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And they’re playing another round of the game of shuffles at 2UE and 2GB

April 28th, 2012 at 03:06am

This round seems to have been sparked by 2GB doing the almost unthinkable, dumping their consistently top-rating night time host Brian Wilshire, and replacing him with Steve Price, whom Macquarie Radio (owners of 2GB) still have under a five-year contract from his time at the helm of their now-abandoned foray in to the Melbourne market, MTR 1377.

This alters 2GB’s lineup a bit more than a simple replacement would. Steve Price is taking over the 8pm-midnight timeslot, which means he is replacing the Alan Jones & Ray Hadley highlights hour which was airing at 8pm, The Super Show with Peter Switzer which was airing at 9pm, and some of Brian Wilshire’s timeslot which most recently started at 10pm. Overnights will return to starting at the old start time of midnight, although it is entirely unclear who will be hosting that as the original story was that Brian Wilshire was to be given that timeslot, however he is going away for three months to write a book, so it’s entirely possible that Michael McLaren will return to the overnight show when he returns from annual leave in a week or two.

That said, I was told late last year that 2GB had plans to replace Brian Wilshire with former 2UE afternoon presenter Michael Smith. It hasn’t happened and I have seen no further evidence of it, but anything is possible at this point in time.

Regardless of what happens to the overnight show, Steve Price has announced that Andrew Bolt, who co-hosted the 8am hour of the breakfast show on MTR 1377, will be joining Steve during the 8pm hour of the 2GB show. Andrew is also on a long-term contract with Macquarie Radio thanks to the MTR venture.

It has been reported in Melbourne’s Herald Sun that the other big MTR contract, that of Steve Vizard, has been paid out as a lump sum.

Meanwhile at 2UE, it seems that despite recent improvements in 2UE’s night-time ratings on the back of Mike Jeffreys hosting the show, they have decided that they need to shuffle their presenters if they are to make in-roads from the absence of the Brian Wilshire ratings powerhouse. Honestly, I don’t understand this logic, as any change brings an element of risk. Mike Jeffreys is a well-performing established brand in the timeslot, and I would have thought that having him maintain his existing audience, while capturing a few people who have been put off by Brian Wilshire’s departure, in conjunction with Mike’s existing audience growth, would have been a sufficient strategy…but nothing that makes sense to me ever seems to make sense to The Powers That Be at 2UE.

2UE are moving morning presenter David Oldfield, who has held on to a fairly stable audience, to the night timeslot of 8pm-midnight. The strategy, presumably, is that David is familiar to 2GB’s audience, having rated quite well when he was hosting 2GB’s overnight show a couple years back, and that he is more likely to attract the Brian Wilshire audience than Mike Jeffreys is. 2UE also had planned to move Mike Jeffreys back to his former timeslot of midnight to dawn, replacing Tim Shaw, however this is now up in the air as Mike Jeffreys has decided to take two weeks off to “decide his future”.

David Oldfield’s morning slot is to be taken over by Stuart Bocking “until further notice”, whatever that might mean. Stuart has recently hosted nights for a number of years, before moving to afternoons to replace Michael Smith last year, and most recently weekend afternoons after The Two Murrays replaced him in the afternoon and Tim Webster took on a weekday evening role in the revived Sports Today program. There is no word on who will replace Stuart on the weekend until the “further notice” happens, but my money is on Clinton Maynard, who did the job for a couple weeks when Tim Webster was transitioning to Sports Today.

Confused yet? To clarify, here’s what the weekday lineups looked like a couple weeks ago:
12:00am-01:00am: 2UE Tim Shaw. 2GB Brian Wilshire.
01:00am-03:30am: 2UE Tim Shaw. 2GB Michael McLaren.
03:30am-05:00am: 2UE Tim Shaw. 2GB Andrew Moore/Luke Bona.
05:00am-05:30am: 2UE Tim Shaw. 2GB Alan Jones highlights.
05:30am-09:00am: 2UE Jason Morrison. 2GB Alan Jones.
09:00am-12:00pm: 2UE David Oldfield. 2GB Ray Hadley.
12:00pm-03:00pm: 2UE The Two Murrays. 2GB Chris Smith.
03:00pm-06:00pm: 2UE Paul Murray. 2GB Ben Fordham.
06:00pm-08:00pm: 2UE Sports Today. 2GB Money News w/ Ross Greenwood.
08:00pm-09:00pm: 2UE Mike Jeffreys. 2GB Alan Jones/Ray Hadley highlights.
09:00pm-10:00pm: 2UE Mike Jeffreys. 2GB Supperannuation w/ Peter Switzer.
10:00pm-12:00am: 2UE Mike Jeffreys. 2GB Brian Wilshire.

