How could this man save ARN millions of dollars?

Survey comment from Peter Saxon

Any professional national CD worth their salt has learnt to accept responsibility for their stations’ losses as well as their gains. And in a survey like this, with its wild dips and doodles, they are happy to shrug off the losses but are more cautious about the gains.

In Survey 1, no one had a better book than SCA. For the first time in a long time all of the HIT network stations went up, including 2Day in Sydney. While that station rose by just 0.2, Breakfast with Em Rusciano and Ed Kavalee along with recent recruit Grant Denyer rose by a hallelujah inducing 0.6 – all of which is off a low base, to be sure (3.9 and 2.8 respectively). But given that Hamish and Andy who recorded one third more than the station average had departed, and the new Drive shows with Carrie and Tommy followed by Hughesy and Kate have such big shoes to fill, as a first up, it’s an impressive result.

Naturally, SCA’s Chief Creative Officer, Guy Dobson was upbeat. “We’ve made some really good strategic moves and some practical moves in the last 12 months that hopefully will bloom later on this year but to see some of those signs early is a boon for us.”

A massive 2.4 gain for FOX in Melbourne catapulted the station to #1n FM on a 10.8 share. Breakfast with Fifi, Fev & Byron leapt 3.3.. Nonetheless, those results are not something to get overly excited about because bitter experience shows that they’re unlikely to survive the next survey.

As ARN’s National CD, Duncan Campbell points out “The problem with these huge swings is that statistically you simply can’t take them literally. When you get swings above 2.0 percent, it just doesn’t make sense because audience behaviour doesn’t work like that. That’s not criticising the system, it’s understanding the system.”

So rather than dwell on FOXFM’s gains SCA’s energy is better spent on defending Triple M Sydney which endured a -1.3 loss overall and -1.9 in Breakfast. “We get one of these books a year – the station (Triple M) sounds awesome. We put this down to a bad bounce and Triple M will bounce back, I’ve no doubt,” says Dobbo. History will likely prove him right.

Over at the NovaEnt camp, Melbourne’s smooth 91.5 also had a huge result. It jumped 2.5 share points to land on a 10.3 overall. It was totally out of kilter with its Sydney soundalike which eased back by -0.1. As Network PD, Paul Jackson remarked. “10.3 should make you #1 FM in Melbourne but there’s been some extraordinary figures for FOX.” 

Asked if Nova 91.9 Adelaide’s ratings collapse of -2.4 is merely an anomaly, Jackson replied, “There’s every chance!” with a level of passion he normally reserves for a 2.4 gain. Then checking the numbers like an oncologist who finds a spot on your MRI scan, he proclaims, “Ah yes we’re down 10 points in 10-17s and MIX is up nine points 10-17s. So, its movements like that where we lost six points in 25-39 and other stations are gaining fours and fives… you really can’t defend yourself and say that’s what it is but the swings are very, very dramatic. Yet, if you look the overall network number, we’re exactly where we were at the end of last year.”

For and Against Table shows the big swings in station share per market.

ARN had their fare share of swings and roundabouts too. Melbourne’s KIIS, which sports brand new Breakfast and Drive teams dropped by 1.8 in overall share. Meanwhile in Adelaide, MIX102.3, which was already the entrenched market leader on a 12.3 share in the previous book, for seemingly no particular reason, rocketed further away from the competition with a spectacular but unlikely 3.8 gain. 

Duncan Campbell explains, “I would say definitely that KIIS went down because of the new shows, I don’t debate that. But I don’t believe the level of decrease is accurate. Nor do I think the level of uplift for MIX in Adelaide or FOX in Melbourne is accurate either.”

To further confound the pundits (and don’t we all enjoy seeing that confounded look on a pundit’s face?) GOLD 104.3 which reached #1 FM in Melbourne (with a 9.6 share) in the last survey of last year actually rose by 0.1 overall this time while breakfast remained rock steady on 7.4. This despite the fact that ever since Jo & Lehmo were shown the door at the end of last year the Breakfast show has been in caretaker mode in the hands of first Troy Ellis and now Brendon Dangar waiting for British import Christian O’Connell to take over on June 4.

Not that we employ any wags at radioinfo but if we did one may have enquired of Mr Campbell: Why bother going to the expense of importing exotic talent from the UK when GOLD could instantly trouser several millions of dollars by keeping Brendon Dangar on at a modest salary? Campbell dismisses that notion saying, “I could be tempted to be flippant  about the previous show and the ratings being held. I think that would be unfair. Music stations, including smoothfm (up 2.4) always do well over summer. The reality is that 7.4 (the Survey 8 result for Jo and Lehmo) is still well below the station average of 9.7 (Mon-Sun).

“Christian’s goal is to rate at or above what the station’s average is. If he can do that with the music foundation the station has with a cume of 949,000 then that’s potentially a force to be reckoned with.” says Campbell.


Peter Saxon

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