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‘We’ve got a bit of a job to do in terms of changing some of the perceptions about him’: ARN’s plan for Kyle Sandilands ahead of Melbourne launch

ARN’s chief content officer, Duncan Campbell, is confident that Melbourne will embrace Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson when they hit the city’s airwaves next month, although he concedes there is some reputational work to be done.

There’s still over a month to go until Kyle and Jackie O launch into the Melbourne breakfast radio market, by which time the show will be in its sixth month of pre-launch hype – even if most of it has been propelled by media articles such as this one.

Campbell is very pleased with the reaction from journalists, and in particular with a phrase penned by a writer from The Age, who quipped the show “has universal appeal whether you’re in Penrith or Preston”.

“I think that was a great line,” Campbell tells Mumbrella. “It was a really, I think, a good snapshot of why it’s going to work.”

According to Campbell, the divide between Sydney and Melbourne from a cultural point of view is a thing of the past.

“The days of the Sydney Melbourne rivalry being prohibitive to doing something like this, I think they’re gone,” he says, “particularly for the demographic we’re targeting here. I mean people in Sydney love Melbourne, people in Melbourne love Sydney; they choose to live in one or the other, but they move between both of them.”

Campbell notes that Kyle and Jackie’s content is “not city specific, it’s universal content. It’s celebrity, it’s sex, it’s games that people play along to, it’s the relationship between Kyle and Jackie O and the team.

“He’s a master at that content,” Campbell notes of Sandilands, “so I think Melbourne will embrace it.”

Campbell admits there was backlash from fans of Jase and Lauren, whose former slot Kyle and Jackie will occupy, but that was to be expected.

“The feedback has been fairly positive… in terms of the broader market, we’re not picking up on anything too negative at all really, it’s more quite a bit of anticipation of what it’s going to sound like.”

Some of that anticipation comes with misconceptions, Campbell notes.

Kyle & Jackie O

“We’ve got a bit of a job to do in terms of changing some of the perceptions about him,” he says of Sandilands, “based on his previous incarnations with [Australian] Idol and the shock jock era he went through in Sydney briefly, but the show is broader now.

“He’s more accessible than he ever has been, since he’s been married, and the chemistry between those two is just unbelievable, so I think if it’s going to work, the timing’s right, I think it’s going to work now.”

Campbell notes that there were no directives needed in order to make the show’s content appeal more to Melbournites.

“There have been no real adjustments,” he notes. “Obviously the informational aspect of the show will be bespoke to Melbourne and bespoke to Sydney, so you know, people won’t be hearing Sydney news and won’t be hearing Sydney weather, but in terms of the content, no.

“That’s the show, and it’s got that universal appeal, so I think if it’s going to work, it’ll work now.

“I think the time is right.”

The Kyle and Jackie O will launch in Melbourne on KIIS 101.1 on Monday, April 29.

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