Mediaweek radio wrap: Nova Entertainment’s powerful double

Mediaweek editor James Manning examines the #2 and #3 FM stations for Sydney from Radio Survey #5.

The second day of our week examining the recent performance of Sydney radio stations today looks at the #2 and #3 FM stations – both part of the Nova Entertainment offering.

smoothfm 95.3 10+ 9.6%, Breakfast 7.7%

Cume audience: 10+ 931,000, Breakfast 534,000

Breakfast with the legendary Bogart Torelli and the newshound Glenn Daniel offers a show unlike anything else in the market. Daniel has recently published his book News Time: A Life In Radio and I can confirm it is a cracking good read. Daniel was promoting the book at the smooth Festival Of Chocolate on the weekend and he is donating earnings to the Cardiac Research Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Nova’s Paul Jackson on smoothfm Sydney:

“We have never stopped plugging away with smooth, we have been extremely consistent and we have had massive cumes this year,” he told Mediaweek.

“You sometimes worry that the cumes are so high that it could affect the shares. We have about 250,000 more listeners than WSFM. The station is so big and so broad and we need to find the people who might have it as their second or third favourite station and get them locked on all the time.

“Behind the scenes we have always felt good about it and the demos have been strong. The brand has come back to peak performance in both markets.

“Product wise we haven’t changed anything, although we have tweaked the music just a bit. We have been trying to find more unique songs that the other stations aren’t playing. Over time other stations have moved a little closer to us [musically].

“The more we sound like smoothfm and nothing else it will help us perform very well.”

Nova 96.9 10+ 7.9%, Breakfast 8.0%

Cume audience: 10+ 992,000, Breakfast 534,000

Fitzy and Wippa recorded their best-ever share in survey five.

“We are not going off-air until Instagram corrects itself,” said Wippa this morning for the show’s army of social media users. The show is light on celebrity and heavy on relatable chat about the joys of everyday life. Other chat this morning included sleep problems and waiting for red lights.

A key attraction for the regular listeners is the Six O’Clock Club, which only admits a few members each week. The club is not spoken about much and members don’t need to be too eager to get in. And if you try after 7am, forget it!

Key team members supporting the superstar hosts are co-host Sarah McGilvray and executive producer Tommy Ivey, who sometimes spends nearly as much time on air as the hosts. (That’s a good thing!)

Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson on Fitzy and Wippa:

“This is Fitzy and Wippa’s highest numbers. The greatest hits workday that we introduced at the end of June has connected with the audience and it has displaced 2Day and also affected KIIS,” Jackson told Mediaweek.

“Fitzy and Wippa’s results are well deserved and they have been brilliant this year. Listeners feel like they are eavesdropping in a conversation with a few mates. It has come a long way and has some real maturity about it.”

Jackson has always spoken frankly about when Sydney breakfast should be doing better and now it is. “This year we have had no complaints and the show has come of age. Some times it feels like it takes forever, but they have strong cumes, a strong following and are much loved.”

Jackson mentioned the key elements include the roles Sarah McGilvray and Tom Ivey play on the show. “It is not just Fitzy and Wippa, but a whole bunch of guys and girls around them as well. The audience can’t get enough at the moment.

“Sarah has a great radio brain, she sounds great on air and men and women really relate to her. And she plays a pivotal role between the two boys. She brings just the right balance to the show.”

Jackson admitted it had been a challenging year for the brand musically with less pop hits and more urban songs. “We have been playing a lot more songs from the last five to 10 years, which can still sound very fresh and contemporary.

We have certainly taken listeners away from KIIS and 2Day primarily and that was our aim.

When asked if the drop at KIIS could be the start of a trend, Jackson said: “We might be seeing the start of something. When you go back five years and remember Kyle and Jackie’s last 12 months on 2Day most of their books were 8% or 9% and it had been a while since they had done double figures. KIIS re-energised and re-invented them and the station subsequently did well. They still have a high number, but it has slowly come down and it could be tougher for them in the future.

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