Radio Ratings: The battle for breakfast gets real in Survey 1

Staff Writer

Welcome to Radio Today’s coverage of the first metro radio survey of 2021.

The results from GfK’s metro Survey 1 will be published below at 9:30am AEDT.

Hit the refresh button throughout the day for all the key takeaways from each metro market, and early next week, we’ll bring you insights from content bosses across the major networks.

Editor Vivienne Kelly and publisher Jake Challenor will also bring you all the highlights from today’s results on the Radio Today Tonight on Thursday afternoon.

Meantime, you can circle back to Survey 8 here and past radio ratings analysis here.


#1 FM Overall: smoothfm
#1 AM Overall: 2GB
#1 FM Breakfast: KIIS’s Kyle & Jackie O
#1 AM Breakfast: 2GB’s Ben Fordham
#1 FM Drive: Smooth’s Byron Webb & Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel*
#1 AM Drive: ABC’s Richard Glover*

Biggest Mover Up: ABC Radio +3.7
Biggest Mover Down: KIIS FM -1.8

The Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed & Erin have had their first ratings come in, securing 4.4% of the lucrative Sydney Breakfast market. This is a bump of 0.2 points for 2DayFM in the slot, which at the end of last year sat on 4.2% with the Jamie Angel-fronted music format.

This should give Kyle Sandilands – a frequent critic of the show – something to crow about, as his show alongside Jackie ‘O’ Henderson remained at the top of the FM pile, despite a 1.5 point drop. The show now boasts a 9.8% share.

KIIS did experience a 1.8 point drop overall, however, taking it down to a 7.9% share. The station was down 5.8 points in people aged 18 to 24 (from 17.1% to 11.3%), and 4.4 points in 25 to 39s (from 20.0% to 15.6%).

Ben Fordham on 2GB remained the city’s Breakfast radio king overall with a 1.0 point bump to an 18.1% share. The station also experienced a 0.6 point climb to a dominant 14.4% overall in people 10+.

Later in the day in Drive, 2DayFM dropped 0.8 points to 4.3%. This year, the Hit Network extended Carrie & Tommy, featuring Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little, to run from 3pm to 6pm, as Hughesy & Ed moved into the Breakfast slot.

It was also the first outing for a solo Mick Molloy following the departure of Jane Kennedy, transforming Kennedy Molloy into simply Molloy. Triple M had a 0.8 point drop in Drive, taking it to 5.9% from 6.7%.

It would appear Sydney’s favourite Drive show is ABC Sydney’s Richard Glover, who climbed an incredible 5.5 points to a 13.3% share.

Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel were the FM favourite with 8.9%, on par with NOVA Entertainment stablemate smooth, which experienced a 1.9 point drop.

GfK measures Drive from 4pm tp 7pm.


#1 FM Overall: Gold FM
#1 AM Overall: 3AW
#1 FM Breakfast: Gold’s Christian O’Connel
#1 AM Breakfast: 3AW’s Ross & Russel
#1 FM Drive: Gold’s Gavin Miller
#1 AM Drive: 3AW’s Tom Elliott

Biggest Mover Up: GOLD FM +2.0
Biggest Mover Down: 3AW -3.3

Fox FM’s decision to install Nick Cody in the key Breakfast slot has resulted in a bump for the station, with a climb of 0.6 points in the timeslot. The Fifi, Fev & Nick show now sits on 7.2%, ahead of Nova 100’s Chrissie, Sam & Browny (up 0.5 points to 6.8%), KIIS 101.1’s and Jase & PJ (up 0.8 points to 6.2%), and on par with smooth.

The other new Breakfast installation in Melbourne was Marty Sheargold on Triple M. The Marty Sheargold Show replaced The Hot Breakfast with Luke Darcy and Eddie McGuire, with head of the network Mike Fitzpatrick noting the different tone and content approaches of the two shows would likely result in audience churn and the show taking some time to find its feet. This survey, the station dropped 0.6 points in Breakfast, taking it down to 6.2%, on par with Jase & PJ.

The FM Breakfast leader remains GOLD104.3’s Christian O’Connell, who enjoyed a 1.4 point bump, taking the show to 8.9%.

