Radio Ratings: Gary Roberts’ golden touch pushes 96FM to #1 in Perth

Staff Writer

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

Last survey, released at the end of September, was the first round of results the market had been given in months. And with the survey drought came much speculation about how COVID-19 would hit, and shift, consumer listening habits.

This survey is again reliant on e-diaries in Melbourne due to lockdowns during the survey period.

Hit the refresh button throughout the day for all the key takeaways from each metro market, and later in the week, we’ll bring you chats with content directors from the major networks.

Editor Vivienne Kelly and publisher Jake Challenor will also host a special episode of the Radio Today Tonight podcast at 5PM AEDT today. So you don’t miss the episode, subscribe to the podcast now on AppleSpotifyGoogle or iHeartRadio.


#1 FM Overall – smoothfm
#1 AM Overall – 2GB
#1 FM Breakfast – KIIS: Kyle & Jackie O
#1 AM Breakfast – 2GB: Ben Fordham
#1 FM Drive – Smooth: Byron Webb
#1 AM Drive – 2GB: Jim Wilson*

Biggest Mover Up: ABC Classic (+1.0)
Biggest Mover Down: ABC Radio (-2.2)

The reigning champions of Sydney last survey mostly all had carry-over victories in Survey 7. 

Nine Radio’s 2GB stayed on top with an audience share of 13.7% (down slightly from 14.2%, due in part to a 1.7 point decline in 10 to 17s, and a 1.8 point drop in 55 to 64s). 

In Breakfast, it also maintained its lead, with a 16.1% share, down 1.2 points from last survey’s 17.3%. The Ben Fordham fronted show was ahead of AM rival ABC Sydney, hosted by Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck, which declined 1.9 points to 10.6%. 

ARN’s KIIS Sydney Breakfast show The Kyle & Jackie O Show maintained its FM lead, climbing 0.5 points to 10.7%. Its closest competitor in Breakfast was NOVA Entertainment’s smoothfm. The More Music Breakfast Show with Bogart Torelli & Glenn Daniel was up 1.3 points to 8.5%. 

The rest of the Breakfast market was relatively stable, however, SCA’s beleaguered 2Day FM Breakfast did manage a jump from 2.5% to 3.5%. 

This didn’t translate to a big overall share jump, however, with 2Day FM only climbing 0.1 points to 3.4%. 

Instead, it was smoothfm that remained on top with 10.8% share overall, up from 9.9% last survey. KIIS also managed a small climb, from 8.2% to 8.7%. 

It was a similar story in Drive, with smoothfm’s Byron Webb leading on 11.3%, up from 10.4%. KIIS’ Will & Woody also jumped slightly to 10.1%. 

In the AM battle, 2GB’s Jim Wilson took the lead. 2GB’s 0.7 point decline in Drive was offset by ABC Sydney’s more dramatic 2.8 fall, taking it to 7.4%.


#1 FM Overall – Gold FM
#1 AM Overall – 3AW
#1 FM Breakfast – Gold: Christian O’Connell
#1 AM Breakfast – 3AW: Ross & Russel
#1 FM Drive – Triple M: Kennedy Molloy*
#1 AM Drive – 3AW: Tom Elliott

Biggest Mover Up: 3AW (+3.7)
Biggest Mover Down: ABC Classic (-1.0) / smoothfm (-1.0)

The lockdown effect was still evident in Melbourne’s ratings, with Nine Radio’s 3AW gathering an even larger share of the audience pie.

It climbed 3.7 points to a share of 20.6%. This trend was mimicked in Breakfast, with Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft climbing another 2.3 points to a massive 28.4% share.

Christian O’Connell was also able to hold onto his FM-leading position, remaining relatively stable with a 7.3% share, up from last survey’s 7.2%.

His station, ARN’s GOLD 104.3 also climbed 0.2 points overall to 8.9%, helping it stay on top of the FM pile.

Its stablemate ARN’s KIIS 101.1, however, had a less impressive run, falling 0.6 points to 4.4%. It did, however, have a small bump in Breakfast, with Jase & PJ up 0.3 points to 4.7%. In Drive, Will & Woody fell 0.6 points to a 4.5% share.

