How important are weekend listeners to commercial radio stations?

The final GfK Radio 360 survey for 2023 showed an uptake in music listening, as often happens once sporting seasons wrap up and now that we’re less news focused post pandemic. The mix of top stations across networks and metros was quite evenly split.


Top station: 2GB (Nine)

Top in breakfast: Kyle and Jackie O, KIIS 1065 (ARN)



Top station: 3AW (Nine)

Top in breakfast: Ross and Russel, 3AW (Nine)



Top station: 104.5 Triple M (SCA)

Top in breakfast: Ash, Luttsy and Susie O’Neill, Nova 106.9 (Nova Entertainment)



Top station: 5MMM (SCA)

Top in breakfast: Roo, Ditts and Loz, 5MMM (SCA)



Top station: 96FM (ARN)

Top in breakfast: Nathan, Nat & Shaun, Nova 93.7 (Nova Entertainment)


That’s three to Nine and SCA and two to Nova and ARN.

I would describe Triple M Brisbane and Adelaide as sports centric rock music stations. Both have multiple shows featuring sporting talent and Adelaide even brands itself as “Adelaide’s #1 radio station for Rock & AFL.”

Two metro stations were No 1 overall, in breakfast and on weekends – 3AW Melbourne and 5MMM Adelaide. 3AW doesn’t vary from talk and 5MMM is consistent in sport, talk and music, even in the off season from its primary focus AFL.

In the very competitive Brisbane, Triple M is on top overall, Nova in breakfast and on weekends. Perth’s gold format station 96FM was on top overall and on weekends, Nova well ahead on breakfast. And Sydney is a bit of everything; talk station 2GB top overall, KIIS in breakfast and smooth 95.3 on weekends, taking over from 2GB this survey and possibly consistently as they’ve steadily come back to where they were before Covid knocked them for six.

How important are those weekend listeners to a survey result overall?

Very, as they are reflective of commitment to a station outside of weekday premium content.

3AW is a case in point. It’s been fascinating to watch the ebbs and flow of Gold 104.3 in Melbourne from being the most listened to station in Australia at one stage to being pipped this survey by 3AW and smooth 91.5 on weekends. 3AW and their listeners remained largely consistent overall.

Same for Triple M Brisbane and Adelaide.

Perth and Sydney have displayed a tendency to want to relax on weekends. As a result, 96FM saw not just a 2.1 leap on weekends, but a reflective leap overall to become No 1 station. This size of the increase seems seasonal, but next year might prove me wrong.

Smooth continues its slow burn. It wasn’t a big move on weekends, or overall (less and 1.0) but both are off the back of steady increases over the last two years and very easy to listen to music and talent. They’re back in the Sydney market race, just 0.1 now behind KIIS.

Survey 1, 2024 will be measured from mid-January to mid Feb. Before the footy starts. Weekend listeners are going to have an impact on whether some of the stations on top remain there or drop back further until March sporting seasons commence.

Even when that happens, stations that have the balance right and are putting thought and effort into weekday, weekend and DAB+ programming might just keep sticking their noses in front in metro surveys, when their overall picture puts them ahead of premium breakfast shows.

Jen Seyderhelm is a writer, editor and podcaster for Radioinfo
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