QBE on track to reach $US250 million in savings

Insurer QBE is on track to meet its savings targets.QBE says it is on track to hit its target to cut costs by “at least” $US250 million by 2015, as it replaces hundreds of jobs in western countries with staff in Manila.
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The global insurer also affirmed its full-year guidance on Tuesday, as it benefits from relatively few natural disasters and the recent fall in the Aussie dollar.

At midday its shares had risen 2.6 per cent, or 39.5c, to $15.70.

QBE, which is looking to rationalise its operations after a spate of acquisition-led growth under former boss Frank O’Halloran, earlier this year unveiled a plan to save $US250 million a year by 2015 by sending about 700 positions to the Philippines.

As the changes are rolled out across its Australian division, chief executive John Neal today stressed that he expected expenses would be cut by “at least” $US250 million as a result of the program.

The cost-cutting push will also result in changes to its operations in North America and Europe – where the company may also look to carry-out cuts in its European business slightly earlier than expected.

“This is very much the start, the first wave if you like, and there will be more activity that will follow,” Mr Neal said.

So far, 521 positions in Australia have been affected by the offshoring changes.

Most of these staff are set to be redeployed within the group, while 39 have been made redundant, and 52 contractor positions have not been renewed.

The chief executive of its Australian arm, Colin Fagen, said QBE was “extremely confident” it would save more than the original $85 million in costs that it had planned to trim from its Australian operations by 2015 through the offshoring changes.

This was likely to occur because the company’s redundancy costs had been lower than expected, while the volume of work being carried out in Manila had exceeded expectations.

Mr Neal also said he was confident the company expected to hit its full-year forecast for premiums to increase by about 5 per cent, and indicated it had benefited from several one-off factors.

He said conditions were “very positive” in Australia and North America but tougher in Europe, where rates were flat.

“It’s still very very early days in the year but we are quite relaxed about where we see ourselves for the half year.”

QBE, which reports its profits on a calendar year basis, will present its half-year results in August.

Insurers have benefited relatively few natural disasters in recent months, while QBE has extensive US operations, so it tends to benefit from a falling Australian dollar.

“Overall, the weakening in the Australian dollar is good news for us, but it does bring some complications,” Mr Neal said.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kieran Chidgey said the progress on cost-cutting and positive one-off factors should cause the “market’s conviction in QBE’s turnaround” to increase.

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Spencer rules breakfast, but Nova’s share explodes

He’s done it again; 612 ABC Brisbane announcer Spencer Howson has retained his crown as king of the lucrative breakfast radio session.
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Despite a 0.1 per cent drop, Mr Howson’s 13.1 per cent market share is still firmly in front of his commercial rivals, ratings agency Nielson confirmed on Tuesday.

But DMG’s Nova106.9 breakfast team of Ash Bradnam, David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral and Kip Wightman closed in on Aunty’s star, gaining 1.1 per cent to steal the number two spot from Robin Bailey, Terry Hansen and Bob Gallaghar on ARN’s 97.3FM.

Nova also overtook 97.3 as the station with the largest overall audience through the week – a coup that rounds out its standing dominance of the weekend market.

Fairfax Radio 4BC, owned by the publishers of this website, also improved its overall market share, growing its audience by 0.9 per cent to beat 4KQ, 4BH, and the ABC’s Radio National and Triple J for the number six spot.

The station’s breakfast team also recorded a 0.4 per cent audience boost to maintain its sixth-place ranking.

Meanwhile the Triple M Grill Team – Pete Timbs, Michelle Anderson and Greg ‘Marto’ Martin – moved from fifth to fourth place, changing places with their Austereo cousins at B105 – Jason ‘Labby’ Hawkins, Stav Davidson and Abby Coleman.

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What a relief; now let’s get on with it, says Horwill

Now we can all get some sleep: Wallabies captain James Horwill, left, fronts the media with coach Robbie Deans after the judicial hearing. Photo: James BrickwoodWallabies captain James Horwill says he feels ‘‘vindicated’’ by an International Rugby Board ruling that a stamping allegation against him be dismissed for the second time in nine days.
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The Test second-rower is free to play in the series decider against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney after 12 hours of deliberation overnight on Monday produced the same result as the first hearing on June 23.

