‘We need to evolve’: How Nine Radio plans to bounce back from Ben Fordham’s dip
Nine Radio’s head of content, Greg Byrnes, has given an insight into the network’s strategy for the rest of the year, contending he’s not stressed about 2GB’s Ben Fordham losing the #1 Breakfast position in Sydney.
“Well, Ben has held,” he told Radio Today yesterday after KIIS’ Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson surged 2.6 points to a 15.5% share, while Fordham slipped 0.2 points to 13.3%. “He’s steady, which is most encouraging.
“Kyle & Jackie O’s result is wonderful for them, absolutely. And we pay credit to them.
“We knew with Ben that it would be a big change. The moment you change a talk station, a talk program, let alone a Breakfast program, there would be an audience reaction. We thought 12 months on that anything above a 12[% share], we’d be happy, and he’s on 13.3. When we look at the trends, he’s tracking fairly well.”
He said the defeat at the hands of Sandilands and Henderson would only “spur the guys to work even harder” at 2GB Breakfast.
“I think we’re well placed, it’s a strong brand,” Byrnes said of 2GB’s ongoing prospects.
He also noted the wide-sweeping changes Nine Radio had implemented across various cities, including Sydney, since it fully took over Macquarie Media’s radio assets, and said the full implications, and rewards, of these moves would take time.
“As we know, ratings go up and down, and so what we’re looking for in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth is just steady increases. But it takes time. It all takes time, and the audience has to get to know the presenter,” he said.
“It’s [about] trying to find the talk audience and the talk presenter of the next five to 10 years. And we need to evolve. I think the stations are sounding good, are sounding fresh, and that’s important. We need to be evolving as a network.”
The chief content officer of KIIS’ parent company, meanwhile, said yesterday’s result was more about the dominance of The Kyle & Jackie O Show, than any real-world issue with Fordham.
“That’s not taking anything away from Ben Fordham, by the way,” ARN’s Duncan Campbell said when celebrating his show’s success. “It’s just the FM show has done remarkably well… We run a different race, but it’s just unfortunately happened on Ben’s watch….
“2GB’s a very strong station still. And interesting, their results, they didn’t drop a lot. In fact, they hardly dropped at all. They remained pretty flat. And even Ben didn’t drop much at all, just down 0.2. So it’s more the growth of KIIS than the demise of 2GB.”