‘We need to evolve’: How Nine Radio plans to bounce back from Ben Fordham’s dip

Former Editor & Content Director

Nine Radio’s head of content, Greg Byrnes, has given an insight into the network’s strategy for the rest of the year, contending he’s not stressed about 2GB’s Ben Fordham losing the #1 Breakfast position in Sydney.

“Well, Ben has held,” he told Radio Today yesterday after KIIS’ Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson surged 2.6 points to a 15.5% share, while Fordham slipped 0.2 points to 13.3%. “He’s steady, which is most encouraging.

Kyle & Jackie O’s result is wonderful for them, absolutely. And we pay credit to them.

“We knew with Ben that it would be a big change. The moment you change a talk station, a talk program, let alone a Breakfast program, there would be an audience reaction. We thought 12 months on that anything above a 12[% share], we’d be happy, and he’s on 13.3. When we look at the trends, he’s tracking fairly well.”

He said the defeat at the hands of Sandilands and Henderson would only “spur the guys to work even harder” at 2GB Breakfast.

“I think we’re well placed, it’s a strong brand,” Byrnes said of 2GB’s ongoing prospects.

He also noted the wide-sweeping changes Nine Radio had implemented across various cities, including Sydney, since it fully took over Macquarie Media’s radio assets, and said the full implications, and rewards, of these moves would take time.

“As we know, ratings go up and down, and so what we’re looking for in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth is just steady increases. But it takes time. It all takes time, and the audience has to get to know the presenter,” he said.

“It’s [about] trying to find the talk audience and the talk presenter of the next five to 10 years. And we need to evolve. I think the stations are sounding good, are sounding fresh, and that’s important. We need to be evolving as a network.”

The chief content officer of KIIS’ parent company, meanwhile, said yesterday’s result was more about the dominance of The Kyle & Jackie O Show, than any real-world issue with Fordham.

“That’s not taking anything away from Ben Fordham, by the way,” ARN’s Duncan Campbell said when celebrating his show’s success. “It’s just the FM show has done remarkably well… We run a different race, but it’s just unfortunately happened on Ben’s watch….

“2GB’s a very strong station still. And interesting, their results, they didn’t drop a lot. In fact, they hardly dropped at all. They remained pretty flat. And even Ben didn’t drop much at all, just down 0.2. So it’s more the growth of KIIS than the demise of 2GB.”

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7 Jul 2021 - 2:47 pm

Greg Byrnes says ratings go up and down but that is such a stupid statement because Alan Jones was always number one

7 Jul 2021 - 6:29 pm

“They remained pretty flat. ”

In my day, that meant terminally, unrecoverably, stuffed.

But things do change, don’t they?

7 Jul 2021 - 7:28 pm

All Nine radio stations have shifted away from their listener bases in the last 12 months. They are now reaping that decision. There is no more room for Left wing commentary, start being more centre or even slightly lean right and your listeners will come back.

Alex Martin
8 Jul 2021 - 9:23 am


Yes, Costello’s Nine is the absolutely pinnacle of leftie thought…..


8 Jul 2021 - 7:43 pm

It is just unbelievable, how can a network like Nine who owns 3 radio stations in Sydney 2gb, 2ue & 2ch be in a threatening position as regards ratings. 2GB had a mortgage on talk back for a record number of years, lots of years, so why try to re invent the wheel, for what? In a race if you are in front winning, you don’t just decide to pull up go back in the field & try to play catch up. This is exactly what Nine have done to 2GB, they were well in front on the winning CONSERVATIVE DNA, some left wing has come along & said “let’s do it our way & we’ll still win the race” Nah Nah, now they’re finding out the amount of zealous conservative listeners have just switched off, where do they go? Looks like FM. This is plain madness, because how do you get these people back? The only solution if there’s time left is to have a winning proven team to draw back all those conservative listeners running & here it is
Breakfast – McClaren
9 am – Hadley
Noon – Smith
3 pm – Fordham
Until that happens it’s all downhill slowly, I’ve said this formula for ages, you can take it or leave it. On another note ratings don’t & haven’t gone up & down for 2GB for years, it’s been all one way ⬆️

Tony Poplett
9 Jul 2021 - 12:55 pm

Ditto Jacques Laxale’s comments, could not have put it better.

andrew ballantyne
9 Jul 2021 - 4:25 pm

They need mark levy

10 Jul 2021 - 7:20 pm

I listened to 2gb for years, I’ve gone to MMM. Even MoonMan is more conservative than the rest on GB.

Marin Oz
24 Jul 2021 - 5:51 am

I took the time to actually write to 2GB Management when the changes were first announced.
I stated at the time that removing Jones and Smith and replacing them with Fordham and Knight was a grave error in judgement, one that will cost the station dearly.
In an environment where 2GB has no real talkback competition whatsoever, the current ratings can only be described as a monumental disaster.
I have been an avid listener to 2GB since Jones and Hadley moved from 2UE. I gave the new line up a go for about a week. However, I will not tune in to Fordham, Knight or Wilson. To be blunt the whole thing has become soft. Warm and fuzzy content and fence-sitting lack of conviction presenters.
No matter how many billboards or commercials you put on TV trying to entice new listeners, you have to accept that with your own hand you threw out a rusted-on loyal conservative audience that was already there. However not anymore.
When a station like 2GB has to resort to gimmicks like giving away a Ben Fordham Cap or Mug, or constantly advertise young mums ringing Ben and stating how they love him so much, do I need to say anymore? Yep warm and fuzzy.
If Alan Jones decides to come back to talkback on another station, 2GB will suffer the same fate and 2dayFM when Kyle and Jackie O moved to KissFM. I for one sincerely hope that he does.
Thinking that 12% is a good target for a hard-hitting breakfast talkback show is somehow acceptable is basically coming to terms with a failed decision.
The last comment I would like to make is this…..
When the most popular, well-spoken and intelligent listener such as Stephanie stops calling in to 2GB, something is very very wrong.

20 Jan 2022 - 8:25 am

So disappointed in the changes at 2gb. It appears the conservative presenters have been replaced by left leaning announcers and the remaining presenters have very much changed their views. Felling very sold-out.
I was rusted on. I used to listen all day and night. Can’t stomach 2gb now and would rather just listen to fm music. We don’t need MORE left leaning media and entertainment industry people pushing Labor views down our throats. 2gb was our voice. They’ve lost me, and all our family /friends have made the same comments.
Anyhow, enjoying the music on FM. It’s made my days happy again. It was clear when all the conservative announcers were swept out the door within a short period that 2gb as we loved it was ending. On-air presenters needed to leave or sellout. So disappointed.


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