Kyle Sandilands says ‘it never entered his mind’ he might fail when ditching 2Day FM for Kiis

In the period when radio host Kyle Sandilands was planning the move from 2Day FM to ARN with co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, it never occurred to him listeners might not follow or that he could possibly fail.

Speaking to Karl Stefanovic on stage at the Radio Alive conference in Brisbane, Sandilands said it’s simply not hard for consumers to follow their favourite talent.

Sandilands said he just presumed listeners would follow him and Henderson to Kiis FM

“I just assumed everyone will come. It never entered my mind for one second that the listeners might not come. I always thought, ‘I love Law and Order, SVU’ – not Criminal Intent, that one’s shit – and I always thought ‘I watch that all the time, it’s on Channel Ten, if all of a sudden it went to Channel Nine would I not watch channel Nine? No. I don’t give a fuck where it is, I’ll watch it wherever it is,’” Sandilands told Stefanovic.

“I’d never even thought that a possibility. In my mind, I had just thought they’d come wherever we are. If I can’t expect people to just switch to another station, it’s not as if I’m asking them to rewrite something. We were number one for God’s sakes. It’s not as if we were last and were expecting to be first. We were first,” Sandilands said.

It wasn’t until he read a story by “some expert” in a newspaper which said at best 15% of the duo’s audience would come across that he suddenly began to panic, especially considering he had promised ARN bosses Duncan Campbell and Ciaran Davis the audience would follow.

But the audiences did follow, and Sandilands and Henderson were able to bring their number one FM status across to Kiis. It was that desire to continue the success of the show that drove the duo to move, Sandilands said, because he found out his bosses at Southern Cross Austereo thought that the pair were beginning to reach the end of their success and would need a refresh.

Sandilands sees longevity in his career though. Talking openly about his success elsewhere, including through his business investment in H2Coco, Sandilands says his passion for radio means he’d like to stay in the industry for as long as possible.

In fact, when Sandilands first moved from Triple M in Brisbane to Sydney for 2Day FM on the Hot 30 Countdown he was shocked to find that not everyone had the same passion for the job.

“When I got to 2Day FM, I thought everyone is going to be the best in the business. How could you even work in Sydney, at the biggest station in Sydney, if you’re not the best? And I was shocked to get there and find out that half the people were great and loved it as much as I did, and the other half were like ‘It’s only Wednesday and there’s still two more days left till the weekend’. I was shocked. I love radio so much, I just assumed everyone loved it as much as me.”

Because of that love, Sandilands has a lot of input on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, he said. Unlike many other breakfast programs, Sandilands prefers to operate his own panel, arguing that he’s better at it than a lot of others.

“I know a lot of breakfast shows have a panel operator but my panel operator is hopeless. So I run the desk. Well, he’s not really hopeless, but I like to operate it. I can’t be pointing fingers at people, I like to drop the music bed when there’s dramatic moments and you just can’t convey that in advance. Especially when you wing the show every day.”

Sandilands also has a lot of input where the music is concerned, he said. Particularly, when he moved across during the Kiis FM rebrand, he said he quickly demanded the music that was being played at Mix be done away with. Celine Dion and LeAnn Rimes were ditched, he said, and he’s also not a fan of Adele.

“I do change the music a lot if I’m not feeling it. Who wants to give away $10,000 and go into a fucking Adele song? No. You want to go out on an up,” Sandilands said.

“They’ve been great at ARN. I explain why because at first they were worried when I wasn’t playing the songs they’d scheduled, but I said to Duncan [Campbell] ‘Yeah, if we’re going to give away ten grand we’re going to go into an up song’. We were meant to go into an ad break, but no, we’re playing a song. Who wants to go ‘Oh, you won ten grand, then five minutes of ads’, sounds like shit. My job is to keep them there listening.

“I’m better than everyone else at it. It’s just little tweaks that make the difference between people feeling good. You’ve got to have a bit of fluidity to play around.”


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