3AW’s dominance in Breakfast continued, with a 22.2% share for Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft. This was a 2.8 point decline, but still well ahead of the ABC’s 10.7%, which fell back 1.9 points.

The FM Drive leader in the city was still GOLD’s Gavin Miller, with the station up 2.6 points in the timeslot to 10.4%. A solo Mick Molloy on Triple M had 6.6% in Drive (up from 6.5%), while Fox with Carrie & Tommy was up 1.8 points to 9.5%.


#1 FM Overall: Nova
#1 AM Overall: 4KQ
#1 FM Breakfast: Nova’s Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill
#1 AM Breakfast: ABC’s Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan*
#1 FM Drive: Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel
#1 AM Drive: ABC Radio’s Steve Austin

Biggest Mover Up: TRIPLE J +2.3
Biggest Mover Down: 4BC -1.2

97.3FM in Brisbane experienced the biggest bump in Breakfast this survey, climbing 1.8 points to a 10.0% share.

The Breakfast offering on 97.3FM is a reunited Robin, Terry & Bob, after the station brought Robin Bailey back following a short stint at Triple M when contract negotiations broke down.

The bump will come as good news for Australian Radio Network’s (ARN) chief content officer Duncan Campbell, who has previously flagged he’s keeping an eye on the station and had hopes for higher ratings.

“Well, Brisbane’s an interesting one, because we’ve got some concerns there and some issues there which we’re working through and addressing as we speak… If you take the end of Survey 6, all stations pretty much with the wave that rolled on were pretty much level pegging, and then 97.3 sort of crashed, if you like, and this result is the effect of that bad wave going into Survey 7 if that makes sense. And that’s not dismissing it as just being a statistical anomaly, because that would be also silly of me to do that,” he told Radio Today after the last survey last year.

“We know there’s some issues there, we’re addressing those at the moment, and the thing about 97.3 and the Brisbane market is that things can correct themselves pretty quickly. So we’re pretty confident we can get 97.3 back well and truly in the pack and ultimately ahead of the pack in 2021, certainly we want to do it sooner rather than later. It’s a critical station for us in terms of the national buys that go on.”

In Drive, the city’s love affair with Kate, Tim & Joel continued, with Nova securing a 14.8% share in the slot.


#1 FM Overall: Mix
#1 AM Overall: ABC Radio
#1 FM Breakfast: Mix’s Erin Phillips & Soda*
#1 AM Breakfast: ABC Radio’s Ali Clarke
#1 FM Drive: Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel
#1 AM Drive: FIVEaa’s Rowey’s Sports Show [updated]

Biggest Mover Up: MIX +1.3
Biggest Mover Down: TRIPLE M -1.4

Mix 102.3’s new Breakfast offering of Erin Phillips alongside Mark ‘Soda’ Soderstrom has given the station a minor bump in the slot, taking it to the top of the FM pile.

Phillips replaced Jodie Oddy last year following the radio stalwart’s abrupt exit. In the final survey last year, the station had a 10.6% share in Breakfast, sitting on par with Roo & Ditts on Triple M. This survey, however, Roo & Ditts fell 2.5 points to 8.1%, while Mix 102.3 climbed 0.3 points to 10.9%.


#1 FM Overall – Nova
#1 AM Overall – 6PR*
#1 FM Breakfast – Nova: Nathan, Nat & Shaun
#1 AM Breakfast – ABC Radio: Nadia Mitsopoulos & Russell Woolf
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Joel
#1 AM Drive – 6PR: Oliver Peterson

Biggest Mover Up: MIX +0.6
Biggest Mover Down: 96FM -1.5

Despite changes in most capital cities since last survey, it is perhaps Perth which had the most significant shake-up.

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) was particularly active in the market, switching Mix 94.5 to become part of the Hit Network, and introducing the Triple M brand to the city on 92.9, which was previously branded as Hit.

At a similar time, Dean ‘Clairsy’ Clairs departed the Mix Breakfast line-up.

This morning, it’s been announced he will replace Fred Botica over on 96FM, as the Botica’s Bunch Breakfast brand is retired.

96FM currently sits on 8.9% in Breakfast, a 0.6 point climb from last survey, however it is Nova’s Nathan, Nat & Shaun who remain on top with 15.2%.

