Smashing records: Duncan Campbell on ARN’s Survey Three

radio ratings ARN

Plus: Where the industry has “dropped the ball”

With the third radio ratings survey for 2023 behind us, Mediaweek has caught up with some of the top content bosses in the industry to discuss their results.

Today, Mediaweek speaks to ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell, about how the company is shaping up after Survey Three, and what the future of the industry looks like.

Survey Three marked the introduction of Radio360, adding streaming numbers on to the existing broadcast ratings.

See Also: GfK Survey 3: Commercial radio streaming hits high with 12.24 million listeners

“It’s gone very well,” Campbell says of the introduction. “Introducing the streaming numbers gives people a better context on listening habits and patterns, etc. There have been no real surprises there, but it’s just good to have those numbers included in the data now. It’s a positive step forward for the industry.”

Kyle and Jackie O’s record breaking survey

On ARN’s KIIS 106.5, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O broke the previous record they set in survey one, coming in with their highest ever share – 17.9%. For Campbell, the Sydney duo recording three surveys in a row at #1 breakfast overall shows that there’s a pattern emerging for the show.

“It was a pretty big day – three books in a row now for Kyle and Jackie O as number one in breakfast. The figures that they produced are extraordinary, they’re on 17.9%, which is their record, and a cume of 921,000. We stared at the numbers and I thought, wow, that’s going to be hard to beat

“It does mean that there’s a trend in place. It’s fantastic for KIIS 106.5, and also for Kyle and Jackie O.”

After almost 20 years on air together, the Kyle and Jackie O Show continues to bring in more and more listeners, with a record cume this survey of 921,000.

“They have always remained relevant, they’ve always remained in touch with the audience, and they always make that show exciting,” says Campbell. “There’s always something going on – the old positioning line was Expect The Unexpected, and that’s still the case many, many years later

“With a lot of shows, they would get into a bit of a rhythm and they wouldn’t put as much effort in as they did in the past. These guys are still as hungry as ever. They’ve got a fantastic production team behind them, and they won’t accept content that’s not first class. 

“That show remains exciting, entertaining, interesting, engaging, and relevant to this day. That’s the reason they’re so successful.”

Also playing into the result is what Campbell calls “the event of the survey” – Sandilands’ wedding to Tegan Kynaston.

“The station packaged the wedding up to be very entertaining, it was a fantastic piece of content. That will probably settle down a little bit, but still, the trend is there. It’s all rolling in the right direction.”


Ciaran Davis, Jackie O, Kyle Sandilands, Duncan Campbell

ARN in Melbourne

In Melbourne, ARN has pulled another strong result with Gold FM coming in as top FM station and Christian O’Connell as top FM breakfast – both trailing only Nine’s 3AW. 

When asked whether he could see a world in which a similar situation to Sydney plays out in Melbourne, with ARN toppling the local Nine talk station, Campbell says that it’s not entirely off the table.

“Christian O’Connell has a great show. It has a different audience, it’s a different style of show, but the show is always engaging. There’s always something interesting that he talks about and gives a different perspective on, and the way he presents that show is unique. 

“It’s gained a lot of audience very quickly, and that continues to build. It obviously ebbs and flows slightly, but the cume has been very healthy and is also growing steadily. I won’t make any wild predictions here, but based on Sydney, anything’s possible.”

Entering H2

With the financial year wrapping up, Campbell says that there are some stand out areas of focus for the rest of 2023.

“Focus will be on 97.3 in Brisbane, KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne, and WSFM in Sydney – they always have one of these books a year when smooth does very well. The audience sharing between the two is quite high, so when smooth push marketing WSFM gets impacted by that to some degree

“Adelaide is the other one, but they’ve employed a new content director and a lot of work is going on there. He’s very good, and I think we’re seeing the turnaround already. I think the next couple of books in Adelaide will be positive for us in terms of Mix.”

Overall, however, the picture is bright.

“KIIS is a powerhouse, Gold is very strong, Perth is strengthening. For H2, it’s looking good – but that requires a lot of ongoing focus on delivering the execution of the strategy.”

Ali Clarke Breakfast Show

Max Burford, Mediaweek’s Tess Connery, Ali Clarke, Shane Lowe

The next generation

Looking ahead, Campbell says that the industry needs to turn its attention to nurturing the next generation of workers both on air and off, saying that “we’re paying the price for lack of development of talent coming through.”

“I was interviewed last year, and asked ‘What’s the industry’s biggest threat?’ I said, the lack of talent coming through the industry and the lack of talent development. 

Kyle and Jackie O are so dominant because they’ve been around so long and they’re so consistent, but there’s really no one challenging them – and that’s great, but I think from an industry point of view, we did drop the ball there. I think there’s a bit of work to do to develop the next generation of shows and talent.”

Top Image: Duncan Campbell

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