2021 will be 2020FUN for SCA says Dave Cameron | radioinfo

2021 will be 2020FUN for SCA says Dave Cameron

Monday 07 December, 2020

Dave Cameron explains the strategy behind the changes to Peter Saxon.

Next week it will be exactly a year since Dave Cameron was summoned to the SCA C-Suite to be anointed its next Chief Content Officer. Cameron has been with the station since 1994 and was the last survivor of a long list of senior executives who had left the station since Kyle and Jackie O had jumped ship at the end of 2013 taking their bat, ball and listeners with them. Hamish and Andy left soon after that, greatly diminishing the network’s star-power.
 
In the most recent survey (7) neither of the SCA networks, Triple M nor Today could boast a single number one station on the FM band in any of the metropolitan markets.
 
Of course, when Cameron took the content reins last December, like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected COVID-19. All the plans he was itching to implement were put on hold as normal listening patterns were upended and revenues tumbled.
 
When we spoke with him in April about what he was going to do with 2Day-FM, which had changed Breakfast hosts more often than Australia had changed Prime Ministers, Cameron told us, "You can assume that I'm never going to be happy with a ratings result that's sitting where it is in Breakfast. So, at some stage, you can assume that we will reassess that strategy at the right time, But now, is not the right time… obviously." 
 
Well, obviously, the right time has come as SCA has now announced a slew of line-up changes in both Sydney and Melbourne.
 

2Day-FM Breakfast; Dave Hughes, Ed Kavalee and Erin Molan.

 
“Finding the right time in this year to do certain things has been tricky,” says Cameron. “It's been pretty hard to move people around the country with borders closed. 
 
"But our intention was never to go too early on putting in a strategy with 2Day. I'm in my first year in the role, so I wanted to be completely sure about the approach that we were going to take.  It needed to be the right thing and the right time. And the right time is 2021 with a talent led offering with Hughesy and Ed - and Erin coming into the fold so we’re able to get back to delivering a strong, experienced, established chemistry show with Erin joining that as well. And Erin's a rising star in our eyes, we feel like this is a really good time to be able to come to the market with something that our audiences are already familiar with.”
 
Conventional wisdom suggests that in radio you can either create a show, nurture it and wait till it grows. Or, if you want to know sooner, you can buy known stars and hope it takes off within two or three surveys. And if it doesn’t, you’ll end up paying an awful lot of money for your stars to work out their contracts doing weekend specials.
 
But while growing a show has a lower cost of entry, it may take years to build or not make it at all. In the meantime, ad revenues will remain low costing the station dearly in the long run.
 
Cameron is adamant about his chosen strategy, “I don't have an ambition to start with a development show, in our flagship station. That's been tried before in the last few years.
 
“And, I'm sure, there's opinions on some things that we tried in the last six years, but we've never stopped trying.”

 
So, given the pressure on this latest line-up to succeed, you would imagine that this might be the most heavily researched show in radio history.
 
“No,” says Cameron. “In any change, we take a combination of science and creativity. What we know from the science background is Hughesy and Ed are well-loved in Sydney. We also know that Hughesy's fan base is growing in Sydney as well.
 
"They haven't heard him doing breakfast radio like Melbourne has, apart from being the regular fill in for Kyle, which I'm led to believe was quite often on KIIS. 
 
“So, there's a combination of science and creativity around this. We don't let one sort of lead the other. But we're excited by this show in totality.”

 
Cameron denies that there was any attempt to get the old firm of Hughesy and Kate Langbroek back together, saying, “I've never had a conversation with Kate.”
 

Triple M, Melbourne: The Hot Breakfast will not return in 2021. 

Is there a new talent line-up coming?
 
“Of course,” Cameron teases.
 
Warming to his task, he then waxes lyrical about how great Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy have been. “That's a really legendary show. Any show that can deliver into a market at the top of its game for 11 years goes into the book of legendary radio shows. And there's many of those. There's Kyle and Jackie, there's Hamish and Andy. There's Jonesy and Amanda. There's Fifi with a couple of different combinations. There's Fred Botica in Perth. There are many shows that can take on that legendary or legacy bran for delivering a successful show for so long, the Hot Breakfast goes into that pocket. Absolutely! 
 
