Latest radio survey shows everyone’s a winner—including radio

The first Radio Industry Research Committee radio survey of 2011 has been released, with the Edge, Newstalk ZB and The Rock all claiming various number one station status. But, take away all the press release trickery and competitive gamesmanship and the the radio industry as a whole will be feeling pretty chuffed with a 5.1 percent increase in the number of humans tuning in to commercial radio since the last survey.Every six months, about 15,000 radio listeners scattered across the country take pen to diary as part of Research International’s Research Audience Measurement Survey. And who’s winning the war always makes for fairly entertaining reading.

The MediaWorks release says The Edge has retained its position as the most popular station in the country for the fourth year in a row, with over 458,900 cume listeners, around 29,000 higher than ZB. But, hold the phone. The same release says The Rock remains the most listened to music station in New Zealand, with a national share of 10.3 percent (share refers to the percentage share of total radio listening in a given region, while cume measures the total number of different individuals who have tuned in to a particular station brand over the course of one week. Each listener is only counted once, even if they tune in several times over the week).

Not to be outdone, The Radio Network also announced it lays claim to the nation’s number one radio station, with Newstalk ZB increasing its share of All 10+ listening to 12.7 percent, up from 11.6 percent.

TRN and MediaWorks choose not to use the typical Mon-Sun 6am-12mn numbers used by the TRB. Instead, they prefer to use the Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn daypart, which helps boost their numbers, of course, but also seems to lead to a dizzying array of good old fashioned number fudging.

According to the survey, The Rock is the highest in both station share and cume for the 18-34 demo, with 192,100 listeners and 21.5 percent of that market. The station also topped the 25-54 station share table with 15.1 percent and the 25-54 station cume with 251,300 listeners, and it also has the highest station share in the household shoppers with kids list at 11.6 percent. The HHS with kids station cume went to ZM with 74,900 listeners.

In Wellington, MediaWorks claims The Breeze has taken the number one position off ZM with a share of 15.5 percent.

Media juggernaut Michael Carney says all these differing adaptations of the figures create good bragging rights for stations to approach the retail sector.

“For those who don’t have access to the raw data, radio stations can say they’re number one ‘again’.” But Carney adds that if you look hard enough, anyone can find a demographic to be number one in.

TRB communications manager Fleur Herscott says radio brands are designed to appeal to specific demographic and psychographic groups, which is why there can be so many number ones. But she was more interested in the fact that more people are now tuning into radio, with cume audiences increasing 114,500 or 5.1 percent across all commercial radio, mostly in the Auckland market.

Herscott says this is the second survey in a row in which time spent listening has increased (up 17 minutes a week for All People 10+, adding to a 44 minute increase in the last survey). The biggest increases were in breakfast and Saturday programming and audiences on average are listening to the radio for 16 hours 55 minutes every week.

“This is a great story for radio. Despite the proliferation of media choices, people are listening for longer.”

Talk brands did well, most likely due to people tuning in for the big national and international news stories, and it was an “extremely positive survey for Radio’s youth brands”, with ZM, Edge and Flava all experiencing strong share and cume growth in the 18-34 and 25-54 demographics.

As far as ad revenue goes, radio in New Zealand is still holding up fairly well, especially when compared to many overseas radio markets, and it certainly hasn’t declined as precipitously as some other media over the past few years. The latest ASA figures showed interactive overtook radio and magazines for the first time and total revenue for radio was $241 million for an 11.3 percent share, up from $236 million for an 11.5 percent share in 2009. Its share has dropped around two percent since 2001, whereas share for newspapers has dropped by more than ten percent and for TV by around four percent in the same time.

In Auckland, more people listen to “other” than any one station, but the Auckland radio market is well crowded with approximately 30 fm and 15 am stations, depending on which part of the 09 you happen to be in.

BBC World Service, Chinese Voice (AM) and Chinese Voice (FM) are new entrants in this survey and four stations that participated in the last survey are not in this one—Rhema, Radio Waatea, Life FM, and more interestingly, 95bFM. The atypical alt station has been under fire over the past few weeks, with a slamming article in Metro, re-rearrangements with its hosts and a 10,000+ station cume decrease and 1.3 percent – 0.8 percent decrease in station share in last year’s surveys, and maybe there’s an explanation for the absence.

It should be noted that Christchurch data was left out of this survey, although Herscott says the national database reflects the T1 2010 Christchurch results (the same decision the industry research committee made with the T2 survey last year).

MediaWorks Radio

Andrew Szusterman, Group Programme Director – Music, MediaWorks Radio, comments:

“To have The Breeze Wellington knocking off ZM as Wellington’s most listened to radio station is enormous and The Rock Network remaining NZ’s most listened to music radio station is a great result for MediaWorks music brands.”

“But as far as results go The Edge get the gold star for remaining NZ’s most popular radio station, beating second place Newstalk ZB by over 29,000 listeners.”

Jana Rangooni, GM – Talk Brands, adds: “I’m delighted with these results, which are testament to the hard work of the incredibly talented MediaWorks Radio team.

“I’m also pleased to see RadioLIVE performing well, with a 15.4% growth in listener numbers^ a highlight of which is a 19.2% growth for the breakfast show.”

David Brice, TRN’s director of programming & marketing:

“It is simply outstanding for The Radio Network to again have four of the top 5 stations in Auckland – Newstalk ZB, Coast, ZM and Classic Hits.

In Auckland, TRN improved its performance with an increased share of listening. Now 49.9%* of Aucklanders listen to a TRN station.

The Radio Network’s Newstalk ZB remains New Zealand’s number one radio station scoring an increase in share of listening to 12.7% (11.6%).

“The performance of Newstalk ZB continues to outshine, drawing in more listeners which is very gratifying.”

“Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast performed exceptionally well in Auckland increasing share of listening to 20%(18.7%) and it also remains the nation’s most popular breakfast show with an increased national share of listening of 16.7% (15.7%).

In Auckland, Newstalk ZB continues to have the most listeners followed by ZM making ZM the number one music station in Auckland.

“ZM’s Morning Crew – Polly, Grant and New Hot Guy achieved a record high as the number one music breakfast for Auckland, while also remaining number one in Wellington.

In other highlights for TRN the new Classic Hits Auckland breakfast show Jase, Justin and Stace grew their audience by 5,000 listeners and Tony Veitch on Radio Sport grew his national breakfast audience by over 8,000 listeners.


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