Radio Ratings: ARN’s Duncan Campbell on a “mixed” survey five

arn radio ratings

Plus: The impact of “content-driven results”

With the fifth GfK radio ratings survey released this week, we are now officially over the halfway mark of radio ratings season. As always, Mediaweek speaks to radio bosses around the country to provide insights into their station’s performances. Today, we catch up with ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell.

See Also: Radio Ratings 2023, Survey 5: Highlights + Full Results

“It was a day of ups and downs for ARN, because we had some good stories in Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and we had a good story in Sydney with WSFM,” Campbell said, reflecting on the results of survey five.

“There was an expected correction with KIIS 106.5, so we’re not concerned about that. In Melbourne, Christian O’Connell‘s 25 consecutive number one FM streak has been stopped, The Fox was ahead there. Again, we’re not concerned, because we know the reasons for that and I believe that’ll bounce back fairly quickly, to be honest. It was a mixed day.”

After previous surveys, Campbell has highlighted that ARN would be focussing their attention on the Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth markets. In radio ratings survey five, all three of those markets shone for the network, proving that the strategy is working.

In Brisbane, KIIS 97.3’s Robin, Terry & Kip increased their share to 11.5%, with the biggest share growth in market. Adelaide’s Ali Clarke Breakfast Show lifted to #2FM Breakfast, also achieving the biggest share growth in the market. In Perth, 96FM recorded the city’s highest FM streaming share.

Kip Wightman

Robin, Terry & Kip

“I was talking to the staff today, and I said that the result really shows that ARN has the capability, we have a knowledge of the stations in the markets, and we have great people who can execute the strategy with focus,” said Campbell. “When we do that, like in Brisbane and Adelaide, we will get results. Today we saw content-driven results.”

“In Brisbane, we had a great story arc on body image issues which was led by Kip Wightman. He made himself quite vulnerable talking about that, and it resonated with the audience. 

“In Adelaide there was a similar strategy, getting to know the hosts in different perspectives – and showing the fun version of Ally as opposed to the ABC journalist. We’ll be consistent with that, and we’re back at number one in Adelaide, which is great.”

Another particularly important stat from the survey was that overall, ARN came out on top as Australia’s biggest streaming network, with 17.4% share overall. Campbell joked about the streaming success that “our focus is audio, if we can’t get that right there, then something’s wrong!”

“The streaming figures are really good, I’m very impressed with that. It’s early days, though, but that is the future, that’s where we’re headed.”

Looking ahead to survey six – and the final few surveys of 2023 – Campbell said that there are a number of key goals the team will be working towards.

“We want to consolidate the WSFM results, hopefully they’ll end the year strong and we’ll have the number one and number two FM breakfast shows in Sydney, which is the duopoly. 

Jonesy and Amanda

WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda

“We’ll focus on Christian O’Connell and Gold – but not in the sense that we think there’s a problem there, just to keep the troops focused. Christian won’t need to be kept focused, he’s laser-focused, but I think the worst thing you do in situations like that is to knee-jerk and overreact and undo what you’ve built. Christian won’t do that with the show, but we can’t afford to do that with the station. 

“KIIS is a similar story. If you go back through the years and average their ratings, a 13.5% is very impressive. 17% was always pretty high. 

“We really want to make sure that Brisbane punches through even more next survey. Ali Longhurst as the content director has done a great job and the talent are behind the strategy. I’m hoping that that reaps even more rewards for us in survey six.”

Top Image: Duncan Campbell

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