Dave Cameron backs Hit management team & strategy despite ratings struggles

Former Editor & Content Director

Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) chief content officer, Dave Cameron, said “of course” he backs the Hit Network’s leadership team and strategy, despite its mixed results across the country in the most recent radio ratings.

The terse reply came in an otherwise open and honest interview in which Cameron revealed he thinks about the Hit Network’s Sydney station 2DayFM more than any of its counterparts and congratulated rival KIIS FM for its extraordinary results.

The Hit Network’s most troubled station remains Sydney’s 2DayFM, which had a 3.3% share overall and in Breakfast. Its Drive share is slightly higher at 4.1%. Fox FM in Melbourne had a 7.0% share overall, 6.8% in Breakfast and 7.9% in Drive. Adelaide’s SAFM had 7.9% overall, 8.6% in Breakfast and 9.1% in Drive. Brisbane’s B105 had a 9.2% share, 9.3% in Breakfast and 10.2% in Drive. Perth’s Mix 94.5, meanwhile, performed the best in terms of overall share, on 11.7%. Its Breakfast share was even higher – 12.7% – while in Drive it had 11.8%.

In light of these numbers, Radio Today asked Cameron: “Do you still back the Hit Network strategy and that leadership team in what they’re doing?”

His reply: “Of course.”

Pressed further on why the network wasn’t consistently cutting through, Cameron broke down the problems it was facing, framing it as more of a city-by-city issue, rather than a national network problem.

“Let’s talk about Melbourne firstly,” he said.

“What we’ve seen in Melbourne is a mini version of lockdown impact, where you’ve seen us Fox, Triple M, KIIS, Nova all go backwards about the same amount in Breakfast. And it is specifically because there were no cars on the road for three weeks out of the last survey period. And so when there’s no cars on the road, Breakfast cume goes down…

“But all of the entertainment personality-led Breakfast shows have all been hit the same amount in Melbourne. But Fox is above our key competitors of Nova and KIIS. I think it will bounce back pretty quickly, like what we saw towards the end of last year.”

He noted that he’s “not too worried” about Fox, and pointed out it has the biggest cumulative audience in the country, despite a 62,000 drop from Survey 3 to Survey 4. Fox’s cumulative audience is now 1,072,000. Its closest competitor in Melbourne is ARN’s GOLD on 1,068,000, while in Sydney Nova has 1,061,000.

Moving onto Adelaide, Cameron said: “In terms of Adelaide, look, with the methodology, we’d refer to a bit of poison in our system with rolling surveys. And, I think both for Adelaide and for Brisbane, we’ve turned that around this survey, and I think Adelaide will become quite a tight market towards the end of the year. Certainly in the second half of the year, I think we’ll be able to see some momentum back on SAFM again.”

B105, he said, does have the ability to be the #1 station in Brisbane – something it has done before.

“With B105, that was #1 for a little bit of the first half of this year. And the product hasn’t changed. The strategy hasn’t changed. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be the #1 station. It got a bit of a whack last survey and unfortunately we roll that through to a bit of this result, but what we can see already is that the results that we’ll be able to take through to next survey will be certainly more positive and will put us back into the leadership basket again.”

B105’s Stav, Abby & Matt (pictured) were the #1 Breakfast show in Brisbane in Survey 2 

And Perth’s Mix, he said, had held up really well.

“We had a big brand shakeup obviously and we have changing lineups and changing Drive shows, new brands launching, a new look and feel and a slightly tweaked format on Mix. I think Mix has held up really well today. In fact, I think we’ll get close to a leadership position in Perth over the next couple of surveys from what we can see already. So I’m really happy with Mix’s results today. Breakfast and overall.”

That just leaves the beleaguered 2DayFM in Sydney, which he said is hampered by legacy shows in the market.

“I would say that I continue to have a tight focus on the Sydney market and how we may continue to build an audience from a very, very tight and loyal audience base that is attached to other stations and brands. That will be our ongoing focus. And I think more about 2Day than any other station to be honest,” he said.

“In terms of us, look it’s the same conversation I had the last couple of surveys [and] probably the same one I’ll have with you for the next couple of surveys. My message is going to be repetitious at the moment, because it’s the same situation. We need to build an audience, continue to do what we’re doing. Be consistent. Hold the course for the show that continues to grow. And we need to find an audience that needs to come from a market that has very loyal listening. It has very little audience movement because of legacy shows that haven’t changed at all.”

Part of the network’s efforts to lift 2Day’s ratings, he said, would be “dangling some carrots” to move the cumulative audience over the next couple of years.

This includes the $1 million Alphabucks competition which launched across the Hit Network yesterday in a bid to lure listeners between now and the ultimate giveaway in November.

