It’s definitely true there’s a rumour. Opinion from Peter Saxon
Media outlets have picked up on a persistent rumour that SCA is planning to pay whatever it takes to lure their erstwhile ratings rich Breakfast team back to 2Day FM. Kyle and Jackie O’s three year contract with ARN’s KIIS FM is up for renewal later this year.
Crickets was the only sound coming from the normally chatty SCA establishment when radioinfo pressed them for comment. If the rumour is based on a bona fide leak then it would be SCA’s second biggest blunder after letting the duo go in the first place. No, not the idea of getting them back but the leak itself.
At this stage, unless it’s a tactic to bluff ARN into paying through the nose, any strategy to wrest K & J away from their current employer would be a more closely guarded secret than the D-Day invasion of WWII. The idea would be secure in the confines of CEO Grant Blackley’s head, shared, perhaps, with only one or two of SCA’s most senior executives on a need-to-know basis.
If not SCA, then from where would such a rumour emanate? Most likely from the party with the most to gain which would be the talent: Kyle and Jack.
As one of only three acts in modern radio history (John Laws and Alan Jones being the other two) that could successfully migrate an audience from one Sydney station to another, now is the time to capitalise on their rainmaking abilty.
By all accounts K & J are happy at KIIS but that doesn’t mean their manager Andrew Hawkins isn’t going to try to squeeze every last dollar out of the ARN owned station which has made a motza since it was rebranded from MIX and radio’s dynamic duo came over from 2Day.
Of course, to get the really big bucks ARN would have to be convinced that SCA is a serious bidder.
Would SCA have Kyle and Jackie O back if they could? The new Head of the Hit Network Gemma Fordham, who has worked as EP with the duo at 2Day and remains both fan and friend, told radioinfo recently, “I don’t think it would be the right path for them to come back to SCA and I don’t think it would be right for SCA either. That story’s kind of been done now for SCA and its time to move forward and look at the next stage. And I’m sure that Duncan Campbell (at ARN) would be happy to hear that as well.”
For the moment SCA is committed to Rove & Sam knowing full well that it could take years to lift their breakfast show to a more competitive position. It would be tempting to regain the audience they lost in the space of a survey or two by welcoming K & J back. But equally, there’s no way that KIIS would want to give that audience back and return to the kind of ratings MIX was getting before.
My guess is that SCA won’t get into a protracted bidding war with ARN. As much as they’d love for 2Day to improve sooner rather than later, it has always been a network that’s been prepared to build programs over the long haul. Remember, the Kyle and Jack show itself took the better part of a decade on 2Day to reach double digits. Besides, as a broad based media conglomerate they’ve got bigger fish to fry in renegotiating their television deal with Network TEN or merging with Nine.
Apart from that, after bidding up a huge deal, and with the stakes much higher, there’s no guarantee that all of that audience that followed K & J to their new house would want to return to the old address. K & J would be aware of that too.
So, if ARN gives them a decent pay rise based on a realistic share of what they actually bring to the station, rather than silly money, K & J might well be advised by their manager to take it. Why risk going back? In the word’s of SCA’s Gemma Fordham, “That story’s kind of been done now”