Survey 2: Digital radio drop off in Sydney

I am still trying to work out how Sydney shed 166,000 digital radio listeners in just one survey when every metro audience grew.

GfK Radio 360 Survey 2 results for DAB+ showed Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide still loves smooth, Melbourne Gold 80s (which is kind of like smooth but in different packaging) and Sydney’s KIIS 90s just pips iHeart Australia, although both audiences dropped. Not as much as CADA. Down 40% and by 73,000 listeners 10+, it dropped from the consistent first place it held for roughly the last two years to third behind the two previously mentioned.

Perth was stable in DAB+ listening with the only notable change a 13K increase in listening to Coles Radio. Brisbane’s radio and DAB+ listening grew, with their only notable anomaly a 14K decrease to Coles Radio too. Maybe 10K of their Coles radio loving population moved across country last month? Who knows. Adelaide was particularly consistent with a small increase by Triple M Classic Rock seeing it up near the top of the pack.

Melbourne DAB+ gained 20K listeners with DANCE HITS, Gold 80s, RnB Fridays, smooth relax and TikTok Trending all having more than 100K regular listeners and smooth relax also gaining 20,000 new fans.

So what has gone wrong in Sydney?

Every demographic shed audience, with 25-29 particularly dropping away. Weekends, and surprisingly mornings were the day parts most affected too.

December 2023 was the two year mark of ARN‘s CADA experiment, an RnB station created from Western Sydney station The Edge, for a youth audience and using the talents of influencers and creatives. This survey more than half the 70K+ audience it lost were 25-54. TikTok Trending lost more than 40,000, the largest in 10-17 year olds and iHeart Australia and Double J more than 30K, mostly from 18-39s. DAB+, in Sydney, is not serving something that young people want to listen to.

I am hoping this is an exception to a rule, and that Survey 3, in early June, sees us waxing lyrical about the huge jump in listening, and particularly young people embracing DAB+ in all metros but especially Sydney. A larger than 10% drop though in listeners for any platform, station or network, is concerning.


Jen Seyderhelm is a writer, editor and podcaster for Radioinfo


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