Horwill said he was ‘‘very relieved’’ to be told the news during a gym session on Tuesday morning after enduring a sleepless night in limbo.

‘‘I feel very vindicated by the way it’s gone,’’ he said. ‘‘I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to represent my country and not only to represent it but the opportunity to lead in what is probably the biggest game in this country since the 2003 World Cup final. I’m very excited and now we can focus on the game and that’s what is important.’’

The decision was handed down by Canadian judicial officer Graeme Mew  at about 10am on Tuesday, 12 hours after he took final submissions from Horwill, his legal counsel and the Australian Rugby Union.

Mew found there was no cause to overturn the original ruling of judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC, who said on June 23 that he could not find an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling on the head of Lions second rower Alun Wyn Jones.

‘‘For the appeal to succeed the IRB would have to establish that there was some misapprehension of law or principle by the judicial officer or that his decision was so clearly wrong or manifestly unreasonable that no judicial officer could have reached the conclusion that he did,’’ Mew noted in his judgement.

‘‘There was sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable judicial officer could have reached the decision that was made.

‘‘Accordingly, it could not be said that the judicial officer was manifestly wrong or that the interests of justice otherwise required his decision be overturned.’’

Horwill accepted the decision calmly on Tuesday but was obviously pleased to have the uncertainty behind him.

‘‘I can’t complain. It’s been a very fair process both times; as I said before, the hearings have been very fair and the process is what it is,’’ he said, after  thanking the public for their support.

‘‘My family and the team have been very overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve received so I thank you very much and it’s now time to get on with football.’’

The original incident occurred in the third minute of the Lions’ 23-21 victory over the Wallabies in the first Test.

Horwill struck Jones in the head during a ruck. The Lions second-rower played out most of the match and required stitches to his eye after the full-time bell.

The Lions referred the matter to the citing commissioner after the game, but a four-hour hearing in front of IRB-appointed judicial officer Hampton last Sunday night found there was enough merit in Horwill’s explanation that he was ‘‘spun off balance’’ by Lions players entering the ruck from the other side.

The decision was controversially overturned by the IRB on Thursday night and while the board did not provide a clear reason,  they cited the ‘‘preservation of player welfare’’.

‘‘It is important for the IRB to ensure amongst all stakeholders in the game that there is full confidence that priority is given to player welfare and the values of the game,’’ the IRB said at the time.

Horwill said he had been unaware of the incident until he was cited and had a chance to view footage from the game.

Rugby Union Players’ Association chief executive Greg Harris congratulated Horwill on being cleared to play.

‘‘James Horwill was initially cleared of the stamping charge as per the IRB’s established judicial process.

“RUPA, like the ARU, was both surprised and disappointed that the finding of the IRB appointed judicial officer, Nigel Hampton QC, from New Zealand was deemed to be ‘erroneous’.

‘‘The fact that the verdict was not delivered until midday on Tuesday added significant disruption to the preparation of the Wallabies team for the third, and deciding Test.

‘‘RUPA still remains sufficiently concerned with the perceived inconsistencies with the processes and as such has raised the matter with the International Rugby Players’ Association and requested that IRPA raise the matter formally with the IRB.’’

Harris said the case set a dangerous precedent by the IRB and that not only the RUPA membership, but the broader rugby community in Australia, were concerned about the motives behind the decision to refer the matter again.

‘‘James is the Australian captain and is a sportsman of impeccable character who in 130 professional games had never been cited.

“He always had the full support of RUPA and his fellow players no matter what the outcome of the IRB’s judicial processes were to be,’’ Harris said.

The IRB released a statement a short time ago accepting Mew’s decision.

‘‘While ultimately not proving successful in its appeal, the IRB is satisfied that it took the right approach,’’ the statement said.

‘‘The IRB would like to acknowledge the professional manner in which the Australian Rugby Union managed the process as host union of the tour.’’

