Radio bosses: 2DayFM ‘not worried’ about stagnant Rove and Sam; Melbourne and Adelaide battles heat up

The second survey of the year has delivered fluid results in key markets such as Adelaide and Melbourne. For HitFM a strong result for Hamish and Andy in Drive was overshadowed by the ongoing failure of Rove and Sam to gain any movement in breakfast. Nic Christensen speaks with the radio bosses about survey two.

Rove and SamIf there was one thing many in the radio industry were looking at in this survey it was for some movement in 2DayFM’s much-promoted new breakfast show featuring Rove McManus and Sam Frost.

Sadly, for the HitFM Network it wasn’t to be.

Despite a blaze of marketing and publicity the show is sitting stagnant, attracting a meagre 3% share in the key market of Sydney, but HitFM’s content boss Gemma Fordham insists she’s not worried: “No I’m not disappointed. We have said for a while now that we are in it for the long haul and we really are.”

Tim Dunlop

McManus and Dunlop. EP Dunlop will now take on a role training other producers.

This week saw the show’s executive producer Tim Dunlop moved to another role in the network. Southern Cross Austereo yesterday confirmed that Alex Spurway would take the reins from Dunlop on the key timeslot radio show.

Hit Network content director Fordham says the industry emphasis on Rove and Sam’s performance is overstated and argues it is still early days for the program which has now been on-air since late 2015.

“We know this is something that won’t happen overnight and we will continue with the team,” says Fordham.

“There is nothing more to say to that story we are committed to the show certainly for the next three years and we are seeing cumulative growth there, which is positive.

“I’m not going to zero-in on breakfast and be all down in the dumps.”

Asked if they didn’t at least expect some movement, Fordham replied: “It depends what you define as ‘movement’.”

“We are seeing an increase in listeners,” she says, noting a rise in the cumulative audience for 2DayFM breakfast of 6000 listeners when you measure from 6:00am-9:00am, the time when Rove and Sam are on (breakfast is usually measured 5:30am-9:00am). “With any new show you are going to have a lot of marketing and we will continue to do that.

“I think for us in Sydney we are not just focused on the breakfast result. It’s the 2DayFM result that we are focused on.”

Her rival content directors have mixed views on their competitor’s breakfast show.


Jackson: Getting cut-through isn’t easy.

Nova’s Paul Jackson is somewhat sympathetic. “It is very hard to get going in any market, but especially in really big markets like Sydney where there are many stations also at the top of their game,” says Jackson.

“Getting cut-through isn’t easy and you have to give it time – a lot more time than we are giving it. And of course you have this constant analysis. I am not saying it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I just think eventually they have to back one for the long-term and this is probably it.”

Meanwhile, ARN’s Duncan Campbell is quicker to rush to judgement on the show, which is now in its third survey. “I feel sorry for them, honestly,” he says.

“A three-share is just nowhere near where they need to be and is just out of the competitive space. I suspect they are approaching decision time on that show. It is just not going to work.

“At some point they are going to have to face reality but I don’t envy them. What they have to do will be challenging but they will have make a decision at some point; this show is not going to work.”

Hamish and Andy takes out number one nationally in drive 

Hamish & Andy had a good book.

Hamish and Andy had a ‘good book’ in survey two.

Unfortunately for HitFM and its owners Southern Cross Austereo, the poor performance of breakfast in Sydney dominated media headlines and drew attention away from the growth of Hamish and Andy in Drive.

In survey two, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee narrowly took the number one spot nationally in Drive and now lead in Melbourne and Brisbane and are just one point behind rivals Nova in Adelaide.


Fordham: a great result for Hamish and Andy.

For Fordham this is a good story and something she is pleased with. “We have had a great result for Hamish and Andy,” she says.

“It was a good one in Brissie. Hamish and Andy have taken out the number one spot nationally – they are on a 10.5, Nova are on a 10.4. We are really happy with the result for the guys: number one in Melbourne and Brisbane, almost number one in Adelaide.”

Even their rivals now concede Hamish and Andy are firmly back in the race in Drive.

“The Drive race is interesting, Hamish and Andy have had a relatively good book around the country overall,” says Campbell. “But Hugeshy and Kate have also done well; they were number one in Sydney, number two in Melbourne, and three in Brisbane where it is a tight drive battle.”

Kyle and Jackie O beaten in Sydney; Smooth slips; 2DayFM improves in the workday 

Campbell: Kyle and Jackie O the dominant FM breakfast show in Sydney.

Campbell: Kyle and Jackie O the dominant FM breakfast show in Sydney.

While ARN content director Duncan Campbell is usually happy to offer a view on competitors, he is less keen to talk about how Kyle and Jackie O got beaten for second place in Sydney by the ABC.

