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SYDNEY — Clear Channel looks to be expanding its KIIS-FM radio brand to Sydney, Australia, with plans to launch in early 2014 with top-rated FM breakfast duo Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson.
Clear Channel has a joint venture in Australia and New Zealand with APN News and Media, operating the Australian Radio Network, which owns Mix 106.5 in Sydney, the fourth-ranked FM station in the country’s top radio market, among other stations.
ARN confirmed Friday that the Kyle and Jackie O show will shift from Southern Cross Austereo’s 2DayFM station, where they signed off after a decade, to host the breakfast show on Mix106.5. No mention was made by the company of the KIIS-FM brand.
However, ARN CEO Ciaran Davis said Sandilands and Henderson would spearhead the birth of a new station in Sydney. That supports speculation that easy listening station Mix106.5 will flip to the KIIS brand with its celebrity-focused pop format. That fits nicely with Kyle and Jackie O’s style and will put the station in direct competition with their longtime employer 2Day FM and DMG Radio’s Nova stations, majority-owned by Lachlan Murdoch‘s company Illyria Ltd.
KIIS-FM’s Ryan Seacrest is already heard daily on MixFM.
“Kyle and Jackie O are one the world’s biggest radio shows and are joined every day by the world’s biggest stars,” Davis said. “It’s unprecedented to have the country’s No. 1 radio team move networks to create a brand-new station, and we couldn’t be happier that they’ve made this switch with us.”
While the pair have sat atop the FM dial for 2DayFM over the years, Sandilands, who has also been a judge on Australian Idol and Australia’s Got Talent, has courted controversy and incurred the wrath of broadcast regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority in recent years. In one stunt, a 14-year-old girl had been strapped to a lie detector and revealed live on-air that she’d been raped, while Sandilands drew public condemnation for threatening a News Limited journalist and called her “a fat slag” for criticizing his TV performance.
2DayFM was also home to the two deejays who made the now infamous prank call to the hospital in the U.K. where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness. The stunt resulted in the death of a nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, who took the call.
ARN launched Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital service in Australia earlier this year.
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