Who said older radio listeners would have trouble finding digital platforms? Not 2CH!

It was just before 9 o’clock, last Tuesday morning that the new CD of 2CH, “an excited” Sam Thompson, burst into the on-air studio.

She told veteran announcer Tim Webster the news that the station had shot straight to number one on the ‘DAB+ Only’ chart at its first outing.
The station was recently evicted from the 1170 AM frequency which it had called home since 1935 to make way for the new owner’s Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
2CH debuted with 101,000 listeners, way above the 60,000 they’d hoped for. It means that they had retained well over a third of the 270,000 strong cumulative audience they had when AM was still their main platform in Survey 7.
Neither 2CH nor SEN were listed on the main metro board for Survey 8, primarily because neither the previous owners of CH, Glenn Wheatley’s EON Broadcasting or the new owners Craig Hutchison’s Pacific Star were keen on participating this time round as the results would mean little because the required two surveys worth of data for a valid result was not present.
GfK’s Media Measurement Director, Deb Hishon has confirmed that that 101,000 figure includes listening online and through apps such as CRA’s RadioApp But she was unable to comment on the breakdown of those figures because they are “not publicly available.”
Going back to Survey 7, when 2CH was still being surveyed on all bands, it returned a 5.0 share in Sydney while in AFL mad Melbourne, SEN could only manage a 3.0. To be fair, due to the pandemic, apart from AFL, there was not much to discuss as there was precious little sport actually being played anywhere in the world.  
Nonetheless, for several surveys prior, 2CH was consistently returning better audience shares than SEN. On the other hand, Survey 7 showed SEN had the superior cume figures: 382,000 to 2CH’s 270,000 which suggests a strong loyalty factor and longer TSL for the music station.
“I think Cherie (Romaro) did a very good job in crafting a niche for that format,” says ARN’s Duncan Campbell. “It resonated and got some impact on DAB+. It was very well put together and it sounded strong.”
Tim Webster also credits former 2CH CD Cherie Romaro for the station’s successful migration to digital but puts it down to the intense listener by listener conversion to the new platforms. “Right from the beginning we had a campaign supported by Harvey Norman and we were giving away $100 vouchers to go to Harvey’s and buy yourself a digital radio. And a lot of them did that, and then rang back to say, ‘Where has this been all my life.’  
“They were also surprised that you can buy yourself a pretty decent DAB+ radio for 50 bucks. And bless them, they went to the trouble of going out to buy one and bring it home and plug it in. Then we explained to them that we’re not Classic Hits 2CH on DAB+, we’re the other way around with 2CH Classic Hits and we appear alphabetically. 
“When they asked, ‘on what frequency?’ We had to explain, there are no frequencies on digital radio. What I’m saying is that we really made a big effort to talk them through it and it’s paid off big time. It’s very heartening, really.” 

The people at 2CH aren’t the only ones heartened by their move from AM to digital only.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s a good time to also have a niche little music radio network… the mighty 2UE – it’s doing very well along with Magic in Melbourne,” says Nine Radio’s CD, Greg Byrnes. “You know, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t very much aware that 2CH has changed platform. And we’ve adjusted our playlist accordingly. It’s very exciting.”




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