Radio Ratings: COVID-19 sways Aussies to AM band in Survey 2

Staff Writer

Welcome to Radio Today’s coverage of the second GfK metro radio survey of 2020.

These ratings come at a challenging time for radio, and the wider media industry, as Australian and global workforces navigate a tough economic climate due to the coronavirus.

The travel and social distancing measures forced Commercial Radio Australia to declare a ratings pause, so Survey 2 will be the last until the second half of 2020 at the earliest.

Nevertheless, we’ll be here to bring you #1s and major talking points today, from 9:30am AEDT.

Keep an eye on talk formats and the ABC this book, with regular news updates on COVID-19 likely to shift listening away from music formats.

Survey 2 also sees the return of Nine Radio’s 2UE, Magic and 4BH to the ratings.

As usual, hit the refresh button throughout the day for the top takeaways from each metro market, and later in the week for our chats with content directors from the major networks.

*Survey 2, 2020 was conducted by GfK for Commercial Radio Australia between Sunday, February 9 to Saturday, February 29 and March 1 to Saturday, April 4.


#1 FM Overall – smoothfm*
#1 AM Overall – 2GB
#1 FM Breakfast – KIIS: Kyle & Jackie O
#1 AM Breakfast –   2GB: Alan Jones
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty / KIIS: Will & Woody*
#1 AM Drive – ABC Radio: Richard Glover*

  • Following a summer dip, smoothfm regains top billing among FM stations in Sydney, a position it occupied for most of 2019.
  • Smooth holds a 9% share of listening (+0.9), and holds a slender lead over close rivals WSFM on 8.9%. 
  • Talk stations saw their share increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2GB up +1.6 to a 14.8% share, and ABC up +0.7 to 9.6% overall.
  • Alan Jones on AM Breakfast has a big jump of 3.1%, while Kyle & Jackie O maintain their lead on FM Breakfast, up to 10.2% (+0.3).
  • Richard Glover claims the over #1 Drive spot, with a +2.6 gain to 11.7%. 
  • FM’s Drive crown is shared by KIIS FM and Nova, both on 9% (with Kate, Tim & Marty losing -1.3 in the process.


#1 FM Overall – Gold FM
#1 AM Overall – 3AW
#1 FM Breakfast – Gold: Christian O’Connell
#1 AM Breakfast – 3AW: Ross & John
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty
#1 AM Drive – 3AW: Tom Elliott  

  • There’s little movement in Melbourne in terms of the top-billing shows, as Gold FM held the #1 spot on FM and 3AW did the same on the AM band.
  • 3AW picks up share, up +0.6 to 13.9%, as do the ABC with a bump of +1 to a 9.7% share of listening.
  • All FM Breakfast shows lose share (with the exceptions of triple j’s Sally & Erica, and Gold’s Christian O’Connell), as talk Breakfast shows prove popular. 
  • The Ross & John goliath grows to 17.3% (+1.4).
  • Melbourne’s Drive listening reflects the overall shift to AM amid COVID-19, with Nova’s #1 FM Kate, Tim & Marty the biggest faller (-1.0 to 10.3%) and ABC’s Rafael Epstein the beneficiary of a +1.8 increase to 8.9%.


#1 FM Overall –  Hit105 / 97.3FM*
#1 AM Overall – ABC Radio*
#1 FM Breakfast – Hit105: Stav, Abby & Matt*
#1 AM Breakfast – ABC: Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty
#1 AM Drive – ABC Radio: Steve Austin*

  • After a strong start out of the 2019 ratings gate last survey, Triple M falls from top spot this book, as stablemates Hit105 claim top billing, sharing #1 spot with ARN’s 97.3FM.
  • Both stations hold a 10.5% share of listening, just ahead of Nova on 10.4%.
  • The biggest gainer this book is ABC Brisbane, up to an 8.4% share of listening (+1.2) to be the top AM station.
  • Hit105 is the big winner this survey, doing the double with wins overall and for Stav, Abby & Matt on Breakfast. The show bucks the trend of listeners moving away from AM for news updates, growing to 11.8% (+0.4).
  • ABC and 4BC both gain share on Breakfast too, and ABC repeats the feat on Drive with Steve Austin, to be the market leading AM station in all three metrics.
  • Nova’s Kate, Tim & Marty remain easily the #1 Drive show in the market.


