opinion

Rove and Sam belong on TV.

The radio ratings are out, and it’s a disappointing result for Rove McManus and Sam Frost.

This is baffling. They are two of our brightest stars. They both have legions of fans and are wildly popular.

So what’s going on here? Is the medium the problem?

While the 2DAY FM breakfast hosts saw a glimmer of success when they rose to 4.3 per cent audience share in September, these gains have not been maintained, much to the frustration of radio execs, their fans and the hard-working stars themselves.

As it stands, Rove and Sam are on 3.8 percent, a measly figure in comparison to the #1 rating show’s 10.5 percent, held by KIIS FM’s  Kyle and Jackie O.

It begs the question – why aren’t more people listening?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of The Bachelor or its cooler, hipper sister The Bachelorette, Sam Frost has likely dazzled you – and many others. Frost has over 450,000 followers on Instagram, almost double the fan base of any other Bachelor alum. She’s an every girl. Real, Aussie, heart-on-her-sleeve, doing her best. Giving it a red hot go.

Frost is wildly likeable – but her likability doesn’t necessarily lie in what she says, it lies in what she does. The undeniable reason the 27-year-old was so wholly welcomed into the hearts of Australian women is because her reactions are refreshingly authentic, and cannot be bottled into a soundbite.

When she rejected a cocky suitor on the show, few people could remember Frost’s words, but instead the sassy twist of her mouth, the jostle of her shoulders, the unrelenting glare of her eyes.

A photo posted by Rove & Sam (@roveandsam) on

Radio flattens and dulls Frost’s multi-dimensional sparkle, and perhaps that’s where the listeners are being lost.

The same could be said for McManus, who has forged one of the most successful careers in television history, and now reportedly earns a cool $3.7 million per year for co-hosting breakfast shift.

Like Frost, however, McManus’ magic doesn’t lie in audio, but in visual.

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Seated behind the desk of his iconic show Rove Live, McManus was in complete control of his star-studded guests and loyal panel who included Carrie Bickmore, Dave Hughes and Peter Hellier. Like so many other iconic late night hosts, Rove made the difficult look remarkably easy. An ordinary guy, not mean or snarky, dressed in a suit he was captivating no matter whether he was interviewing the Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd was a frequent guest) or an Oscar winner.

Rove leaning in close with his hands on his chin and eyes wide open; Rove’s raised eyebrows, head cocked to the side; Hamish, Pete and Carrie on the couch; Rove making out with Chas from The Chaser’s War on Everything. 

When we remember the Rove Live show we see it – but we don’t necessarily hear it.

Just a bit of fun to kick off your weekend!

A video posted by Rove & Sam (@roveandsam) on

The same conundrum was raised by kingpin rival Kyle Sandilands, who admonished 2DAY for appointing McManus the top job back in January.

“Where they have gone wrong with Rove is he just doesn’t translate on radio,” Sandilands – a long time critic of McManus – told his co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson and their millions of listeners. “The problem is most of his humour is in his facial expression and you don’t see it.”

“They will blame that poor girl for the ratings so they will replace her,” he said.

Perhaps, stripped back, Sandilands is speaking from reverse experience – his venture from radio into television was unsuccessful. After being sacked from Australian Idol after one season, he hosted the lowest-rating year of Big Brother in the series’ history. While his skill as a broadcaster is among the best in Australia, Sandilands’ stints on Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor were short-lived and largely unremarkable also.

Ultimately, we know that crossing mediums is challenging, regardless of raw charisma or talent.

Rove McManus and Sam Frost are magnificent, electric personalities. But does it work having two of our most visually engaging people on the airwaves?

Rove is reportedly in conversations with the Nine Network about a possible show. And if TV executives aren’t talking to Sam Frost, they should be.

Tags: celebrity , media , radio-2
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