Which is the most listened to station in Australia?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the most listened to station in Australia is 3AW with its massive 15.4 of the Melbourne market. Yet, if you take the word of Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson then the leading station is NOVA 969 in Sydney. According to him It has more listeners than any other station in the country. Not only that, he says, “NOVA 100 (in Melbourne) is the second most listened to station in Australia.”

Hang on, how can the number five ranked station in Sydney have the most listeners in Australia? And in Melbourne, how can a station with a 6.7 rating have more listeners than the number one station, 3AW, which has more than twice that number overall and a Breakfast show that pulls a massive 20.1 share on its own?

Strange as it may seem, ARN’s Duncan Campbell agrees with Jackson, “They’ve got the most listeners.” 

BUT. And it’s a big but, “He’s quoting cumes. We’re quoting shares,” says Campbell. “In this country we talk about shares, not cumes. That’s the currency.  So on that basis, I think you’ll find ARN is the number one network around the country.”

Jackson dismisses that, “If you ask the question, in our market here in Australia, ‘How many people watch a TV show of a night?’ we deal in cume. If you ask ‘How many people come through the door, prefer Nova over any other station?’ we’re always number one.

“Our cumes are as high as they’ve ever been and getting record highs. NOVA 96.9 is the most listened to station in Australia 974,000 cumes. And NOVA 100 is the second most listened to station in Australia with 944,000 cumes,” he says.

SCA’s Craig Bruce is more relaxed about the dispute. He says, “Top40 is ultimately a cume game, always has been and I guess Paul has the runs on the board to claim whatever he wants with his current figures.”

Jackson explains, “We’re not going to get listeners 50, 60 and beyond who listen an average of 13 hours a day to engaging talk radio (on stations such as 3AW). But if you’re playing Top 40 records at the younger end of the market, your time to be available to listen to the radio and the number of choices in life you have to make – and I’m not talking about other radio stations – I’m talking about other forms of social media are huge. So, you just don’t have as much time to hang around and listen to the radio.”

But Campbell, who won’t relinquish his network’s claim as number one in Australia’s metropolitan markets without a fight insists, “It’s all about the currency. In the UK they use the term ‘reach’ which is their version of cume. But in this country, it’s always been about share. You can’t deal in Dollars today and Pesos tomorrow.”

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