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McGuire topples FM rivals despite Goodes controversy

King… Eddie McGuire’s radio show on Triple M still tops the ratings.Eddie McGuire is now Melbourne’s top-rating FM breakfast host, talkback titan Neil Mitchell has been toppled by Jon Faine and 3AW is in danger of losing its ratings crown to the ABC.
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The results of today’s Nielsen survey suggest the furore over McGuire’s recent “King Kong” gaffe may have attracted listeners to his show instead of driving them away.

McGuire’s Hot Breakfast program jumped by 1 percentage point to claim a 9.5 per cent slice of the audience, putting him ahead of all his FM competitors – including long-time FM kings and Southern Cross Austereo counterparts Matt Tilley and Jo Stanley on Fox.

While 3AW morning host Mitchell increased by 0.5 points to a 13.8 per cent share, it was not enough to stop arch-rival Faine leapfrogging him with a 1.8 point jump to 15.1 per cent.

Overall, 3AW shed a negligible 0.1 point to a 12.8 per cent share while 774 climbed 1.1 points to 12.5 per cent.

Fairfax Media owns 3AW and this website.

3AW’s night hosts Bruce Mansfield and Philip Brady (down 0.4 points to 11.5 per cent) were beaten by 774’s Lindy Burns (up 1.8 points to 14.2 per cent). 3AW also lost the overall weekend ratings (down 0.4 to 11.1 per cent) to 774 (up 0.7 points to 11.3 per cent).

However, the station remains the clear AM winner in key shifts including breakfast (up 0.2 points to 18.4 per cent), afternoon (down 0.2 points to 9.4 per cent) and drive (up 1 point to 11 per cent).

Fox remained at the top of the FM ladder, climbing 0.4 points to a 10 per cent share. It also has Melbourne’s highest-rating drive shows: Hamish & Andy on Monday and Fifi & Jules from Tuesday to Friday.

“We’ve got two bloody good drive shows on Fox,” said Southern Cross Austereo’s chief content officer, Guy Dobson. “And we’re thrilled that not only did breakfast go up on Fox and Triple M but that Eddie is No. 1.”

Triple M (down 0.2 points to 8.1 per cent) is now ahead of Gold (down 0.7 points to 7.9 per cent), followed by Nova (down 0.2 to 7.1 per cent) and Mix (down 0.5 to 6.1 per cent).

Smooth slipped 0.2 points to 5.5 per cent but it is now ahead of sister station Nova in the afternoon slot, with 7.1 per cent to Nova’s 7 per cent.

After several years of volatile ratings, the 9.15 frequency – formerly known as Vega, Classic Rock and Melbourne’s 91.5 – has enjoyed its best results since re-launching as Smooth one year ago.

“We’re right in amongst it now,” said dmg Radio’s group program director, Paul Jackson.

While the station’s breakfast share dropped 0.7 points to 4 per cent, Jackson said that patience was required.

“Our share of the workday market is now huge,” he said. “We always expected breakfast to be the last to grow because we’re up against heritage programs in an established market – but we are confident it will grow.”

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Milking popularity of lost shots

Forty years on, Angus O’Callaghan, 91, says he’s happy to have been discovered. Photo: Wayne TaylorIt’s a simple photo of a Melbourne milk bar, taken by Angus O’Callaghan about 1970, and it sold at a Leonard Joel auction in May for a record $2920, including buyers premium (IBP).
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At the same sale, another O’Callaghan print, Coffee Lounge, sold for $2440 IBP, as did The Block Arcade. The whole sale, Leonard Joel managing director John Albrecht says, went ”gangbusters”.

His prediction is these photos – reprinted in limited numbers from the original negatives – will at least double in value over the next decade.

Forty years after they were taken, the works of Angus O’Callaghan are very much in demand, yet he wasn’t a professional photographer. He was a school teacher. In 1969 he bought two Yashicaflex medium-format cameras and spent three years anonymously documenting the city he loved. He wandered at random and took snaps of whatever interested him.

”When I took the photographs, my purpose was to become a professional photographer,” he says. ”When that didn’t happen, I gave up that idea and went back to teaching.” His plan was to produce a book, but a publishing deal fell through. He filed the negatives in a shoebox, where they remained for more than 40 years. His second wife found them while unpacking a tea chest when they moved house.

