Survey 3: The breakdown


As far as Nova Entertainment Group Program Director Paul Jackson is concerned, this week’s metro Survey 3 results are the icing on the cake for smoothfm’s ten year anniversary celebrations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Jackson tells Radio Today “I’m glad to see the ratings go well on both Smooth stations. We scored the numbers historically we’ve been used to scoring, which bodes very well for the radio station for the coming months.”

Jackson is happy with Nova’s performance across the board, and believes the Smooth listening pattern is getting back to where it was pre-Covid.

“From a Smooth point of view, we were scratching our heads at why the ratings weren’t quite seeming to connect on the recent few books as much as we thought they might.”

“(The listening patterns) seem to have come bouncing back to the old kind of normal Smooth trends in this particular book. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly.”

“I just think it’s more that normal lifestyle patterns are returning, the roads are busier in the morning and we’re all back out and about, just probably connected to that earlier part of the day.”

“Having said that, there’s an increase across all the day parts of Smooth, including weekends in both market places. I’m just happy to see the station going as well as it’s gone in the past couple of years.”

Jackson is not surprised the Brisbane survey results were incredibly tight, with just 0.6 separating first to fifth place.

“There’s good choice. There’s a good quality of experienced broadcasters through all of those radio stations, and they’ve all got very strong brands. So I think on any given day – as we’ve seen historically – any one of these stations can nudge in front of the other.”

“It’s the sum of the parts, really, to get you over the line in Brisbane, because the difference between winning or not can be 0.1 when you measure it through share.”

Jackson draws attention to cumes:

“Nova Brisbane did 686,000 cume. That is our highest in our history. So while much of the shares are very close, there’s a huge difference – probably 100,00 between us and our nearest competitor in terms of cume, which is B105 – so I think we’ll take the crown there as the leading radio station.”

Reflecting on the Brisbane results, ARN’s Chief Content Officer Duncan Campbell points out it’s a very competitive market.

Campbell tells Radio Today “It was a two horse race once upon a time, and now it’s a five horse race.”

“I think the event that I guess triggered that was the Robin Bailey departure from us, which disrupted the market to the point that Triple M started to get some growth and B105 got some growth as well, and off the back of that, the 4KQ surge – based on listening to it through digital platforms – which exposed the format to its true potential, if you like, from a listening perspective.”

“What’s the old saying? You don’t win audience – other stations lose them for you.”

“That trigger of Robin Bailey leaving 97.3 wasn’t the only thing that happened, but that did disrupt the market and did cause audience churn, and they go looking somewhere else.”

“But we’ve regrouped pretty well. It’s nice to be up in breakfast and back at number two station overall.”

Asked about the trend of listeners drifting from FM music stations to talkback stations during Covid, Campbell agrees habits changed as a result of the pandemic.

“I always said that while the talk stations can enjoy the high, they’re not going to be sustained. Once life returns back to some normality, listening patterns will return to normality as well, which is exactly what we’re seeing.”

Does he think the federal election had impact as far as driving people from music stations?

“Not necessarily. The election was an interesting one. I think people had made up their minds as soon as the campaign began. My personal view is politicians have been punished for the way Covid was handled.”

“So we didn’t see a big surge in talk for this election.”

Nova and ARN might both claim to be the number one network in Australia, but which do we believe?

“In this country, it’s always been share, not reach,” says Campbell. “Yes they’ve got more listeners. But number one is always the share of listening that you get, not just the number of listeners.”

“That’s why we’re claiming – and rightly so – that we’re the number one network in the country.”

Nine Radio Head of Content Greg Byrnes is happy with the latest book.

“Sydney and Melbourne were very strong. So we’re very pleased with that.”

But he wouldn’t necessarily say audiences are drifting back to pre-Covid listening patterns, telling Radio Today “Cume wise, year on year, we’re up considerably. There’s probably been a readjustment, but whether it’s been pre-Covid, that’s still to be seen.”

“The best we can look at is year on year cumes, and they’re well up. 2GB 21%, 3AW about 10%. Network wise, we’re up about 10% cume, year on year.”

“We knew once the ‘new normal’ was upon us, things might change. But I don’t think it’s easy to say that it’s going to go back to what it was.”

“3AW and 2GB have always dominated, and they continue to dominate.”

“We don’t take it for granted. Certainly AW breakfast has a 2 in front of its result. A 20. Ben Fordham’s figure in breakfast remains remarkable.”

Byrnes believes the impact of the federal election on listening habits has been different in each market.

“Our audience was pretty quick to tell us they were sick of the commercials. And Ben has said he felt the election was two seagulls fighting over a chip, and he’s glad to see the back of it.”

“But it’s what we do. News, opinion, information. Policy discussion in a political campaign. It’s what our audience expects us to do, and that’s what we delivered.”

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1 Jun 2022 - 1:16 pm

‘Scratching our heads’ ‘Hard to pinpoint exactly’

Ok great thanks. You got this under control

2 Jun 2022 - 9:38 am

Oh dear “scratching our heads”…. maybe something is not right on Smooth
Maybe just look at numbers of Smooth Relax on DAB+…there is your answer….


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