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