Duncan Campbell – The Year of ARN

Staff Writer

Following yesterday’s survey, we chatted with Four Group Programmers. Earlier was Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson  and SCA's Craig Bruce and later today Clark Forbes from Fairfax Radio will join us but now we talk with Duncan Campbell on ARN.

Blair: A good day for you guys?

Duncan Campbell: Yeah… It’s been a great year.  I said last year that it would be the year of ARN and DMG, as it was known then, but it’s turning out to be the year of ARN I think.


The dominance of FM radio in Sydney, FM listening in Sydney is extraordinary. That’s even outdone our expectations. We continue to dominate in Adelaide and also sort of Brisbane as well.

So really happy with all of that – the issue is obviously Melbourne, that didn’t perform as well as we hoped. Overall ARN is positioned incredibly well, compared to where we were last year.

BS: So if we go market by market,  I suspect you’re just a little rapt with the Sydney results – WS FM number 1 (FM), Kiis improved to be a clear number #2 – good news?

DC: Yeah well, the duopoly is extremely well positioned. Our strategic approach to what we do is the reason for our success.  We are very focussed on that. And we spend a lot of time getting the strategy right and we allow the teams to execute and create the content off the back of that.

From a duopoly perspective you couldn’t ask for a better position. A number 1 station FM with a number 2 breakfast show.  A number 2 station FM with a number 1 breakfast show.

And the dominance in the demographics, particularly 25-54 is extraordinary – a 24.6 share (ARN) versus  Nova on a 13.7. So you can’t really argue with the numbers, that really indicates market dominance to me.

BS: So is the pool on the rooftop getting a workout?

DC: If it was yesterday…. It’s a bit wet and rainy in Sydney today so the pool is remaining untouched, but certainly some celebrations going on around the corridors.

BS: Let’s go up north a little bit to Brisbane, a strong showing for you guys as well. 973 leading the market again.

DC: Yeah, 973 is having it’s best year ever, which is based around some very high cume, cumes in excess of 500,000 which has been most of the year. And share, which is obviously coming off a bit of a high, but still a strong 13.8. With Nova normally a strong competitor for us, (it) remains fairly steady. That gives us a good lead.

Triple M’s not doing a lot, b105 not doing much either.

Again the market is really 973 and Nova. And 973 continues it’s very strong lead throughout the year.  I expect that to continue throughout the rest of this year.

BS: And what about stable mate 4KQ?

DC: Yeah good results, the quiet achievers for us. Again they have had a good year. Good to see that breakfast show, a 7.8 for them is great. Really happy.  7.8 is well above 2012 and 2013 averages. Good performance for KQ.

BS: Adelaide, you dropped a little in Adelaide with MIX, but you are still out in front by a country mile.

DC: That’s actually a real strong result for Adelaide.  And again, the AM station Cruise is outplaying SAFM. Look I think Triple M will be disappointed with their format change, it hasn’t got any traction for them. And we have defended very well against that. I expect that Mix 103.2 will be strong for the rest of the year as well. Continued dominance in Brisbane and Adelaide for us is my prediction.

BS: Slightly tighter battle there for breakfast for Mix against the ABC as well.

DC: The ABC stations generally do pretty well around the country – there is a lot of talk about the budget and politics, that sort of stuff – they are targeted at an older audience, so in that context they have done very well. With FM breakfast it is dominated by MIX.

BS: And finally across Melbourne, Gold slipped just a little bit but still a good result.

DC: It still remains strong, Melbourne I think.  Credit to Fox, they have done well this book.  I think that breakfast show is getting some traction, which is good for those guys.

The Nova show is yet to get the traction they would be expecting.

We are a bit disappointed by our numbers. We know the issues down there and our focus is now making the necessary changes to ensure that 2015 is a better performing year for us down there.

Despite Melbourne, ARN remains the number one network 10+, 25-54 and 40-54 in the markets we operate in. We don’t even spin those numbers either Blair, we don’t quote national cumes today, and it’s all about share. The five capital cities. In the markets we operate in, we remain number 1, 10+, number 1, 25-54 and number 1, 40-54.

So very happy today and I must always acknowledge the teams that work at the stations. They do a tremendous job and we are having a great year, can’t complain as a result.

BS: And if there is one thing as a highlight across the group – what is the best story for you?

DC: I think the Sydney duopoly. I mean it’s just outstanding, the performance. To see the breakfast show today, Jonesy and Amanda walked into Kyle and Jacq’s studio and congratulated them off the air.

It was fantastic to hear the conversations between them. You have two highly competing radio stations and yet both breakfast shows and both those teams understand the bigger picture. Which is fantastic from an ARN point of view.

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