After the GfK survey 3, 2018 results were released, ARN claimed to be the #1 national network, holding the top spot in four out of five cities with #1FM stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane (equal #1) and Adelaide.
ARN continues to perform well in Brisbane and Adelaide, but it is winning in the biggest radio markets that are key to revenue. On that score the station could be doing no better in Sydney, while the serious rebuild is now in full force in Melbourne. KIIS and WSFM are the top stations overall and in breakfast.
“We have worked very hard on WSFM with a new content director [Scott Muller replacing Charlie Fox] and the station is strengthening. Often it has a slow start to the year, but they have had a more robust start this year and the second half of 2018 looks very encouraging,” said ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell.
“We are very happy with Sydney when you look at the cumes. KIIS now has a stronger 10+ cume than Nova, which it traditionally has not had. We can claim to be the most listened-to station in Sydney.”
Campbell said the KIIS appointment was all about chemistry. “The audience may not know them, but there is something very welcoming about the fact that there is chemistry – two people who get on so well.”
Campbell said you need more than just putting good people together, “Just look at the train crash that happens daily at 2Day FM where they have put people together with profile, hoping it is going to work. Similarly in hindsight Matt and Meshel was never going to work at KIIS because there was no chemistry.
“That is what we were doing in Melbourne at KIIS. The ingredient you can’t buy is chemistry.”
One of ARN’s biggest gambles is hiring London DJ Christian O’Connell. Campbell got really steamed up when we noted many radio “experts” think he simply can’t work in that market.
“The Christian O’Connell breakfast show is a point of different for us and he has a very warm, inviting style. Once the audience get to know him we have confidence they will like him and start listening. We have handed him a station cume over 1m.
“We have done something different in Melbourne and sometimes different is really good.”
Campbell noted that continuing with the same show and expecting a different result was not going to work.
“It is going to work in Melbourne. The audience might not know Christian, but we can correct that with marketing. As long as there is a point of difference the show will have appeal.
“This is a risk for us, but we have thought it through carefully and discussed it. It was not something that was developed overnight.”
With regard to O’Connell coming from the UK, Campbell noted he previously spent a decade working in UK radio. “I can tell you the same radio principles that apply in this country apply universally. Australians led the growth of commercial radio in the UK by applying basic radio principles that are still relevant today.”