Out­foxed ’em

De­spite los­ing key per­son­nel, the FOX FM for­mat re­mains a rat­ings hit

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - GREG THOM

IF ANY one ra­dio sta­tion had the mi­das touch last year, it was FOX FM. The mu­sic-heavy sta­tion could do lit­tle wrong, nail­ing the top-rat­ing spots in the cru­cial FM slots of break­fast and driv­e­time.

At the highly com­pet­i­tive ear­ly­morn­ing end of the spec­trum, the con­sis­tent Matt and Jo Show had a mort­gage on the No.1 po­si­tion all year.

At the other end of the work­ing day, drive duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee set rat­ings records, de­liv­er­ing the most lis­tened-to show in the coun­try.

By any mea­sure FOX ap­pears to be sit­ting pretty, but scratch the sur­face and it’s not hard to find a few cracks that could make things in­ter­est­ing in the months ahead.

In an in­dus­try where one of the keys to a highly suc­cess­ful on-air team is con­sis­tency, some no­table ex­its have sent The Matt & Jo Show into un­charted ter­ri­tory.

The closely knit crew has lost highly re­spected long-time ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Paul Dowsley and pro­ducer Lisa Hind to Triple M’s ri­val break­fast out­fit headed by Peter Hel­liar and Myf Warhurst.

It is Pete and Myf’s third ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer since their de­but a lit­tle over a year ago and a sign that Triple M is de­ter­mined to try to lift the duo’s rat­ings stocks.

Added to the loss of Dowsley — who is an­chor­ing Pete and Myf on air as well as jug­gling his du­ties as EP — is the de­par­ture of pre­sen­ter Jo Stan­ley from The Matt & Jo Show. She has stepped away from the mic for sev­eral months on ma­ter­nity leave, to be re­placed by Michala Banas.

Com­bined with the down­grad­ing of gos­sip guru Adam Richards’ on-air role, the changes at FOX FM could make a dent in the show’s rock-solid rat­ings.

Drive-time duo Hamish and Andy were ev­ery­where in ’08, mak­ing TV ap­pear­ances on Rove and the Lo­gies and smash­ing ra­dio rat­ings records.

That may be the prob­lem. Though their fans have so far shown no signs of tir­ing of their gen­uinely funny and ir­rev­er­ent style, the lis­ten­ing pub­lic can prove fickle.

IT’S be­lieved sta­tion min­ders were con­cerned to­wards the end of last year that the pop­u­lar duo could be in dan­ger of over­ex­po­sure.

With the pair con­stantly in the news out­side their ra­dio show — Lee’s re­la­tion­ship with model Me­gan Gale alone en­sures a steady stream of gos­sip-col­umn pic­tures— bosses are alert to the dan­ger that the pair could wear out their wel­come.

Only time will tell if the pub­lic’s love af­fair with the golden boys of ra­dio reaches new heights this year or fans start to tire of their stunt­based ap­proach to the air­waves.

Preg­nant pause: Jo Stan­ley.

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