Who is the 2014 Programmer of the Year?


With a month of ratings left for 2014, it’s worth looking back at the ratings year that was.

Looking at programming performance it has clearly been the year of ARN and its Head of Programming Duncan Campbell.

Duncan has had a year which could only be described as exceptional. His stations performances have left competitors in their wake.

The groups Sydney stations hold the enviable position of number 1 & 2 FM. Achieving that is a rare occurrence. The last time it happened in Sydney was 2dayfm and Triple M in the late 90’s, early 2000’s.

Duncan told Radio Today, “The highlight for us this year has been the Sydney market. Sydney has been the real challenge for us so to be able to launch KIIS with Kyle and Jackie O and evolve the WSFM format, which has resulted in the duopoly holding #1FM and #2FM all year, is a real highlight “

WS and KIIS have performed well in ratings through strong heritage breakfast shows and music, both executed carefully, combined with clever marketing, promotion and positioning. Apart from a few ratings blips and bumps in various surveys they have been solid and consistent, achieving strong revenue growth for ARN in the key, most lucrative Sydney market and ensuring a good return on investment from Kyle & Jackie O joining.

At the start of this year he said “2014 is going to be a huge year for ARN. Like Kyle & Jackie O, Sydney-siders will be switching to the all-new KIIS 1065. And we feel that the loyal listeners of WSFM will love the refresh of their favourite station, and will no doubt bring across many new fans too. We’re passionate about entertaining Sydney and we look forward to connecting in the New Year”.

Having now been at ARN just over 4 years, Campbell commented on the impact of Kyle & Jackie:

I have to acknowledge the tipping point was Kyle and Jackie O and the relaunch of Mix to KIIS but the strong growth for ARN over the 4 years prior to that has been based on a clear well researched strategy and a focus on execution”

Talking about ARN’s consistency Duncan said “We’ve run our own race and continue to do so. If you have confidence in the strategy you don’t have to become reactionary and we aren’t. If you believe the strategy is right then you should hold your course and that’s sometimes the most difficult thing to do with the pressure on ratings and the competitive nature of the business.  We’ve been incredibly consistent over the past 4 years and that’s paying dividends for us “

ARN’s strong ratings performance extends to Melbourne where Gold has performed extremely well, achieving the number 1 FM position during the year and maintaining ratings near or at the top.

Mix Melbourne remains ARN’s greatest challenge, but with the news that Matt Tilley is joining Jane Hall for breakfast next year and the recent announcement of the signing of Hughsey and Kate to national drive, ARN will have added strength in Melbourne next year. The rebranding to Kiis, along with the new breakfast and drive shows clearly puts the station in the ‘ super station ‘ category. It has a good chance of achieving number 1 FM in 2015.

In Brisbane 97FM remains the markets outright number 1 and continues to go from strength to strength and in Adelaide Mix 102.3 also sits at number 1 .

ARN’s mostly older skewing stations have assisted the group maintaining ratings leadership, keeping them out of the Today/Nova battles and also protecting them against dwindling younger demo listeners, some of whom are now choosing other platforms over radio.

ARN have achieved great results it seems without a lot of hype and press, in a way being the quiet achievers of radio. Duncan’s thoughts about ARN’s programming team in 2014 “We are a small company in terms of people so we expect a lot of the teams we have at our stations. Commercial radio in Australia has always been challenging whether you are first or last. This has been ARN’s best year ever in terms of ratings and revenue and we’re trying our best to enjoy that but as you know the next survey is just around the corner “

His career has included successful stints on the Central Coast, PMFM Perth, B105 Brisbane, Austereo, BPR, GWR and GCap in the UK.

We congratulate Duncan Campbell and his programming teams on a brilliant run in 2014.

And also to Ciaran Davis ARN’s CEO and Geraint Davies COO who have overseen ARN’s dramatic programming changes throughout the year.

Brad March is a Director of Radio Today, is a former CEO of Austereo and has been named Media Executive of the Year. He’s Director of Marchmedia and Pacific Retail Management.

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