Dave Cameron commits to giving 2Day FM breakfast at least two years, and promises to restore Fox FM’s competitive edge

The final radio ratings of 2020 saw Southern Cross Austereo make some gains in key markets, but with several improving shows getting refreshed in the new year, chief content officer Dave Cameron is more focussed on what's to come in 2021. Mumbrella's Zanda Wilson chats with Cameron about lineup changes, refreshing legacy brands and a shiny new radio station in Perth.

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) is preparing to refresh breakfast lineups in four out of the five major metro markets next year.

2Day FM, Fox FM, Triple M Brisbane, Triple M Melbourne, Mix 94.5 and the new Triple M Perth will all have new-look breakfast shows in 2021, so it’s no surprise that SCA’s chief content officer, Dave Cameron, is looking beyond this week’s ratings.

SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron

After a year riddled by COVID lockdowns and suspended surveys, Cameron is expecting “standard listening behaviours” to return in 2021, and his radio company is using this reset as a chance to make some big changes.

None is more hotly anticipated than the latest iteration of breakfast on 2Day FM, which sees Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes and Ed Kavalee depart national drive and join Erin Molan in the slot, for the umpteenth version of the show since Kyle and Jackie O’s infamous departure to the rival Australian Radio Network in 2013.

In that time, SCA has been criticised for not giving shows long enough to bed in with the market, but Cameron is adamant this won’t be the case with the new show, which will “without a doubt” be given at least a couple of years to resonate in Sydney.

“We feel like we’re coming in to the market with a show [Hughesy and Ed] that’s familiar. As I’ve mentioned to you before on email, a show that has already got a fanbase… that has already crafted its chemistry together,” he tells Mumbrella.

After Jamie Angel bowed out of his final survey with a 4.2% share this week, Cameron is sure that Hughesy, Ed and Erin can drive a wedge in the market next year and pull back more share.

“We’ll start low and then grow with that show, as is always the strategy with new shows,” he says.

“Erin [Molan] will be a magical sauce for us in between the boys,” Cameron adds, once again highlighting the talents of the former 2GB and Nine presenter.

“We’ve been considering Erin for a long time. She was always the first pick, and the right pick for that show. We knew that we needed to put something in a little different from what’s sitting in the drive show at the moment.”

2Day FM will once again trial a talent-led breakfast format in 2021

Fox FM is another station that finished the year on a bounce after less than ideal results throughout 2020. Overall, the station gained 1.5 percentage points to a 6.7% share, with breakfast also rising to 6.6%.

While it’s a far cry from the regular double-digit ratings that characterised Fox over many recent years, Cameron believes the station is well-placed after a year of e-diaries and lockdowns.

“You’ve seen a significant portion of survey eight with Melbourne still in lockdown, which means no commute, businesses being shuttered. So you’re seeing the effects of an audience that were taken away from those light entertainment and music stations,” he explains.

“I’m quite relieved to see that Fox is the one that’s probably broken from the COVID lockdown packet there, while it’s not the numbers we would normally see in regular times.”

Triple M Brisbane breakfast host Nick Cody will replace Byron Cooke alongside Fifi Box and Brendan Fevola in 2021, and Cameron says it feels like a natural evolution of the show.

“In the case of Fifi, we felt there was an opportunity to put a comedic contribution unto the show. Fifi’s always been at her best when she’s been with a comedian, and she reacts well to having comedic inclusion into any shows that she’s headlining.

“It was the right move at the right time for the right person [for Cody]. I think that will be a really strong show for next year.”

Triple M breakfast will also change next year

Off the back of a year of lockdowns, SCA has also called time on Triple M’s The Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy after 11 years and various lineup iterations.

While Cameron wouldn’t be drawn on who might replace McGuire, he commits to the new offering being “a completely different show from The Hot Breakfast, that’s for sure”.

He reserves special praise for McGuire’s contribution, calling his long-running show “legendary”.

“That will always go down as one of SCA’s most successful breakfast shows. [McGuire] pioneered a different style of content for Triple M that we hadn’t delivered previously. It was hugely successful and came to the end of its lifespan, as most shows do.”

As if that wasn’t enough churn for the network, SCA has just launched Triple M Perth in the west, with heritage brand Mix 94.5 to join the Hit Network as Hit 92.9 ceases to exist in the new year.

The latter has struggled to keep pace with stablemates Mix, the dominant Nova and a resurgent 96 FM in recent years. In its final survey in the market, Hit finished as the #4 station on 8.7%, while Mix 94.5 is second on 12%.

Cameron says the plan was always to keep the Mix brand, and now SCA is realising a long-held dream of launching a Triple M station in Perth. “Mix has been a hugely successful brand for us, why would you change that too much?” he asks.

“To blow up Mix would be pretty crazy. We’ve always been interested in finding the opportunity, somewhere somehow, to complete the Triple M network.

“It fits really well to have five local heritage brands heading up the metro stack of the Hit Network. Also the format of Mix aligned much closer with the Hit Network, so it was a bit of an odd station out on the Triple M network.

“That gave us the chance to put a rock station back into a market that loves its rock, and we feel like its been completely underserved in that market.”

And while Cameron doesn’t think that moving Kennedy Molloy from Mix to the new Triple M drive will be too much of an “issue”, he admits it presents an “interesting challenge”.

“As you say, attribution takes a long time, with shows to brands in stations. I think half of our listeners still think Hamish and Andy are doing drive. It takes a long time for attribution to kick in or disappear.”

Stay tuned to Mumbrella this week as SCA is expected to announce the new breakfast lineups for Triple M Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.


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