that snaring Kyle and Jackie O was a gigantic coup for ARN, then it seems we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 

In recent times, since Hamish and Andy left full-time radio, Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty have dominated the national Drive shift. But after just three surveys back on air, on another network and, for them, a new timeslot, Hughesy and Kate have taken over the mantle of number one show for the post work commute. 

Their meteoric rise hasn’t escaped the attention of their former employer, Nova Entertainment content chief, Paul Jackson

The duo’s popularity in Melbourne, where they’d served 10 years in breakfast on Nova 100 was pretty much to be expected. But their rapid rise to the top in Sydney and Adelaide has taken most pundits by surprise. Only in Brisbane have they failed to conquer. They are currently not broadcast in Perth.

Jackson shrugged off the challenge saying he didn’t believe that it was a trend, “Drive has been consistently a high performer for us. This is the first time we’ve seen it go down, so at this stage it’s a one off. There is no trend developing yet,” he said.

But the impact on Nova 969 in Sydney, reflected in today’s GfK survey numbers, has him concerned. “It’s been a long time since there’s been a number that I wouldn’t be too happy with and I don’t think anybody here is hiding from that. We can’t hide from the fact that it’s not the Breakfast number that we want. Nor is it the Drive time number that we’d want either,” says Jackson.

There’s more disruption to come. Six weeks from now, Hamish and Andy will join the battle. The ARN camp has already been busy playing down the champion duo’s likely impact. Even SCA’s Craig Bruce has been at pains to put that impact into perspective. “We understand that Hamish and Andy are there as a great support and a kick start from a cume perspective. But it will always be about how good our breakfast shows are.”

Of course, for decades, that’s been the conventional school of thought. But we don’t live in conventional times. With Twitter, facebook and myriad forms of social media, as well as old school re-packaging the influence of a Drive program can be extended way beyond its own on air presence. “H & A  have content that we will obviously want to highlight and talk about and share with our audiences across all of our day parts,” says Bruce.

How much the strength of a networked Drive show will impact on each station’s overall ratings will vary from market to market. But each Drive show, with its national footprint has the potential to  attract serious advertising dollars. For that reason alone the battle for National Drive supremacy will be hard fought. And somebody has to come third. 

View our ratings reports from yesterday: Results, Analysis, Spin.

Below are the results of last week’s blissfully unscientific reader survey. Voting is now closed.


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