FM Drive did have a new leader, with Triple M’s Kennedy & Molloy taking the lead from GOLD’s Gavin Miller. Triple M was up 0.4 points to 7.9% in Drive, while GOLD was down 0.5 to 7.8%.

Nova’s Drive show remained steady in Melbourne on 6.3% despite the talent shake-up. Nova has previously led Drive in all capital cities, however has declined in recent months and last survey it lost the crown in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Joel Creasey, Marty Sheargold’s replacement in Drive, started on Monday, September 14. Survey 7 covers August 23 to September 19, and September 20 to October 24, so gives a better idea of how the new show is tracking than Survey 6 was able to.

SCA’s Fox FM had another subdued book, down 0.7 points to a 5.2% share. This survey, the station celebrated its 40-year heritage, bringing back former talent and shows for a one-week period to reminisce and reflect on the station’s legacy. Its current Breakfast program, Fifi, Fev & Byron did manage to climb 0.2 points to a 5.0% share.

Nova’s Breakfast program of Chrissie, Sam & Browny also managed a slight recovery, up 1.3 points to 5.9%.

Triple M’s Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire had bounced up last survey, but this time around was back down 0.9 points to 5.8%.

Melbourne has moved away from paper diaries due to the pandemic.


#1 FM Overall – Nova
#1 AM Overall – 4BC*
#1 FM Breakfast – Nova: Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill
#1 AM Breakfast – 4BC: Neil Breen*
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty
#1 AM Drive – ABC Radio: Steve Austin

Biggest Mover Up: 4BC (+2.4)
Biggest Mover Down: 4KQ (-2.1)

It was another win for Nine Radio in Brisbane, with 4BC overtaking 4KQ and ABC Brisbane to become the AM leader.

It jumped from a 7.1% share to 9.5%. It also jumped 2.4 points in Breakfast, with Neil Breen now commanding 10.6%, putting it in front of all other Breakfast programs.

Nova maintained its command of the overall market, with an 11.9% share, up 0.4 points from last time around. Its Breakfast line-up of Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill also stayed on top with 12.6%.

And despite losing the Drive crown in other market’s Brisbane’s love of Nova’s Kate, Tim & Marty, and now, Kate, Tim & Joel, kept them on top despite a 0.8 point drop to 13.7%.

Joel Creasey, Marty Sheargold’s replacement, started on Monday, September 14. Survey 7, covers August 23 to September 19, and September 20 to October 24, so covers both hosts.

SCA’s recently rebranded B105 had a relatively stable book, going from 10.4% overall to 10.5%. It suffered slightly in Breakfast, down 0.8 points to 10.2%.

97.3 FM was also down in Breakfast to 9.0% from 9.9%. The station had a talent shake-up in Breakfast this year, reuniting the team of Robin, Terry & Bob. Last year, with Bianca, Mike & Bob, the station did briefly take the Breakfast crown.


#1 FM Overall – Mix
#1 AM Overall – FIVEaa
#1 FM Breakfast – Mix: Jodie & Soda*
#1 AM Breakfast – ABC Radio: Ali Clarke*
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Joel*
#1 AM Drive – FIVEaa: Rowey & Bicks

Biggest Mover Up: Cruise (+1.5)
Biggest Mover Down: FIVEaa (-1.2)

More to come


#1 FM Overall – 96FM*
#1 AM Overall – 6PR
#1 FM Breakfast – Nova: Nathan, Nat & Shaun
#1 AM Breakfast – 6PR: Steve Mills and Basil Zempilas
#1 FM Drive – Nova: Kate, Tim & Marty
#1 AM Drive – 6PR: Oliver Peterson

Biggest Mover Up: triple j (+1.0)
Biggest Mover Down: 6iX (-0.8)

Perth has a new radio champion, with 96FM taking the overall lead in audience share.

The last time the station was on top was way back in 2013’s Survey 6.

The station now commands 13.2%, up from 12.6%, ahead of previous leader Nova 93.7, which fell back 0.4 points to 12.5%.

96FM brought back radio stalwart Gary Roberts last year to take the helm as managing director. Roberts had helped launch the station in 1980, and was program director and general manager for over a decade.

More recently, he had been at Nova as managing director in the Western Australian capital.

