The boss of MediaWorks Radio is upbeat about the prospects of Radio Live’s breakfast show despite the abrupt departure of the media company’s jack of all trades, Paul Henry.
Yesterday, MediaWorks confirmed the notorious broadcaster will leave in December and be replaced by Duncan Garner, who will head The AM Show. It will still be simulcast on TV3 and Radio Live.
As part of the move, Mr Garner will leave TV3’s 7pm news and current affairs show, Story, which is getting the axe in favour of a local version of Australia’s light-hearted panel show, The Project.
MediaWorks’ announcements coincided with the release of the latest commercial radio survey data, which reports how well (or badly) each radio station did from April to October. In short, MediaWorks’ radio stable (The Edge, More FM, The Breeze, among others) is still well ahead of NZME’s (Newstalk ZB, ZM, The Hits, among others) — 2.2 million listeners compared to 1.8 million.
Breakfast radio (6am-9am), especially in Auckland, is the most hotly contested timeslot because 2.4 million listeners tune in on weekdays, radio survey operator GfK says. Nationally, MediaWorks has a breakfast market share of 53.5% while NZME has 36.4%. In Auckland, MediaWorks has 48.4% and NZME has 37.7%
MediaWorks music content director Leon Wratt says the Paul Henry show’s radio performance matched the success it had on television.
“He’s grown a lot of listeners and he’s increased the share — the 6th most popular breakfast show and 5th in Auckland. Before that, Radio Live never got anywhere near that,” he says.
“Duncan has shown some real strength as well. He’s doing very well in breakfast and drive. If there was someone to come in and take over from Paul Henry then Duncan is definitely the guy I would choose.
“He’s got age on his side as well. Put him together with the great production team on the Paul Henry show and I believe Duncan will do very well.”
Since the last survey, Radio Live’s breakfast market share in Auckland increased from 5.6% to 6% and 5.9% to 6.3% nationally.
Is King Hosking being dethroned?
Meanwhile, the king of morning radio — Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast — fell from a market share of 17.9% to 14.2% in Auckland and 14.8% to 12.7% nationally.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie admits it was a “quieter” news period despite the Olympics happening during the survey.
Paul Henry’s departure could ease the pressure on the Mike Hosking Breakfast but Mr Currie says, “We’d never consider it a free run and we don’t take the No 1 position lightly.”
As for its other stations, NZME entertainment director Dean Buchanan says ZM has been revamped over the past couple of years so it’s reaching a “tipping point.
“[ZM breakfast hosts] Fletch, Vaughan and Megan grew 31,000 news listeners — the biggest of any breakfast show,” Mr Buchanan says.
“Significantly, in the advertising market, in 18-39 in Auckland, Fletch, Vaughan and Megan beat The Edge Breakfast show. That’s a significant win and really shows the momentum ZM is starting to build.”
MediaWorks’ Mr Wratt says The Rock was the “main mover” of the survey, increasing 1.4% in national share and the Breeze “came out of left field” into third place overall.
See the full survey here.
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