O’Callaghan, now 91, says he had forgotten about them.

Their spectacular success on the secondary art market is a unique phenomenon not even the Leonard Joel art experts can quite explain.

Nor can O’Callaghan, although he’s happy to have finally been ”discovered”.

Word of mouth

Demand has spread largely during the past five years by word of mouth, as has interest in photographic prints in general, especially those taken in Melbourne in the 1950s to 1970s. This niche market was revealed in 2012 after Leonard Joel held the third of their specialty Photographic Auctions on July 22.

The saleroom was packed with young punters, who knew exactly what they wanted and were willing to pay well above estimates. They returned in force in May this year for the Angus O’Callaghan stand-alone sale, where three times the estimate was the norm for the top lots.

Photography was also included in Leonard Joel’s art sale in June but prices were well down on May. This is something John Albrecht attributes to the 60 lots of photography being included among more traditional paintings.

The best price paid was the $610 IBP for a stylish work by Melbourne fashion photographer Bruno Benini showing Helen Homewood on the steps of Parliament House.

In July, 2012, a Benini print entitled Hot Soup 1957 sold for $1500. Another, Eastern Markets, sold for $1850.

What sells and what doesn’t in this fickle market is fascinating to observe.

A 1930s nude study by Max Dupain – estimated at $3000-$5000 – failed to find a buyer this June. This is the same Dupain who was flavour of the month 10 years ago.

An iconic 1967 image by Wolfgang Sievers, titled The Gears: Gears for Mining Industry, generated interest on the night but as of last week, no definite buyer.

It’s Melbourne milk bars the young connoisseur wants these days.

This image – one of a series of five prints from the original negatives in ”supersize” (160 centimetres x 160 centimetres) format – is one of three Angus O’Callaghan photos to be included as part of Leonard Joels’ Modern and Traditional Auction this Sunday at 12 Smith Street, Collingwood, at 11am. This new auction concept is curated by artist David Bromley, a fan of O’Callaghan’s work. If the large-scale prints sell – estimates are $4000-$6000 – they will set price records for the schoolteacher who gave up his dream of being a photographer 40 years ago.

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Spain’s property sale of the century

The Spanish government has approved a plan to sell a quarter of its state-owned properties in an attempt to raise hundreds of millions and fill the government’s empty coffers.
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Some 15,000 properties, from office buildings to agricultural land, will be put up for sale over the next seven years.

The measure is the latest in a series of moves to bring Spain’s budget deficit to within the EU target of 3 per cent by 2016 from 7.1 per cent of GDP last year.

Spain’s government has introduced a raft of unpopular austerity measures as the nation struggles with its sixth quarter of negative growth and an unemployment rate of nearly 27 per cent.

A parliamentary commission has drawn up an extensive list of assets that will be sold to private investors.

They include disused army barracks, an aerodrome on the island of Minorca, a military shooting range and thousands of office buildings.

The government said the portfolio would include around 10 buildings ‘‘considered unique’’ that it hoped would be snapped up by potential investors.

Among those is a mansion on Madrid’s central avenue, the Paseo de la Castellana, that used to house the secretary of state for security, and a country estate in Andalusia comprising 35,000 acres of natural parkland planted with cork trees.

Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government announced plans last year to set up a commission to draw up an inventory of all state-owned property and identify those that could be sold.

The first properties to go under the hammer include the former headquarters of RTVE, Spain’s state television and radio channel in Madrid and Galicia, and a disused army barracks in Seville.

‘‘There will be some real gems in the portfolio I am sure but also a lot of dross,’’ said Mark Stucklin, founder of Spanish Property Insight, an independent website.

‘‘Those properties that will be sought after are those of historical or architectural interest in the most sought after areas of cities. But it will boil down to the price. There will always be interest in good real estate by foreign investors if it is sold at a bargain.’’

The government is yet to release the full portfolio of properties for sale and has not said how much money it hopes to raise. Last year it raised 90 million euros in sales of state-owned buildings that had lain empty and made a further 37.5 million euros saving by renegotiating rental contracts.

