Nova’s Paul Jackson on latest Brisbane results and 2022 plans

Nova Entertainment's group program director Paul Jackson spoke to Mumbrella's Anna Macdonald on the results of survey eight for 2021 and looking at the end of lockdowns.

Following the final survey results for the year, Paul Jackson told Mumbrella the lockdown period for Nova was a time of regrouping.

Jackson says: “I think [lockdown] was also a good chance for us to sit and have a chat about the show and refocus ourselves. When you don’t go so well, you’ve got to take it on the chin, and we know that lockdown played a huge part in it. We’ve got to look at ourselves that we did everything right.”

Nova Entertainment group program director Paul Jackson

In Sydney, Nova 96.9 had 6.8% of share for people 10+, up 1.4 points while Smoothfm 95.3 stayed at 7.9% for the same demographic. In Melbourne, for people 10+, Nova 100 dipped slightly to 6.2%, down 0.3 points and Smoothfm 91.5 was up 1.0 point to 8.0%.

However, in Brisbane, Nova did not top total people in terms of share for the first time in a number of surveys.

On Brisbane, Jackson says: “In Queensland, we’ve taken a fall a few times. We lost 30% of ratings once in one survey, which was a bit of a panic. So, we could be right back into the summer period, end of the year, look, this happened to us before.”

Jackson continues: “We’ve been the number one radio station in the market the previous seven surveys this year. So I think this is a moment in time. Nothing materially has changed for us.”

“You’d really want to see two or three more surveys that all look like that,” continues Jackson. “Then, sure, I can look at an issue. We’ve seen this happen in isolation before. The previous numbers were so high, when we were doing about 13 share. We’ve hit some numbers that are historical highs. For the breakfast show, we’re in a very strong position at 10.7… Historically, 97.3 and Nova have been shoulder-to-shoulder.”

Jackson continues: “There’s nothing to concern me at this stage. Let’s see how we go next year.”

On 2022, Jackson says he will expect the unexpected.

“We had lots of close contact situations in our offices, particularly in Melbourne, in November. At the drop of a hat, we had to switch to broadcasting from home. That seemed like a difficult thing to do, not so long ago. Now we’re very agile and we’re prepared for that.”

In terms of 2022 output, Jackson said: “We’ve just go to keep learning and understanding how the audience is feeling as we go forward. When we first heard about COVID, people were absolutely on the news trying to understand, get their heads around what this meant for them.

“Potentially, now, a lot of people are vaccinated, heading for boosters – there’s maybe more of a sense of fatigue as well. So there’s a likelihood [people will tune into] escapism, for the presenters to have a bit of a laugh to cheer them up.

Jackson continued: “We take nothing for granted. I really appreciate the work everyone’s done this year, because it’s been tough. And especially with presenters and producers behind the scenes to keep people happy and keep them smiling.”


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