And the new lineups, with changes in bold.

12:00am-03:30am: 2UE Tim Shaw (but for how long?). 2GB Unknown.
03:30am-05:00am: 2UE Tim Shaw (but for how long?). 2GB Andrew Moore/Luke Bona.
05:00am-05:30am: 2UE Tim Shaw (but for how long?). 2GB Alan Jones highlights.
05:30am-09:00am: 2UE Jason Morrison. 2GB Alan Jones.
09:00am-12:00pm: 2UE Stuart Bocking (until further notice). 2GB Ray Hadley.
12:00pm-03:00pm: 2UE The Two Murrays. 2GB Chris Smith.
03:00pm-06:00pm: 2UE Paul Murray. 2GB Ben Fordham.
06:00pm-08:00pm: 2UE Sports Today. 2GB Money News w/ Ross Greenwood.
08:00pm-12:00am: 2UE David Oldfield. 2GB Steve Price.

It is probably worth noting that Peter Switzer has not been dumped by 2GB. He will stay on, providing finance reports during the Steve Price show, and will continue to fill-in for Ross Greenwood from time-to-time.

One does have to wonder what the network affiliates make of all of this. 2UE lost almost all of their morning show affiliates to Ray Hadley during the time that Steve Price, and later Steve Liebmann, hosted the show. I believe, but can’t confirm, that they only have two left, which is far cry from the 70 or so they had when John Laws hosted the morning show. One of the remaining stations is 2WEB in Bourke, and I could be certain that David mentioned another at the start of each show, but its name escapes me right now, and Google is not helping. Affiliates of David Oldfield have been lumped with yet another change of host and style as Stuart Bocking is a very different host to David.

I don’t think 2UE have any afternoon show affiliates left. Michael Smith had a couple (probably the same ones as David Oldfield), but the afternoon show isn’t even listed on Fairfax Radio Syndication’s website any more. Afternoon affiliates have either joined Chris Smith on 2GB or gone to local programming.

Then there’s the evening and overnight shows, which have seen even more changes of late. Affiliates of these shows seems to be sticking with it and in fact I see that 2ST Nowra is half way through updating their website for the overnight changes as I write this. It would seem that these affiliates are happy to take whatever 2UE give them as Mike Jeffreys mentioned that 2GB have been trying to poach affiliates for the new Steve Price show, but so far nobody has been in the least bit interested, which I find interesting as Macquarie Radio tend to undercut Fairfax on program fees by offering the shows with the proviso that the affiliates have to air some network advertising. I suppose when you’re already receiving Fairfax news overnight as part of the fee for the overnight programming, and your general break format is already configured in your automation, there is more to consider than merely which shows costs less or which host is better.

The one which really intrigues me is what 2AY will do now. 2AY have been taking the Alan Jones and Ray Hadley highlights hour from 2GB at 8pm. That show doesn’t exist any more. Will they replay the Alan Jones Hour at 8pm (surely not, seeing as they already air it at midday), air an hour of Steve Price (back when Steve Price was on 2UE Mornings, 2AY used to air an hour of his show on delay at midday), or just expand their nightly music show?

These are certainly interesting times in Sydney radio and beyond.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: TV/Radio/Media

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1 Comment

  • 1. chooky  |  May 7th, 2012 at 4:25 am

    It is amazing that the powers to be keep changing Announcers, especially when the loyal listeners get comfortable with these Announcers!
    2UE had a winning combination with Stuart Bocking from 8pm to 12pm & Mike Jeffreys from Midnight to 530am.
    Then they changed Mike to 9 now 8 till 12 & Tim Shaw from Midnight to 530, which also seemed to be a winner!
    To now push Mike back to the Midnight shift seems ridiculous, as his style on the Evening Show, was Informative & Entertaining & received a Good Cross Section of people ringing the Station!
    2UE Management seem to be losing a Grip on Reality – Bring Back Mike!


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