2GB and 3AW's secret to success: Number 1 Bookends | radioinfo

2GB and 3AW's secret to success: Number 1 Bookends

Tuesday 16 March, 2021
Not quite matching bookends, 2GB's Ben Fordham at Breakfast, John Stanley at Night

Comment From Peter Saxon.

In the 43 years I’ve been interpreting radio surveys, I’ve never known a station to lose 3.3 share points in one book and for management to be so thrilled about it. 
Yet, that’s exactly what 3AW managed to achieve in the first GfK Survey of 2021. It plummeted from a lofty 19.6 share to a 16.3 compared to Survey 8 last year. In the same comparison, Breakfast with Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft (below) tumbled from a 25.0 share to 22.2 while the ever-reliable Neil Mitchell’s share of mornings sank from 22.1 to a measly 19.0.
And what did Nine Radio Head of Content Greg Byrnes have to say about this apparent audience exodus? “Best Survey One in 14 years,” he declared. “And year on year, they're up almost seven points in breakfast.”
Truly, how could any content boss be unhappy when your station is number one in Melbourne, a clear 5.3 ahead of the next station (and the only other one in in double digits) Gold 104.3. Further down the ladder, only smooth91.5 and the ABC are in the 8’s. 

After Melbourne’s long cold Covid winter of discontent, if this is the new normal for 3AW, then I suspect they’ll adapt - somehow.
Up north, in Sydney, it was a similar kind of achievement for 2GB, but from a different direction. Instead of dropping back after a surge of audience during Covid, the station actually rose from a 13.2 overall share in last year’s Survey One, to a 14.4 this year.
Better still, the new Ben Fordham Breakfast show scored an 18.1 share, compared to a 14.8 for the previous one a year ago. In fact, the Fordham result is higher than the 17.9 that Alan Jones posted during his lap of honour, before his departure from the station. 
It’s a remarkable achievement from Fordham, who has now contested four surveys and not dropped below a 16.0 share. Taking nothing away from Ben, who is an excellent broadcaster, it should be said that luck was heavily on his side – many stars had to collide to give him the rail’s run.
Apart from the once in a 100-year pandemic that brought a surge of listeners to sample talk stations, the fact that Jones had not gone to a competitor, taking a slew of his rusted-on listeners with him, was a huge factor in Ben’s favour. With no real options to change stations, listeners who may have otherwise dumped a successor after the briefest of listens, have stuck around. Now, with almost a year in the 2GB Breakfast chair under his belt, there seems to be some rust stains starting to form.

Mr Byrnes (left) agrees that Covid’s had a unique effect on both 3AW and 2GB, “I think what's come to the fore is the companionship we offer, that's always been there, but I think Covid has exposed that companionship to a wider audience.
"And I think they've been surprised that they get all their news and opinion, but they also get a lot of laughs and companionship. And with our live and local strategy, they can engage with their local community.
“The strategy was to find the next generation of talk listener, and in Ben we were confident that he was the right person to do that,I see the work that goes on behind the scenes. He has a very dedicated and loyal team. He treats them very, very well. But he expects 130 percent.” he says.
There’s one more thing that I believe works heavily in 2GB’s favour, and that’s the performance of the 7:00 pm – Midnight or Evening time slot. It’s long been accepted doctrine in programming that those who listen to your station, last thing before they go to sleep, are most likely to be turning the station back on first thing, when they wake up.
In Survey One, released last week, the Evening shift, presented mostly by John Stanley returned a 20.2 share, the highest of any shift on the station and almost 5.0 up on the 15.3 he posted this time last year.  With Denis Walter presenting Melbourne's #1 Evening show, 3AW also has a number one at both ends - the bookends of their day.


With such great results all ‘round you’d think they’d be popping some champagne corks at Nine Radio, but…
“No, We don't do that,” says Greg Byrnes. “There are no plans to do that.
“I can hear Ray Hadley saying to me, ‘righto, we'll get back here to do it all again tomorrow. 
“And that's the mentality. Yep, good day to day. But off we go again tomorrow.”

Peter Saxon



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16 March 2021 - 6:35am
When it comes to radio listening habits in the home, I think single people tend to turn the radio on first thing in the morning before finding something else to do during the day and often listen late at night before going to sleep. Couples tend to interact with each other first thing in the morning and late at night but often listen to the radio during the day during their time alone.

Breakfast radio has always been traditionally skewed to appeal to the solo listener during the morning commute, whereas workday morning programming shifts towards appealing to groups of listeners in the company of others.
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