ARN remains tight-lipped over ‘the new KIIS 101.1 Breakfast team’
With the resignation of Melbourne’s KIIS FM Breakfast co-host Polly ‘PJ’ Harding, speculation is rife as to who could replace her alongside Jase Hawkins.
Radio Today first speculated Harding’s replacement could be former Summer Breakfast host Lauren Phillips or recently returned radio stalwart Kate Langbroek, who currently appears on KIIS’ 3pm Pick Up program.
Now, articles are doing the rounds suggesting it’s Phillips who is Harding’s official successor, however KIIS owner the Australian Radio Network (ARN) isn’t playing ball.
“ARN haven’t confirmed a new co-host for Jase Hawkins and PJ will still be on air until June. We are looking forward to announcing the new KIIS 101.1 Breakfast team soon,” a spokesperson told Radio Today despite press to the contrary.
Harding announced her departure yesterday. She will remain with the program until June and then return to her home country of New Zealand.
ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell told Radio Today just this month, prior to Harding’s announcement, that he doesn’t expect any talent changes across his station this year.
“Look I don’t think so,” he said when asked if there would be any talent changes after Survey 1’s results. “I think we’re in for a consistent year. Obviously Kate Langbroek’s back and she’s sounding fantastic on 3PM, so we’ve got a very, we’ve got some of the best talent in Australian radio, obviously. And consistency is what we aim for, and the talent has signed medium to long-term which is great. SoI’d like a consistent year this year. We will have our challenges obviously, I think you can’t rest on your laurels in this business, and you’re only as good as your last survey as they say, but we’re very happy to be kicking off 2021 as the #1 FM network in the country, so I’d like a consistent year this year, that would be pretty good.”
“There’s obviously a lot going on in radio and obviously as we move towards a digital future, podcasting and streaming – they have their own challenges – but they are in many ways exciting, because we’ll be looking this year at our podcast repertoire and looking at talent, podcasting talent, and seeing whether we can place any of those on the network,” he told Radio Today. “I think the future talent for radio will come from podcasting, so we have to have some plans in place for that this year.”
The show had a 6.2% share in the most recent ratings, up 0.8 points from 2020’s final survey.
Campbell said he was pleased with the increase, however noted he needs to see a trend in order to feel confident.
After Survey 7 last year, he admitted his frustration that the show can’t seem to meaningfully break into the market.
“Very few people criticise Jase & PJ and the content they do. And yet it just can’t seem to get the traction we want. And every time we think we’re getting signs that ‘Yes, we’re going to get some traction here and some momentum’, then it doesn’t deliver,” he said at the time.
Other radio hosts across various networks have told Radio Today they hope the new host is Langbroek, because she will lift the station and the show, and is incredibly Melbourne, as well as “incredible at radio”.