To mildly paraphrase Pride and Prejudice, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a survey result that decreases by more than three points must have had a format change or a favoured presenter exit.
As KIIS1065 and 2GB Sydney both did, in breakfast no less, in GfK Radio 360 Survey 5, without either of the latters, even those outside of ARN and Nine think this survey is an anomaly rather than the start of a trend.
But a strange anomaly it was.
You would think if 2GB, and its long-time stranglehold on No 1 spot in the ratings, decreased its share in every single day part, and on weekends, heading into the pointy end of the NRL season, then Melbourne’s 3AW would too?
Not so. 3AW had a blinder.
Head of Content at Nine, Greg Byrnes said:
“Breakfast is at 22.3. Neil Mitchell‘s a 20.
The streaming numbers are through the roof. It’s football season in Melbourne and we tend to see a bit of a spike at this time of year. Our football coverage is some of the best results they’ve had in over eight years to be number one in most every key demo, is such a strong number one.
We made a few changes to football at the beginning of the season and we put a football producer Luca Gonano in and that’s worked out really well. The results are paying off there. It’s heading into the pointy end of the season. And it’s a really good season for Melbourne. It’s really competitive and we’re hopeful that that strong result in Melbourne will continue for the remainder of the year.”
It is one thing to experience gradual growth, but 3AW has increased in breakfast and mornings by almost exactly the same share that 2GB lost, meaning that Russ and Ross’s breakfast share of 22.3 is more than 12 points ahead of their nearest (Fox FM) competition.
Elsewhere, classic hits station WSFM was up almost across the board in Sydney, whereas the similar styled and locally focused Gold 104.3 was notably down in most day parts and weekends in Melbourne.
Gold is part of the ARN stables, as is WSFM, smooth and KIIS1065’s Kyle and Jackie O. Like Ben Fordham in breakfast on 2GB, they too were down more than three points with all the speculation of a potential defection (back to SCA) and syndication (to Melbourne – although KIIS Melbourne’s Jase and Lauren were up a point, one of the best increases, if we ignore 3AW).
Duncan Campbell, ARN’s Chief Content Officer, was both unmoved and exceptionally proud of a hard working team:
“Statistically surveys are still one the best way of researching audiences or listening patterns. The Christian O’Connell Show (on Gold 104.3) has strong, good and local content. Which he always does. And he did it in London as well. He always was very local. So, From an ARN perspective, we’re not concerned at all about the result.”
It was a tight race in Brisbane (Nova 106.9 on top), Adelaide (ARN’s Mix 102.3 the new leader) and Perth with their Nova 93.7 about as far ahead of the others, a music station, as 3AW is in Melbourne.
I asked Group PD for Nova, Brendan Taylor, if he’d considered networking the Perth Nova Breakfast team of Nathan, Nat and Shaun (who were up 1.7 to 22.5 more than 11 points ahead the rest):
“I haven’t asked them if it’s something that they even want to look at. Yeah, absolutely. I think the quality of the content that they broadcast in Perth, the connection they have with their audience, is certainly something that could reach to a larger audience. But I also think that’s the beauty of podcasting. Podcasting allows for the audience to to to to hear and participate in these shows anywhere.”
It was a great DAB+ result for NOVA, ARN and SCA with streaming numbers also impressively high for Nine. Podcast consumption for iHeart and LiSTNR are helping keep those networks afloat.
We shall await Survey 6 in October to see if a radio trend has emerged or an anomaly has righted itself.