The station was unable to take out the Breakfast win though, with Botica’s Bunch falling 0.8 points to 9.9%. Reigning champions Nathan, Nat & Shaun on Nova maintained their lead with a 14.0% share.

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

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Recent comments (18)
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5 Nov 2020 - 10:23 am

Has the Hit Network had a worse result?

9th in Sydney
7th in Melbourne
3rd in Brisbane
7th in Adelaide
6th in Perth

Agree with Ouch
5 Nov 2020 - 10:50 am

The rebrand has been a complete miss… SCA strikes again

Jane Browne
5 Nov 2020 - 11:00 am

I wish you’d publish the Averages and Cume pages.

5 Nov 2020 - 11:16 am

Jodie and Soda are on mix1023 not nova.

    5 Nov 2020 - 11:31 am

    Hi Cassy,

    Apologies for the error. It was a copy/ paste issue (and an oversight) from last survey. Last survey Nova’s Ben & Liam were on top in FM Breakfast. We updated it to Jodie & Soda, but failed to update it to say Mix.

    Apologies and thanks for flagging. It’s been fixed now.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

What Gives?
5 Nov 2020 - 1:20 pm

Given (S)Hit’s recent music tweaks, I would have expected their 25-54 audience to go up, not down. Clearly it’s time for the next generation of new generation programmers to take over.

Surprised the shareholders are letting this negligence happen survey after survey.

Half the problem
5 Nov 2020 - 1:31 pm

What gives? …… All of Hits CD’s are young and inexperienced so not sure your message stands up.

5 Nov 2020 - 1:38 pm

Ouch, you’ll find Adelaide breakfast for hit usually sits around 7th

5 Nov 2020 - 1:58 pm

97.3 needs a new format and rebrand in Brisbane.

Smooth 97.3 would be a clear number one.

5 Nov 2020 - 2:09 pm

Also a ‘more music breakfast show’ like Smooth FM on 97.3 would rate better than Robyn, Terry and Bob prattling on. If ever there was a market where a more music breakfast show would work, it’s Brisbane.

Not sure what you mean
5 Nov 2020 - 6:08 pm

All the Hit PD’s are under 35.

How young should they be?

6 Nov 2020 - 10:10 am

Big deal about Smooth, it doesn’t write much revenue, 973, Triple M etc all write far more revenue than the Smooths.

6 Nov 2020 - 10:12 am

No wonder Adrian left looking at these
9th in Sydney
7th in Melbourne
3rd in Brisbane
7th in Adelaide
6th in Perth
Must have been frustrating working with the current regime.

6 Nov 2020 - 10:18 am

Duncan tried to get 96FM right for 6-7 years, no luck. It took Gary Robert’s about 18 months and now it’s number one. Duncan still has not fixed KIIS101.1 it’s languishing at 4 % even SCA’s both stations are beating KIIS. And everyone agrees Fox is on the nose badly. Perhaps Gary should cove over to Melbourne and relaunch KIIS for ARN and show them how to do it.

6 Nov 2020 - 10:30 am

Anthony Lehmo hasn’t worked in Adelaide, and why isn’t he based in the market. Haven’t SCA learnt that breakfast hosts should be living in the market.

6 Nov 2020 - 10:40 am

Southern Cross Media should persevere with Jamie Angel and 2Dayfm music format, it’s starting to work. They always pull the pin too early big mistake. With this format they could easily pull 5 shares by mid year, beating Triple M Sydney.
Stop knee jerking Mr Blackley.

Hold on a sec
6 Nov 2020 - 10:34 pm

@Ricky he’s been on the show for two surveys and if you haven’t noticed joined right before once of the strictest lockdowns the world has seen (not to mention South Australia not being too open to Victorians coming in).

He cut his teeth on SAFM, give him and the team time.

8 Nov 2020 - 12:52 am

@David…why do you think it’s working? It doesn’t look like… they had 3.7%, 3.8% ,2.5% and now 3.5% . Still low… don’t get me wrong…I love listening 2DayFm in the morning , better than KIIS or Nova, it’s refreshing….but its just only me and 3.5%. Can’t understand why Smoot can play music in the morning and have that big share…maybe it’s branding…


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