Ratings Reactions: Gemma Fordham on trends, tipping points & 2DayFM

Former Assistant Editor

The second GfK Radio Ratings for 2019 were released this week, so now we look to the content directors of the major networks to make sense of it all.

There was plenty to celebrate for Southern Cross Austereo, not least of which the fact that perennially struggling Sydney station 2DayFM broke through the 6% share barrier.

Hit Network head of content Gemma Fordham tells Radio Today that we are finally starting to see an upward trend at the station, calling this book a “milestone” for 2Day.

“What we’re really pleased to see is the trend,” she says. “That’s what anyone really wants when they look at it.

“It’s a milestone for 2Day to be at a 6% share. It’s something that has taken many years and a lot of hard work by all the team.”

The station’s ‘More Music, More Variety’ music strategy also seems to be bedding in with listeners as well, a year after it was put in place.

“It’s the sum of all parts, the music strategy being right but it’s also having several great shows on the air.

“The job is not done in any shape or form, but it’s exciting to see the Sydney audience resonating with the product we have at 2Day.”

Fordham admits that there’s still work to be done in Breakfast, which remains below a 5% share of listening, but she’s relishing the challenge.

“Challenges are always a good thing, and there has to come a tipping point for every station and every show. I’m acutely aware of that for our shows that are challengers in the market.

Further south, Melbourne CHR giants Fox FM dropped out of the top spot, finishing in third place overall and second on Breakfast.

Fordham again refers to the importance of trends in the market, and believes that the strength of the product and heritage of the station will see the results reverse.

“If it had been something we’d seen a few books in a row then I’d be having a good look at it,” she said. “I am reluctant to make any knee jerk reactions.”

The Hit Network boss will be hoping Fox will follow the lead of Hit105 in Brisbane, who bounced back to 11.8% (+1.6) overall and 12% (+0.8).

That leaves the station third overall and second on Breakfast, in one of the tightest markets in the country.

“Hit105 is another station that had a terrific year last year. Survey #1 was underdone for them I thought, so it’s good to see the numbers today,” says Fordham.

“It’s a very tight battle, that’s for sure.”

Adelaide is one of the few Aussie metro markets with a clear metro leader in Mix 102.3 (#1 overall and in Breakfast), so for the other networks, it’s about disrupting habitual listening.

Hit107 is attempting to do just that with their new Breakfast show for 2019, with Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello and Rebecca Morse replacing Amos, Cat & Angus.

The show had great first book (+1.9) but slipped back slightly to a 9.3% share this survey.

Nonetheless, Fordham is encouraged by the start they’ve made and anticipates a strong year for the industry locals.

“They had such a blinder for their first survey,” she says.

“Full credit to the previous show, but when I look at those numbers to now, it’s the highest Breakfast cume we’ve had since 2012. The highest cume of the station since 2013.”

“There’s certainly a lot of positivity around the show and I personally love it. You cannot get two people that are more in love with Adelaide with the two of them.”

Perth is another market where SCA would hope that its Hit station would be performing better, despite the success of the market-leading Mix 94.5.

Fordham tells us that Hit92.9 and the Heidi, Xavier & Ryan Breakfast show will come into closer focus for the network for the rest of 2019.

“The cume is actually really healthy for that show,” she says.

“It is definitely something for us to have a look at in terms of TSL. Our focus is to correlate the cume to get people listening a bit longer.”

It’s one of many Hit Network shows that is leading the way with its social media activity, and Fordham says that work is being done across the network to convert high social engagement into listenership

“The beauty lies in using social in a clever way, to get people to tune in to your show,” she explains.

“In the old days it would all be about teasing an announcement ‘tune in at 8am on Monday’ and that’s all you’d hear on the promos. I just don’t think that’s the audience sentiment anymore.

“With social, we’re now being a little more creative about embracing it and using it as an asset rather than pushing appointment listening.”

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2 May 2019 - 6:02 pm

Nicely done!

Ellie Angel-Mobbs
2 May 2019 - 9:39 pm

Having worked at 2DayFM for 10 years that last survey result is bloody bliss. We have an amazing team, we work hard and deserve that little nod. I take that 6 share and celebrate with a couple of Green Fairy shots….the bottle that has sat on my desk for around 5 years! Let’s crack that open.

Celebrate your wins and be grateful for the amazing industry you work in. We are all lucky to be what we are doing. Be kind and hooroo

2 May 2019 - 10:18 pm

Obviously did the interview before seeing the waves. Yikes!

4 May 2019 - 10:16 am

Southern Cross Austereo must be concerned about the Sydney market.
2Dayfm and Triple M are last and second last FM. They are both beating 2CH though.
Everyone is aware that 2Dayfm needs a breakfast show that will resonate with a Sydney audience. Everyone knows that this result is a one off and was driven by tactics – cash giveaways, TV advertising and Billboards on every second street corner. Its an expensive station looking at the talent lineup in afternoons. 2Day will finish at a 5 share max this year and the same goes for Triple M, they will end up in the 4-5 range. They might beat 2CH and Triple J but that it. Its difficult to guage who should be held accountable – the programmers or the CEO or both. Potentially unlocking the Sydney markets potential could return 50-100 million dollars plus in revenue for SCA. Its about time someone had a go and got it right. A good start would be having some key SCA Execs and talent actually living in Sydney, get to know that market and listen to the markets feedback.

5 May 2019 - 10:10 am

Good points Andrew and not far off the mark. Wonder how SCA Sydney will do now without Guy Dobson at the helm. I expect they wont fare as well. At least he lived in Sydney, More pain to come I feel. Bring back Dobbo at least as a consultant.

5 May 2019 - 5:00 pm

Oh poor old 2Dayfm its breakfast show is a 3-4 share at best, Its been pumped up with contests and marketing when that goes it will drop. And the weekend lineup stinks. They still haven’t found a viable position in Sydney. We have Joyfm here in Melb’s may be they could try that music format.

5 May 2019 - 7:35 pm

Good interview Gemma but how about acknowledging Fordy, Irene and Dobbo who orchestrated the 2Dayfm daytime music format. Come on credit where credits due hey ! Your contribution of breakfast isn’t doing so well.


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