How Coles Radio became Australia’s highest rating DAB+ station ever
Coles Radio extended its lead at the top of the DAB+ radio ratings this week, with 254,000 cume listeners nationally.
It means that the NOVA Entertainment-run station now has the highest ratings achieved by any DAB+ radio station since surveys began.
Radio Today caught up with Coles Radio programmer Sarah Fletcher to find out how the station became such a runaway success.
Coles Radio has been there or thereabouts at the top DAB+ ratings for some time now. Is it a myth that most of the listening is done in supermarkets?
It is true that 5.7M people listen to Coles radio via in-store, however from a DAB+ perceptive Coles remains either the #1 or #2 station across all DAB+ listening in Australia.
This survey we achieved the highest cume we’ve ever had, and the highest of any DAB+ station since GFK ratings began, so more and more people are choosing to listen when they leave the supermarket and any rise in numbers, wherever we are listened to, is welcomed.
When it comes to running the station, is there much emphasis on how the station rates in the digital ratings? Or do you just concentrate on the programming?
Of most importance is the in-store experience for shoppers plus the opportunity that brings with it for advertisers, but naturally, we get a buzz when we are #1. It shows the balance is right between advertising, marketing messaging & the music.
We do consider both in and outside store listening when programming the station, and I suppose the main difference in music programming lies in store opening hours, versus overnight listening where I may get away with slightly edgier songs. But the emphasis is on in-store.
Has the music strategy changed much since the launch of Coles Radio, and how long did it take to find a sweet spot?
It has changed in terms of breadth and depth of playlist. It started pretty tight; only the ‘usual’ pop from the ’90s and up, and not a large collection, plus I waited for new releases to be tried and tested before adding, and even then not many.
The benefit of a station that’s national (included in that the thousands of Coles staff members), is that feedback is swift and regular, and was particularly so in the early days! So I added rock, country, more old school, brand new releases not on FM, some alternative, and everything in-between! By Survey #2 2016 (the 4th since the introduction of DAB figures) we had reached #1.
It hasn’t changed at its core much since then, but does get tweaked when monthly and weekly features run (Mother’s Day, Soundtrack Sunday, Rockin’ Requests, etc) which injects new songs and variety.
Check out the full results of DAB+ Survey #3 here.