The public broadcaster Robbie Buck has 11.4 compared with 11.3 for the FM radio shock jocks, while 2GB’s Alan Jones remains number one with 15.3.

“We don’t really pay attention to the ABC,” says Campbell. “If he (Buck) is there it’s a good uplift and an interesting number, but commercial, where we play, it was good numbers for Kyle and Jackie O,” he says, dismissing the surprise shift.

The ARN boss instead points to the fact that Kiis’ numbers have lifted on 2015 and are back in the 8s and 9s and that the network again has the number one and two stations in the Sydney FM market.

“They are off a little bit and there is still daylight between them and any of the other FMs, except WSFM which saw a strong increase – which means we have number one and number two in Sydney,” says Campbell.

Kyle and Jackie O have lift their cumulative numbers.

Kyle and Jackie O have lift their cumulative numbers.

“The cumulative story says it all for Kyle and Jackie O – up 5,000 to 606,000. The nearest rival is Nova on 468,000. Kiis is a dominant FM breakfast show.

“The Sydney duopoly is really back to where it was. For us, after a really competitive 12 months we are now seeing strong consistent results and impressive growth across our brands and in key day parts.”

SmoothFM_with_tagline_CMYK-1For Nova boss Paul Jackson it was not a great survey for the likes of SmoothFM in Sydney.

We have seen better days in Sydney,” said Jackson, acknowledging a 1.7% share fall this survey in the Sydney station. “We can do better and I do think we have some work to do.

“We have seen similar drops before in other markets and it will probably wash out as it has in other parts of Australia. In the context of Smooth, in Sydney, I’m quite comfortable it will come back and we are doing well in Melbourne.”

While for 2DayFM while most of the attention in Sydney has been on breakfast they are keen to highlight that its results across the workday have lifted with the likes of afternoon up 0.5% to a 5.3% share.

“In the work day it is the highest result since Kyle and Jackie O left the station in 2013,” says Fordham. “We beat Nova (in that work day time period) and we have not been able to say that for a very long time.

“Our team were so excited because it was the best result this station has had in three years. I don’t take that lightly.”

Melbourne’s ratings race is fluid 

In Melbourne, ARN GoldFM maintained its position as the number one FM station and for HitFM’s Fordham that’s a reflection of the more competitive landscape in the city.

“The landscape has changed there – we know that – previously we didn’t have strong competition and now we have a few stations who have got their shit together,” Fordham says bluntly.

“They are certainly giving us a run for our money but FoxFM remains a huge and powerful station and number one in cumulative,” she adds.

However, she also notes that hosts Fifi and Dave are still pulling a solid 7.1% – up 0.4%.

“Despite the breakfast battle going on there the guys have done remarkably well to come up with a strong breakfast result and for the station to remain in a really strong position given what the landscape looks like,” she says.

Triple M breakfast in Melbourne still number one.

Triple M breakfast in Melbourne still number one.

Her colleague, TripleM’s Mike Fitzpatrick, is also keen to note that despite a marketing war in the city Eddie McGuire, Mick Molloy and Luke Darcy continue to hold on to their FM breakfast crown.

“We are very happy with Melbourne, where we are number one in breakfast and the work day continues to grow,” says Fitzpatrick.

Nova’s Paul Jackson says it is still early days in the race between the various networks and breakfast shows in the market: “Nobody has broken out of the pack. We have Fox coming back a bit and then you have a range there.”

Campbell also describes the city as a tight race.

“It is still a tight battle but Gold is performing exceptionably well,” he says. “It is number one again, and Kiis is up as well. To produce number two and three Drive shows is good as well.”

Adelaide a close contest – can Mix 102.3 recover next survey? 

Melbourne isn’t only market where things are tight.

Survey two had Mix, Triple M and Nova all within one point of each other, and Mix 102.3 struggling to regain its dominance in the Adelaide market.

Duncan Campbell says this is an aberration. “Adelaide is more competitive than we would like this year but we know what we need to do and the areas we need to adjust,” he says.

“We will do that in the coming weeks and be back on track over the coming books. I still maintain that Mix will regain number one probably next book.”

HitFM’s Fordham says she doesn’t believe there is a reason the market is so tight but notes the change in music has helped Hit.

“I don’t think there is any (particular) reason for that (close race),” she says. “It is a slightly particular market in demos, etc, and from the Hit side we have worked really hard in broadening the music there.”

TripleM’s Fitzpatrick adds: “There are only four commercial FMs in that market as opposed to six in the others.

“Our breakfast show is now two years in and it takes about two years for a breakfast show to start to work.

“You have two older stations and two younger stations and as our product grows and gets better and the audience gets more familiar with them they are going to be more competitive.”

Nic Christensen is the media and technology editor of Mumbrella. 


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