Nine & its rivals weigh in on Ben Fordham’s Breakfast decline
One year into Ben Fordham’s tenure at the helm of Nine Radio’s 2GB, some say cracks are starting to appear.
The show had a 13.5% share in yesterday’s ratings, alarmingly close to the ABC’s 13.1%, as well as KIIS FM’s 12.9%.
Fordham was given room to breathe when he took over from Alan Jones last year, inheriting the hot seat at a time that radio ratings were paused due to COVID-19.
By the time Survey 6 rolled around, the show had a 17.3% share, still clearly #1 and only very slightly down on Jones’ final outing of 17.9%.
He got as high as 18.1% in Survey 1 this year, with Nine Radio’s head of content Greg Byrnes saying at the time that Fordham would now be chasing upwards of a 20% share.
That now seems someway off, however, with Fordham down to 13.5% and also at risk of losing the claim to #1.
Nine Radio is the first to hit out at the AM/ FM divide perpetuated by the media, and frequently rallies for its station and its show to be correctly called #1, with Kyle & Jackie O the #2 program, rather than its preferred label of ‘#1 FM show’.
What happens then, if Kyle & Jackie O from KIIS FM, or Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck from ABC, snatch the #1 crown? Would Nine still feel the same?
Byrnes won’t be rattled by this week’s figures. Instead, he said, Fordham is still #1 only a year in to one of the most competitive radio gigs in the country.
“So, 2GB #1 overall. #1 Breakfast. #1 Mornings. Nights. Weekends. Overnights…. It’s 12 months today since Ben started… and at the time we thought anything above a 12 wold be good, and for him to be above that – and having 12 months of being clear #1 in a very tight market – we’re very well placed,” Byrnes said in response to questions about whether there were concerns about Fordham’s downwards trajectory.
One man who could stand to benefit from Fordham’s fall – if only for the spectacular headlines – is ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell.
With The Kyle & Jackie O Show recording its highest ever share this survey, Campbell conceded he was happy it happened on his watch and at KIIS.
“They’re very happy indeed. It’s a great result and it’s a testament to the team that supports them as well – the machine as I call it – that work behind the scenes on that show, and of course two of the best radio presenters in the world with Kyle and Jackie O. So a great day for them and a good day for us as well,” he said.
As for whether the program has the potential to knock Fordham off his perch, Campbell said anything’s possible.
“Well, life is strange… And so in the words of Sean Connery, ‘Never say never’…. I think 2GB’s book is one of those sort of down books, but there’s no trend there, really. So we’ll wait and see. But it does put them fairly close… It’s probably the closest they’ve been for a while.
“It would be nice if it did happen, I think, but I think Ben Fordham is doing a tremendous job anyway at 2GB. It’s a good rivalry to have. But time till tell.”
Someone who is less effusive about Fordham’s ability behind the microphone is 2SM’s Breakfast host Marcus Paul.
2SM doesn’t participate in the ratings, but that didn’t stop Paul from having a dig.
“Well, our program continues to grow each week while old mate TV talking head has lost more than a third of his audience in 1 year,” Paul said on his show’s Facebook page. “All those bus back adds [sic] and digital marketing and billboards cant hide “fakeness”. His show is about to be overtaken by the ABC while his colleagues in the afternoon have lost half of their listeners.
“Happy 1st Anniversary Ben.”
Paul did concede that if he did participate in the ratings, his share would be lower than Fordham’s “However hes been at it 15 plus years on a station with Jones and Hadley – ive been on 12 months [sic]“.