Nova Entertainment in good shape, except for challenge facing Ben, Liam & Belle


Despite competition from ARN and SCA, Nova claims highest metro network total audience

Nova Entertainment has ended the 2023 metro radio ratings year in good shape. The company operates five Nova stations, five Smooth FM stations (including three DAB+), Adelaide’s Fiveaa and a handful of other DAB+ brands.

This summary of the year came from Nova Entertainment chief executive Peter Charlton on survey day:

“With almost 6.4 million Australians now listening across Nova Entertainment, we are extremely proud to have rounded out 2023 retaining the highest total audience of any metro network. We look forward to 2024 with excitement as we continue to strengthen our all of audio offering and commit to providing audiences with the live and local content we know they love. Congratulations to all of our teams around the country for their achievements throughout 2023, both on and off air.”

The year saw the biggest single upheavals across their networks with new breakfast shows in Adelaide and Melbourne, a new network drive show and refreshed breakfast in Sydney.

Nova Entertainment group program director for the Nova Network Brendan Taylor stepped in from his summer break to tell Mediaweek about the GfK Survey 8, 2023 results.

See also: Radio Ratings Survey 7, 2023 – Nova’s Brendan Taylor on Smallzy’s 10 years at the top

Nova national performance

“Nova closes out the year with 4.126 million listeners, adding over 120,000 Australians to the network in 2023,” said Taylor. “Our national shows, including The Chrissie Swan Show, Ricki-Lee, Tim & Joel and Smallzy’s Surgery, end the year with stellar numbers and we couldn’t be more proud of these teams. With plenty of change at the start of the year, we’re delighted to round out the year like this and it leads us into 2024 with enormous confidence in Nova’s live and local proposition.”

The Chrissie Swan Show (2pm to 4pm) is the most listened to Afternoons show nationally (1,513,000 cume) and is equal #2 nationally with a 10.5% share

Ricki-Lee, Tim and Joel are the #1 Drive show in the country (4pm to 7pm) with an 11.2% share and the most listened to with 1,529,000 cume audience


Ricki-Lee, Tim and Joel

Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie are the #1 show 6pm to 7pm nationally with an 11.1% share and the most listened to with 691,000 cume audience

Smallzy’s Surgery is the most listened to Evenings show (7pm to 10pm) with 636,000 cume audience

• The Nova Network is the most listened to network on Weekends with 2,506,000 cume audience


Smallzy stops for a fan on the red carpet

Nova Network

Taylor continued: “It was a good way to end the year for Nova 96.9 Sydney where Kate Ritchie has settled in fantastically well alongside Fitzy and Wippa and helped the show to add 36,000 listeners this survey.”

Taylor also noted, “on Sydney drive, Ricki-Lee, Tim & Joel increased share by 2.2 to 10.4%.”

Taylor has done a lot of work with Ash, Luttsy and Susie O’Neill in Brisbane and he was happy to point to their success in a survey where Triple M ranked #1 station overall in share.

“Ash, Luttsy and Susie built cume by 19,000 this survey to 424,000 while share was also up to 14.1% meaning they remain the market’s #1 show on all measures.”

Other Nova Brisbane boasts include #1 drive show, #2 afternoon with Chrissie Swan and #1 overall on weekends.

Nova 100

Ben Harvey, Belle Jackson and Liam Stapleton

In Melbourne the Nova station has a bit of work to do next year. “We always knew it would take time bringing in Ben, Liam and Belle to what is the most competitive market in the country,” said Taylor about their share dipping to 5.0%. The good news this survey that Taylor pointed to was Nova 100 station share and DAB+ cume climbing. The breakfast social team was also hard at work with social impressions and engagement climbing significantly.

The Adelaide result has been very pleasing, said Taylor. “Nova 919 is the second most listened to station in the market with cume up 7,000 to 345,000. Jodie & Haysey is the most listened to breakfast show with cume up 10,000 to 171,000.

Other Nova leaders in Adelaide are drive and evening where Smallzy has the biggest cume audience – 61,000.

Perth was the scene of the metro markets’ biggest shock result with 96FM jumping from third place to first as share lifted 2.3 to 15.3%. Taylor said: “Despite that, Nova breakfast remained #1 with a winning share of 17.2% and a winning cume of 405,000. That caps another amazing year for Nathan, Nat and Shaun as they lead the station that still has the biggest cume audience – 658,000.”


Nathan, Nat and Shaun visiting The Lodge with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Elsewhere in the Perth market, Nova has the #1 drive and afternoon shows while the hour of highlights from Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie is #1 at 6pm.

Speaking for his colleague Peter Clay at the Smooth brand, Taylor noted how well the stations performed in Sydney and Melbourne. “In Sydney smooth is #2 in share and cume. It is #1 overall in afternoon and #1 FM in morning and afternoon.”

Smooth also climbed in Melbourne in share and is one of five stations that boast cume audiences over 1m overall and over 500,000 in breakfast.

Peter Clay speaks

Mediaweek readers shouldn’t be happy until they hear from Peter Clay, head of Smooth Network programming. He provided us with this quote:

“2023 has been a fantastic year for the Smooth Network, with new survey records set throughout the year; this latest result being no different. Sydney’s Smooth 95.3 now has 1.37 million listeners, which is the highest in frequency history, as well as superb results across workday and weekends. This strength extends to the rest of the network and takes us into 2024 ready for continued success and growth for our national footprint.”

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