Brisbane

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Radio rumbles

A radio industry source tells me that the appointment of Jamie Dunn to the breakfast shift at 4BC next year has prompted an "unprecedented negative response" from the station's listeners and there are fears that it will "end in disaster". My source says the decision to hire Dunn was a deliberate attempt to target Triple M - which makes sense given their neighbouring demographic targets. Speaking of the Ms, the rumour mill also has it that The Cage may lose Sami Lukis next year, as she is being considered for a Sydney-based job with the Triple M network which would mean a radical change in her working hours.

Operation for Labrat

I guess it was inevitable that somebody called Labrat would end up in a medical facility. The B105 breakfast announcer had severe pain, was diagnosed on air and underwent emergency surgery to remove his appendix. There's more, including audio, here. I wish him well. PS: In Sydney, there are growing rumours that WSFM's Jonesy and Amanda will move to Triple M next year. The annual movement at the stations has well and truly begun.

Last chance to save the Regent

The fate of Brisbane's Regent theatre could be sealed in just over two weeks. If you want to object to Brisbane City Council before the November 7 deadline, either as an individual or a group, there's now a complete guide at www.savetheregent.com. The direct link is here. Make sure your objection addresses the proposal directly, and includes as many facts as possible, plus a viable alternative (e.g. restoring the original auditorium). Even if you don't plan to make a formal objection, please consider writing to or emailing Premier Anna Bligh, deputy premier Paul Lucas, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman and the building's owners. Their contact details are on the STR website under "Links". This could be our last chance to stop the Regent going the way of the Her Majesty's, the Wintergarden, Festival Hall, the Forum, the Paris, the Metro, Cloudland and so many other of Brisbane's heritage venues.

Big brekkie break

Fancy filling the shoes of Waynee Poo? River 949 in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is advertising for "breakfast talent" to replace Wayne Roberts (pictured), who left the station abruptly two Fridays ago. The ad is looking for somebody who can "create compelling, entertaining breakfast radio in a fast paced music based environment". The successful candidate will also have to be somebody who "thrives" on waking up at 3.30am. Guess that rules out most people already in breakfast radio ...

The Dunn Factor

As promised, here's a more thorough analysis of the impact of Jamie Dunn re-entering the Brisbane radio scene. I've done a station-by-station rundown, based on the assumption that there will be no more changes in the breakfast shifts. This is by no means certain, though - especially as there are rumours, backed by strong reasoning, of changes at several stations, including (drum roll please) market leader Nova 106.9! This analysis also doesn't take into account the impact of digital radio and multi-channelling, which really won't kick in until enough people buy digital receivers - and that could be many years.
4BC: The success of Jamie Dunn depends on his ability to adapt to the talk format, keep the lion's share of the station's existing listeners and bring over new listeners from the other AM stations and, crucially, the FM band.
612ABC: The local ABC station should pick up some disaffected BC listeners but may initially lose some people who want to sample what Dunn is up to. In the long term, I see Aunty's audience staying steady and perhaps even growing. Going on the experience in other states, by the end of the year the ABC and 4BC should command at least 25 percent of the total audience, especially in breakfast
Nova 106.9: The No.1 station should remain at the top of the heap as long as it can keep its breakfast team together, or at least substantially so. I've been saying Meshel Laurie will go back down south for a long time now, and one day I'll be right. I understand there are reasons why one or two of the other presenters might want to move on, too. If Dunn really clicks at BC, Nova may not be No.1 overall but it should lead the FM pack.
B105: Although it has made some ratings gains this year, the former market leader is still doing poorly. The challenge right now for its owners Austereo (who also own Triple M) is whether to stick with what they've got or try something new. There are dangers in both approaches. I don't expect the Jamie Dunn factor to have too much impact, though, as most of his fans have already defected to Triple M or 97.3FM. If the Nova breakfast show does fall over, B105's in with a chance to make some gains - but Nova is strong throughout the day and by no means an easy beat.
Triple M: I think the Ms are in for a tough ride, at least early in the new year. With 97.3 already appealing to the female listeners in the 29-plus demographic and BC sure to target its 40-plus listeners (particularly the tradesmen and the stay-at-home mums), Triple M has a lot to lose. However, I'd never write off Ian Skippen - and, despite all the snide remarks he sends in his former colleague's directions, neither would Jamie Dunn.
97.3FM: The female-skewed music station will do OK if it sticks to its knitting. The only risk it has is that if some of the folks who tune in to hear Robyn Bailey are actually Jamie Dunn fans nostalgic for when they were together on B105.
4KQ: Things haven't been terribly bright for KQ, which was once a major contender. There's a chance they will pick up some disaffected listeners from BC but I think the station's best hope is to try to hold its own.
4BH: Again, I can't see much change. BH is run on the smell of an oily rag, and will benefit commercially from any extra revenue Dunn can attract to it via its sister station 4BC. It's not meant to attract huge ratings, and it won't.

