How Aussie radio shows are driving audience growth with TikTok

Former Assistant Editor

Having a consistent presence on Facebook and Instagram has become part and parcel of a successful radio show, and now TikTok is proving to be a new avenue to grow and engage listeners.

Radio has been employing social media experts for years now, helping to reach new audiences and drive listeners towards a station or show with content that either stands alone or supports story arcs.

Australia’s most successful radio shows are also among the platform users that have the biggest and most engaged followings on TikTok, and for good reason.

In 2019, TikTok was the second most downloaded app across Apple and Google app stores, only behind WhatsApp, and easily outstripping Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Kyle Sandilands is one of the recent converts to the platform.

After declaring to his audience “I’m not getting involved in that TikTok world,” Sandilands was informed that he was already famous on the platform. Now Kyle is on board, big time.

Ben Latimer, head of programming for Nova 100, Nova 919 and Nova 93.7, tells Radio Today the shows who are successfully using TikTok are doing more than just using it as a tool to “amplify content from the daily show.”

When it comes to Nova Adelaide’s new Breakfast duo Ben & Liam, whose TikTok has really taken off this year, “embracing a platform like TikTok is all about brand recognition, gracing Gen Z with the guys’ presence. The guys are all over the socials, it’s a passion point of theirs.”

It’s not just about driving new listeners either, explains Kyle & Jackie O video producer Mitchell Coombs. “It’s easy to assume a typical radio listener isn’t using TikTok because they think the platform is ‘for kids’, but there were a lot of fans already on the app that jumped on the content straight away.

“Just like any of our other social platforms or billboards on the freeway, TikTok is great for driving awareness and recall to the show. And our TikTok videos have a LOT of eyes on them, which can only be a good thing.”

Here are the shows and radio stations that are killing it on TikTok:

Kyle & Jackie O – KIIS 106.5

It comes as no surprise that KIIS Sydney Breakfast duo Kyle & Jackie O have the biggest TikTok following of any Australian radio show or station. With almost 180,000 followers at the time of writing, their most viewed clip has over 2.2 million views, and multiple videos have cracked the million milestone.

Their profile is a mixture of behind the scenes content, pranks and footage from the show, but Kyle & Jackie O have done plenty of challenges themselves.

But Coombs says he’s not surprised that all shows haven’t jumped on board yet. “TikTok is still new to a lot of people and sometimes it takes a bit of time to understand how a new platform can suit a brand’s style and audience.

“At first we were experimenting. Since then I’ve met with the TikTok team to understand the platform better and grow the account,” he reveals.

“One of the big reasons it’s great for the show is the fact that there’s an appetite for lots of different types of videos and content outside of the usual dancing and lip-syncing, and the engagement on TikTok is unreal.”

Ultimately its about using it in a way that aligns with the values of the Kyle & Jackie O Show. “I think the old ‘less is more’ rule applies to TikTok more than any other platform,” Coombs says.

“For a station like us, it’s worth The Kyle & Jackie O Show being on there. It’s definitely something we’re looking at as a new audience strategy, but we can’t reveal all our cards, can we?”

@kyleandjackieoNot bad for a non-drinker 🍺##fyp ##foryou ##australia ##beeropenchallenge ##beerbottlechallenge ##bottlecapchallenge♬ original sound – kyleandjackieo

Ben & Liam – Nova 91.9 Adelaide

Ben & Liam have racked up 10,000 followers in quick-time, and have a stack of videos on the platform.

As it turns out, they started their account as a joke, “but then our first video got 500k views and we thought ‘Oh hang on, there is a huge audience here,'” the boys tell Radio Today.

“TikTok does still feel like this strange unexplored land. That being said, there is no denying that there is an audience there and you need to put yourself where the audience is, whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook, Podcasting, on the street or TikTok. Hell, we’ve even thought about making an OnlyFans!”

It’s a no-brainer to keep uploading content though, say Ben & Liam, because it’s all about simple ideas with low production value. “Quite a few of our listeners under the age of 18 comment on and engage with our TikTok videos.”

Ben Latimer adds; “So many of our under 20-year-old listeners who we don’t directly target on-air, are spending hours on TikTok (more so during social isolation), so naturally Ben & Liam were keen to experiment. These younger demos are important to our 10+ share, so having the guys play in this space ensures our brand can be heard and seen across a platform where clearly teens are thriving.”

@benandliamnovaDon’t be that guy ##coronavirus ##fyp♬ original sound – benandliamnova

Hughesy & Ed – Hit Network Drive

Hughesy & Ed are by far the most followed account within the Hit Network ecosystem of stations, with 36,000 followers and 700,000 views on their most popular video.

Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes has got into things in a big way, with plenty of clips making fun of his attempts to stay young with challenges, pranks and more.

@hughesyandedAn oldie but a goodie! 😂♬ #HeyStop – minnieandtink

Jase & PJ – KIIS 101.1

Given how well their sister show on KIIS Sydney are doing on the platform, it’s no surprise that fellow KIIS show Jase & PJ have racked up over 40K followers of their own.

The duo are known for their marathon challenges and fantastic story social media story arcs, so they’ve taken those skills over to TikTok to rack up over 700k views on the most popular clip. There’s an engaging range of content, including radio-based content, jump scares, challenges and more.

@jaseandpjWe need to update the emergency tape 😂 ##fyp♬ original sound – jaseandpj

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9 Jun 2020 - 12:51 pm

This is why radio is dying. It’s like we’re embarrassed to promote OUR OWN platform. Instead it’s all podcasts, and tiktoks, and online whatever and if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. It’s not radio. We’ve become sad nobodies who follow everyone elses trends rather than create our own like we used to. Just sad.

10 Jun 2020 - 9:58 am

Ok boomer

11 Jun 2020 - 7:55 am

Jase and PJ follows are all New Zealanders and Ben and Liam’s are all Triple J fans, Kyle and Jackie’s followers are all feral and Hughesy’s must be fake, he’s so old now.

5 Oct 2020 - 11:47 am

i noticed jonesy & amanda have a tik tok too. great engagement for an older audience!!


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