Much of the rural property that will be put on the market will be offered with the opportunity for development to create local jobs.

La Almoraima, a country estate in the Natural Park of Alcornocales, which has been managed by the ministry of environment since 1983, is being sold with the option to develop a resort with two golf courses and a five-star hotel.

‘‘We will wait for a reasonable offer – we are not going to sell it off for peanuts,’’ said a spokesman. ‘‘Our best hope is that we can generate foreign interest as there are few in Spain right now who could afford it.’’

The Telegraph, London

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Licence to thrill

The National Film and Sound Archive is preparing for a new cafe after the current licensee, Teatro Fellini, closed last weekend after three years of serving coffees, cakes and nibbles. At the time of going to press, no new licensee had been announced but the archive hopes to name one in early July. In the meantime a coffee cart is in place.
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Let’s get ethical

Which foods have the smallest ecological footprint? Should we be locavore or omnivore? The Canberra Environment Centre, ANU Environment Collective and SEE-Change have joined forces to ask these questions of a panel of experts. They’re holding a forum on sustainable eating next month. The EATology food forum will ask how to eat well in the Canberra region with local farmers, academics and other experts on hand to answer your questions. It’s on August 15 at 6pm at the Manning Clark lecture theatre at the Australian National University.
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Inside the vat

Check out this video. Christopher Carpenter of Lark Hill biodynamic winery tossed a GoPro video camera into a vat of marsanne to capture what happened when dry-ice pellets were dropped into the wine. The result is a mesmerising clip of thousands of bubbles shooting to the surface to form a protective blanket of CO2 over the top of the marsanne. Carpenter says the CO2 protected the wine from oxidising during the winemaking process. ‘‘The streams of bubbles actually look like smoke rings from the top,’’ he says. Carpenter hopes to upload more interesting images, saying there are so many things in the winery that are fascinating but ephemeral.
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Roll up, roll up

The Canberra Environment Centre is holding a couple of very popular food workshops this month. On Saturday, July 20, join home cheese-making expert Gurkan Yeniceri for a soft cheese workshop – making fetta, ricotta, mozzarella and haloumi from scratch. There’ll be ingredients provided, and you’ll get a set of notes to take home, along with a glass of local organic wine. A week later, on July 28, there’s a sourdough workshop with artist and baker Robert Guth. You’ll get ingredients, take-home notes, a glass of wine and a sourdough starter culture. Both workshops cost $80 and places are limited. See ecoaction南京夜网.au to book or phone 6248 0885.
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Dugan cops one-game ban for shoulder charge

The prospect of missing the State of Origin series decider was too much of a gamble for St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan, who will miss the Dragons’ do or die clash with the Roosters on Saturday after taking an early guilty plea.
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Dugan was charged with a grade one shoulder charge on Penrith fullback Matt Moylan in the 25-10 loss to the Panthers at Penrith last Saturday night.

The Dragons had wanted to fight the charge, but if Dugan was found guilty he would have been rubbed out for two weeks, ending his hopes of playing for NSW.

Rookie fullback Adam Quinlan is expected to take Dugan’s spot for the Dragons.

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Giants to trade for ready-made stars

Tom Boyd, predicted no.1 draft pick. GWS Giants trading opportunities.
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No.1 prospect lives up to hype’Highest rated since Riewoldt’Hawks do Buddy sumsVote: trade for no.1 pick?

Greater Western Sydney has declared each of its draft picks, including a potential No.1 selection, is up for grabs during this year’s trade period as the club ramps up its bid to catch an elusive big fish.

Satisfied with the talent they have mined from the 2011-12 drafts, the Giants are hunting players entering the prime of their careers – and they may also have the bait to entice rival clubs to bite.

”Every draft pick, including pick one, is on the table,” Giants football manager Graeme Allan said.

”We’re at the stage we’ve got a few pick ones so we probably need experienced players.”

The revelation means the Giants could theoretically secure Lance Franklin through free agency, plus at least one other young but proven elite player.

