Analysis: Radio ratings survey 8 2020

Our analysis of the networks and capital cities.

Check out our Cumes, DAB+ results, Raw Results and Spin.


NOVA Entertainment


Survey 8 found a smooth network divided with local market conditions having more to do with the results than content differences.

Sydney’s 95.3 losing ground (-0.9) to land on a 9.9 share, still good enough to remain FM leader.

In Melbourne, 91.5 enjoyed a +1.3 gain (the same share figure that the ABC lost) to claw its way back from a lowly 6.5 share last time in a Covid news obsessed market.


It was a good outing for the Nova Network with only 91.9 in Adelaide losing ground (-1.0). Melbourne was steady on a 5.6 share.

In Brisbane, 106.9 consolidated its #1 position with a +0.6 gain while in Sydney, 96.9 was up, +7.

Best, till last, occurred in Perth where 93.7 shot up by +1.8 to take back the lead from 96fm.




It was an okayish survey overall for ARN with Kyle and Jackie O returning their 16th consecutive survey win in FM Breakfast for KIIS106.5 in Sydney. They can also boast the most listeners of any breakfast show in Australia on the FM band.

However, Pure Gold stablemate, WSFM lost share (-1.0) overall with Amanda and Jonesy shedding -0.9 in Breakfast.

In Melbourne, both GOLD and KIIS101.1 nudged upwards by +0.1 apiece with the former retaining its #1 FM status.

In Brisbane, the erstwhile market leader, 97.3FM has slipped back by another -0.5 share points to land on an 8.8 overall – roundly beaten by its Pure Gold stablemate, the venerable 4KQ and AM leader on 9.4, thanks to a +2.4 injection from the “survey gods.”

While ARN’s AM station in Adelaide, CRUISE1323 enjoyed a moderate +0.4 uptick to post a very respectable 10.9 share, MIX102.3 plummeted by -1.7 but still managed to retain the market lead.

In Perth, where 96fm celebrated its elevation to market leader last time, it was forced to hand it back again to Nova.


Southern Cross Austereo

Once again, the “survey gods” are having a laugh. As soon as SCA announce sweeping new changes in key shifts, those stations do well.

In Sydney, with a brand new Breakfast show coming in 2021, 2Day FM rose by +0.6, with Triple M up by +0.7.

In Melbourne, where Covid-19 hit the hardest, with FM listeners, like wildebeest migrating to AM Talk, FOX FM took back 1.5 share points it had lost to the pandemic. It was the biggest gain in the market. Triple M, though, which will also have new (yet to be named) Breakfast team next year, remained flat on 6.2 overall.

In Brisbane, Triple M gained +0.9 while B105 lost -0.8.  It was a double gain in Adelaide with Triple M up +0.8 and SAFM up +0.9.

In Perth both MIX94.5 and HIT 92.9 remained rock steady on 12.0 and 8.7, respectively.

Nine Radio and other Talk

Although many predicted that the Covid bubble that had catapulted AM Talk to stratospheric heights would burst by Survey 8, once again Nine Radio proved those pundits wrong, maintaining strong numbers in both Sydney and Melbourne.

2GB inched forward with a +0.1 rise to retain the market lead on 13.8 overall – the Sydney only station in double figures. More surprisingly for the pundits is that Ben Fordham, the man who replaced Alan Jones has, so far, managed to hang on to the audience Jones left him six months ago.

Fordham has increased his Breakfast share by +1.0 since Survey 7 to put him on a remarkable 17.1 (the same as Ray Hadley’s share for Mornings) which is better than Alan Jones’ average results over the past few years.

While 2GB increased its audience share slightly, 3AW in Melbourne, shed -1.0 but from a much higher base, leaving the station 19.6 overall. Its Breakfast show with Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft sunk by -3.4 yet posted a 25.0 share.

The news wasn’t so great in Brisbane where 4BC fell -1.6 to a 7.9 (not terrible compared to 4BC’s average returns over 12 months).

A 7.9 share is also what 6PR got in Perth after shedding -0.7.

The Nova Entertainment owned FIVEaa also lost ground (-1.2) to post a 9.8 share overall.



ABC Local Radio

The national broadcaster also did well during Covid and has increased share in every metro market except Melbourne where it was down -1.3 but retained second place behind 3AW.

In Sydney it was up +0.2, Brisbane, the same. It was up +1.4 in Adelaide and a whopping +1.9 in Perth.

triple j

Like most FM stations, triple j stations lost ground during Covid. Those bucking the trend were in Brisbane (+0.3) and Adelaide (+0.1).

In Sydney the brand was down -0.5.  Down -0.4 in Melbourne and -1.4 in Perth





In a strong demonstration that a loyal audience will follow a station with a unique format if it changes transmission bands, 2CH has brought about half of its previous audience across to the DAB+ band, after the AM1170 frequency changed to the SEN sports format.

2Day languished in 9th place, but Dave Cameron has plans to turn the station around in 2021, listen to our podcast interview with him below.

2CH went straight to number one on DAB+ with 101,000 listeners, carrying over nearly half of its previous AM audience to the digital only transmission now that AM1170 is carrying sport programming. It is difficult to say with certainty how many listeners were already on DAB+, because in previous surveys the DAB+ listeners, along with digital streaming listeners, were all bundled into the one figure in the main chart, but if we assume that about 40,000 of the previous 270,000 listeners (Survey 7 cume) were already on DAB+ while the station was simulcasing on AM and digital, based on previous cumes, then the current figure reflects movement of about half its existing audience to the DAB+ band this survey, as a result of its sustained on air campaign to migrate listeners to digital platforms as the station drew close to its format change and lots of ads for Harvey Norman digital radio sales.

