As the covid lockdown effect continues in some states, more people are listening to news and information breakfast programs and fewer to personality music breakfast shows.
With Australia gradually opening up as more people become vaccinated these trends may change as summer approaches, but for now talk breakfast shows generally did well around the country, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Read the views of network program directors on this and other topics in our report here.
The only station to buck that trend was ABC Melbourne, where Sammy J presents a lighter range of content than his 3AW rivals Ross and Russel. ABC Melbourne breakfast dropped by 1.4 to 14.6%, but it is not as clear cut as comparing Sammy with Ross and Russel. Our graphs below use the official CRA shift times for breakfast (0530-0900), but the ABC breakfast show contains a 15 minute package of News and Early AM at 0600, a ten minute news bulletin at 0700, and News and AM at 0800 for half an hour, then Virginia Trioli takes over. Ross and Russel also finish at 0830.
Our trend graph tells the story of the two breakfast shows over the past two years of surveys, with both still streets ahead of the rest of the Melbourne pack in most surveys. 3AW breakfast peaked higher than this survey in survey 7 last year, but the chart shows that the Melbourne talk station’s breakfast show is on the upswing again. This survey did not include the AFL grand final, once that is tracked in the next survey expect 3AW to gain further.
Of the music stations, Gold FM’s Christian O’Connell performed best in breakfast, gaining 0.5 to score 9.4% of the breakfast audience, behind the two talk stations. Nova’s Chrissie Sam and Brownie strengthened, gaining 0.9 to 7.1% in breakfast as the networks runs new promos featuring a refreshed Novaboy mascot.
In Sydney, departing breakfast duo Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck will go out on a high if this trend continues. ABC Sydney breakfast gained 1.7 share points to 15.7% in that timeslot. Again News and AM play a significant part in the breakfast show. Unlike in Melbourne, the ABC Sydney breakfast show runs from 0600-1000, so there is no apples with apples comparison with commercial talk station 2GB. With a new breakfast presenter set to host ABC Sydney breakfast in 2021, expect to see the timing of this show change to bring it more into line with other ABC metro stations and to redistribute production resources between breakfast and mornings differently.
2GB's Ben Fordham continues to fly high, gaining 2 more share points to score a massive 18.8% in that timeslot. On the FM band, KIIS FM's Kyle and Jackie slipped by 1.3 during covid lockdown, but are still a powerhouse couple on 10.8% overall. KIIS strongly backed the vaccination campaign and got some traction with politicians and listeners alike for Kyle's Get Vaxxed Baby music video.
There is lots of clear blue sky between the top three Sydney breakfast shows and the rest of the pack, all in single figures.
In Brisbane, where lockdowns have not been as severe as Sydney and Melbourne but there have been some restrictions in 'high impact' suburbs, the story is a little different. It's warm and sunny and the AFL competition has been relocated to Queensland during this survey, so the mood is also different... and so is breakfast listening.
Breakfast leader Nova's music and personality mix hit top position this survey, bringing Ash, Kip, Luttsy and Suzie O'Neill's show to 13.1%, a rise of 1.8 share points. During the survey Suzie O'Neill's profile was heightened because she was seen on tv as part of the team covering the Olympics. 4KQ's breakfast team, Laurel Gary and Mark, all well known Brisbane personalities continued to deliver solid personality breakfast programming, gaining 0.9 share points to score 12% in the timeslot.
Talk station ABC Brisbane's breakfast show with Craig Zonka and Loretta Ryan was in third place, up 1 share point to 11.6%.
In the almost covid-free state of Western Australia, where closed borders have shut out most of the rest of Australia, Nova Perth's Nathan Nat and Shaun hold the top breakfast show with 14.6%, a slight increase of 0.3 this survey. Despite a big drop of 1.7, Mix 94.5's Pete Matt and Kimba were in second position with 11.9%.
Commercial music station 6IX lost share significantly, down 1.3 to 4.4%, while triple j gained 1 share point to 9.1%
All our Survey 6 coverage: