Paul Jackson on smooth’s first year & Survey 3

Staff Writer

If you haven't yet seen the results and analysis from survey 3, see them here.

You can also see the press releases here and the ups and downs here.

On smoothfm's birthday I spoke with dmg Radio's Group Program Director, Paul Jackson, to talk about the first year of smooth and how survey 3 went for the network.

Mark: You'd be pleased with having both smoothfm's up on their 1st birthday ?

Paul: Yes I’m very happy with that, so happy birthday smoothfm ! It’s been a fantastic first year for the radio station and for the whole team working there right from the start.

Both stations up is good. The overall highlight is year on year we've seen growth of 61% and for both stations 35+ women, our cume has increased 197,000 and 3.5 share points. That’s 116% up in the core demo across the year. Whichever way we carve the smooth numbers they are very impressive and it’s been a fantastic start.

From a year ago when we launched with Michael Buble and the TV ad, the on-air output has been brilliant. Rohan Brown, our PD, has delivered and been consistent in executing a great product. Kate Mason, superb with the music, the presenters have been excellent. Brilliant people like Ty Frost weren’t even in radio at the time and Byron Webb. Cathy Dinn hadn’t been on-air for a while, Cameron Daddo has done brilliantly for us at night and Richard Wilkins and David Campbell, these guys have been a revelation on the weekends.

So across the board it’s unfair to single one person out but even the effort the integration teams put in, our Create team, the sales team. It’s been a fantastic year. We’re looking forward to doing some more marketing for the station soon and continuing to execute it the same way. I hope we get further awareness for the product and that will bring stronger results. I’m looking forward to year 2 and year 3.

Mark: Do you have a personal highlight from the first 12 months ?

Paul: I know we were out of survey but I thought our output over the Christmas period was brilliant. Even the stuff we did on Christmas Day with Richard Wilkins, I was really impressed and Rohan Brown led all that. We appreciated that out of survey was an opportunity for us, as people flicked around, to gain some traction.

As I listen across the entire year the most impressive thing has been the consistency. It continues to sound fresh although people tell us we’re playing a bunch of old records, we’re playing a few smooth discoveries as well and we keep changing the set of records around aiming to keep the tone very consistent. So, within that so many highlights.

Mark: Back to survey 3 and let’s start in Perth and introduce Gary Roberts, Managing Director of Nova 93.7. Nathan, Nat & Shaun would be happy knocking Mix 94.5's The Bunch off their perch again ? (first time was interestingly S3 last year)

Paul: Absolutely, it’s a sensational result for them. Nathan’s over here today doing some interviews for the Great Gatsby and he’s absolutely ecstatic.

Gary: We had to tell him along with the rest of the team via video conference. His reaction is unprintable! Let me just say that it was a moment that a very pregnant Lou Higgins (Group GM) will never forget!

Paul: I’m delighted for them, they thoroughly deserve this. Nathan, Nat & Shaun are one of the funniest shows in the country.

Both the cumes and the shares are also looking fantastic there. We’ve come to expect that from Perth but the effort has been unbelievable. Daniel Underhill, our PD there, deserves a lot of credit and he’s leading a brilliant team.

Gary: Daniel is wandering around the corridors with a bottle of Moet and a straw!

Paul: They own that town in many ways and the consistency of the product is a joy to see.

Mark: In Adelaide a strong result for Nova 919, especially at breakfast.

Paul: I know. Dylan Lewis is so hard working as is Shane Lowe, they’ve been out in their Big Red Bus everyday and our relatively new PD down there, Dave Shearer, deserves a lot of credit. He is a fantastic character and the whole team from breakfast to daytimes and Jarrod Walsh his APD, collectively they’ve done a brilliant job with that radio station, it never fails to impress.

Mark: Brisbane is back up again but in a very tight market.

Paul: Absolutely it’s tight. A very strong performance from Ash, Kip & Luttsy and it bodes well for the next book. Like Perth and Adelaide we expect terrific results and that station has been on fire for a long time.

Mark: And the highlights for you from the Sydney and Melbourne results ?

Paul: Highly competitive marketplaces but the big story for us in Sydney is that Nova 96.9 is #1 Under 40 in share and cume. That hasn’t happened for a long time. That’s a very strong performance. The breakfast numbers for Fitzy & Wippa I’m very happy with. When I listen to the show with my own ears it tells me they’ve found their groove, are very consistent and have done some brilliant stuff lately. No real concerns about anything.

Likewise in Melbourne. I’m well aware there are 3 more surveys coming thick and fast in the next 3 months and we’re in survey 4 already and I feel the 6 week snapshots are going really well for us in Melbourne as well.

As a network, our cumulative position again is #1 under 40 whichever way we carve it. 18-39 we win handsomely right through to 10-29 and so on. As an under 40 network we have to be very satisfied with that.

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