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FM Radio in 2016: Gemma Fordham on Hit Network

Australia’s FM network content directors review 2016 and reveal (some) of their battle plans for 2017

Gemma Fordham

It had largely been a good year of repositioning for the Hit Network with one exception – the flagship Sydney station 2Day FM which has yet to develop a new breakfast show that engages the Sydney audience.

Melbourne’s Fox FM had a huge end to 2016, ranking #1 FM in Melbourne.

“It is a bittersweet victory,” Fordham told Mediaweek. The win means Triple M’s Hot Breakfast at the SCA sister station loses #1 FM bragging rights.

“At Fox we started the year on 8.6% and we are finishing on a 10.6%. Breakfast started on a 6.7% and is ending on a 9.4%. That growth is pretty bloody good! There has been a lot of hard work and continual refinements and it is nice to end the year well positioned for 2017.”

Speaking to how the year went for the network, Fordham said: “We started the year with a new strategy where we changed almost everything. We put new content directors in everywhere, who had to work with relatively new breakfast shows in some markets.

“We changed our music strategy too as part of the overhaul. It was something of a risk but it worked because we all believed in where we were heading as a network.”

The big challenge remains at 2Day of course.

“The station overall has been performing well in the work day and the cume is strong – over 660,000. We continue to work on improving breakfast. I got into radio because of 2Day FM and I loved this radio station. I was a radio nerd and my first ever job was a receptionist at 2Day FM. No one loves this station more than I do. I will not rest until we get it back to its rightful place. It is frustrating that it is taking time, but I am learning to be patient. We have a great team in Sydney who are very passionate and we will continue to work hard.”

As to any possible change of strategy in breakfast, Fordham said: “There has been a lot of trial and error about what works with the breakfast show.

“There is still plenty of work that needs to be done and we know the areas we need to focus on.” Fordham wouldn’t be any more specific, but she did say, “We have a plan.”

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