Day 1: January 30, 2017
Hosts: Garry Lyon, Hamish McLachlan and Tim Watson
Station: 1116 SEN, Pacific Star Network’s Melbourne AM sports station
Breakfast team: Producer John Clark
Social media: @SENBreakfast on Twitter with an impressive 36,800 followers
Songs: None – this is talk radio!
Ratings: The previous SEN breakfast show ended 2016 on 3.8%
6am: Five hours after talking with Roger Federer on Seven at the Australian Open, Hamish McLachlan started off Melbourne’s newest breakfast show.
Although Tim Watson gets even billing, he won’t be joining the show until 7am each day. Sports reporter Sam McClure starts each morning with reports from 6.30am and then every 60 minutes. The show also has a special guest every day at 7.30pm and Mike Sheahan will be on the show every Monday.
Garry Lyon and McLachlan pilot the show initially with plenty of tennis talk.
McLachlan joked McClure had been at the studios since 3.15am.
Tom is the first caller to air just before 6.30am, welcoming the new show.
McLachlan reads an item from Confidential in the Herald Sun which describes the program as “expensive”. Lyon replies: “Eddie and Mick‘s loose change would cover us.”
Although the station runs the 6am Macquarie Radio news, there is none on the half hours with McClure giving sports headlines.
The first talkback topic after 6.30am asks listeners to reveal how much they would pay to attend their ultimate sporting event.
The show starts promoting a daily quiz that will see a blue-collar tradie taking on a white-collar office worker each day. The quiz doesn’t go well with arguments over one of the answers.
“The Best Ever” is a sponsored segment just before 7am. Today the show asked for callers to nominate best-ever sports movies.
7am: The program returns at 7.08am after the Macquarie News where Tim Watson is welcomed to the program. “That wasn’t our best hour,” admitted Lyon after talking about their 6am hour. Watson arrives reporting that there are five camera crews at the Melbourne radio station to report on the new program.
Watson said Lyon looks like Pablo Escobar as portrayed on the Netflix series Narcos. McLachlan gets a laugh from his colleagues as he describes Narcos as a sitcom. Watson’s TV guide also recommends House of Cards.
John Worsfold is the show’s first special guest in a segment starting at 7.20am. He starts off talking about his favourite sports movies and then talks about the challenges still ahead of him and the players at the Essendon Football Club.
McClure is back at 7.30am with more content with his appearances very similar to what he used to deliver in the middle of the first hour of 3AW’s Gerard Healy and Dwayne Russell sports program. However McClure runs a little long and Mike Sheahan doesn’t get on until close to 7.45am. The former 3AW contributor has been much missed since returning from radio, said Lyon. “We wanted him five days a week, we nearly got him for two, but he negotiated it down to one.”
“Not many blokes a month out from their 70th birthday start a new job,” said Sheahan, admitting he had a few nerves. Watson replies they are prepared to medivac him out if need be. Sheahan reveals McLachlan first approached him about the new show in the middle of 2016 when Sheahan’s initial reply was: “Absolutely no interest”.
Sheahan speaks to Lyon about 2016 and he admits he didn’t go to a single AFL game during the year, although he did watch all Melbourne matches on the TV.
The final guest in the second hour of the show is Mike Sheahan’s daughter Kate who is getting the chance to play football in the Women’s AFL League for Collingwood at the age of 35.
8am: The AFL Player’s Association CEO Paul Marsh is the first guest in the final hour. McLachlan asks him how his fight is going with Hamish’s brother, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. Sheahan remains on the show after 8am, taking turns with questions for Marsh. “We still have a long way to go,” he explains about salary negotiations with the League. It’s a long, long analysis of how the salary negotiations work.
At 8.30am Sam McClure returns and reveals that Geelong’s Brownlow Medal winner Patrick Dangerfield has been listening. He rang to refute Mike Sheahan’s claim that he is being paid $1m annually. That just made the previous segment well worthwhile. Lyon and Watson ask Sheahan to apologise and he declines politely! “I am just going on what I read,” he explains.
Before the end of the show, Lyon speaks about why he chose to be interviewed by Mike Sheahan about his time away from the media. The show plays some of the highlights which will be broadcast on the Tuesday program. “I didn’t enjoy doing it,” said Lyon. “There are things in my life I will never talk about. It’s no one’s business except a very select few.”
The Sheahan-Lyon interview will be played in full after 8am Tuesday.
Was it any good? Yes…but you need to be a hardcore AFL fan. And there are plenty of them in the target market. Apart from tennis chat early in the show, it was virtually wall-to-wall AFL with some detailed chat about some issues the general footy fan perhaps is not too concerned about.
The show at times sounded very crowded with Garry, Tim and Hamish competing for airtime with McClure and Sheahan. But they all had opinions worth listening to and too much is better than not enough.
Garry Lyon has an on-air presence that any broadcaster would welcome and it will be fascinating to track the effect he has on the SEN ratings.
New listeners are probably most likely to move across from Triple M’s Hot Breakfast and to a lesser extent 3AW’s Ross and John. But those shows have a fair bit of humour and much of the first day of Garry, Tim and Hamish was pretty serious. There were a few laughs and some of the comments from Watson indicate he could be the most likely to encourage the gags.