Gold Coast Survey results: Gold top, Hot Tomato 12.9%

The much awaited official Gold Coast/Tweed survey sees new player, Hot Tomato, debuting strongly and incumbents, Sea and Gold, number one and two.

Macquarie Regional Radioworks station, Gold FM, scored 24%, followed by sister station, Sea FM, on 17.4%. Newcomer, Hot Tomato, was in third place with 12.9%, performing strongly in the 10-17 and 25-39 demographics. ABC Gold Coast station, 91.7, scored 4.1%, less than its Brisbane sister station, 612 ABC, which scored 5.5%.

Super Network station, Radio 97, which can be heard in only part of the survey area, scored 1.8%. Other non-Gold Coast station surveyed were 4BC (2.4%), 4BH (0.4%), B105 (0.6%), Triple M (1.1%), 4RN (3%), NewsRadio (1.3%), Triple J (5.1%), Classic FM (1.9%).

No figures were released for the previous survey, which took place five years ago, before Hot Tomato came into the market and too long ago to be meaningful.

Sea FM won the younger demographics 10-39 and Gold FM won the 40+ demographics. In the crucial 25-39 demographic Sea FM scored 30.7%, Hot Tomato was 24.7%, and GOLD rated 18.2%.

Neilson Media Research, the Commercial Radio Australia accredited survey company, conducted the eight week survey on behalf of 102.9 Hot Tomato and Macquarie Regional Radio (Sea and Gold), which encompassed the Gold Coast licence area from Beenleigh in the north, to the Tweed in the south.

Hot Tomato General Manager, Graham Miles, has told radioinfo: “This is a fantastic result for Hot Tomato, and a great outcome for the market. We are able to show a massive growth in our figures since launching in August 2003, and are able to show our clients our impact in their target markets. The Gold Coast has said yes to our uncluttered programming, no smut and, of course, only ever two ads in a row.”

Hot Tomato is delighted with the increase from its earlier survey, which was not published at the time, but the station is happy to discuss now. “When you’re 21 months old, it’s all about demonstrating growth, which is what we have done. We’re happy to quote it,” says Miles.

He is pleased with the increase in the station’s primary target demographic, 25–39 years, which he says has more than doubled from the station’s earlier survey.

“We have the highest growth of any other radio station. In our own survey at that time, we were 9.4% overall, now we’re 12.9%. We’ve come a long way.”

Miles is very pleased with the station’s time spent listening, which has helped Hot Tomato’s overall share, despite a lower cume than its competitors.

“Our TSL in a lot of demos is exceptional… For example with 25–44 year old AB demographics, we have 13 hours and 58 minutes of listening, compared with 10:58 for Gold and 8:28 for SEA.”

Macquarie Regional Radioworks Group General Manager, Nick Scott, has told radioinfo the results are “a telling indication of the enduring strength of Sea FM and Gold FM,” which have been the dominant players in Gold Coast radio for the past 15 years.

“This was the first official Gold Coast radio survey for five years and the first since Hot Tomato entered the market. Hot Tomato commissioned a survey in October 2003 but the results were never released.

“We welcomed the entrance of a new player because we believe competition helps keep everyone on their toes, which benefits both listeners and advertisers. But the survey results show that while we’ve had everything thrown at us, Sea FM and Gold FM have risen to the challenge of new competition.

“When competition starts in a market, everyone starts anew, so this is the most comprehensive victory ever seen.”

“The dust has well and truly settled and Sea FM and Gold FM have come out resoundingly on top. We would especially like to thank our listeners, and our advertisers, for their tremendous ongoing support. Rest assured, we don’t intend to rest on our laurels and will continue to strive for excellence in broadcasting and in servicing our clients.”

Nick Scott has paid tribute to Gold Coast Radio Centre’s on-air and off-air team, describing it as a ‘world-class’ broadcasting operation. He also says Macquarie RRWorks Group Program Director, Rod Brice, and Program Director, Jason Matthews, have played a pivotal role in the survey success with a ‘winning formula’ of innovative programming.

The survey results show Sea FM and Gold FM attracted a combined cumulative audience of 248,700 listeners, up from about 230,000 when the survey was conducted five years ago.

Gold FM had a cumulative listening audience of 166,200 people, Sea FM had a 146,600 cume and Hot Tomato’s cume was 115,000.

Breakfast shares were: Gold FM’s Richard Fowler and Sarah Wharmby scored 24.8%; Sea’s Paul Gale and Moyra McGregor had 18.1%; Hot Tomato’s Luke and Rob scored 11.0% and ABC91.7 Briony Petch’s breakfast, including News and AM, scored 4.1%.