With the imminent merger of SEN owner Pacific Star and Crocmedia, CEO Craig Hutchinson has made another big appointment with former Head of Programming and Production at Channel Nine, Tim Cleary taking over as Chief Content Officer.
Cleary will not only oversee audio but will head up a newly launched television production arm, Rainmaker. Cleary’s long time experience at Nine includes The Footy Show, The Logie Awards, Millionaire Hot Seat, Carols by Candlelight and Channel Nine’s Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, on air, former Richmond star Kevin Bartlett has been moved from Mornings to Drive where he’ll be joined by John “Dr Turf” Rothfield from 3pm to 6pm. The new show has been named ‘KB and The Doc.’
In another move Andy Maher will rejoin the station to replace Francis Leach in Afternoons.
1116SEN general manager Cathy Thomas said that the chemistry between Bartlett and Rothfield was the key factor behind the move. “Kevin is the heartbeat of our station, a football and industry icon, and has been front and centre of our growth for over a decade.”
Thomas said the new drive time show, to be known as KB and The Doc, would harness the rare chemistry between the duo. “Their Tuesday morning segment each week and joint hosting of SEN’s racing coverage has built a strong following and we look forward to bringing that sense of radio fun and freedom to drive in 2018.”
Bartlett said he was surprised to have been offered the role but embraced the challenge, adding that he’d only wanted to move if it had been alongside his friend:
“The Doc’s quirkiness and antagonism has always fascinated me and the chance to embrace a new challenge with him really appealed. We can only assume it’s part of a new youth policy at the station! On a serious note, it’s clearly going to be a big growth year for SEN and the bigger picture looks really exciting with a proposed merger opening up all sorts of opportunities.
“Doc and I can’t wait to trade opinions weekdays 3pm-6pm from January,” Bartlett said.
Maher said he was thrilled to permanently re-join the SEN family after a previous stint as breakfast host. “I love the SEN audience and have never been afraid of an opinion, so I can’t wait to re-connect with them in what will be a massive year.”
Thomas once again confirmed that Garry Lyon and Tim Watson would return for breakfast in 2018 after strong ratings growth in the back half of 2017 and said a new mornings host would be announced in the new year.