Apart from the big move by K & J, what did you think of Survey One?

Peter Saxon asks the Three Wise Men of FM

Given the hype surrounding the defection of Kyle and Jackie O to KIIS, one could easily have been seduced by the notion that that was the only interesting aspect of survey one in the new era of GfK.

For a start, it should be said that apart from the “big move”  there were no obvious surprises. If no one had told you, you wouldn’t have suspected there’d been a change in survey providers after 66 years. 2GB and 3AW remained in their heaven and all was well.

Well, perhaps not all. Alan Jones and Ray Hadley were peeved that all the media seemed to talk about was how Kyle and Jackie O had gone to number one, when in fact ,talk stations and the ABC were number one and two in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Paul Jackson too, was entitled to feel a little miffed that the considerable achievements of his freshly rebranded Nova Entertainment networks were largely ignored by the media.

As to the main protagonists in the drama played out on Tuesday, despite the euphoria of the spectacular results at KIIS (which overshadowed spectacular results for Jonesy and Amanda at WSFM) , Duncan Campbell at ARN had some less than spectacular results to report in other markets.

On the other hand, as bad as the day had gone for Craig Bruce at SCA, there were some bright spots visible through the gloom.
So taking the Kyle and Jackie O move out of the equation, here’s what the Three Wise Men of FM told us.

Paul Jackson – Nova Entertainment.

I  was just musing the other day, as you do in the build up to these things, how you might go. Certainly  last year for both of our stations (smoothfm and Nova) the first survey of the year was the weakest. Sydney started with 6.1 and Nova Brisbane didn’t go brilliantly either. It was the same the year before and the year before that.

We used to have these conversations going,  “Well in January… and then triple j 100… and our listeners are at the beach, and that kind of thing.  But now I think the business has evolved so much.” We’re passed all that and I think we caught it for survey one for us I think it’s brilliant numbers. In Sydney we’re number one in cume – 920,000 . We’re number one under forty and were 0.9 off the top overall in what has been an exciting hype filled start of the year.

Fitzy and Wippa record share of 7.8 is a very good start to the year.

Drive is also strong with Kate, Tim and Marty … a wonderful start dovetailed in beautifully from the show before and Smallzy  continues  with  brilliant numbers.
Yet, despite the breakfast show gaining 0.8% in share, the station overall  shed 0.2%.

If we looked at anything, says Jackson, it would be the daytime effort. But I do think Rabbit and Harlee were outstanding. But those were the numbers that were a little bit off that held us back overall with all the other key shows performing big numbers.

It’s a two horse race in Sydney, we just switched the competitor really from SCA over to ARN so it’s a NOVA ARN battle and its very exciting going forward.

In Melbourne with Meshel and Tommy, a brand new breakfast show at Nova 100 replacing the formidable Hughesy and Kate, the show dropped 1.0 and the station just 0.3 overall.

I think they did very well, says Jackson. In terms of my own ears and listening, I think it’s constantly improving. Meshel is a top class player and Tom is finding his feet, but doing a really good job. The day by day content is getting stronger. The dynamic between the two of them and chemistry and we are very happy with the show.

Over on smoothfm… in both markets smooth performed its best numbers ever. To capture a 7.1 share in Sydney is outstanding and similarly in Melbourne, 6.5 is its best ever. It’s a tad behind the Sydney numbers but it’s showing exactly the same growth and trends Both of them have gone up abut 20% since last year on smooth ratings… near 1.3 million listeners now.

And we’re just 18 months in. I don’t wish to sound like a broken record but were on this journey were exceptionally proud of where we’ve got to after a year. Give the station three years and it becomes one of the heritage stations, it’ll be knocking on the door for first place.

I think this is one of our best efforts in many a year. As a network, Nova is number one under 40. We’re on record cumes of 3.3 million and record share. All our breakfast shows are performing  more or less at their maximum and the drive show with Kate, Tim and Marty and Smallzy at night are both exceptional efforts because they win in every market.so we look at ourselves year on year.

We’ve reinvented FIVEaa in recent months. There’s a new Breakfast show and more or less a new line up across the board there, and we have bounced back straight away. FIVEaa is an exceptional performance and it just shows what you can do when you get it right. Really it’s a great start to the year for us.

Duncan Campbell – ARN

On any other day, the fact that WSFM Breakfast duo  Jonesy and Amanda had catapulted into a 9.3 share to level peg with K & J in first place (FM) would have caused media meltdown.

