ARN explains why Gold is a better radio station than smoothfm

Plus the Kyle and Jackie O factor lifting KIIS & Will and Woody

If winners have parties there could have a few ARN celebrations around the country this week.

With FM and AM stations dotted around Australia, ARN highlights in GfK’s radio survey two for 2019 were a major improvement at KIIS 1065, Gold returning to 10%+ in Melbourne and another impressive survey from ARN’s two Adelaide stations.

Kyle and Jackie O have been the force driving KIIS in Sydney, but getting that audience to stay across the day has sometimes been a challenge, until now. Just three surveys from the last 16 were over 9%, but it did it again this week.

“It’s always ideal to have a strong radio station as well as a strong breakfast show,” ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell told Mediaweek. “We have done a fair bit of work on the daytime music, simplifying the offer and making it more consistent.

Like Nova’s Paul Jackson mentioned here yesterday, Campbell too noted the change in the current music cycle, which is impacting radio audiences.

Campbell noted various stations have reacted to changing tastes differently: “We researched the impact of that and KIIS was able to position itself the most contemporary CHR station in Sydney. Nova retreated from that, but is starting to come back a little now.”

“The even better KIIS ratings at breakfast have helped drop a lot of audience into the workday listening. Overall for KIIS it has been a perfect storm and it is now a very strong radio station off the back of a strong breakfast show.

The ratings wave was also good news for the KIIS drive show hosted by Will and Woody. “New drive shows will always benefit from a strong breakfast show. The stronger the cume audience in breakfast the stronger the drive performance will be. We saw that in Adelaide. It is not taking anything away from the hosts, but it does help in creating familiarity.

“Will and Woody have also improved and they have had some good story arcs during the last survey. That highlights their personalities and the content is more on brand and resonates with listeners.”

Turning to Melbourne, Campbell thinks 2019 will be Gold. “Survey one results are always difficult to gauge in terms of where the networks are positioned. After survey two you start to see how the year might unfold. We are looking much stronger on Gold with Christian O’Connell in breakfast and the gains are all in the key demographics.

“The main difference between Gold and smoothfm in Melbourne, our main competitor in the market, is that smooth’s growth is in demos you wouldn’t expect. For example 10-17 and 18-24. They are not great commercial demos for a station like smooth.

“Gold has great strength 40-54 – we have an 18% share to smooth’s 10%. Christian has also grown very strongly in that demo.

“When breakfast share catches up with the rest of the station, which I think will happen this year, we will have a very strong #1 radio station, which is a prime objective.

“It is a longer game [for us] only because that breakfast show was unknown when it was launched, but it is gaining familiarity which just takes time.”

See also:
Paul Jackson on smoothfm success: “We won’t be standing still”
• Winners have parties: smoothfm chiefs celebrate in Melbourne

ARN’s two Adelaide stations have turned in another extraordinary performance. As well as Mix growing it’s already big lead, AM music station Cruise 1323 has outrated Fiveaa for the second time in three surveys.

Looking after breakfast is John Dean, but the rest of the day is voice-tracked by ARN talent from around the network. “It is a very strong performer for an AM station, there is no doubt about that. There is not a big team of people working on it so it punches well above its weight.

Campbell said he was looking forward to working again with Gary Roberts as the two will be reunited at Perth’s 96FM where the two both toiled in the station’s glory days. “I was very supportive of that appointment,” said Campbell.

“The excitement around the announcement and the anticipation of what he brings has been amazing. He has just walked in the building last week and already we go up 0.5. Who knows what the future holds!

“It is just what that team needs. A strong leader who knows Perth and no one knows Perth radio and the market better than Gary. There is a lot of work to do and he is the right man for that job.”

See also:
Gary Roberts on making 96FM a better station, and he’s impatient
• But it will take time, and ARN won’t act until new research is in

In Brisbane 97.3 is having its slowest start to a new year for a long time. “We are doing a lot of work on the product there,” said Campbell.

“Breakfast is showing incremental improvement and we think that will continue. We will get 97.3 back into a stronger position as the year unfolds.

“We might see some of the listening around Hit 105 dim a little. Nova is still strong in Brisbane and that will continue.”

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