Sydney breakfast battle hots up – $1 million prize

The FM breakfast battle in Sydney is a whole new ball game this year with the growing success of AM talk and the departure of 2DAY’s Wendy Harmer.

The Nielsen radio ratings start up again this Sunday January 18, with most station breakfast personalities back on air the following day.

Austereo is banking on Judith Lucy and her team to be as successful as Wendy Harmer was, but other stations are hoping that the vacuum created at 2DAY by Harmer’s departure will work to their advantage.

ARN has decided to get on air earlier than the other breakfast shows with MIX’s 106.5’s Sammy Power and Jason Bouman already back at work, 2 weeks early – they began January 5. Sammy Power sounds similar to Wendy Harmer and the early beginning may help to entice some former 2DAY FM Morning Crew listeners over to a new home.

MIX is currently only rating 6% at breakfast, but is possibly the station with the most to gain from Wendy Harmer’s departure from 2DAY FM, particularly in its target demographic of women 30-44.

Sammy and Jason will also have an added advantage this year – a strong lead in from late night announcer “Love God” Richard Mercer, who is now number one FM at nights with a 10.6% share.

Mix’s ARN stablemate WSFM, has pulled out the big guns for 2004 as the battle for breakfast share in Sydney hots up, by offering listeners the chance to win $1 million cash with a few spins of a wheel.

WSFM’s Breakfast Show with Jonesy and Kayley kicked off its $1 million birthday wheel today (Monday 12 January). The wheel, which has been a regular feature on the WSFM Breakfast Show for many years and has recently been offering listeners up to $100,000 cash, has “hit a new high and will make Australian radio history if the $1 million prize is won,” according to the station.

At 7.40am each weekday morning, Jonesy and Kayley will announce the winning date. Listeners born on that date call through with the successful listener winning $100. The wheel is then spun to determine the winning month. If the correct month is spun, the listener wins an extra $1000. The third and final spin of the wheel determines the winning birth year and if all three are correct the listener takes home the $1 million cash.

General Manager of the Australian Radio Network’s three Sydney stations, John Williams, told radioinfo: “Following a number of on-air changes within the Sydney radio market there are a lot of disenfranchised listeners looking for a new home.

“There is a real opportunity in the current environment to secure new listeners and as a result stations are pulling out the big guns to make it happen. WSFM has just set the benchmark by offering listeners the chance to win $1 million.

“This is the first time that a radio station has offered their listeners the chance to win a prize of this size in one hit. It will be the new benchmark for the largest cash prize in Australian Radio.”

WSFM ended the 2003 ratings year on 7.1%. The Jonesy and Kayley Breakfast Show scored a 7.0 share of the breakfast timeslot.

The station is backing the huge competition with advertising across the city, including taxi-back posters (below).