Paul Jackson: “We don’t knee jerk”

Staff Writer

We’ve hooked up with a couple of the Group Content Directors, we chat in depth with each of them giving their insights into what went well, what went wrong, where they are focused and their thoughts on the competitive landscape.

Earlier it was SCA’s Craig Bruce. Up next it’s NOVA Entertainments Paul Jackson.

NE had some strong results in a number of markets around the country with Survey #2. But are there any alarms bells going off in some? We talk to Paul about the next moves with the smooth brand and what he is hoping for in Survey three.

Blair: The standout market for you this round I am thinking is Adelaide for Nova 919?

Paul: A brilliant result for Nova 919, you’ve probably heard it, a brilliant breakfast show with Lewis and Lowe. It has scored a terrific number overall, great increase. Double the size of our nearest competitor. We are delighted and only 6000 off MIX for cume with 325,000 – so an exciting day.

And then over on FIVEaa, a terrific number.  We are delighted to see that 11.1. But more than that David, Mark and Jane doing a 13.7 in breakfast, bring it on – we are delighted.

Blair: A good jump for Fitzy & Wippa today, nearly a point.

Paul: Well deserved. I think they have gotten back to basics and are having a good time and a great laugh in the studio with their team. Some magnificent content and really well deserved. It’s really a great show.

Blair: Did Fitzy recover from his run-in with the Beebs?

Paul:(Laughs) I think he had the time of his life at Coachella. Following him on Instagram, oh my goodness.

Blair: Drive in Sydney is now an outright #1 and Evenings a clear #1.  You’re now placed Number 3 and 4 in the market – what are the next steps for you in Sydney?

Paul: It is much what it was all of last year. We have got to keep doing what we are doing.  

We understand our audience, we connect really well with them, and we can anticipate the next big thing. The guys do really well at finding the right content and executing it really well. We are out and about in Sydney all the time relentlessly touching and connecting.

We have the number one cume, not just in Sydney but across Australia. We have got 974,000 people coming through our door every day. What a great chance to have entertainment and have fun and the rest will actually take care of itself.


Blair: Now for Smooth in Sydney, a flat result – not any real movements of any particular note?

smooth's Ty FrostPaul: I appreciate it may be flat from that sense but it is a dizzyingly high number. A 7.4 share and terrific cume – which has gone up again. And a breakfast share of 5.8. People were staggered when we hit a 6, they couldn’t believe it and then to turn in a 5.8, we really have crafted a position in the marketplace where nobody else is with our more music shows. We are delighted with that and across the board, I am delighted. We are number one 25 plus in Sydney, that is a terrific place to be and for us to push on from.

Blair: Melbourne Nova 100 has fallen behind Smooth, have you got any concerns?

Paul:I don’t actually, everything is relative. It is about net gains. You know if everyone was up a bit we would have benefited the most. So everyone in the FM market is down except Triple M.

Meshel & TommyWhen I look at the breakfast performances, I see hit101 going down a share point. I see KIIS going down a share point, we are down point 3 but in net terms we have overtaken them. We are in a really strong breakfast position, between Meshel & Tommy and the competition, I think Meshel & Tommy is the best show and will win.

It’s also really good to jump to the other end of the day and see that drive performance is strong in Melbourne, as is Smallzy at night. And again, the cume is very strong in terms of people coming through the door and using us across the week. There are 944,000, which makes it number 1 in Melbourne and number two in the country.

So the shape of the business here is very strong – number one 18-39, equal number two with Triple M 25-54. The shape of the demos is very encouraging for us.

And on Smooth as well, I will grant you it has gone down a little bit but it is the number one station in Melbourne for females aged 10 plus.

Blair: Which is your target?

Paul: I can’t get to be number one FM overall but to be the number one station where you have hit101 and KIIS doing the marketing and positioning they are doing – the broader competition, I think that is a sensational place for us to be and we are not far off the top in equal second place. So I again am delighted with that.

Blair: If we talk about the Smooth brand overall, what are the next steps?

Paul: The next steps? With Smooth it is always steady as she goes. There will never be any knee jerking or reacting to anything. Very strong breakfast shows, excellent line-up, terrific on weekends. We’ve been doing marketing on TV with our Spandau Ballet ad and local events, where we have been touching listeners as well.  

So sure you can say more of the same, but actually to keep the listeners highly engaged and get the listening hours, to get into every workplace and so on; we need to be as broad as we can. We are mixing up the music all the time. We have great engaging tactics but overall for smooth we continue to incrementally move forward and I think those numbers reflect that compared to what you saw last year. And we think the time is coming soon when we will nudge to the top.

Blair: A great result in Brisbane for Nova 106.9, ARN is still out in front with 97.3 – a tough one to crack

Paul: Ash, Kip and Luttsy have been brilliant. They have just done, with Jay, the Kokoda Trail Challenge recently and a lot of that content was in their breakfast show. And people care about that, in between being very funny. They scored very well. The station, in turn has scored brilliantly and we have got a 554k cume and 97.3 has got a 555k. There is 1000 between us.

Blair: In Perth a big jump in Breakfast for Nova with the station #2 FM in that daypart?

Nathan Nat & ShaunPaul: Nathan, Nat and Shaun are one of the most consistent teams around the country and we only ever have great things to say about them. Overall we have some great numbers and it is their best ever cume, not just in breakfast where they are outright number one but 537,000 which is the best ever Nova937 has done.

I think that is beyond outstanding for a city of under 2 million people. Astonishing really.

Blair: What are you hoping for in Survey 3?

Paul: All of my radio stations to go up instead of down (laughs). We’ll start there because we are in a good position.

Blair: As simple as that?

Paul:As simple as that and we will go from there. I don’t like to overthink it. Best not to overcomplicate things is my motto.

It’s a great day for us in that we are very consistent as a business. We have huge cumes, we have network shows that are on fire that work. We are just steady, we don’t have to brag about it particularly. We don’t knee jerk and we don’t tend to do bad books because the listeners know we are reliable and consistent in what they are going to get from us. We are working the basics all the time, that’s really us in a nutshell.

And for all our stations, you don’t bring lots of listeners overnight. If you are good you shouldn’t lose lots of listeners overnight, it’s all incremental really. And then you grow solid bases and you don’t lose them. That’s partly my philosophy.


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