Jamie Dunn's return: What it means

I will post a more thorough analysis in coming days, but my immediate thoughts on Jamie Dunn's move to 4BC follow: In the short term, there will be a lot of "sampling", not just by listeners from other the older-skewed stations - 612ABC, 4KQ and 4BH - but also Dunn's old B105 audience and some current Triple M and 97.3 FM listeners. The long term challenge for 4BC will be to keep the older listeners happy while drawing in a slightly younger crowd (people in their 40s and early 50s). If the move works, it will mean a strengthening of both 4BC and 612ABC (who will inherit the listeners who don't like Dunn) and a slight weakening of the other stations. If it really works, BC could mimic commercial talk stations in Sydney and Melbourne and become the overall leader in a very tight market.
Update: Jamie is pictured (thanks, Channel 10) with his longtime sidekick Ian Calder, who will also move to 4BC. Courtney Burns will complete the line-up, which will be on air from January 12 next year. Rod "Mr T" Tiley will read the news in the breakfast slot, and Peter Dick will move to the afternoon shift.
Usual disclosures apply

Jamie comes home

Oct 16 update: Jamie Dunn's return to Brisbane, and his debut on the 4BC airwaves, have been announced as expected.

The rumour mill is on overdrive concerning what's going on at Brisbane Radio 4BC following the resignation of breakfast co-host Ross Davie. I now have it from four different sources that former B105 morning star Jamie Dunn is returning from Zinc 96 on the Sunshine Coast to helm 4BC breakfast. One new version has cornflakes incumbent Peter Dick moving to an afternoon or drive-time slot to make way for Dunn. Maybe they are all wrong, but it all seems right. I've been saying here, and elsewhere, for a long time that Dunn would be a hit on commercial talk radio, and potentially Brisbane's answer to Alan Jones (in terms of ratings success, I mean).
PS: In other radio news, ABC Radio National is axing a raft of shows, including Religion Report, Media Report, Sports Factor, The Ark, Perspective and In Conversation.
Disclosure: See here

Ross Davie quits 4BC

4BC breakfast co-host Ross Davie has quit. According to a media release, he will leave on Friday, October 17 to concentrate on his advertising agency, Ross Davie Advertising. In the statement, 4BC general manager David McDonald said: "Ross Davie has contributed much, and been an important part of the success of 1116 4BC in recent years and his efforts have been greatly appreciated.” He said he completely understood Davies' decision based on his commitment to his family and their business. McDonald has dismissed this blog's reporting of rumours that former B105 star Jamie Dunn will be joining 4BC next year, but today's statement does nothing to quell that speculation. It does, however, say that an announcement on the "new breakfast line-up" is expected soon. So, will Peter Dick (pictured, at right on right, with Davie) remain in the slot with another co-host, or will there be wholesale change?

Poo: End of an era?

It seems it wasn't a hoax, and Wayne "Waynee Poo" Roberts has left Ipswich-based River 949. He's certainly disappeared from the website, which at the time of writing seems to indicate that River now only has two announcers. Roberts, who was on 4BK, 4IP and 4BC, is one of the genuine big stars of Brisbane radio over the past 40 years, and I'm sure his presence will be missed by many listeners. Or, as one reader of this blog suggests, perhaps he is planning another comeback ...

Queenslanders in focus

Times may be tough for Channel 9 but it seems that hasn't diminished the network's commitment to local programming. Starting on Sunday at 5.30pm is a documentary series Extraordinary Queenslanders. Hosted by Bruce Paige and produced by sometime 4BC announcer John Miller, it focuses on "our unsung heroes, the people that really make our state great".
PS: According to the publicity blurb, the series was "initiated by the Bank of Queensland", which seems to suggest that Nine didn't bankroll it alone (or, perhaps, at all).

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