Let’s start with a recap. The late, great, Eoin Cameron retired last year which resulted in Peter Bell jumping ship from 6PR into the ABC’s prime breakfast slot, where he regained top spot in the last ratings for the year. Bell’s departure coaxed previous 6PR employee Simon Beaumont out of radio silence to fill the PR afternoon program vacancy. There was more upheaval at 6PR when Drive presenter Adam Shand announced he was going back to Melbourne. Channel nine’s Oliver Peterson, who has been filling in temporarily, has just been announced as the show’s permanent presenter and will be part of the program’s re-brand from Drive to Perth Live. Peterson will also continue to do ‘special reports’ for Channel nine.
The game of musical chairs looked like it was settling down a bit towards the end of last year, when ABC Drive presenter Jane Marwick up and announced in December she was leaving, partly so she could dedicate more time to her law degree. Marwick had only been on air for just over 12 months, and her ratings were neck and neck with rival station 6PR. Her replacement is Belinda Varischetti, who’s been with the ABC for a number of years, and has been hosting the Country Hour since 2011. She’s also a familiar voice for Perth audiences, as she regularly featured on the Perth breakfast program reporting on rural issues.
The musical chairs continued in December when the announcement came that 6PR morning program host Gary Adshead was leaving. It had been rumoured he would be replaced by veteran journo Liam Bartlett, but instead, the West Australian’s political editor Gareth Parker got the gig. In a straight swap, Adshead has taken over Parker’s job at the West (Adshead’s old stomping ground). Like his predecessor, Parker will continue to write for the West in addition to his radio hosting duties. In the last ratings survey of last year, Adshead had managed to just overtake rival ABC mornings presenter Geoff Hutchison, so it will be interesting to see what impact this change has on the ratings.
Over at Perth’s number one radio station, Mix 94.5 seems to be going from strength to strength, with legendary commentator Dennis Cometti to call both the Eagles and Dockers home games for this year’s AFL season. You’d expect this would be an extremely popular move with listeners concerned about suffering from withdrawals due to Cometti’s retirement from TV commentating. Also in sport, some 6PR Sports Today listeners were outraged when veteran announcer, AFL legend and nice guy Brad Hardie was dumped from the show just two weeks before Christmas. Due to some complicated arrangement over rights to the show, the new ‘owners’ of re-branded Sportsday decided their vision for the program didn’t include Hardie. But he may still pop up elsewhere on 6PR.
The first ratings for 2017 will be released on March 14.
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