The biggest loser was WSFM while the biggest winner was ARN sister station KIIS.

  • Top station 2GB retained its lead, with only a fractional change, down 0.1 to 13.8%
  • Second placed smooth slipped 0.9 to 9.9%
  • Third placed KIIS gained 1 share point to 9.7%, creeping up on smooth fm
  • Fourth placed ABC Sydney gained 0.2 to 8.5%
  • Fifth placed WSFM lost 1 share point to score 7.1% overall at the finish of the year

SEN AM1170 is not included in this survey result, which is consistent with the rules that require stations to have two full surveys before they are reported. SEN does participate in the ratings in Melbourne, so it is assumed that they will be back next year when there is a full set of survey data to report under the new name and format.

KIIS won all the under 40 demographics and sister station WSFM won the 40-54s. ABC Sydney won 55-64s and 2GB won the over 65 demographic. There may be  a trend emerging for 2GB that the demographic skew of the station is changing due to new breakfast presenter Ben Fordham, with 55-64 year olds falling away slightly, but 65+ and 40-54s increasing slightly. Only after a few surveys will we be able to tell if this is a valid trend.

Fordham increased his breakfast share, with 2GB retaining the top breakfast position, followed by KIIS then ABC Sydney. 2GB also won mornings, evenings and weekends. Smooth won afternoons and drive.


Talk stations lost this survey, with 3AW dropping by 1 share point from its huge figure last survey, and ABC Melbourne dropping by 1.3 share points. Perhaps reflecting Dave Cameron’s view that now that Australia is out of lockdown people will want less news and more fun, music stations Smooth and Fox picked up the figures that talk stations lost, with smooth fm gaining 1.3 share points and Fox gaining 1.5.

  • Streaking to victory by many lengths like a Melbourne cup champion, 3AW scored 19.6%, down 1 share points, but still well ahead of the rest of the field
  • Second palced ABC Melbourne lost 1.3 share points to 10.7%
  • Gold held its third position, up 0.1 to 9.0% overall
  • Smooth moved into fourth place, gaining 1.3 to score 7.8% and pushing Triple M out of the top 5
  • Moving into fifth place, Fox gained 1.5 share points to 6.7%

There was very little other significant change in the rest of the Melbourne field. The Melbourne Cup was held during the survey period.

Fox won all the under 40 demographics, Gold won 40-54s and 3AW won the over 55s. IN a clean sweep, 3AW won all timeslots in the market.


4KQ had a great survey, rising by 2.3 share points, a significant overall gain this survey. The biggest loser was talk station 4BC, which dropped 1.6 share points to 7.9% and was pushed out of the top 5.

  • Top station Nova consolidated its lead, up 0.6 to 12.5%
  • Second placed Triple M also strengthened its position, up 0.9 to 11.0%
  • Third placed B105 slipped 0.8 to 11.0%
  • 4KQ surged from outside the top 5 into fourth place, gaining 2.3 to 9.4%
  • 97.3fm is in fifth place, down 0.5 to 8.8%

ABC Classic dropped significantly within its market niche, as it did also in Sydney and Melbourne.

Nova won the 10-17 demographic, B105 won 18-24s, Nova won 25-39s, Triple M won 40-64s, and 4BC won the over 65s.

Nova won breakfast ahead of Triple M and 4KQ. Triple M won mornings and afternooons, Nova won drive and weekends, ABC Brisbane won evenings.


Mix 102.3 had the biggest fall this survey, down 1.7 share points. FIVEaa and Nova also fell significantly.

  • Despite its drop of 1.7 share points to 11.7%, Mix retained top position in the market
  • ABC Adelaide moved into second position after gaining 1.4 share points to score 11.2% overall , putting it close to the market leader Mix
  • Cruise moved into third place, up 0.4 to 10.9%
  • Talk station FIVEaa dropped from its strong second position last survey to equal fourth place, down 1.2 to 9.8%
  • Nova dropped by 1 share point to also score 9.8%, sharing equal fourth place
  • Triple M gained 0.8 and moved into fifth place on 9.6%

Nova won the 10-39 demographics, Triple M won 40-54s, Mix won 55-64s and ABC Adelaide won 65+.

ABC Adelaide won breakfast ahead of FIVEaa. Mix won mornings and afternoons in a closely fought race with the other top stations. Nova won drive, FIVEaa won evenings and Cruise won weekends.


There was some significant movement in the Perth market and a new market leader, with Nova regaining the crown.

96fm lost 1.9 share points and triple j was down by 1.2 to 8.1%, dropping out of thne top 5. ABC Perth had a good gain of 1.9 and Nova rose by 1.8.

  • After rising 1.8 share points to 14.3% overall, Nova moved into top position.
  • Mix was steady on 12%, but with 96fm’s drop it has now moved into second place
  • Previous leader 96fm lost 1.9, falling to third place on 11.3%
  • Hit was steady on 8.7%, but because of triple j’s fall, Hit moved into fourth place
  • ABC Perth moved into fifth place, up 1.9 to 8.5%, followed by triple j on 8.1%

Nova won the 10-39 demographics in this market as well as in Adelaide. 96fm won 40-54s, Mix won 55-64s and ABC perth won the over 65s.

Nova won breakfast and mornings, Mix won afternoons, Nova won drive and weekends, ABC Perth won evenings.




Subscribe to the radioinfo podcast on these platforms: Acast, Apple iTunes Podcasts, Podtail, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Ask Alexa: ‘Alexa, play radioinfo flash briefing’ or ask Google Home: “Hey Google. Play the latest Radioinfo flash briefing podcast.”

  Post your job, make sure you are logged in.



Tags: | | |