Melbourne FM Ratings Rundown: Christian O’Connell on the up, three on the trot for smoothfm

Former Assistant Editor
smoothfm celebrate three #1 surveys in a row

As 2018 swiftly draws to a close, Radio Today casts an eye over GfK’s all-important radio ratings as of Survey #7, network by network.

Melbourne is next, with smoothfm and Christian O’Connell among the big winners.

NOVA Entertainment

smoothfm is building momentum in Melbourne, finishing the survey period with an overall share of listening of 9.8% among People 10+.

It’s the third consecutive #1 for the station, and while NOVA Entertainment group program director Paul Jackson is happy, he tells Radio Today that he tries to focus on the content and not expect too much from the ratings.

“I try not to think about it,” he says. “They’re going to be what they’re going to be. They reflect everything we’ve done in the period.

“If we know we’ve done the best job we can, we haven’t missed anything and we’re proud of the shows. There are so many factors at play, you can expect what you expect but then be unlucky.”

He points to some subtle variations in the station’s music and content strategy which have led to the strong performance at the back end of 2018.

“We’ve probably brightened the station up this year. We’re just trying to push it a bit younger, contemporary, broader. That’s working for us.”

Melbourne was another market where Nova’s Greatest Hits Workday could improve, with Nova 100 holding a 5.2% and 6% share on Mornings and Afternoons respectively, placing the station 5th on FM for those dayparts.

Jackson insists that the music strategy is solid. “It’s a supply and demand issue, so Nova has carved out the best position it can for itself,” he tells Radio Today.

“It’s just a reflection of the music cycle. The biggest hits right now are the same as the biggest hits of six months ago. There’s less new stuff coming through.”


ARN will be hugely pleased to see Gold104.3 Breakfast host Christian O’Connell finally on the upturn in Survey #7.

Both ARN national content director Duncan Campbell and Nova’s Paul Jackson have previously spruiked O’Connell’s qualities to Radio Today and have been expecting him to turn things around from some early survey struggles.

Those predictions finally appear to be coming to fruition for the former Absolute Radio host, with his Breakfast show rising above both Nova and Triple M to 7.9% (+1.2) — the biggest FM share increase this book.

Gold remained solid overall, recording a small increase in share to 9.5% (+0.2) and is currently in equal second with Fox FM in the FM standings.

“The focus on our renewed network strategy in 2018 has delivered results today with Melbourne’s Gold104.3’s Christian O’Connell recording the highest FM share increase jumping up 1.2% to 7.9% and with KIIS 101.1 also increasing its share and audience,” said Campbell on ratings day in a statement.

“Christian is a top class broadcaster who has taken time to find his feet and settle in,” Jackson tells Radio Today.

“He’s got a great rapport with his audience, he’ll be very happy (with the result).

“It just goes to show that if you do something very, very different and the quality is there, people are up for it.

“Melbourne is hugely competitive. If you’re not on it every day, delivering content. If you’re not sharp, funny, engaging… there’s a bunch of other shows that your audience will listen to.

“It’s one of the best markets in the world.”

Southern Cross Austereo

It’s seven on the bounce for Fifi, Fev and Byron on Fox FM Breakfast in Melbourne, with the market’s most consistent performers unbeaten all year and holding a share of 9% (-0.6) this survey.

Fox FM remains second overall among People 10+, equal with GOLD FM and sitting behind only smoothfm.

Nova’s Paul Jackson believes that a big part of the success of the show lies in the strength of the Fox FM’s legacy branding.

“The Fox brand certainly has a halo effect,” he says. “It has for many decades now, and that will always stand it in good stead.”

There was a swing towards Triple M in the overall standings too, up to 7.1% (+0.6), while Eddie McGuire and The Hot Breakfast remain consistently strong, flat at 7.7% share.

It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Triple M to see if it can hold this strong share now that footy season is over.

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (1)
Post new comment
15 Nov 2018 - 4:04 pm

Have to admit Christian does sound different in the Melbourne market and deserves the upward result. Not sure about the KIIS breakfast show experiment – changing that show hasn’t paid off at all.


See all