Same strategy. Incredible results: Smooth FM’s Peter Clay on the importance of putting music first


“When we brought in this new radio station, we went ‘Right, they’ll be set on their breakfast shows, but let’s really work on getting more music, less talk in the workday.’”

Years on, the Smooth FM strategy is paying dividends, and the network’s Head of Programming Peter Clay is feeling immensely proud as he reflects on an outstanding book for the station in GfK Survey 3.

Smooth claimed the mantle of #1 FM in Sydney and #2 FM in Melbourne.

In an interview with our sister publication Radioinfo, Clay says the Melbourne result is particularly significant, given the market is currently in transition, with a lot of noise about other shows.

“Be it movement, be it new shows to the market, Smooth has certainly delivered.”

“And we’ve not done anything different to what we’ve been doing these past few years and putting music first. Then, basically, the announcer just complements and becomes the listeners’ companion.”

Clay says it’s about listening to what listeners actually want.

Or – to reference a favourite Marty Sheargold expression – it is what it says on the tin.

Clay says Bogart Torelli’s record cume in Sydney Breakfast is a massive achievement.

He observes that people who listen to Kyle and Jackie O in Breakfast might head over to Smooth for the workday.

“So Ty Frost, Simon Diaz and Byron Webb have enjoyed #1 quite consistently,” he says.

Frost and Diaz have the most listened to shows in their respective time slots across in the two biggest radio markets in the country.

“The workday listen is incredible – some big numbers, big cumes,” says Clay, adding that Smooth’s music offering, led by Head of Music Kate Mason, is clearly resonating.

As for his thoughts on KIIS Melbourne Breakfast going down and Nova 100’s Jase & Lauren gaining ground, Clay says “You try not to get impacted by competitors’ results. You try to keep your eyes on your own shows.”

“Jase & Lauren are an incredible show. Jase has been in the biz for a while. He knows a thing or two about making great radio content, as Kyle has said.”

“To be honest, Kyle and Jack, they are an incredible show too. I know Kyle will see this, and know that this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

“I will never say anything to underestimate any other show … however, take the wins – celebrate them when you get them!”

What makes this Survey 3 result even more remarkable, says Clay, is that the Smooth team is comparatively small.

And moving forward, Clay says Smooth is staying true to its focus:  Music first. Not big, flashy cash tactics – just the grassroots stuff that will make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

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Zoe Sheridan
5 Jun 2024 - 2:46 pm

Congratulations Smooth and especially Peter Clay! Brilliant at his job and a great human and true gentleman.


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