‘If you listen to the critics, you’ll never get anything done’: Nine Radio’s Tom Malone on backing the network’s talent shake-up

Former Editor & Content Director
Nine Entertainment Radio

Skeptics of Nine Radio’s new approach to talkback radio certainly had a lot to say in the lead up to yesterday’s radio ratings release, but boss Tom Malone said he paid no attention the the naysayers.

His stations, including 2GB in Sydney, 3AW in Melbourne and 4BC in Brisbane, are at different stages of reinvigoration and evolution, and he was always confident it would pay off in time.

In Sydney and Melbourne though, it seems to have paid dividends already, at least in terms of audience share.

“I think if you listen to the critics, you’ll never get anything done,” he told Radio Today soon after the ratings release. “I mean, this is not a short-term decision that we made. We put Ben [Fordham] in to host Breakfast [on 2GB] because he’s the best person the for job. He was the best person for the job yesterday. He’s the best person for the job today.”

It’s an unpredictable road ahead, particularly with the COVID situation in flux, and Nine scrambling to capture more of marketers’ budgets to match its market-leading audience numbers. Malone, however, isn’t rattled by the fluctuations.

“I think speculation comes and goes. Share will rise and fall. But overall we’re confident that we’ve got the right strategy – not just in terms of audience, but also in terms of the ongoing profitability of the business,” he said.

As for 3AW’s headline-grabbing performance, which saw it collect a 16.9% share overall (up 3.0 points) and a 26.1% share in the Breakfast slot (up 8.8 points), Malone said the station has struck the right balance and tone for a city struggling with lockdown fatigue, stress and uncertainty.

“I think there’s no doubt COVID has an impact, and I think 3AW as a station is so central to Melbourne, and I think it really is heartening and humbling for our business, and especially for the staff of 3AW who filled such a role over the last three months during that second wave or still in that second wave of lockdown, that the people of Melbourne have turned to them as their trusted source of news and information, and also entertainment and relief.

“The people of Melbourne have endured a pretty tough few months, and 3AW has been at the heart of giving them the latest news, but also providing that companionship for people as well. So, I think they should all be very, very, very happy with the result, but also I know that 3AW staff will be the first ones to thank the listeners of Melbourne, because 3AW and Melbourne are intrinsically linked and always will be.”

For more reactions to yesterday’s results, click here to find out what’s keeping the content bosses up at night?

And for all the slips, spills and spin from the Survey 6 results, listen to the special edition Radio Today Tonight podcast.

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Recent comments (2)
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Rob Sutton
1 Oct 2020 - 12:14 pm

2GB suffered big drops in afternoons and drive.

That decline will continue in the next survey.

Tom, you do not understand radio. Why would you have a sports show followed by a money show?

5 Oct 2020 - 3:04 pm

Tom Malone can put all of the managerial spin he likes on it, after his job depends on it, but at the end of the day a lot kot of listeners like myself in the over 60 bracket di not like the line up.
Mornings are so much less interesting with no real teeth, only angry rantings and school marmish comments in the afternoon. Bring back George Moore. Intellegent, informative and, something 2GB is lacking, entertaining.
I for one have gone back to MMM.
At least the music is of my era and the on air staff are entertaining.


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