ARN’s Duncan Campbell on final radio results of 2022 and his thoughts on Kyle Sandilands

After the final metro radio ratings of 2022 dropped, Mumbrella's Emma Shepherd caught up with ARN's chief content officer, Duncan Campbell, to mark the network remaining as the market leader, details of the new podcast broadcast strategy that will roll out in 2023, and what he really thinks of Kyle Sandilands.

The final radio ratings for 2022, survey eight have landed, and following in 2021’s footsteps, ARN has closed out the year again as the country’s #1 national network.

“It’s our best year ever in terms of ratings, which is very impressive considering we lost 4KQ,” ARN’s chief content officer tells Mumbrella. “We are the #1 network, again, which we lost the last couple of books overall, and very strong in the 25-54s demo as well.”

ARN’s Duncan Campbell.

Overall, the ARN network achieved a 19.4% share and an audience of more than 6.2 million listeners (both including DAB+). This follows the continued success of ARN’s iHeart, which in October, once again was named Australia’s #1 podcast publisher, with five of the top ten podcasts including Casefile – which regained its number one position.

“ARN has never been in better shape. We have some record-breaking results in key markets today,” admits Campbell. “Our radio business is the best in the country. We are seeing our commercial share grow off the back of that.”

“We’re building a hugely complimentary digital audio business which has been fantastic,” adds Campbell. “Our podcasting growth is up 19% year-on-year. We are leaders in the podcast/broadcast strategy which we’re seeing audience and revenue growth accelerating.”

Launched in February 2020, the iHeartPodcast Network Australia has been the preeminent podcast destination for creators, brands and audiences, cementing itself as the #1 Australian Podcast Publisher since launch.

“Podcasting continues to excel for us,” he says. “We will have some announcements coming up in early 2023 around the podcast-to-broadcast strategy and the evolution of that, as well as iHeartRadio, which provides extensive audio content all in one place. It’s a real point of difference for our network which is great.”

In October, the network announced it will axe the 3PM Pick Up, which was hosted by Monty Dimond, Kate Langbroek and Yumi Stynes, with the weekday radio show wrapping up at the end of the year.

“One announcement in early 2023 will be the new host of the 3PM Pick Up show,” admits Campbell. “We are keeping our lips shut on that until 2023. There are minor changes around new talent into Adelaide’s breakfast show, but it’s not replacing Ali Clarke, it’s adding additional hosts.”

Looking ahead at what audio can offer advertisers, Campbell shares the importance of utilising both podcasts and broadcasts.

“Podcasting offers advertisers some well-targeted audiences and broadcast gets them that sizeable mass reach,” notes Campbell. “I think smart advertisers and agencies understand the power of both.”

“The potential in podcasting is significant given that there’s still a large number of people who don’t download a podcast each month,” he says. “Which means the growth trajectory is significant from a revenue point of view.”

“It’s a power combination for advertisers,” he says, adding, “If advertisers want to reach a large audience and specific targeting, they must look to audio.”

Meanwhile, as for how the network manages to retain its #1 title, Campbell nods to the consistency of its broadcast strategy.

“ARN has been very consistent, but we evolve with the times. We have never been in better shape, which is a great foundation for 2023,” he says.

“For us in terms of the broadcast side of things, strategy hasn’t really altered over the years. We focus very much on driving ratings growth through strong content, which is targeted, well planned and executed. We research our formats and music well,” Campbell adds.

Looking ahead, Campbell admits there are three stations that will be a key focus for next year.

“The focus for us is three stations next year, which will be Brisbane 97.3, then it’ll be Adelaide, Mix102.3. We really want to see KIIS 101.1 come through in 2023.

“They have made some solid foundations for that with a 1.7 percentage point increase in this survey,” he says. “We have been strong, consistent and delivering for advertisers, and 2023 looks like another strong year for ARN, which is great.”

Kyle Sandilands & Jackie Henderson Hall of Fame Award & Kyle & Jackie O Hour of Power; Kyle Sandilands & Jackie Henderson, ARN winner of Best Networked Program Metropolitan Award at the ACRAS 2022

KIIS FM’s Kyle Sandilands was under the spotlight a few times this year after making a slew of controversial comments live on air.

As for whether Campbell fears the radio host could potentially damage the ARN brand or have any effect on its clients’ reputations, he admits: “I think part of it is that’s what he [Kyle] does. He’s many things, he’s not stupid. He’s a very smart media personality, and he understands the medium of radio.”

“He always pushes the envelope, and it’s our job that he doesn’t break the envelope,” Campbell explains. “He’s very advertiser-friendly. He wants clients to have faith in the show and the brand and advertise with him and see what that show can do in terms of reaching consumers and converting them into buying products.

“There’s a lot of criticism about that show sometimes. I think it’s a bit unfair, the show is what it is. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but it’s to a lot of people’s taste with a cume of over 800,000. He treads a tightrope but that’s what he does, and he does that really well. He’s one of this country’s most successful broadcasters, and Kyle & Jackie O are the country’s best radio duo. There’s no better duo in the world I don’t think, and that’s no exaggeration.”

Last month, Sandilands’ co-host Jackie O Henderson announced on air that she was taking a break from radio due to health reasons.

Henderson said at the time that she had been “struggling with this fatigue” and had received medical advice to stop working.

“Ever since picking up that virus, I’ve been to the doctor several times, and he said because I’ve been pushing myself every day, after the show, all I’ve been doing is sleeping, and I’m not getting better,” said Henderson.

“I feel it’s got worse. I can hear it,” co-host Sandilands told her, with Henderson replying, “I just have to take some time off.”

She told listeners she would be off air for “the next couple of weeks” but did not mention an exact return date, however, Campbell shares that Henderson was returning to the station in the new year.

“It’s all good news on that front. Jackie O will be back when the show returns on 16 January.”


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