Duncan Campbell: ARN’s Melbourne ambitions, Perth ratings surge

“This is our fourth survey as the #1 network around the country so we are very happy.”

Network highlights Survey 1, 2020

• ARN – #1 National Network for five consecutive surveys
• Sydney – #1FM & #2FM Station & Breakfast
• Melbourne – #1FM Station, Breakfast, Mornings, Afternoons & the Weekend
• Adelaide – #1 Station, #1FM Breakfast, Mornings, Afternoons & Evenings
• Perth – #2 Overall Station & Breakfast

ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell talks to Mediaweek about the ratings results this week. He started talking about the talent investment, although he wouldn’t reveal the exact spend!

“The important thing for us now is that the talent is all locked away. All our planning has paid dividends with strong talent right around the network. We have a consistent approach strategically to what we do, and don’t make any knee-jerk decisions.

“This is our fourth survey as the #1 network around the country so we are very happy.”

The Pure Gold network has had a wonderful book off the back of more growth at Melbourne’s Gold 104.

Christian O’Connell is keeping that station strong and he deserves to be the #1 FM breakfast show in Melbourne – he has the drive and determination, the passion and the hunger. For a guy who has come all the way from the UK and embraced the market, he shows what you can do when the content is strong and you have the desire to win.

“I expect to now see The Christian O’Connell Show as a #1 FM show in Melbourne and the station as well into the future.

It was also good to see WSFM increase after a softer year in 2019. The cume is climbing back up and it is a strong station with a heritage breakfast show with Jonesy and Amanda. As with Gold, we have some high calibre presenters across the day – Mike Hammond and Steve Fitton aren’t kids on the air – these are adults talking to adults and it makes a difference. In Melbourne we have Huggie, Toni Tenaglia and Gavin Miller – again announcers that position the station effectively to the audience.”

Christian O’Connell and the name who brought him down under, ARN’s Duncan Campbell (credit: SDP Media)

Campbell said the winning formula comes with strong music across the day, strong adult presenters as well as heritage breakfast shows.

ARN has had its faith in Mix Melbourne’s Jase and PJ repaid by the duo this survey. “We are in a new era of shows and how long it takes the audience to get to know them. Lifestyles are so busy today and people spend less and less time focused on their entertainment including radio – launching a new show takes longer.

The content is strong that Jase and PJ deliver – they also have passion and they work very hard. If we are measuring that show just on the content there is no question about re-signing them.”

The show is a little quirky? “You could argue it is an acquired taste.” Something that certainly hasn’t hurt Kate Tim and Marty.

“It’s key for the audience to get to know the hosts. Particularly in a market up against other strong breakfast shows like Nova and Fox who both have strong breakfast shows. It is not like Jase and PJ are competing in a market with poor competition. They are in arguably the most competitive market in the country without a weak station like 2Day FM is in Sydney.”

Campbell repeated a past prediction that ARN is investing with the aim of having the #1 and #2 station in Melbourne.

Perth audience switch to 96FM

Campbell: “There was a bit of a lag with the results for the 96FM breakfast show last year. It did have some good numbers, but not like the numbers it has generated today. That format we put in place was the format we always wanted. It has really driven a wedge into 95.4.

“Only one person could have got Fred Botica back from retirement and that is Gary Roberts [ARN Perth MD]. Having Fred and Lisa back on the air has been fantastic.

“Gary is a key part of today’s results. He remains as passionate about radio as when he first started. His attention to detail is extraordinary and Wayne McLean does a great job with the music and Dan Underhill is a very good content director. Roberts is able to galvanise people to drive toward the common goal.

See Mediaweek analysis of all the GfK Survey 1, 2020 results here for every commercial station in every metro market.

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