John Drinnan: Can ratings save Lush?

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The rumour has long been that Duncan Garner was hired in drive time with the intention of replacing Marcus Lush Breakfast. Pictured, Marcus Lush and Martin Devin. Photo Norrie Montgomery.
The rumour has long been that Duncan Garner was hired in drive time with the intention of replacing Marcus Lush Breakfast. Pictured, Marcus Lush and Martin Devin. Photo Norrie Montgomery.

The new boss for MediaWorks Radio - Wendy Palmer - has just 10 days before the latest radio ratings survey that will spell out whether the firm is on the right track.

MediaWorks appointed Palmer today as CEO of its radio operation replacing Belinda Mulgrew.

MediaWorks is in a duopoly with The Radio Network owns radio stations that attract about half of the New Zealand radio market.

It includes music stations The Edge, The Rock, MORE FM, Kiwi FM, The Sound, The Breeze, George FM, and Mai FM.

It also has talk stations RadioLIVE LiveSPORT.

Perhaps this will be the survey where RadioLive breakfast host Marcus Lush may make a breakthrough in the ratings - taking listeners away from Mike Hosking at Newstalk ZB.

But if, as many expect, that does not happen, the bankers and commercial powers behind MediaWorks may see the need for a more radical change to the strategy.

The rumour has long been that Duncan Garner was hired in drive time with the intention of replacing Marcus Lush Breakfast.

The timing would seem to be good with Garner's close friend and 3rd Degree colleague Guyon Espiner co-hosting as presenter of Morning Report from tomorrow.

The Lush solution was created by former MediaWorks CEO Brent Impey many years ago in tandem with current group CEO Sussan Turner who is intensely loyal.

Palmer is the partner of Impey and many staff will be waiting to see if she is still on board with the Lush strategy.

All radio surveys are significant.

Polls estimate the number of listeners and set the rates that broadcaster's can charge advertisers.

RadioLive is just a small part of the Media Works empire - but it is its major player in news and current affairs.

The latest survey is important because it indicate whether new faces like Garner and Sean Plunket have made a difference.

MediaWorks rival The Radio Network is wholly owned by APN News and Media, publisher of the NZ Herald.

- NZ Herald

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John Drinnan has been a business journalist for twenty years, he has been editor of the specialist film and television title "Screen Finance" in London, focussing on the European TV and film industry. He has been writing about media in New Zealand since the deregulation of the television industry in the late 1980s.

Read more by John Drinnan

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