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‘Kyle was talking about networking for 20 years’: ARN boss plays down Christian O’Connell going national

Christian O’Connell has Melbourne’s top FM breakfast show, but he’s made no secret of his desire for a larger audience.

Speaking to Mumbrella’s one-on-one podcast last month, O’Connell said: “I’ve signed a long-term deal with ARN. My goals are very clear.

“I want the show to be more available and that means outside of Melbourne and live. That’s really important to me, really important. I think what we do, me and my team, do on the show is, it’s different: It’s radio for grownups.

“And I really believe that it’s nothing to do with domination or trying to be number one somewhere else. It’s about just making it more available. That’s what is in my heart. I’d really like that.

“Now, the different shapes and forms and permutations of that, there’s lots of different things that have obviously been going on for the last ten months or so with ARN trying to buy SCA – and possibly Triple M.

“There’s a lot of different ways that it can happen, but that is my goal. The next few years is for the show to be more available.”

Seems fairly concrete.

Speaking to ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell this week, Mumbrella asked Campbell about O’Connell’s future as a nationally syndicated broadcaster.

“He goes very well in Melbourne,” Campbell said, of O’Connell’s #1 GOLDFM Breakfast show.

“Someone asked me the other day, ‘Do you think Kyle and Jackie is going to work [in Melbourne]?’ I said, ‘Well, I didn’t know that Christian O’Connell was going to work, but I was confident he would – and he has exceeded expectations, really.

“So, it’s not a particularly – it’s not a Melbourne-centric show either. It’s a show that could certainly travel. It’s a case of whether, you know, we’re prepared to sort of take that risk, I suppose.

“But I do think if we put him on a national platform somewhere, I don’t think we’d roll it out straight away. Certainly, we’d dip our toe in water, I suppose. But I think it’s a show that certainly would travel well.”

Christian O’Connell and Gold are leading the FM revival in Melbourne

As O’Connell noted, he has signed a deal with ARN until 2029 – he is signed to the network, rather than to GOLDFM, meaning he could move around stations. Has this been a discussion?

“Well, I might go back in history now,” Campbell said, revealing that “when we first talked to him, he wanted to be on Mix, as it was then, which is now KIIS. But we felt that he was better suited to GOLD, and he’s really made that his home.

“So there’s discussions all the time in terms of ambitions. I mean, Kyle was talking about networking for 20 years, you know? So we have those discussions regularly.

“It’s really a case of, you know: availability and timing, really.”

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