How Coles Radio became Australia’s highest rating DAB+ station ever

Former Assistant Editor
Coles, NOVA

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.

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (9)
Post new comment
coles shopper
7 Jun 2019 - 12:54 pm

Great music on Coles radio. You will always hear a good song when listening.

Unlike CW Remix, Coles actually plays a wide variety of music genres, sounds interesting with the new songs added and it doesn’t pigeonhole its listeners.

The only suggestion I would make would be to play more Dance and R&B on Friday’s and weekends!

Aside from that, keep up the great work Nova.

John f
7 Jun 2019 - 2:29 pm

2DAY FM – Pay attention. People want variety & depth, radio has changed and so has listening habits.

7 Jun 2019 - 4:24 pm

Brilliant work Fletchie!

8 Jun 2019 - 8:49 am

I can think of a few FM CD’s who should be working at Coles ( and I don’t mean Coles radio )

Clean Up Aisle 4
10 Jun 2019 - 4:40 am

I’m gonna guess it’s from severely over estimating how many people are actually listening in a coles

Fact Check
11 Jun 2019 - 2:37 pm

“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.”

Double J had a cume of 264,000 in survey one 2019.

Hats off to Coles, I’m going to let you finish, but Double J had the greatest survey of all time.

Zanda Wilson
11 Jun 2019 - 3:04 pm

Hey @Fact Check.

Not sure where you got those numbers from, but they don’t add up to the Survey #1 data provided to Radio Today by CRA, which show that Double J at 250,000 listeners that survey, not 264,000.

I’ve just checked on CRA’s Radio Alive website and those are the numbers on the Survey One cards match those above which were sent to us at the time.

Sydney: 94K
Melb: 76K
Bris: 19K
Adelaide: 23K
Perth: 38K

Here’s the link for your reference:

Grocery Buyer
28 Jun 2019 - 7:25 pm

“Have you shopped in Coles” – yes

“Have you listened to Coles Radio” – umm I guess so yes.

Tick survey win.

11 Apr 2020 - 5:57 pm

I just discovered your radio station and I absolutely love it! A really great mix of upbeat and happy songs from now and the past. I don’t want to go back to listening to anything else now! Lol.
And no, I’m not employed by or paid by Coles – although I used to work for them years ago here in Perth.

Keep up the good work (to the programmer 😉 and could you please play “I wanna be the only one” by Eternal if possible?



See all