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Australian radio stars and influencer hosts axed in mass redundancy

EXCLUSIVE: Several ARN employees have been let go following Kyle and Jackie O's $200 million deal with the network.

A selection of Australia’s leading influencers have been axed from their national radio shows on digital station CADA.

Yahoo Lifestyle can reveal that the station’s breakfast team featuring TikTok personalities Kian Oliver, Yaz Haddad and Avneesha Martins were told on Monday that their show would not be returning in the new year.

Meanwhile, drive hosts Lillian Ahenkan (Flex Mami) and Lucinda Price (Froomes) announced last week that they won't be continuing their radio show in 2024, with Flex telling Yahoo Lifestyle that she decided not to renew her contract before major redundancies were announced.

CADA’s breakfast team Kian & Yaz with Avneesha and drive duo Flex & Froomes.
CADA’s breakfast team Kian & Yaz with Avneesha and drive duo Flex & Froomes won’t be returning in 2024. Photos: CADA

It’s understood that several employees at CADA have been made redundant this week, less than two years after the station rebranded from its previous name, The Edge.

CADA is operated by the Australian Radio Network (ARN), which is the home of KIIS and WSFM, and is often referred to as ‘Australia's Home of Hip Hop and R&B’. The national platform broadcasts in Western Sydney and is available on DAB+ in every capital city.

Although it seems the influencer-to-radio-host strategy hasn’t worked for CADA as they “restructure” in the new year, KIIS has experienced much more success by putting reality and social media stars in front of the mic.

Brittany Hockley and Laura Byrne, who first found fame on The Bachelor before launching their hugely successful podcast Life Uncut, will continue their national show The Pick Up in 2024 alongside Mitch Churi.

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When contacted for comment, an ARN spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle that the company has “had to make some changes to the structure and format of CADA which have regrettably impacted some roles”.

They continued: “This decision was not made lightly, and we acknowledge and appreciate the commitment of our staff. The changes do not reflect the performance of the individuals affected or their value to the ARN business. Our primary focus now is on supporting those impacted during this transitional period.”

Yaz Haddad also told Yahoo Lifestyle that although their show won't be returning to CADA in the new year, “it definitely is not the end of the KYA brand”.

“CADA has been an absolute blessing for us,” he said. “It was the place that brought us three together and in doing so created the first-ever all-ethnic commercial breakfast show in Australian history achieving one of the fastest-growing brands on both radio and social media. This is definitely only the beginning for us as a trio. We are very excited about what the future holds.”

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson were hesitant to sign their new $200 million contract until their bosses agreed to one major condition. Photo: Instagram/kyleandjackieo
Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson were hesitant to sign their new $200 million contract until their bosses agreed to one major condition. Photo: Instagram/kyleandjackieo

Kyle and Jackie O’s $200 million deal

The mass redundancies come shortly after it was announced that Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson had signed a 10-year deal with ARN reportedly worth $200 million.

The new deal, which has been described as the biggest deal in Australian media history, will see the presenters’ salaries increase from $5 million to $10 million as they continue to work together until 2034.

“Love us or loathe us, Jackie and I will be continuing with our politically incorrect nonsense for a long, long time,” Kyle said in a statement last month.

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The duo will be broadcast in Melbourne for the very first time, which has resulted in Melbourne-based breakfast hosts Lauren Phillips and Jason Hawkins being brutally axed from their radio show.

Yahoo Lifestyle also understands that Kyle and Jackie were hesitant to re-sign with KIIS until their bosses agreed they would be getting a brand new state-of-the-art studio.

It’s believed the entire ARN office will be leaving their current location in North Ryde at the start of the new year and going to a new spot somewhere around Sydney’s CBD.

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