GWS CEO David Matthews has criticised Melbourne clubs for failing to get deals done with the Giants in previous trade periods.

“I think in particular the Victorian clubs probably should have worked a bit harder to get the likes of Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Martin and you even saw (Brad) Crouch on the weekend is this week’s NAB Rising Star, Matthews told SEN radio Tuesday.

“They’re players we had the rights to and the rights to trade and in the end without getting anything of value we converted those players to picks.

“Jaeger O’Meara should have been probably at a Victorian club for a couple of mature players for us.

“I thought having watched kids like O’Meara coming through the development pathway that there would have been a more concerted effort with a player like that.”

Also speaking on SEN later on Tuesday, Carlton CEO Greg Swann accused Matthews of a “little bit of rewriting of history” with his version of trading discussions with GWS.

But many clubs would surely now be eyeing Suns prodigy O’Meara, who is averaging 23 possessions in his first season, and wondering whether Matthews is right.

Commentator and former Essendon great Tim Watson said on Monday that O’Meara could become the greatest midfielder in the game’s history.

Winless after 10 rounds, the league’s newest club is well placed to secure its third No.1 selection in as many years. It has also activated a compensation pick, likely to be around No.11, while its second-round selection, in the low 20s, is also likely to arouse interest.

Allan refused to speculate what calibre of player it would take to part ways with their prized top pick but it’s commonly accepted in recruiting circles a top-five draft pick should, barring injury, become a 200-gamer for that club.

One insider at an established club with knowledge in the field said the No.1 pick was worth ”at a minimum” a player around the 21-to-23 age bracket with close to 100 games who was ”already a star”. The insider said a player of the ilk of Richmond’s Trent Cotchin, who recently signed a new deal, would fit that billing.

At 26, Franklin is too old to satisfy this criteria but the Giants can secure the Hawthorn champion through restricted free agency by offering a contract the Hawks cannot match or through the pre-season draft.

Both recruiting methods would leave the Giants’ haul of draft picks intact to lure other stars. Unlike in free agency, the Giants can trade for contracted players but would need that player’s club to agree to a deal before any transfer can occur.

The last time a club traded away the No.1 pick was 2001 when Fremantle gave up access to Luke Hodge and another pick that netted Hawthorn Sam Mitchell in return for Trent Croad and Luke McPharlin. With Tom Boyd, a 199 centimetres and 102 kilograms power forward, the early favourite to be the No.1 pick, the Giants are set to attract interest from clubs on the hunt for a gun spearhead. The Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Brisbane Lions would dearly love a young forward and with their premiership windows firmly shut might be more prepared to give up a decent player than a club such as Carlton or Fremantle.

The Giants, with Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton, are well stocked in attack.

Allan would not comment when asked who was on the club’s radar but the Giants have clear deficiencies in the key defensive posts and the ruck.

The Giants, however, have struggled to attract proven stars without the lure of exorbitant sums and remain disappointed no established clubs were prepared to trade players for talent in the mini-draft.

”The only club that offered near value was the Gold Coast, hence they got them for early picks, but we would have preferred more elite players in that regard,” Allan said.

”The first two years we tried to bring in some senior players and we also tried to bring in some elite senior players but we found that fairly difficult.

”We have been looking. It’s not easy to get players from other clubs. Exactly where I won’t go into … but we need to put senior players around our kids now.”

But Matthews feels the preponderance of young players on the GWS list means his club will get deals done even even it if has to spend a lot of money on Franklin.

“I think what Graeme Allan and Steve Silvagni have done so far in the list build is get the best talent into the club and a lot of it is young talent and therefore there is a bit of room (in the salary cap). So we’re considering all sorts of scenarios at the moment…”

He pinpointed a key defender and a key forward as the main targets of his recruiting team over the next six months.

Allan was confident the Giants were capable of taking a ”major step” forward in their third season, just as Gold Coast has this year, but would not divulge a pass mark for 2013.

”There’s only one club each year who gets a pass and that’s the team that wins the premiership,” Allan said. ”We’ve got to aim like every club does for that. How long it takes I can’t give you an answer.