“But it's time for change.”
 
Got it. But when can expect an announcement of the new breakfast Triple M Breakfast team for Melbourne?
 
“Before Christmas. We'll give you a Christmas present before Christmas.”
 
We can hardly wait. 
 
“You're welcome,” says the ever-affable Dave Cameron. 
 

FOX FM, Melbourne: Nick Cody replaces Byron Cook as Fifi and Fev stay put 

 
“We felt like there was an opportunity to put a comedic element to that show, it's had it before with Dave Thornton and Matt Tilley. It always does well, when it has a comedic element in that show and it felt like the right time to have a look at how we can change the chemicals. Fev's come into that show in the last couple of years and he's been a terrific new ‘naughty boy’ for us. And he's really connected to the market and is loved by our listeners - as is Fifi, who's driven that show. 
 
"But when you have a look and you listen to that show and you work out whether you need to either go through revolution or evolution, as we do with any of our stations, you know, that's a show and a station that feels like it needs to have some evolution - whereas Triple M in Melbourne, felt like it needed to have revolution in breakfast. 
 
"So, that's the approach. We still feel high value coming through from Fifi and Fev and, the opportunity to put in Nick Cody (left), who's a terrific local comedian who seems like a good chance to make that change, just to refresh and evolve, rather than take a completely new approach."

 

Hit Network National Drive: Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little will return in 2021

- with an extended shift from 3pm - 6pm to cover for Hughesy and Ed who have moved into breakfast at 2Day FM

"We kind of had a dual drive show offering, which was an important approach for us coming out of the back of Hamish and Andy, finishing up several years ago. We wanted to take a different approach to drive. But again, things evolve as things change. And we felt like it was a good time to bring back a singular focus drive show. 

"We're going back to the standard bookend philosophy of one Breakfast, one Drive. It's an easy offering for our audience to understand. And that show's been growing incredibly well over the last few years. We love both of them and they both do an amazing job together. There's chemistry that you just cannot buy or create sometimes but they have a great chemistry together.



 

2021 will be 2020FUN

 What's the outlook for next year? Will radio be coming back to where it was in pre-covid times?
 
“There's a couple of things that I think will happen,” says Cameron. “I think we'll get back to some level of normality in that in-car listening will return, particularly in Melbourne. And more regular listening patterns will happen with audiences back in the commute. 
 
"Covid, has delivered audiences an opportunity to go and get their favourite shows on demand - in the last six months, we've seen the growth in our radio podcast numbers. But I think Breakfast shows, in-car listening, will return. 
 
"I think the other thing that will happen is that that there will be some sort of a demand for light entertainment and comedy again next year.
 
Everyone's exhausted by the dark depths of 2020 and the difficulty that it's brought and how news-hungry this year's been. And I think we'll see a return to people wanting to be entertained and have a laugh again and not crave the news and the Covid numbers every day. 
 
"I think content is going to be led by a bit of escapism again - people just wanting a bit of a break. We're calling 2021 2020FUN. for us. And we’re injecting a whole bunch of new, exciting, comedic offerings into our markets.
"

Tomorrow's Survey 8, the last one for this eminently forgettable year, for most, will likley pose more questions than it answers.

But Dave Cameron won't be sweating on the results.

"Every survey matters, but to be honest, our decisions are based not around one survey. Our decisions are based around 2021, 22, 22, 23... So I'll be happy to talk to you over the course of those years and talk about how things are tracking." 
 
Join us here on radioinfo.com.au tomorrow from 9:30am for all the results, the analysis, cumes and shares as well as the Spin Cycle. 


Peter Saxon

 

 
 

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1 Comments

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David
8 December 2020 - 8:48am
It's not a bad strategy but will depend upon how much of the audience is in the mood for fun in 2021. As a listener, I feel my demographic wants charm, which is a little different from fun.
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