Commercial radio survey: First results for 2019 show overall numbers continuing to climb

The first results of the GfK Radio Survey of the year are out and MediaWorks and NZME have plenty to celebrate with total audience numbers rising since the final survey in 2018.

Combined listening numbers of commercial and non-commercial radio has risen to 3.62 million New Zealanders (10+) listening to the radio each week, totalling 83 percent of the population. Total audience numbers for commercial radio has also risen slightly to 3.34 million or 77 percent, compared to 3.32 million in the previous survey – an increase in 21,700 people. 

While the total commercial audience numbers have grown compared to the second half of last year, they are yet to regain the ground gained in the first survey for 2018, where numbers hit 3.39 million or 80 percent. That number was up 67,400 since the final survey for 2017.

There has been a change to the line-up in the top stations for all people (10+) in New Zealand, with More FM continuing to slip down the ranks, now settling into fourth position. It sat second in the December survey of 2018, after a significant drop of 28,100 since the September 2018. 

The Edge continues to reign supreme in the top spot, despite dropping 5,200 listeners from the previous survey. But it’s Newstalk ZB that has seen the most considerable leap, jumping up from fourth to take the second spot with a huge increase of 48,300 listeners since the last survey for 2018. Now with a total of 555,600 listeners, the station is in a considerably different position to the start of 2018, when it began the year with 488,900 listeners and in the fifth spot.

The Breeze remains firm in the bronze position, with a rise of 13,200 listeners since the end of 2018. 

The notable newcomer in this year’s survey is Magic Music and Talk. While MediaWorks’s Magic did feature in previous surveys, it failed to reach a top ten position. Now the combined network (previously separated as Magic and RadioLive) has risen through the ranks to debut in the seventh spot.

Radio Broadcasters Association chief executive Jana Rangooni says she isn’t surprised that radio listening across New Zealand remains high. 

“Commercial radio continues to hold its place as a powerful channel for advertisers with over 3.3 million people listening to commercial radio stations. Radio continues to provide advertisers with the ability to reach not only large audiences, but also audiences that are targeted and highly engaged with the stations they listen to.

“Whether it’s for the music, news and information, or the entertaining personalities, people have a strong and loyal connection to the stations they listen to.”

On average, listeners are tuning into more than 17 hours of commercial radio each week. The biggest cumulative audience is people within the 45–64 age bracket, with 82 percent tuning in at some point during the week. The crucial 25-54 bracket is sitting at a healthy 80 percent. 

While breakfast and drive continue to be significant times for people to tune in, the weekend sees a rise in audiences to 62 percent.

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