How SCA lured Erin Molan to 2Day FM breakfast & why Dave Hughes has a ‘nothing matters’ approach

Commercial radio is getting a big shakeup in 2021, but the spotlight will inevitably shine brightest on 2Day FM. Zanda Wilson spoke with new breakfast co-hosts Erin Molan and Dave Hughes about SCA's new Sydney breakfast radio offering.

If Erin Molan and Dave Hughes are feeling any pressure over kicking off a new breakfast show on 2Day FM this week, it’s not showing, and that’s probably for good reason.

The pair make up two-thirds of Southern Cross Austereo’s latest crack at a talent-driven breakfast show (alongside Ed Kavalee) for its Sydney station, which has gone through a swathe of iterations since the infamous departure of Kyle and Jackie O in 2014.

L-R: Ed Kavalee, Dave Hughes and Erin Molan

Metro commercial radio is getting a big shakeup in 2021, but among the eight new or refreshed breakfast shows debuting this year, the spotlight will once shine brightest on 2Day FM.

After several attempts at throwing together high-profile names in the hope that something would stick, SCA is now taking a tried and tested drive show of Hughesy and Ed, and adding radio and TV personality Erin Molan, who tells Mumbrella the idea of joining the station was first floated to her a few years ago.

“I was obviously with 2GB and had a heap of different things going on with Channel Nine. And I wasn’t looking really for anything extra.”

When head of the Hit Network Gemma Fordham approached Molan this time around, she was immediately excited at the prospect of working with Hughes and Kavalee, but that wasn’t going to get in the way of doing her due diligence before signing on the dotted line.

“I’m huge fans of them [Hughes and Kavalee], they’re phenomenal talent [but] I had a lot of questions for Gemma and the team in terms of the amount of time they were going to give a new show, to work out the amount of money that we’re going to spend in promoting and advertising, and a heap of other things that I wanted to make sure were in place,” Molan explains.

The chemistry of the trio was never in question for Molan, who appeared as a guest on the Hughesy and Ed national drive show on multiple occasions in 2019. So from there, the decision came down to whether it was realistic to balance her other media commitments with the new show, and a young family.

“It was a hard decision in that I’m a mum of a two-and-a-half-year-old and I have a full-time job at channel nine that I’ll continue to do this year,” Molan adds, as she artfully continues to answer this reporter’s questions while also taking delivery of her lunch and continuing to get ready before heading off to another commitment.

“But it wasn’t a hard decision when it came to the plan and the crew and the people, because I’ve probably never believed in anything more. To be honest, I’ve never been more confident in something working, which is great.”

‘The Morning Crew’ moniker was made famous by Wendy Harmer and Peter Moon in the 90s

That confidence is shared by her new co-host Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes, who is no stranger to breakfast radio having spent many years presenting in the slot at Nova Entertainment.

Multiple 2Day FM breakfast lineups since 2014 have copped criticism for one of radio’s cardinal sins; not doing localism well enough. But Hughes believes after his time on a national show, connecting with Sydney audiences won’t be a problem.

“Ed Kavalee grew up in Sydney, he knows everything. And Erin, she’s one of the faces of Sydney right now.

“People know Erin really well, and so I don’t think there’ll be any issue with us connecting with Sydney. Erin has the perfect vibe for it and I really enjoy working with Ed, we just laugh every day,” he says.

After years on radio, Hughes reveals he knew pretty much straight away that Molan would be right for this particular gig.

“When Erin’s name came up, I thought ‘fuck she’s somebody who gets the joke.’

“She’s energetic but not precious and also sees the funny side of life really quickly. I started to think ‘this might be a goer’, and then it’s been about getting my head around breakfast radio again.”

Molan adds that she’s very aware of what her role will be on the show, and that she’s there to supplement what Hughes and Kavalee have created on their drive show.

“I’ve learnt a lot over, in 15 to 20 years in broadcasting. I very much know my place and know what I’m there for. Just to have a little bit of fun, add a little bit when I can when I feel like it’s warranted,” she says.

“I’m not an overpowering person, I’ve got no ego. I’m very happy to sit back. If there’s a conversation that’s flowing really nicely and doesn’t need me, I’m happy to chip in when there’s an opportunity.”

Though this will be her first full-time FM radio gig, Molan isn’t a fresh face on radio, having worked on the AM dial at 2GB for several years. She’s won multiple ACRA Awards as part of the Continuous Call Team, and also won Best On-Air Team – AM in 2019 for her afternoons show with Natalie Peters.

“I think that it’s a bit of a cliche, but you got to have good content. You can be the funniest, most talented broadcasters in the world, but if you don’t have good content, it doesn’t matter,” she says.

“So I think content is key and chemistry is key and I’ve experienced that kind of thing when chemistry works really bloody well.”

Molan served on 2GB’s Continuous Call Team program for several years

For Hughes, years of working on high-stakes radio shows means that he is approaching this latest project with a ‘whatever will be, will be’ kind of attitude, something that a crazy 2020 helped enforce within his thinking.

“I’m less nervous because honestly, you get to the point where you just don’t give a fuck,” he laughs.

“You know, you have some high points in your career and you realise no one cares, honestly, like nothing matters. I know how that sounds… but it’s like, once you get to that point, it’s really liberating because you know… no matter what happens, no one cares.

“So I honestly am not nervous. I’ve just let go of it. I’m not there to compare myself to others or to worry about the past or the future.”

This time around SCA has the trio on a “long-term deal”, taking away any pressure to immediately start turning around 2Day’s ratings, which have spent years in the doldrums.

“And I understand that no one has really taken a hold of the slot for a number of years. But the network has given us a long-term deal so that they’ve shown commitment through that,” Hughes adds.

“They’re committed financially so they’re definitely going to see it through. I said it’s got to be long term and they said ‘how long do you want?’ So there’s no worry from our point of view on the network being committed.”

Their first show this morning showed plenty of promise, with some segments coming over from the Hughesy and Ed drive show, and conversation flowing well between the three hosts.

Bringing back The Morning Crew name to the show is a bold touch as well, after it brought consistent ratings success to 2Day FM breakfast in the ’90s with Wendy Harmer and Peter Moon at the helm.

As with any new radio show, it will be a question of wait and see for the Hughesy, Ed and Erin show, but they’ll hope to do justice to The Morning Crew name, and they’re off to a good start.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.