Hamish and Andy drive the price up

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 20.01

Hamish and Andy are reportedly getting $4m each to return to drive time radio. Picture: Eugene Hyland Source: News Corp Australia

THEY'VE been called off the bench to help salvage what has been a horror year for Southern Cross Austereo but Hamish Blake and Andy Lee's return to the national drive slot has come at a huge cost.

The broadcaster is understood to be shelling out a whopping $4 million each per year to the duo, making them the highest paid FM radio announcers in the country.

Interestingly, it comes a year after Southern Cross Austereo failed to come to an agreement with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie 'O' Henderson to continue hosting breakfast on its 2Day FM station.

They were believed to be asking for a substantially lower fee of $2 million each to stay with the then almighty network where they had taken the top rating breakfast show to new heights.

Their departure from 2Day FM sent Southern Cross Austereo's stock price and audience share into a free fall. Kyle and Jackie O's new station, KiiS, and network, ARN, have soared to success in the Sydney radio market.

Andy Lee and Hamish Blake are a popular radio duo. Source: Supplied

Meanwhile, at last count, SCA's market value took a $500 million hit as a result of the decision.

"It is pretty amazing that they are paying Hamish and Andy $4 million each per year when you think that Kyle and Jackie O were asking for half of that a year ago," said a well-placed industry source.

"In hindsight, it is an unbelievably bad piece of decision making."

SCA announced Hamish and Andy's return to radio at the end of October with the pair set to take over the national drive slot in July 2015.

They've also replaced Kyle and Jackie O's replacement team of Sophie Monk, Merrick Watts and Jules Lund with rookies Dan Debuf and Maz Compton taking over.

Lund will keep the drive seat warm until Hamish and Andy take over mid year.

SCAustereo are set to begin major shareholder talks this month and it is understood management structure will come under the spotlight in the wake of news Chairman Max Moore-Wilton is stepping down at the end of what has arguably been the network's worst year on record.

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