Inside the corridors of ARN’s Sydney radio HQ are three breakfast studios for their Sydney stations KIIS 1065, WSFM and The Edge. At either end of the corridor linking these studios, husband and wife executive producers Bruno Bouchet and Laura Bouchet are at work.
Laura looks after WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda breakfast show, which at the time of writing was on Sydney’s #1 FM station. Meanwhile, Bruno looks after The Kyle and Jackie O Show, which is Sydney’s #1 FM breakfast show.
Mediaweek recently sat down to record a podcast with the producers in The Edge breakfast studio, neutral ground if you like, so as not to favour one over the other. These are some of the highlights.
Can it be hard to direct your talent if you are close friends with them also?
Bruno: “Sometimes you have to tell presenters things that can be a little bit tough to hear. A good producer can be very diplomatic in how they deliver news, and as long as you are delivering an opinion that wants the show to be as good as it can be, you can never really get shot down. Kyle and Jackie are both very receptive to any ideas on how the show can be made to sound even better.”
Laura: “Whenever I want to raise anything I make sure I always have a solution. I would never go and say, ‘Don’t do that.’ Because I have been with them for a long time they are very receptive to what I have to say.”
How different are the audiences for the two shows? Is there a bit of crossover and how do you deal with it?
Bruno: “Definitely. In the early days of our relationship I probably struggled the most with it. I had been working on shows in the past that were struggling in the ratings, which was frustrating. I would then be super competitive with Laura. Now we are a lot more mature about it and we do like to share some ideas. Laura has one of the best media minds I have ever encountered and she is super creative. Whenever I can steal anything from her without her knowing, I will.”
Laura: “We do bounce ideas off one another, but we do have a respect where we don’t go too far. We don’t ask each other things. We might volunteer things and say, ‘What do you think of this?’ But we don’t sit at home looking over their shoulder to see what they are doing.”
Tell us about commuting daily.
Laura: “We have a set routine now since we started commuting daily last year. Bruno can be very chatty in the morning, which drives me nuts because I was used to having my solo drive into work. “We leave between 3.30am and 3.45am each day. Bruno bounces out of bed first, but he then takes about 20 minutes in the shower.” [Listen to the podcast for revelations about the shower!] “I drive into work while Bruno is on his laptop working. I usually drive home too.”
Bruno: “It is like having an Uber and I love it.”
[Bruno will need to commute solo soon as Laura is about to give birth to their first child.]
Do you keep quiet if either show has a big guest?
Bruno: “Sometimes. We are good at respecting each other’s boundaries. Neither of us would want to make the other feel uncomfortable about always being across their work. I always like getting her opinion on stuff.”
Laura: “Sometimes our guests are very different and sometimes our senior producers work together.”
How important is it to get exclusive guests?
Bruno: “For us it is either about being exclusive or first. Both of the show’s guest bookers work together on that. To get a guest to travel from a city hotel to North Ryde can take a bit of an extra sell.”
Laura: “If we can offer the top two FM shows in Sydney, that can help get it across the line.”
Making the secret sound work:
Bruno: “If it is presented in the same traditional way it can come across as boring. But Kyle and Jackie have a huge amount of passion for it and it is something we have been able to hype up.”
Laura: “We have done it too, but we changed the name to Unknown Audio just to spice things up a little bit.”
Bruno: “They are hipsters over there…drinking from jam jars.”
What is your presenters’ daily routine?
Laura: “We are on-air at 5.30am and Jonesy is sometimes in before me and he still edits our interviews. He is very hands-on with that. Amanda is in not long after and they are usually both here at least an hour before they go on-air. After the show we often do interviews and then have planning meetings etc. They leave when the job is done.”
Bruno: “Regular listeners know Jackie can arrive just before the show starts. But in all my years working with talent I have never worked with anyone who is as hands-on with the show as Jackie. Over the Christmas break I think I saw Jackie more than I saw Laura based on the amount of meetings we were having. She has been painted as Kyle’s foil, which is a great injustice as she is so much more than that. She is almost the show’s real executive producer.”
What’s better – live or pre-recorded interviews?
Laura: “At times pre-recording can help us structure the show because we know exactly how long it will run. We need to get our news away on time each day for example. It doesn’t depend on the talent because there are some people we will never be able to get live.”
Bruno: “Our preference is to go live. Our show thrives on an element of danger where anything could happen and anything could be asked.”