Where is my music radio, KIIS?

KIIS 1065 Sydney’s #1 Hit Music Station.

Not really. According to Tracka statistics shared by Paul Amos, the Managing Director of Xtra Insights, music makes up just 1% of the content on a typical Kyle and Jackie O breakfast show. I think you would hear more than that percentage if you listened into John Laws, or Ray Hadley.

I’m sure many of you are aware of the quotas that commercial and community stations have towards music performed by Australians (code 5) and ACMA has on the amount of advertising within each hour, but there is not such standard on the percentage of music that should be played on something that calls itself a music station.

The Tracka statistics, measured against an assortment of the top capital city music-based radio stations, showed that across the week music-based radio stations are playing about 50% actual music.

Smooth, and classic hits stations like Cruise 1323, play a considerably higher percentage, especially in breakfast. Perhaps Triple M’s showing can also be partly attributed to the pointy end of a sporting season. But is a 20% average in breakfast enough? And is a Monday to Sunday average of less than 40% for KIIS in Sydney and Melbourne really indicative of a music branded station?

I went to the coast with one of my best friends last weekend to celebrate her milestone birthday. Ahead of this I prepped a celebratory music playlist on Spotify of her favourite songs, artists, genres and others that I thought she’d enjoy. All up 12 hours of music with no ads, news, or talk breaks, although we of course talked over it and, in some instances, played particular favourites twice. We did six hours in the car and as our backdrop anytime we were home. I’m actually listening to it as I write this.

I’ve created bespoke playlists many times over the last few years for birthdays, weddings, and funerals. I think there’s a business in the concept, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see iHeartRadio create exactly this, catering to targeted advertisers too.

One such playlist is Kyle and Jackie O’s favourite power picks of all time.

Firstly, I struggle to believe that Kyle went,

Make sure you put Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy on there! That’s my power song!”

And secondly, there’s an irony that two music announcers have curated a free and lightly commercial affected song playlist on iHeart when their own hit music breakfast program is playing hardly any music and also releasing daily podcasts (with more than 2 million downloads a month) that doesn’t feature any music at all!

Thank goodness I have some Sade in the background to calm me down.

DAB+, smooth and Cruise are certainly showing that music driven stations still attract listeners. Fascinatingly, and I’d never realised until researching this, soft adult contemporary and gold stations are not required to play as much Australian music as contemporary hit radio like KIIS. See below:

From the CRA Commercial Radio Code of Practice – Code 5: Australian Music

But you can’t drop a pinch of chia seeds into your brownie mix and call it health food. 1% music is not a hit music program or station. I think the framework surrounding our breakfast shows, radio stations, show podcasts and playlists will further deviate from the norm as the cost of the talent supersedes the value of the music the radio station plays.

Jen Seyderhelm is a writer, editor and podcaster for Radioinfo
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