Mix, meanwhile, had a 1.2 point bump in Breakfast, taking it to 12.0%, while the new Triple M offering of Basil, Xav & Jenna, featuring Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas is on 7.7%, a drop of 1.3 points from when the station was on the Hit Network with Xavier, Juelz & Pete.

Stations and shows marked with an asterisks [*] signal a change from the last survey.

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Recent comments (29)
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ARN Flying
11 Mar 2021 - 9:54 am

Very disappointed about nova breakfast in Adelaide and Melbourne, still think they have the best line ups but last and 4th is concerning. kiis also out cumes nova on the workday in Melbourne, cant remember that happening before. Lucky for Nova they are killing it in 10-17’s up 8 points!!

Good to see Kiis breakfast getting some momentum, I think we would all love to see that show kick on this year.

Fox brekky strong with changes, Gold breakfast becoming unbeatable, Triple M not to bad and in fact up in listeners.

11 Mar 2021 - 10:42 am

Bah bye Robyn, again

11 Mar 2021 - 10:42 am

Why do you continue to divide AM and FM ratIngs?

It just shows a complete lack of understanding of radio

Facts please
11 Mar 2021 - 10:54 am

‘Gold breakfast becoming unbeatable’, ARN Flying, 11 Mar 2021 – 9:54 am.

3AW breakfast 23.1% 0530 – 0830 M-F.

Sarah from Blacktown
11 Mar 2021 - 11:09 am

Jonesy and Amanda would be spewin’ about getting rolled by the Moonman.

11 Mar 2021 - 11:23 am

Great result for Mix94.5 Perth. Massive changes, but the station has never sounded better!!

11 Mar 2021 - 11:42 am

Did anyone notice that Ash London is only rating 2% on nights on 2DAY FM nights?

That’s okay because everyone on the team is having a good time and they are building for the future. A bit like North Melbourne

Mick C
11 Mar 2021 - 12:10 pm

Nothing for Hobart? Or dont they have radio stations there

    11 Mar 2021 - 4:18 pm

    Hi Mick,

    Hobart data was not released today.

    CRA has announced plans for the return of regional radio surveys (their classification, not mine), however they don’t release the dates for when each location will be, unfortunately.

    When the data becomes available, we will publish it.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

11 Mar 2021 - 12:12 pm

Nova are having a bad week

11 Mar 2021 - 12:40 pm

So Today in Sydney got a 0.2 bump from last survey which was basically a music only format. They could not be happy with that based on all the promotion and exposure that was given to “The Morning Crew”

Chris M
11 Mar 2021 - 1:48 pm

#1 AM Drive: FIVEaa’s Rowey & Bicks ?

Bicks was sacked last year and its now Roweys Sports Show and the ratings seem to indicate the chatter at the time that FIVEaa had sacked the wrong bloke.

    11 Mar 2021 - 4:19 pm

    Thanks, Chris.

    We have updated this reference.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

Steve D
11 Mar 2021 - 1:50 pm

Geez what is happening over at WSFM?

And how longs O’Connell been #1 for in Melbourne now? Starting to look untouchable.

11 Mar 2021 - 2:56 pm

Splitting up AM and FM makes even less sense in the Adelaide market. 5AA, Triple M and Mix are competing for the same audience particularly at breakfast and deal with the same advertisers.

11 Mar 2021 - 4:33 pm

Boring results from Perth, I was expecting bigger changes….

Steve D - try again
11 Mar 2021 - 5:12 pm

…’And how longs (sic) O’Connell been #1 for in Melbourne now?’… Steve D – 11 Mar 2021 – 1:50 pm.

Wrong. Here’s the correct answer for #1 breakfast in Melbourne:

3AW breakfast 23.1% 0530 – 0830 M-F.

11 Mar 2021 - 5:34 pm

Nova seems to be stuck in a vortex

11 Mar 2021 - 6:06 pm

Triple M Sydney really getting a much needed boost. Jess Eva is everywhere at the moment.

11 Mar 2021 - 7:02 pm

Good launch for DAB station Nova 10s in Sydney. Not bad growth for Smooth Relax either. Coles Radio continues doing well (thanks to exposure in store I guess). Not enough attending paid to the format’s doing well on digital sometimes.