#1 FM Overall – Mix
#1 AM Overall – ABC Radio / FIVEaa*
#1 FM Breakfast – Mix: Jodie & Soda
#1 AM Breakfast – ABC Radio: Ali Clarke
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty
#1 AM Drive –  Cruise: Mark Elliston*

  • Adelaide’s only commercial talkback station FIVEaa is the big winner this book, with a noteworthy gain to 11.3% share of listening (+3.2), moving within striking distance of market-leading Mix and past AM rivals Cruise1323 this book.
  • FIVEaa shares the position of #1 AM station with ABC Adelaide. 
  • Significantly, three out of the top four stations are on the AM band, with listeners clearly seeking more talk amid coronavirus uncertainty.
  • ARN’s Mix dips to an 11.9% share (-0.7) but is still the top station in the city.
  • AM stations dominate the Breakfast stakes, with big gains for both ABC’s Ali Clarke in top spot and FIVEaa’s David & Will in second. 
  • Jodie & Soda are still #1 on FM Brekky, ahead of Nova’s Ben & Liam in just their second survey in the market.
  • Despite gains for AM stations, Kate, Tim & Marty are still #1 overall on Drive.


#1 FM Overall – Mix*
#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 & Marty
#1 AM Drive – 6PR: Oliver Peterson

  • The shift towards AM this survey was perhaps least evident in Perth, as Mix94.5 claimed the title of #1 station overall.
  • It’s a strong bounce-back by the SCA station, rising to a 12.8% share of listening (+2.3) as FM rivals Nova and 96FM drop share this book.
  • 6PR makes gains of +1.0 both overall and on Breakfast, but Nova’s Nathan, Nat & Shaun remain easily the #1 show in that daypart despite a -2.0 dip.
  • Mix’s strong performance overall is also reflected on Breakfast, with a rise to 10.6% (+1.9).
  • Kennedy Molloy also benefit from the strong overall form by their station, and are up into second spot on Drive with 11.9% (+2.9), with only Nova’s Kate, Tim & Marty ahead of them.

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

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Recent comments (7)
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16 Apr 2020 - 11:36 am

The move from Macquarie Sports to music on 2UE hasn’t helped the ratings.
But I guess it’s a lot cheaper to run now.

16 Apr 2020 - 8:26 pm

So much for ABC 702 catching up to Alan Jones.
No chance.

17 Apr 2020 - 12:48 am

A decent survey for Jase and PJ on Melbourne’s KIIS. While the station is down overall, this is unlikely because of breakfast.

I’m reasonably confident they’ve hit their stride in 2020. They arrived a ready-made team in 2018 but probably took a while to connect with their new audience.

I think they’re sounding great right now and the 10am finish will provide the opportunity, in these unusual times, to rework the lower listening in work time hours.

4KQ lost 0.4 and 4BH picked up that very share. That’s the result of an also-ran. The real opportunity for 4BH would have been sharply-defined “smooth” branding (and music).

While Magic 1278 appears to have returned in name only. It’s welcome that they bring back music (nothing else worked sustainably) but I think it’s ordinary they couldn’t gather together a single breakfast host between three cities. I also suspect the music on Magic/2UE should be weighted older than it is…and actually call the songs “oldies”.

instead the listener is left to interpret what the station is about and to settle for traffic reporters anchoring the breakfast show. When does that soft launch lead to something substantial?

18 Apr 2020 - 10:55 am

After COVID19 the only thing that will make audiences seek out stations and networks will be the connection they have with the stations talent. Might as well get rid of music directors and daytime time and temp ‘ jocks ‘

19 Apr 2020 - 10:46 am

Jase and PJ just 1 % away from the mega star shows Chrissie Sam and Browny and Fi Fi and Fev. That KIIS show would cost ARN about one quarter the price, and only 1 % behind. You would have to question the return on investment. And Jase and PJ beating Eddie McGuire. ARN sure are getting good value out of Jase Hawkins. Credit to this pair of kiwis showing the Aussies how it’s done. Time for a clean out at Fox.

19 Apr 2020 - 9:09 pm

@Sam are you high? You can’t seriously be asking for a clear out at Fox?
What logical reason are you basing that off? I’m asking for a clear out in your brain as to why you think KIIS in Melbourne is so good? When Jase and PJ are the second last FM breakfast show in the market, seriously no logic…

16 May 2020 - 1:36 pm

SEN Hanging their hat on Podcast, lol. They are almost 24 hour ads or live ad reads, 1 person on or hosting half a dozen plus shows and some similar others doing the same thing and rely on all the ads to keep them afloat its, really ordinary, even Gerard Whateley sounds half hearted. Even the owners own show could just be repeats and no one would know the difference, its essentially hours of lists and Mark Robinson obsessions.


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