Lift for an early crew

The re­cent rise in the rat­ings for the MIX break­fast show could mean pa­tience has paid off

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - GREG THOM

AF­TER 29 years in the ra­dio in­dus­try, Mix 101.1 gen­eral man­ager Steve Rowe has seen enough to know it takes more than one good rat­ings sur­vey to make a sum­mer.

That doesn’t mean he isn’t happy with the boost given to his Two Women and a Metro break­fast team.

It’s been a tough year for the trio, Brigitte Du­c­los, Ge­orgina McEn­croe and Tom Glee­son.

The sta­tion’s determination to chase a more fe­male-friendly de­mo­graphic — aged 30 to 50 — with a life­style-ori­ented for­mat had hardly been an in­stant win­ner with lis­ten­ers.

De­rided by some crit­ics as bland, soft and in­of­fen­sive, the sta­tion had strug­gled against ri­vals such as Vega.

There had been ru­mours the ail­ing break­fast show could face the axe. That’s why the 1.4 per cent au­di­ence lift to 4.6 per cent in the lat­est sur­vey comes as a wel­come morale boost and some small val­i­da­tion for the sta­tion’s per­sis­tence in pur­su­ing its strat­egy.

‘‘It was re­ally pleas­ing to get that bounce but, by the same to­ken, the worst thing you can do is fly the flag and say ev­ery­thing is fixed,’’ Rowe says. ‘‘It’s not.’’

By his own ad­mis­sion, it has been a tough year.

Rowe has to go as far back as sur­vey two at the start of the year for the only other rat­ings in­crease recorded by the break­fast team this year.

That re­sult was fol­lowed by three con­sec­u­tive falls.

Though pleased to get a bit of rat­ings love, Rowe says he’ll be hap­pier when the sta­tion can string to­gether two or three pos­i­tive sur­veys.

‘‘When you get a good re­sult like that, cer­tainly peo­ple en­joy it,’’ Rowe says.

‘‘They get a bit of en­thu­si­asm and it prob­a­bly es­tab­lishes some good mo­men­tum.’’

Rowe says there is no sin­gle rea­son for the rat­ings boost.

He be­lieves the break­fast crew has ‘‘clicked’’ since its first show at the start of the year and is get­ting out and about and en­gag­ing more with lis­ten­ers.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple want things to hap­pen overnight,’’ Rowe says. ‘‘Break­fast teams don’t do that. You’re es­tab­lish­ing your au­di­ence, you still have lis­ten­ers who prob­a­bly liked the last team and all those sort of things.’’

Rowe says break­fast ra­dio teams have to be given time to work well to­gether, some­thing Du­c­los, Glee­son and McEn­croe have pro­gres­sively achieved.

He says MIX’s ‘‘smooth’’ mu­sic for­mat has given the sta­tion a bet­ter­de­fined iden­tity with lis­ten­ers.

‘‘It’s a ma­ture type of mu­sic for­mat. There are not too many hard edges, it’s not over-soft, ei­ther. It’s de­signed to be fairly good to lis­ten to for long pe­ri­ods.’’

WITH Two Women and a Metro not ex­actly threat­en­ing top-rat­ing break­fast ri­vals such as The Matt and Jo Show on FOX and Nova’s Hugh­esy and Kate, Rowe is keep­ing his feet on the ground.

‘‘I’ve been in ra­dio about 29 years so I al­ways feel like, ‘I’ll take it and I’ll en­joy it, but we need to do it again’, he says of the rat­ings boost.

‘‘We need to keep some for­ward mo­men­tum and have more than one good re­sult.’’

Time will tell if the sur­vey surge is a one-off blip or the folksy, anec­do­tal ap­proach of Two Women and a Metro is beginning to strike a gen­uine chord with lis­ten­ers.

The re­sults of the eighth and fi­nal ra­dio rat­ings sur­vey for the year will de­ter­mine whether it is go­ing to be a Merry Christ­mas for Rowe and his crew at MIX.

Rat­ings re­vival: this month’s sur­vey had some good news for the Two Women and a Metro team of (from left) Ge­orgina McEn­croe, Brigitte Du­c­los and Tom Glee­son.

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