11 Mar 2021 - 8:49 pm

I was expecting some movement in the Perth and Brisbane markets – pretty flat survey.
Bloody hell they need to do something with that 96FM logo. What is the purpose of having a national brand if your local station runs rogue and designs a half-assed version.

12 Mar 2021 - 12:59 am

To those that continue to complain about the FM/AM splits; surely you understand that the mainly music FM stations generally don’t see the mainly news/talk AM stations as their direct competition?

I’m pretty sure Kyle & Jackie O aren’t sitting there saying ‘what content can we push to win over Ben Fordham’s listeners?’. They’re more interested in staying ahead of Nova and SCA. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant.

12 Mar 2021 - 8:41 am

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that ARN and SCA have shown that they are willing to invest in new technologies and new listening occasions and on marketing their shows post COVID. All of which will set them up for future growth. NE have been very quiet, without any activity in market other than cash giveaways which is so tactical, short term and ineffective. What is happening in there. They used to lead the way on innovative and emotionally driven ideas and long term thinking. Such a shame

12 Mar 2021 - 11:40 am

Surely you understand that in markets like Brisbane and Adelaide there are AM music stations like 4KQ and Cruise which often out-rate their FM music rivals. So it is ridiculous to separate the AM and FM results in those markets.

To say 4KQ is number 1 AM is pointless. Its competition is the FM stations and not 4BC or ABC.

12 Mar 2021 - 5:36 pm

WS are not getting the message…..if streaming services are up, the market is asking for music that is relevant to our needs, playing outdated music over and over with too much talk…..too many station ID’s isn’t the answer….time for a rebuild

14 Mar 2021 - 12:45 am

@Jess – different demographics at play here though, and ratings are heavily used by advertisers to decide where their spend goes.

4KQ’s audience is very different to those that would listen to the music stations on FM. Many of the ads you hear on 4KQ you wouldn’t hear on B105, but you might hear them on 4BC.

Nova 106.9 wouldn’t be too focussed on what 4KQ are doing, but would be looking at 97.3 and B105. Same goes in Adelaide with Cruise and the FM stations there.

As I’m sure you understand, ratings is a game of winning the right demographic for your station and the advertising dollars that follow from that. Claiming bragging rights of overall #1 station in your market based on 10+ is just a nice bonus. If it wasn’t, Triple M would’ve dumped their niche format long ago; smoothfm95.3 and Gold 104.3 would go full talkback to chase 2GB and 3AW.

Peter Johnson
15 Mar 2021 - 2:16 pm


I have heard ads for Harvey Norman on both 2GB and KIIS

I have also heard ads for Bing Lee on both 2GB and WS FM.

Could you please explain this to me?

16 Mar 2021 - 2:11 am

@Peter Johnson – and I’m sure you might also hear ads for Woolies, Bunnings, or upcoming Channel 9 shows on both too.

But how many ads do you hear for Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency or White Lady Funerals on KIIS and WS? I’m guessing not many, but you might hear them on 2UE or 2CH.

16 Mar 2021 - 1:51 pm

Kudos to SCA in Perth. Audience shifts have been rather quick to settle after a (at first) confusing switch of formats between 92.9 and 94.5 stations (with Triple M rushed in within days while Mix seemed to take its time changing format).

Whereas it was expected Nova 93.7 might surge ahead as the only clear youth-skewed commercial offering, turns out there has been no such surge and it was SCA’s incremental intention to absorb enough of the old 92.9 sound into the new Mix sound. I agree it is sounding rather good (and better than the influence Triple M had on its prior sound).

The healthy ratings at 2GB and surges at 2UE and ABC Radio Sydney can be explained, in part, by breaking up the 2CH listening habit.

Sky Sports Radio pulls a better result at breakfast than 1170 SEN. That’s about the same fortune 2UE suffered after switching briefly to all-sports. That won’t discourage SEN from its national growth trajectory. But it reflects a situation of being able to switch on new signals faster than shifting audiences.

Get used to a tighter result in Melbourne as Magic and 3MP claw back and lock in small yet significant audiences. Good to see all commercial stations back in the ratings, unlike in Sydney (where 2SM does not register)


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