‘We don’t knee-jerk and change on a whim’: What did the radio bosses think of yesterday’s ratings results?

Yesterday was the seventh radio ratings survey of the year – and perhaps the most important, in regards to forward planning for 2024.

So, what did the numbers reveal to those in charge of making the programming decisions? Will there be any snap lineup changes or no-repeat Wednesdays?

We caught up with the content chiefs yesterday after the ratings came out to gather their reactions.

Duncan Campbell – chief content officer – ARN

You must be pleased with the results.

Look, I think the big win is that we’ve retained the number one network position, 10+, around the country, which is great. I mean, the real highlights are, obviously, KIIS1065 in Sydney, ahead of Ben Fordham in breakfast with Kyle and Jackie O, which is up 1.6 points. And the station is the highest cume-ing station in Australia at the moment and Kyle and Jackie O have a cume of about 797,000, which is a very impressive cume for Breakfast. So, that’s probably the big highlight.

The other one will be Gold retaining its number one position down there and Christian O’Connell, number one in breakfast and some good results in Perth, and also Adelaide and even Brisbane — there’s a bit of a battle there still — but overall, it’s a strong result, which is a testament to the strength of the strategy and the way we execute that around the country.

What has this survey shown you? Does it solidify the strategy for 2024? Any changes?

I think we have a very focused strategy, we don’t knee-jerk and change on a whim. The network’s in very strong shape, and we’ve delivered consistent ratings over the last several years. And we continue to do so

This has probably been our most challenging year, certainly in the first half, with the strength of Nova, and smooth in particular, coming out of the blocks in the first half of the year. And SCA had a fairly good first half as well. But we’ve managed to regroup and come back strongly in the second half of the year.

So we expect to end the year, again, in a very strong position as we tend to do most years, over the past several years. So, no changes planned. We remain very focused on delivering these numbers for our advertisers; we know we need to do, and we continue to do it.

And what, if anything, do you credit your second-half comeback to?

The fact that the foundations of these products are so strong, in terms of the music platform, and also the talent we have on our Breakfast shows, and we’ve got some of the best talent around the country, and they continue to perform well. We’re very consistent. And while marketing campaigns from other networks might influence the book, etc, the audience has returned to us, as they have done year after year, because the products are very consistent and well targeted, and we’ve remained very, very focused on delivering that.

Dave Cameron – chief content officer at Southern Cross Austereo

Congratulations. How do you feel about the results?

We had seven out of 10 ‘up’ results [stations which have increased market share]. So, broadly speaking, I think that is a pretty strong result for the day. I think the key win for us is the duopoly [Hit and Triple M] — as of today, we are the number one share, 10+, nationally. So basically, on these results, if you split those two networks apart, the result would be inferior.

So it’s currently, as of today, the number one share 10+ nationally, with the powerhouse of Hit and Triple M working together.

And I guess the other thing for us is we have an outright number one station in Adelaide, with Triple M. We have an outright number one station with Mix 94.5 Perth returning back to number one.

And, if you take it on just Monday to Friday figures, we also have a third outright number one station in Triple M Brisbane.

So, in Monday to Friday’s showing, SCA has number one outright stations in three out of five Metro markets, which was a pretty strong result for us.

Did this survey point to any changes that need to be made?

Not at all. I mean, to be honest, we made many lineup changes going back nearly two years ago. We talk about how long it takes for radio shows to build momentum and find an audience and, to be honest, we’re just now seeing the results of huge hard work over the last couple of years.

Marty Sheargold’s show got its best result in Melbourne since it’s been on. We’re number one in Adelaide. We’re number one in Perth. So a lot of those changes were made in the lead up to this year. So we’re now reaping the results of the changes that we’ve made in previous, recent times. So there is really very little change for next year.

Fantastic. Any other areas across the network worth highlighting?

Fox in Melbourne continues to be a powerhouse for us, and a real jewel in the crown for the Hit Network. It’s miles ahead of KIIS and Nova in Melbourne. And it’s so close to taking out number one again in Melbourne, so I think that Fox continues to be such a jewel in the crown.

Brendan Taylor  – group program operations director at Nova Entertainment

How do you feel about the results? There’s some good stuff in there for you guys?

I’m really, really pleased, particularly with Sydney Breakfast, and the Sydney station. You know, we’ve worked really hard, and that’s progressed really nicely over these recent surveys to be in a position, where you know, we’re hitting those little key indicators where we want to be: we want to stay in the ‘sevens’, we want our cume to grow, we want that engagement in the show. So yeah, a result like today with Fitzy and Wippa and Kate Ritchie, and even the entire Sydney team – it’s really pleasing.

This survey seems to be the most important for planning 2024, because the next one comes too late…

You’re exactly right. Especially with the way the methodology works, or the having the rollout of radio360, it’s delayed a week to what it has been previous years. So, the conversation I was just having with with the breakfast team then: really, we’ve got 11 shows now, just to continue the momentum, or just build on what we’ve got, because with Survey 8, we’re already over halfway there.

No, I think we’ve done all the hard work this year, from a Sydney perspective, of knowing the important aspects of the show we needed to work on, and develop. Kate has come in and she’s playing such a such a leading role in the show, and the chemistry between the three of them — they’ve always had chemistry prior to Kate joining, but having her in the team — it’s really pleasing to see. I think tactically, and from a content perspective, we’re in the areas we need to be.

Obviously, we want to continue to improve, but I think our plan to this year will just extend into next year – we’ll build on that.

Anything else you’d like to highlight?

Overall, it’s just such a pleasing result for Nova Entertainment as a whole. I think you know, the highlight from the DAB extensions, hitting that milestone of over a million from an audience perspective, being the leading network from a total audio perspective on 6.3 million. It’s a really pleasing day for Survey 7.

Read a break down of yesterday’s rating here.


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