Why ARN couldn’t hang on to Hughesy and Kate: the untold story

Of all the many changes at ARN over recent months, the desicion to let Hugesy and Kate go was perhaps the most controversial.

As Peter Saxon wrote at the time in an article entitled Did they jump or were they pushed,: you don’t “push” a national drive show with a consistent 9.0+ share of a five city audience lightly.

As ARN content tsar Duncan Campbell has now revealed it was never his intention to let them go. He told radioinfo, “The changing of Hughesy and Kate was never part of the plan. We started negotiations with him and then with her with the full intention of re-signing them. But then Kate told us that she could only give us a year because she wanted to take the family to live in Europe for a year in 2019.”

Campbell says he was keen to keep that chemistry that Hughesy and Kate have intact and offered to connect an ISDN line to her house in Europe, “I even said we’ll only do four live shows and we’ll repackage a fifth for Friday.”

But Kate was equally keen on taking a year off and living in Europe which left ARN with a “massive dilemma.”

“We had just positioned with the (ARN) Board (of directors) that we want to move away from a strategy where we’re going to put two people together in the hope they’d work, to a strategy where we want chemistry already there.

“So, in a year’s time, we were going to have a situation where we had to put someone else with Dave Hughes, which will cost a lot of money, and hope that it works. We agonised over that for a while.  We had lots of debate about it,” said Campbell.

In the end they opted for a duo that were already possessed of chemistry in abundance. “The great thing was that Will & Woody was always an option,” ARN CEO Rob Atkinson chimed in. “The more we thought about it, the more we went: well actually, they’ll bring a different dimension, a different energy , a different personality… and if we’re going to make that change then let’s do it now.”

And the rest, to paraphrase the cliche, will be history – by about this time next year.



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