A diverse national network of radio stations means you’ll always have a good result somewhere. There will also be some problem spots too that could need attention. That is how ARN has started the ratings year.
National content director Duncan Campbell told Mediaweek: “It is a consistent result and shows the resilience of the network. We had our challenges obviously, but we know these markets and understand factors that impact them like market forces or talent movement.
“We have seen some good growth in audience numbers this survey.”
He noted the cume audience improvement, not necessarily share lifts, and added it’s a good place to start the year.
Campbell detailed the challenges in Melbourne and Brisbane.
“Melbourne is the big one obviously. There is disappoint and an element of surprise that Christian O’Connell didn’t move forward and took such a hit. Survey one does have anomalies and Nova had theirs with Kate, Tim and Marty.
“We look at the numbers for shows that have dropped and ask is it real or just an anomaly. Gold 104.3 remains a very strong station and we are confident Christian will move forward. There is too much anecdotal feedback coming through to suggest otherwise.”
When discussion turned to the challenges at KIIS in Melbourne, Campbell started: “We are the third CHR station in the market and that doesn’t help and we are trying to unlock entrenched habitual listening at Fox and Nova. They are two very strong brands and our marketing campaign launched this week is designed to do that. We are trying to get people thinking about an alternative. Jase and PJ on KIIS have a good breakfast show with strong content on a good radio station. The easiest thing to say is we will make some changes there, but the fact is we are going to give the show the time it needs for the audience to get to know them. We will be marketing that show some more during survey two.
“Our confidence around that show remains high at all levels throughout the business. We will persist.”
Campbell didn’t think it was risky mentioning other stations with bigger audiences in their marketing. [Unlike Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson who thinks it a dangerous strategy. See separate item published today.]
“I don’t think it is risky because you are trying to get people who are habitual listeners of other stations to think about an alternative. We could have been even more aggressive, but we decided not to. But we have been cheeky and if it generates talk around KIIS that is a positive for us.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if both Melbourne breakfast show teams were a little despondent after the results. “Christian is disappointed, but he remains very confident in the show as are we,” said Campbell.
“Jason Hawkins meanwhile has incredible confidence and he went through all of last year not seeing a lot of growth and he also knows the support of the company for the show. It will be a long game for that show.”
At KIIS 1065 in Sydney The Kyle and Jackie O Show maintains FM leadership, but the numbers drop after that. As to the challenge there, Campbell said: “I’d rather have a strong breakfast show and then some challenges across the workday. There is a CHR battle going on in Sydney and Melbourne and we continue to monitor the music battle. Our workday numbers aren’t that bad up against director competitors like 2Day and Nova. We are competitive in mornings and then 2Day just pips us in afternoons. Compared to the Hit Network and Nova, KIIS performs well across the day. Nova has some challenges after this survey and 2Day doesn’t have a breakfast show.”
In Brisbane the sequence of lower shares for 97.3 is continuing. “The challenge for the station is breakfast,” said Campbell. “You look at the numbers and it jumps out at you. We want to improve those breakfast numbers and that is where the focus is.”