Yet, it wouldn’t have mattered if ARN’s Adelaide studios had been ransacked or a tornado had flooded Brisbane. The gamble of luring Kyle and Jackie O to their network had hit the jackpot and nothing was about to diminish that. It was all the media wanted to talk about.

But Duncan Campbell wasn’t going to downplay their achievement. He says…

They are a strong team so we’ve now got two of the leading breakfast shows in Sydney We’ve evolved the WS format. I think the music is sounding stronger. And apparently its more palatable now to the MIX listener who didn’t quite like the KIIS format.

But will their numbers remain consistent? Last year they fell away badly.

Jonesy and Amanda last year had a 9.2 in survey one, an 8.9 in survey two and a 9.2 in survey four and a 9.0 in survey five. So a 9.3 is not inconsistent with those results.

I don’t say that they’ve returned to normality flippantly.  It’s based on historical data. And they were impacted in the latter part of last year with smoothfm who were certainly active promotionally and tactically. So Jonesy and Amanda have returned to some level of normality, but they’ve also benefitted from the fact that the old MIX audience has moved off and found a home on either KIIS or WS.

Melbourne was about GOLD which, like WS, a very consistent performer and it’s positioned well. Now it’s ahead of Triple M which, strategically, is where we want GOLD to be.
MIX 101.1 has also seen some growth. We’ve always known that there’s some potential there but the reality is that there is more that we need to get out of MIX and I think Gold has the potential to be the number one station in Melbourne from an FM perspective.

In Brisbane we had a resurging Triple M, taking some of those Nova males and that has given some clearer air to 97.3 which is great. Adelaide is consistent with last year, so no real surprises.

Craig Bruce – SCA

On Tuesday, the toughest job in radio fell to SCA’s Craig Bruce. All the media wanted to talk about was the disastrous result for 2Day FM now that Kyle and Jackie O had gone. No one seemed interested in how the new breakfast team had gone at FOX in Melbourne or whether 94.5 in Perth had retained its lead.

Although there wasn’t a lot of good news come out of Survey One for SCA, it wasn’t all bad either.

Says Craig Bruce…

We’ve got the number one FM station (FOX) and the number one Breakfast show (Triple M). So, the Melbourne duopoly is in really good shape. Fifi and Dave (Today network Drive) have launched really well. There’s still lots of work to do.

I’m sure DMG (now Nova Entertainment) would be thinking that with Tommy and Meshel, they’ve got a potentially good show and they’ll build on that as we will with Fi and Dave.

With all the upheaval at the Today network and the under 40’s market, the expectation was that the Triple M would gain audience this year but the key stations in both Sydney and Melbourne lost share.

I think that Triple is out there on its own as a brand. I don’t think that it can take listeners from Nova or the Today network or WS or GOLD. There’s a particular type of Triple M listener and we’ve got enough of them that through TSL we can grow a  strong share position when everything comes together.

So, if you’re a 2Day FM fan and you like Kyle and Jack and you like Justin Bieber and Milie Cyrus why are you going to go to Triple for Queen, the Stones and Pearl Jam? It just doesn’t make any sense and it rarely ever happens. And the same for Nova.  Nova is a pure pop format and it’s different from what it was seven or eight years ago when it was pop alternative, but it rarely ever happens.

Eddie McGuire continues to grow from strength to strength. Although the audience numbers are different to the end of last year, it’s a quality show and there’s no question we will have a good strong consistent year.

We were really happy with the Brisbane numbers. Ed Kavalee’s made a significant difference in the 4Triple M breakfast show and the hope is that the  audience will continue to pump from the Nova breakfast show into Triple M. The difference between B105 and Nova is less than a point now, which is encouraging.

Obviously the MIX 94.5 result (extending its outright lead) in Perth is outstanding. Eric Hodges has done a brilliant job programming that station and transitioning the new breakfast show replacing  Fred after 15 odd years.

92.9 has some work to do but it’s a brand new show and we know its going to take some time.

Adelaide’s a mystery to me. I think SAFM breakfast is one of the best sounding shows in the group and we’ve clearly got some work to do with the brand and our plans are to market it much more heavily this year which we will do.

Overall, apart from the stunning result on 2Day FM we’re in reasonable shape around the country. Given the fact that we had quite a few new shows and a new Drive show on the Today network and changes on 4Triple M and Five Triple M. There’s a fair bit of churn happening at SCA.

See our ratings reporting here and here.

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