The market is more competitive than ever: Duncan Campbell

ARN’s program supremo talks about Survey One. It was a pretty good survey for ARN. We summarised it this way in our analysis: Finally a decent survey for ARN with few low points and many highs. Best of all, a big spike for WSFM where Jonesy and Amanda have regained much of the losses made in the latter part of last year and putting them within striking distance of the No 1 FM spot.”

Duncan Campbell: It is a good day I think. You know what it’s like – it’s a tough business . The market is more competitive than it ever has been and you have three networks chasing very aggressively the music audience on FM. It’s not for the faint hearted that’s for sure.

radioinfo: Mid way through last year, Jonesy and Amanda were within striking distance of Kyle and Jackie O only to then suffer three downward surveys in a row. They must be elated with this latest result which puts them back into contention again…

Duncan Campbell: Well they are both highly competitive  and they are very passionate about success and I just think they are a very strong combination that deserve to be getting the results in the 9’s and the aim is for them to stay in the 9’s this year. Of course, the results will ebb and flow through the year, but for us to be competitive at WS, we need that show to be in the 9’s and I think that that is where they deserve to be.

radioinfo: Where did that 2.0 jump in audience share come from? Not from Kyle & Jackie O because they went up too. In fact, if they’d just stayed where they were in the previous survey, Jonesy and Amanda would be in front right now.

Duncan Campbell: We would be in front of 2Day FM over all I think. You know we research these formats all through the year and we refreshed the music in the latter part of last year. We have a very methodical approach to these stations. That is the thing that I am very deliberate on and it is based on a sound strategy. It comes down to execution and also creating market noise where we possibly can. It’s a great result considering we haven’t marketed the station in survey one.

We had the Million Dollar Riff which created a bit of market noise I think but I think that is only one factor. You look at WS and you look at Jonesy and Amanda  and they are a big part of the success, but there are other elements as well.

The music is very strong. It is very unique at the moment. In Sydney, not a lot of people are playing the music that WS is playing – not a lot of crossover with the other stations now.

I think Jonesy and Amanda have been underrated. I think they are just a great combination and the dynamic is fantastic. But of course, we are up against another very strong combination, another fantastic dynamic in Kyle and Jackie O. It is a really competitive market, but exciting I think. It is exciting for radio and for listeners as well.

radioinfo: But where did that audience come from? You went up, they went up. Fitzy & Wippa didn’t lose any audience. Only the talk stations lost big chunks of listeners.

Duncan Campbell: I think there is a bit of a crossover between GB and WS. We haven’t run the numbers in terms of where they actually came from, but 2GB didn’t have a great book this time. Then they always tend to bounce back once the year gets underway. It was really a summer book for them.

radioinfo: Mix is still, let’s say a work in progress…

Duncan Campbell: We were hoping for a flat result, so the dip was not ideal. But there will be some churn with a new breakfast show. The encouraging thing for Mix is that we have had a cume increase. The cume is now up 36,000 to 628,000. We haven’t been above 600,000 for most of last year, so it comes down to converting that cume now.

We are still very confident in Sami And Yumi. The intention is to make sure that that show will work for us this year so.

radioinfo: How has the new rolling survey over the long break affected the results?

Duncan Campbell: I think that the rolling survey was, overall, pretty positive. I  think there were no wild swings which we have traditionally seen in survey one. I’m a big fan of the rolling surveys anyway.

radioinfo: Let’s go to Melbourne where one station was up a bit, the other down a bit, but between them, they had an increase in cume.

Duncan Campbell: Melbourne is probably a little bit disappointing to be honest – I am not going to hide that. It is a competitive market and you have five strong shows there. You have a strong show on FOX, a good show on GOLD, a strong show on MIX, a strong show on Triple M with Eddie (McGuire) and you’ve got NOVA with Hughsey and Kate. It’s a pretty formidable breakfast market Melbourne.

We haven’t got the traction we really want to get from Chrissie and Jane but that does not indicate that we are unhappy with the show. I think it is still a unique point of difference in the market, and it is going to give us every chance this year at success. The station is still very solid across the day which is great but we are not seeing the traction as yet that would like in breakfast but the format is very strong so again: sound strategy for the station comes down to execution and these things just take time.

radioinfo: It’s been a happier hunting ground for ARN in Brisbane and Adelaide…

Duncan Campbell: We are very happy with Brisbane and Adelaide. They are both #1 overall – number one FM Breakfast in Brisbane and #1 overall in Adelaide breakfast so we are very pleased with that. And you know Brisbane was quite a competitive market last year and we are not sort of crowing too loudly, but it is nice to be #1 and it is always where we expected that station to be.

radioinfo: It would be remiss of me not to mention 4KQ, the venerable music station on the AM band that managed a very nice 1.5 gain.

Duncan Campbell: You look at Cruise and at 4KQ and they always punch well above their weight. The result for KQ was  very impressive this book, 8.1. A passionate team of people working behind the scenes there, and the breakfast show as well. They are just great numbers and  the combination of KQ and 97.3 have meant that ARN is number one in 25- 54 which is always our goal in any one of these markets.

Number one overall 25-54 in Brisbane. Number one 25-54 in Adelaide overall and now number two in Sydney 25 – 54 for the first time in a while.