Hamish and Andy retained ownership of show’s digital rights and flag new brand partners

Hamish & Andy

Hamish & Andy

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee are set to unveil a new brand partnership with mobile phone maker HTC for the digital platforms of their new Hit Network drive show, despite the radio component being sponsored by supermarket Woolworths.

Speaking to Mumbrella today Blake explained that while Woolies has signed up as a sponsor of the radio show, which is owned by Southern Cross Austereo, he and Lee still own the digital assets and popular podcast, allowing them to partner with other brands.

“We’re just about to launch our new digital partnerships. Our first one we have coming up is HTC Phones which should start shortly on the digital side of things,” Blake said.

“It’s a much different space they’re buying into. There’s the chance to have more stuff through the podcast and other pieces of content we get to make with the support of the digital partner. Woollies could also come on board and take the digital sponsorship, it’s up to Woollies.”

The duo returned to the airwaves full-time last Monday after a five year hiatus to the same national drive slot they left on a high on 2010.

Blake admitted brand partnerships are “a bit of a trust exercise”.

“When you have a sponsor, whether it’s on our digital platform or on air, I personally think listeners understand it’s a commercial environment and these things happen,” he said.

“As long as you’re transparent about it people accept that is the way of the world. It is important to be transparent about it, it stops there being any sense from a listener or a user that they’ve been tricked.”

Blake admitted he has “no idea” if  the pair’s return to radio will boost the struggling Hit Network’s overall audience share.

“I honestly have no idea. I know a lot of other people talk about ratings and if you ran a radio station you would care about, but without wanting to be offensive I never think about it and nor does Andy,” he said.

“I suppose mathematically if something higher comes along it increases an average, but I have no idea past that.”

Despite warnings from the boss of rival KiisFM Ciaran Davis the drive slot and radio environment had changed significantly since they were last on air, Blake said it has the industry has not changed that much, despite the rise of social media.

“It’s been a few years and that’s the way the world has gone. Our strategy if you will, our thoughts on doing stuff on social media and putting stuff on our website, it’s the same as its always been: if we think it’s funny we’ll put it up,” he said.

“We’re not going to put up a hundred cat videos to force people to click on stuff because it’s just not what we do. We’re lucky in the sense that a lot of the ideas we come up with there is a visual element we’re keen to share or has more of a life online.”

He also was not deterred on the difficulties of presenting a national drive program, saying he and Andy have never wished they were a local show.

“You probably wouldn’t talk too much about a specific cafe on Glebe Point Rd knowing it wouldn’t resonate with a listener in Perth,” he said.

“To be honest there’s far more advantages. It’s lucky for our show because a lot of what we talk about is universally non-sensical. The main thing we talk about in today’s show is how we distribute 50,000 branded napkins that I bought from China, you don’t need to be to local for that.”


On working with brands Blake said for him and Lee it is about finding the part of a brand “that resonates the most with the show”.

“At the moment we have Woollies who are our show sponsor and it’s great fun. Woollies is relaxed about it, their whole point is to get across they’ve got great stuff for dinner and we’re on air for drive and we love to talk about food. It’s a perfect situation when it lines up like that,” he said.

“That’s always the goal, we enjoy having different companies be part of the show because almost 100 per cent of the time there’s something fun that you can find within that. The best relationships are when a company gives you a bit of free reign.

“They may have a very formal message, because in their world they have to have a structured marketing message, and allow you to have more fun with it. That’s a win-win for everyone. We have a lot more fun with it and as a by-product a lot more air time.”

On what listeners can expect from the show in the months to come, Blake said plans aren’t really his and Lee’s thing.

“I don’t know if this is irresponsible or not we don’t set any goals, our only goal is to come in and have fun, it’s the only measure we ever hold ourselves to,” he said.

“We would be a lot more proud of a show we had a lot of fun on that didn’t rate than one that we hated doing that was rating highly.

“Our only goal is to have a great time and in the broader piece for the people listening to the show, to have a great time and if people are enjoying listening to the show that’s the only thing we care about. And if they’re not, we apologise in advance.”

When asked on any plans for more TV shows – the duo starred in Nine’s “Gap Year” series – Blake said there were “no formal plans” in place, however that did not mean it would not happen.

“It’s just a time management thing. TV is a full-time job and so is radio – it’s tough to do two full-time jobs at the same time but it’s a lovely problem to have.”

Miranda Ward


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