Gemma Fordham bound to “bold” long-term play for 2DayFM in 2020
A year of up and down metro results for Gemma Fordham and the Hit Network ended as it started.
Survey 7 delivered mixed results for Hit, with a solid book in Brisbane sitting alongside a flat return in Adelaide, while a promising upturn in Perth was offset by a dip in Melbourne.
Fordham is under no illusions that 2DayFM Sydney remains her biggest challenge, which fell to a 3.9% share of listening (-0.6) and holds a 2.6% share on Breakfast (+0.1).
“It goes without saying that our continued focus is on Sydney,” the Hit Network boss tells Radio Today.
“We made a strategy adjustment there, we have a long-term strategy in play. The rest of the country is performing very well. Our Drive shows are performing exceptionally well too.”
It’s a strategy that’s seen the station bring in Jamie Angel for a More Music Breakfast format, making him 2Day’s umpteenth show since the defection of Kyle & Jackie O to KIIS FM in 2014.
2DayFM Breakfast’s Jamie Angel, who celebrates 30 years with SCA this week.
In no uncertain terms, Fordham re-affirms that she is committed to the same strategy for 2020.
“We recognised that we needed to cleanse the slot. We’re certainly proud of the fact that we’ve made some bold decisions… we’ve not lost fact of the sight that we are in this for the long-term.”
“Everyone internally knows what the strategy is, our board knows. We’re committed to what we’ve decided on for 2Day.”
As Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Grant Blackley outlined Radio Today recently, SCA adopted a renewed focus on music in 2019.
Part of that focus saw the network appoint heads of music for the Hit Network and Triple M Network in Irene Hulme and Mickey Maher.
But another part saw a shift in how SCA content heads, Fordham, and, Mike ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick, functioned within the business.
Fordham says the changes have allowed for herself and Hulme to really focus in on the different stations within the Hit Network and program better music for each market.
“People often forget that we’re a much bigger company than the other radio networks,” she explains. “We have a lot more market nuance to consider, so we don’t just have the five metros.”
Head of music for the Hit Network, Irene Hulme
Pointing to the 42 Hit Network stations nation-wide, Fordham emphasises that the scale of the company has previously meant that not enough time has been spent focussing on the music and content for each Breakfast show in Australia.
“Suddenly, myself and Fitzy were given this remit where we went from five to 40 stations [to oversee]. It’s very hard to give the stations the attention they deserve if your workload remains the same.
“Having these really streamlined approaches means that people can really focus on specific areas.
“I know it’s been a different approach to some of what we’ve done before… but innovation and being willing to try different things is very important to us as a business.”
We may be seeing the new strategies at SCA bearing fruit, with some hopeful results in some markets this book.
Fox FM Melbourne remains the #2 FM station in Melbourne, despite slipping further behind Gold FM this book.
Hit Adelaide continues to grow incrementally and Fordham says the content that Breakfast show Bec & Cosi are doing “really resonates” with the people of Adelaide.
But the Hit Network boss singles out Hit105 Brisbane’s Stav, Abby & Matt for their consistency, which this book delivers them equal top spot in Brisbane on 11.1% with Nova 106.9 Breakfast.
“They consistently deliver content that creates talk. Talkability really delivers in a market like Brisbane, and they’ve done that in this book and throughout most of this year,” she explains.
Hit105 Brisbane’s Matt, Stav & Abby
And of course there’s Perth, where Hit92.9 appears to be finally clawing its way back into the contenders. The station recorded an upward swing into double digits on 10.7% (+1.4) this book.
“We’ve been back of the pack in Perth for a long time. Not long ago we were sitting around the 6s. It’s a testament to the fact that it takes time and consistency to bring a brand around.
“That’s certainly what’s happened in Perth over the last three years.”