Head of the Hit Network, Gemma Fordham, noted how much traction the game had secured in the market already.

“Alphabucks is the ultimate game that our listeners love to play, whether they’re screaming out answers in the car or playing on-air with our shows, it has become the highly addictive and welcome part of our listeners’ morning,” she said.

“Over the past four years, Alphabucks has continued to grow from an on-air contest to an app game, an on-air Alphabucks Kids version, and now Alphabuks will be more life-changing than ever before. Knowing a fruit that starts with the letter ‘G’ could be the difference between someone winning a million dollars or not.”

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Straight shooter
13 Jul 2021 - 2:13 pm

So according to Dave Cameron, the strategy is to maintain the current 2DAY FM breakfast show for a couple of years and to keep paying Dave Huges $2 million a year to rate a 3% share

Andrew Ferguson
13 Jul 2021 - 2:35 pm

Must be delighted that B105’s Stav, Abby & Matt cost just $1.

    13 Jul 2021 - 3:42 pm

    Hahahaha – one of my more momentous typos.

    Apologies to Stav, Abby & Matt, who – both individually and collectively – are worth far more than $1.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

Neralie Bailey
13 Jul 2021 - 2:47 pm

Is there a sub-editor available to read these articles for typos? Bloody hell.

    13 Jul 2021 - 3:43 pm

    Nope – just me. But thank you for your very helpful comment.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

13 Jul 2021 - 3:18 pm

The Hit Network has nose-dived ever since Cameron has implemented the brand and music changes. Not just in metro but regionally too. It is a poor product and needs to be changed and/or rebooted. Again.

13 Jul 2021 - 3:41 pm

Bring back award wages with productivity bonuses

13 Jul 2021 - 5:20 pm

Vivienne: “just me. But thank you for your very helpful comment.”

Gold – geez you cop it big time on here, maybe hire a ghost writer

Anthony Pleticos
13 Jul 2021 - 5:43 pm

According to the ratings results for survey 4, 2021, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wFhnqc9_sGd15kSCo4aOpZMvNEl5EWMO/preview compare the ratings of 2UE at 3% to 2DAY’s at 3.3%.

There is a noted demarcation in demographics where 2UE appeals to the 65+ market and 2DAY appeals to the 20+ to 34+.

Nevertheless, both stations are around 3% and that an AM station can rival an FM station beit at 3%.

2UE is an automated station and costs less to run. 2DAY pays lots of $$$ for celebrities throughout the day.

For a station that rates 3%, it would not surprise me the 2UE is more profitable than 2DAY.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting and compare-and-contrast Belfield

Pickle Salon
13 Jul 2021 - 7:18 pm

Let’s all remember SCA also said “they are very happy with” and “completely backing them in” to the last 8 2dayFM breakfast shows.

Nek minute…. Gooooonee!

The Music Man
13 Jul 2021 - 8:47 pm

To quote a line from the TV Series Frontline, “You have the full support of the board…

…right up until the moment we sack you”.

Legacy Schmegacy
14 Jul 2021 - 7:01 am

DC, you speak of all these legacy shows preventing any market growth. Just an FYI, Dan and Maz would be in their 6th year now and would be right up there if not above Nova or WS. You would have had your “legacy show”. Legacy is very hard to get when you let the suit monkeys hit reset every 12 months on breakfast. The mind boggles how after so many failed attempts, the same decision makers still have a swipe pass.

I agree you need to just let it run for any chance of success, but I think the horse has bolted and nothing will bring it back. Either be happy with a 4 share or re brand and completely blow up 104.1, maybe even just turn it off for a year or 2.

Chuck Tuna
14 Jul 2021 - 8:46 am

Why don’t the management teams actually go on air and show how its done ?

14 Jul 2021 - 11:14 am

@Vivienne Kelly

Vivienne Love reading your daily articles as well & just remember nobody is perfect & we all make spelling mistakes from time to time

I will never judge you for making spelling mistakes love your work aways

The Ballroom Blitz
14 Jul 2021 - 4:52 pm

Wow…..I am truly shocked by this article. I had no idea that SCA actually had a strategy for the Hit Network. I thought the strategy was the various Hit programming executives trying to keep their jobs.

The Audience
14 Jul 2021 - 8:05 pm

The 2Day FM morning crew commercials are terrible, what ever happened to promoting the music that stations play rather then the talent that under perform?

15 Jul 2021 - 10:28 am

I’ll be waiting to see if that Alphabucks prize is paid out to a Sydney listener, it’s really convenient timing to be giving away a million dollars in the middle of a lockdown and period of financial uncertainty for their weakest performing city


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