How has breakfast radio changed due to COVID 19?

Telum Media’s webinar on breakfast radio was presented to publicists and PR reps via Zoom and focused on how radio has changed to meet listener and audience habits since the start of COVID-19.
Panellists were Julia Holman, Executive Producer, RN Breakfast (ABC RN), Zac McLean, Executive Producer, Ben Fordham Breakfast Show (2GB) and Siobhain McDonnell, Executive Producer, Stav, Abby & Matt (B105).
The three programs have a slightly different focus with ABC RN focusing on the national stories with COVID-19  the main focus of stories at the beginning of the pandemic, and even now most stories are COVID related or tainted by COVID in some way.
B105 made the decision to focus on entertainment, recognising that the breakfast program wasn’t people’s primary news source, but their source of entertainment, but it was difficult to produce the presenters from remote studios according to McDonnell. “That was a very big change for us… I was in the studio trying to manage three presenters in three places. It was really different because our show is based around our listeners and their personalities… The team as a whole has been working together for five years, so to split them up and have them in separate rooms remove broadcasting was a challenge,” she said. B105 “decided not to alter the content too much because we wanted to be the reprieve and familiarity for our listeners in a world that was going crazy.”

For all of the EPs the biggest challenge at the beginning of the crisis was when the talent was working from home, but they agree that Zoom made this easier and their teams were all able to adapt well.

For 2GB, the appetite at the beginning of the pandemic, like at the ABC, was for 3 hours of COVID stories, but for the past ten weeks there has been more audience fatigue around the pandemic and the desire for other stories has grown. At first the listeners “wanted nothing else. There was no appetite for any other story and we just delivered that story…[but] recently you find a bit of fatigue in the audience.” Covid coverage is “probably about half-half now, content-wise,” according to McLean
The benefit of the lockdown has been the access to celebrities as more and more celebs have found they have more time on their hands and are more eager to partake in interviews, especially via Zoom.
Over coming months, the big stories that they will be following will be the COVID-19 vaccine, the effect of the pandemic on the economy and the Jobkeeper/Jobseeker benefit extensions, superannuation, the Brereton Inquiry and Queensland Election.






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