Kyle Sandilands can move mountains — or at least get hundreds of thousands of people to change their radio dial.
Bosses at newly rebranded radio station KIIS will be thrilled with the results of the first radio survey since their expensive new breakfast hosts Kyle and Jackie O went on air — the audience for the station’s breakfast slot is up a massive 6% since the controversial duo took it over in January, toppling former home 2Day FM and the rest of the FM frequency.
The Kyle and Jackie O Show on KIIS 1065 have tied with sister station WSFM’s Amanda Keller and Brendan “Jonesy” Jones for most popular FM breakfast show, while the audience for the new breakfast team at their old station, 2DayFM, has more than halved (from 10.6% of audience share in the time slot to just 3.6%), sending it to the very bottom of the FM ratings table.
KIIS — which was rebranded from Mix FM late last year and changed its entire musical style to top 40 to suit Kyle and Jackie O (aka Sandilands and Jacqueline Henderson) — hasn’t just benefited in breakfast. Its drive show has also posted a solid result, with its audience share up 3.1%, making it the third-most popular drive show, behind the ABC and Nova. Overall, KIIS’ rise in fortunes was matched by a similar fall at 2DayFM; KIIS’ average audience share rose from 4.5% to 8.4% across all time slots, while 2DayFM’s audience share fell from 8.4% to just 4%.
Industry watchers had expected Kyle and Jackie O to do well, but the speed with which they’ve climbed the ratings is staggering. KIIS has released a video of the duo receiving the news. Henderson screamed and went to hug Sandilands. He responded with characteristic modesty: “Now they’re all amazed, but I knew it was the way.”
2DayFM content boss Craig Bruce said yesterday he didn’t expect his station’s new breakfast show to top the ratings. “When you think about FM radio and how it works, I can’t think of a single breakfast show in history in Australia that has launched and gone up in its first survey, and that’s unlikely to happen next Tuesday, but we’re OK with that,” he told Mumbrella.
But it’s hard to imagine he and his bosses at Southern Cross Austereo would be thrilled with this morning’s result. Their breakfast show, hosted by Merrick Watts, Sophie Monk, Jules Lund and Mel B, has hurtled to the bottom of the breakfast ratings. When Kyle and Jackie O hosted it, it held top spot in the December FM ratings (though it had dropped some listeners).
This morning’s radio ratings come at a time of unprecedented change in the radio landscape. You’d be hard-pressed to find a station that hasn’t shaken up its on-air talent in the past three months. Commercial Radio Australia has kindly supplied journalists with a fact sheet listing all the changes — the names stretch for two pages.
The industry body cautioned against reading too much into the ratings. “The industry and listeners are all keen to see today’s results with so many changes to teams around Australia, but today is the first of many to come, and it will probably take a few surveys for listeners to sample the various teams and settle into a listening pattern,” Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said in a statement.
Still, the ratings, released by new provider GfK with a slightly different methodology to the December ratings, are an early if imperfect guide to what’s working and what’s not.
It’s hard to say how new AM presenter Chris Uhlmann is going on the ABC, because his show only lasts a small portion of the total 5.30am to 9am time slot breakdowns provided by GfK. But on Radio National in the breakfast slow, Melbourne lifted ratings share by 0.8%, while in Sydney, the station lost 0.5%. Uhlmann isn’t the only change in Sydney’s ABC offering. New ABC Breakfast presenter Robbie Buck, who replaced long-serving host Adam Spencer, recorded a 2.4% decline in listeners, though his slot remains the second-most popular breakfast habit, behind Alan Jones on 2GB.
Speaking of Jones, his audience share also fell 2% this survey. However, it’s worth noting that Jones was away for the first three weeks of the survey, with Chris Smith filling in.