”It’s tough and hard work but you see signs and glimpses of brilliance from the kids every week.

”It’s just not sustainable at the moment but you know it’s going to happen.”

 – with Will Brodie

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Rockin’ recipe wins for 96FM

Blackers, Carmen and Fitzi celebrate the station jumping to first place for the second time in a year. Photo: 96FM 720 ABC’s Eoin Cameron has held onto his number one spot in breakfast, while the station sits in fifth place overall. Photo: 720 ABC
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The Perth radio market share in breakfast, morning, afternoon and drive. Photo: Nielsen

The Bunch jumped 0.6 per cent and remained in third place.

There’s a lot of celebrating going on in radio land this morning, but not in the usual places.

96FM general manager Martin Boylen has promised to pop the champagne corks after the rock ‘n’ rollers knocked radio juggernaut Mix 94.5 from its number one spot and locked away a significant lead.

And Nova is celebrating having the largest audience in Perth of 470,000 – its best ever result – and the first time its Nathan, Nat & Shaun breakfast show has come up trumps over Mix 94.5’s The Bunch for two consecutive surveys.

Eoin Cameron’s breakfast offering at 720 ABC has maintained the overall number one breakfast show ranking.

With 96FM in the lead, Mix 94.5 fell into second place and the rest remained the same with Nova third, triple j fourth, 720 ABC fifth, 92.9 sixth, 6PR seventh and 6IX eighth.

STATION RANKINGS (% MARKET SHARE)1. 96FM – 13.5 2. Mix 94.5 – 12.3 3. Nova 93.7 – 12.2 4. triple j – 10.85. ABC720 – 10.26. 92.9 – 9.07. 6PR – 8.28. 6IX – 5.9

Mix has long dominated the radio market in Perth and it’s only the second time since the end of 1999 that they’ve been delegated to second place – 96FM momentarily jumped to number one at this time last year.

But this time, 96FM certain of holding onto the lead.

“I think we’re planning on staying there as long as possible,” Mr Boylen said.

“It’s a much more competitive market, there’s Mix and Nova have also improved.

“Anything could happen.”

The station had won a throng of loyal listeners – while they only have the fourth largest audience, their audience is sticking around for longer.

“It’s the result of a lot of hard work that we started 18 months ago,” 96FM general manager Martin Boylen said, referring to the station’s significant rebranding strategy.

“Its consistency – we’ve stayed on the path of ‘keeping real music alive’ and we haven’t deviated.”

The station is in the unusual place of being number one overall, but having its breakfast show sitting in the number four spot.

“We’re working with our breakfast team, they’ve had three rises in a row so they’re certainly trending in the right direction,” Mr Boylen said.

“I think it’s our daytime listening that is just so strong.

“We’re number in the workday.”

At 6PR the search continued for a drive replacement for shock jock Howard Sattler, following his high-profile sacking.

Mix 94.5, however, is certain of the same comeback they achieved last year.

“For us, the stigma of being number one for 90 million surveys left us last year so that was the monkey off our back,” Guy Dobson, Southern Cross Austereo chief content officer, said.

“We bounced back last year and we’re confident we’ll do it again,”

The station sustained significant losses across the workday and into the evening – up to 2.5 per cent – and Mr Dobson said there were changes to be made.

“We certainly have a lot of work to do across the day with the music product,” he said.

Sister station 92.9 failed to claw back any lead that has slowly been slipping away, falling into sixth place overall and seventh in breakfast.

Dobson said it was difficult to tackle the large cash giveaways used by main competitor Nova 93.7.

“We don’t want to get dragged into cash wars and marketing wars,” Mr Dobson said.

“Our marketing budget, our firepower, is way less than what it has been in the past.

“In terms of massive cash giveaways, we haven’t been investing in that.

“Our opposition loves to throw cash around so we’ll have to reassess.”

The results for 92.9 were “disappointing”.

“It’s a work in progress,” Mr Dobson said.

“We put it down to experimenting with the day part for a few years and also, the opposition has done a great job.”

96FM and 6PR are owned by Fairfax, also the publisher of this website. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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