• Networks trumpet their stars, acknowledge their challenges
Mediaweek spoke to the network chiefs and programmers on survey day this week. They talked not just about their triumphs, but also their challenges.
Triple M’s Mike Fitzpatrick and hit network’s Gemma Fordham
When asked if the good outweighed the bad this survey for the Triple M Network, Fitzpatrick told Mediaweek, “There wasn’t really any bad. We are #1 breakfast in Melbourne, #1 station in Perth with Mix and Adelaide had its best result in seven years to be equal #1 with Nova.”
He denied Sydney and Brisbane had gone backwards. “Both stations are still #1 for men and The Grill Team had a very small fall. There is still growth in certain demos at Sydney breakfast and for Ed and Marto in Brisbane.”
As to the somewhat neglected Triple M drive shows, Fitzpatrick noted Merrick Watts was up in three out of the four markets he was in. “Adelaide too had its best drive result since 2009. We really offer a point of difference with our drive shows.”
Brisbane was the star performer for the hit network with Osher, Stav and Abby up again. Gemma Fordham told Mediaweek: “Hamish and Andy also had a blinder there and they are again the #1 drive show nationally.”
Adelaide was again a good market for hit 107 after some hard yards when the station rebranded. In Melbourne Fordham noted, “Fox was down a little, but breakfast with Fifi and Dave was up.”
Fordham even had some joy in Perth where, despite share dropping, cume was up to a recent high.
“In Sydney all eyes are on 2Day. Share hasn’t moved, but we are seeing some growth in cume. This has been our best workday result since Kyle and Jackie left and 2Day actually beat Nova during the workday.”
As to whether 2Day breakfast is targeting older, Fordham said they are trying to “keep the offering broad with Rove and Sam both bringing in different age groups.”
Nova Entertainment’s group PD Paul Jackson
“smoothfm had its best female figures ever where it is #1 25+ in Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney the station lost a lot of male listeners and I certainly didn’t see that coming.”
The Nova brand performs best in the smaller markets where there is less competition. “The Perth result was just magnificent with breakfast #1 and we are very nearly #1 FM station. Brisbane also had a good number as did Adelaide. The market that isn’t so good for Nova is Sydney. We had a decent number 18-24, but were not nearly good enough older. We also took a hit in drive which we haven’t seen for a while. Fitzy and Wippa still have a fantastic show but they are up against some huge shows.”
As to the small lift at Nova 100 in Melbourne, Jackson said it was “slow and steady. Chrissie, Sam and Browny is a very good show with great chemistry and it is improving all the time. It will take time to build and find an audience.”
ARN CEO Tony Kendall and national content director Duncan Campbell
Despite a couple of continuing challenges, Campbell admitted it was a growth survey for the company. “We have the duopoly in Sydney back to #1 and #2 after WSFM recovered from a soft result at the end of 2015.”
Kendall said Sydney marketing focused on KIIS earlier in the year, but ARN is now spending on WSFM too.
In Perth, Kendall pointed to a momentum shift at 96FM they are optimistic can continue.
Campbell added: “Adelaide still needs to correct fully, but we are confident that will happen in the next couple of surveys. Breakfast is strong – we know what is wrong, we just have to make the changes.”
Campbell said his major focus will remain on KIIS Melbourne where they are competing with what he called good opposition stations.
Kendall told Mediaweek the ad market was a little softer in April with perhaps of lack of consumer confidence. Election spending will have little impact on ARN, but Kendall added he thought some of the government bookings in the pipeline might be postponed to later in the year.
Macquarie Media’s COO Adam Lang
Lang noted the highlights from his stations around the country. “2GB continues to lead Sydney radio recording its 95th straight survey victory over a period now spanning 12 years,” said Lang.
No surprise to anybody that 3AW again had a great survey with breakfast #1 for 114 consecutive surveys. “This is a very pleasing survey, which gives us a time to celebrate while we deal with the sad passing of Bruce Mansfield,” 3AW director of operations Stephen Beers said.
Brisbane director of operations Liz Illidge noted: “4BC has seen steady growth in 2016 in share and cumulative audience across our core daytime programs.”