Nine is on the hunt for a Brisbane-based drive host to replace Ben Fordham on 4BC.
Fordham’s Sydney-based drive show has been syndicated in Brisbane, however, Nine Radio’s head of content Greg Byrnes told Mumbrella the station now wants a local host.
Byrnes said part of Nine’s strategy in taking over the former Macquarie Media radio brands was to return to localisation.
“There’s been a lot going on in a short space of time, but it’s all come together very nicely,” Byrnes said on this week’s Mumbrellacast, noting Alan Jones’ imminent retirement, Fordham’s shift to Sydney breakfast, and Neil Breen’s appointment to 4BC breakfast.
“We’ve always from the outset had a focus on local, and then Alan’s decision to retire from radio meant that that really fast-tracked Brisbane, because Alan’s obviously been networked into Brisbane. There is no one else like Alan Jones. And that created an opportunity. It’s happened very quickly, but we’ve had our eye on Breeny for some time.”
As to who that host will be, Byrnes said “we’re open to ideas”, but “it needs to be local”, before joking it could be former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“It makes obvious sense for us that we have a local drive program. We are moving quite quickly… There will be attention focused there – local drive in Brisbane,” he said of the new strategy.
“Breeny [Neil Breen] in the morning to start the day. Ray Hadley with a wonderful, successful networked program in that traditional nine to 12. Deb Knight who’s doing really well off the back of only two surveys. Again, it’s a long road for Deb, but the initial response has been quite remarkable. She will continue to do afternoons, and then we’ll go local drive.”