Radio Ratings: Nova’s Ben Latimer on survey 7 and beyond

ben latimer

Plus: Why big breakfast changes were a no-brainer

The penultimate GfK radio ratings survey was released this week, and Mediaweek has caught up with some of the top programming heads in the industry to discuss the results and the radio industry at large.

See more radio ratings coverage here

Today, Mediaweek catches up with Nova’s head of programming for Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, Ben Latimer

Speaking of the results that were solid across the board, Latimer said there were several standouts for Nova Entertainment.

Nathan, Nat, and Shaun are just knocking it out of the park in Perth. These are GfK Radio FM records. The team over there is just so exceptional at what they do.

“smoothfm was the number two FM consistently in both Sydney and Melbourne. I think the best on ground for smooth was Bogart Torelli on breakfast for Sydney, it is the second most listened to breakfast show based on cume and also has an 8.5% share, which is number two for FM stations in Sydney. You pitch Bogart up against all the FM brekky shows, the marketing machines, the comedians, the personalities – Bogart is this quiet achiever just doing so well, and is brilliant at resonating with the audience. 

Bogart Torelli

“We’ve got some real momentum back into Fitzy and Wippa as well. With a 7% share, we definitely talked about being back in the sevens and the eights. It’s been busier than ever. We had the Prime Minister’s backyard cricket game. There is the Fitzy and Wippa annual Sydney Pub Crawl, which is happening on Friday. The show is getting out and about in the suburbs as they need to be.”

Saying farewell to one staple and welcoming two more

Nova has traditionally had the least changes when it comes to programming its major shows, with long-running programs in almost all its breakfast timeslots, and a long-running national drive show. This changed this year with Latimer having to announce two new breakfast shows following the departure of Chrissie, Sam, and Browny from Melbourne 100’s breakfast slot.

The result was Latimer moving his first commissioned breakfast show for Nova, Ben and Liam, from Adelaide to Melbourne and making the show a trio by promoting the show’s producer Belle Jackson to hosting duties. Latimer then filled the spot in Adelaide with radio royalty Jodie Oddy and sports journalist Andrew Hayes.

Latimer said that firstly, they will send Chrissie, Sam, and Browny out on a high and then it will be a busy summer getting the new programs ready to launch.

“Chrissie, Sam, and Browny have three to four more weeks left on the air. This is a show that has had cult status over the years and what we see with almost every show that wraps up is this wave of listeners coming back to hear that final run home. We expect to send them off on a high and see a strong finish for that show. 

Chrissie, Sam & Browny

Chrissie, Sam & Browny

“There are some changes to our Adelaide and Melbourne lineups, it’s going to be a busy December to January of planning and making sure those shows are exactly where we need them to be. I cancelled my Christmas holidays

When asked why he took a successful program in Ben and Liam and moved it to a new market, Latimer said that the pair are the real deal.

“They’ve never shied away from letting us know what their ambitions are, which are to be the next big superstar Nova team. Which is the talent we recognise in them.

“They’ve done three amazing years in Adelaide and the timing was right with the Melbourne changes. The guys obviously have the Triple J, national brekky heritage. They were heard around the country for those three years and in fact, some of their Melbourne numbers were some of their strongest national numbers. They were on Sunday mornings around the network on Nova for a couple of years and their lunch break ran in Melbourne for over a year so they are familiar to the local audience. Plus Belle Jackson is a born and bred Melbourne girl.

“It’s a really tough market with some brilliant, established, firmly entrenched shows but I’ve been with these boys for three years now, and their point of difference is their uniqueness and Belle being in the lineup is something we really believe in.”

Ben, Liam, and Belle

When asked about building an Adelaide breakfast team around Jodie Oddy, Latimer said it was a no-brainer, considering she was already at Nova and her long history of success as part of Jodie and Soda for ARN.

“We’ve had Jodie for two or three years now after she finished with ARN. What we really wanted was to create a bit of a new team around her, which we did. She now fits right into that Nova brand and is unofficially in the studio on Fridays with Ben and Liam. She’s really reinvented herself, after 13 years as the number one FM radio show with Soda (Mark Soderstrom).

“When these changes came up, it was a bit of a no-brainer to look at Jodie. We did demos with some other people and then we met Andrew Hayes. Watching the chemistry, Jodie is the radio master and Hazy is this guy who grew up as a Nova Casanova and is a sports guy around town, the demos have been fantastic.”

All of Mediaweek’s radio ratings coverage can be read here.

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