Radio Ratings: What to expect from the first book of 2020

Former Assistant Editor

Blink, and you’ll have missed the first two months of 2020. It’s now March, and that means the first GfK radio ratings of the year are just around the corner.

Although there hasn’t been a massive talent turnover in the summer, plenty of metro radio shows will be looking to arrest poor results, while others will be looking to keep up appearances after finishing 2019 strongly.

Traditionally, new shows will take a hit in the first few surveys of the year, so eyes will be cast over shows where lineups have changed since last year, even if the die hasn’t quite set on some new contracts.

Here’s what else to look out for in each metro market when the results are released next week:


One of the most high-stakes metro markets in Australia looks set for a boring start to the new decade, after a year when KIIS FM Breakfast’s Kyle & Jackie O were rarely challenged in their #1 FM status.

Fitzy & Wippa will be looking to build on all-time best results for Nova 96.9 Breakfast in 2019, while 2DayFM and Triple M will hope for a stronger year and move back towards the upper end of the table both overall and on Breakfast.

smoothfm kept such consistency that it would be no surprise to see them hold onto the mantle as #1 FM station overall, with new branding to boot. Kate, Tim & Marty will be aiming to regain the top billing as one of the most dominant Drive shows of all time.

Meanwhile, the final year of Alan Jones’ contract should see him maintain status as the #1 overall Breakfast show and 2GB hold top billion as the #1 station in Sydney.


The race to become Melbourne’s #1 Breakfast show is well and truly open, with long-serving top show Fifi, Fev & Byron falling beneath their high standards in 2019 and seeing both Gold’s Christian O’Connell and Nova’s Chrissie, Sam & Browny both spend time as the top show.

O’Connell has developed a loyal following and should keep pulling out good results, especially with a station that finished #1 overall in Survey #8 of 2019 behind him, but with traditionally high cumes behind them, Nova 100 Breakfast won’t relinquish top spot without a fight.

Nine Radio’s 3AW will expect to remain dominant on the AM band, at least until John Burns departs the Breakfast show mid-year, and even then, the entrenched listening should remain.


There are plenty of questions marks up in the Sunshine Capital, not least of which how newly reunited 97.3FM Breakfast team Robin, Terry & Bob will fare against stiff competition. They’ll do well to maintain the result that the show they replaced managed in Survey #8 too, as Bianca, Mike & Bob bowed out with the #1 position.

Triple M had a solid 2019, keeping pace with the Top 4 stations, but losing Bailey will be a blow.

Then there’s Nova 106.9, a station that has been ultra-consistent in recent years, but with a Breakfast show that enters the year off the back of controversy and a trip to San Francisco that reportedly ended with Nova content director and GM Jay Walkerden under internal investigation.

One man we know won’t be looking closely at next week’s results is Hit105’s Stav David, who publicly admonished GfK’s “archaic” ratings system this week. Stav, Abby & Matt finished 2019 in equal second position.


In 2019 we discovered that Mix102.3’s hold over the Adelaide FM market is no longer absolute, with Nova 91.9 winning the penultimate survey of the year only for Mix to steam ahead and end the year on top.

Nova’s Breakfast show Dylan & Hayley had a solid year without ever quite testing heritage Mix duo Jodie & Soda, but with new boys on the block Ben & Liam arriving in town, could 2020 finally be the year that Mix’s Breakfast streak is broken?

The AM battle between FIVEaa, Cruise1323 and ABC Adelaide is set to continue this year, with David & Will ending the year as the #1 Breakfast show across all bands.


It was all about the revival of 96FM in Perth last year, with the return of Botica’s Bunch arresting the slump for the ARN station.

Mix94.5 ended the year on top despite a dominant year from Nova 93.7 with Nathan, Nat & Shaun the #1 Breakfast show in book eight of 2019.

It looks set to be a three-horse race on Breakfast and overall, as Hit92.9 fights to gain ground on the peloton ahead of it.

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