Radio New Zealand's radio survey may be a week later than the commercial stations' results, but that doesn't mean it's not a competitor for radio glory. RNZ National is number two for weekly audience and takes out the news radio crown once again.
GfK released the RNZ survey results after the commercial stations’ as the industry felt a separation would ensure there was no confusion in the market and each would get the appropriate level of exposure.
But now, it's time for RNZ to celebrate RNZ National's audience of 579,400 New Zealanders each week. It’s an increase of 44,200 since the previous survey, but it wasn't enough to take the top spot from The Edge, which has a weekly audience of 662,300 New Zealanders.
RNZ Concert did not perform as strongly, with a weekly audience of 151,400 giving the station a rank of 18 out 25 stations (commercial and non-commercial).
Together, the two stations give RNZ a weekly audience of 645,100 New Zealanders and a share of 13.6 percent.
However, it’s important to note that while the weekly cumulative audience of commercial and non-commercial stations can be compared, the station share cannot. This is because the share results in the commercial radio reports are based on all commercial radio listening and the share results in the RNZ report are based on total New Zealand radio listening.
Chief executive and editor-in-chief Paul Thompson says the results show the continuing relevance of radio as a medium in New Zealand.
“RNZ is delighted to be a successful part of a thriving New Zealand radio industry,” he says.
“RNZ is growing audiences in radio and in other ways – on-line, on-demand and through content sharing partnerships with other media outlets. Our strategy is working and we are getting RNZ’s high-quality news and current affairs to more people than before.”
RNZ National’s numbers put it ahead of the other two commercial news stations, Newstalk ZB (495,300) and RadioLive (230,100), which in the commercial survey were ranked fourth and eleventh respectively for their weekly audience.
When looking at the three stations, their morning shows provide a battle in themselves. While it was Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that took it out in the commercial survey, it has been pipped at the post by RNZ National’s Morning Report which has an audience of 430,300 New Zealanders, an increase of 50,500.
Mike Hosking Breakfast has an audience of 351,000, while RadioLive’s The AM Show follows behind with 148,700.
The results measure the audience from 6-9am, and while this fits Morning Report and The AM Show's time slots, Mike Hosking Breakfast runs from 6-8.30am.
Growth was also seen in its Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan show (296,000 listeners, up 13,000), Jesse Mulligan 1-4pm (249,500 listeners, up 14,800), The Panel with Jim Mora (207,500 listeners, up 14,000), Checkpoint with John Campbell (265,800 listeners, up 26,700) and Nights with Bryan Crump (189,700 listeners, up 20,900).
As well as its audience growth, RNZ National is also celebrating an increase in the average time the audience spends listening, which is now 12 hours and 45 minutes per week.
“A terrific result at a time when people have more choices than ever before,” says Thompson.
He credits the station’s strong result to people responding to its refreshed programming and commitment to providing credible new and current affairs.
That commitment, of course, comes off the back of RNZ’s charter, which prescribes the broadcaster to deliver an independent and comprehensive local and international news service.
Earlier this year, head of content Carol Hirschfeld touched on this point when talking to StopPress about Checkpoint’s 50th anniversary: “That’s like being given the licence to do serious news and I think that in this very disruptive time that’s given us a very distinct voice and it lays down the parameters in which we work.”
That charter had some changes last year when the Radio New Zealand Amendment Bill was passed, bringing with it a transformation from a traditional broadcaster to a multimedia organisation that could connect with diverse audiences in a range of ways.
RNZ responded with an expansion to TV and online, with the latter's growth remaining strong. The monthly online audience is now 54 per cent higher – at 1.8 million users – than the previous year for rnz.co.nz. Partnerships with other outlets, including Fairfax, NZME, MSN, TVNZ and Bauer have added further reach.
Those partnerships are part of RNZ's commitment to reaching as many people as possible across multiple platforms. When speaking about this, Thompson gives the example of the new 9th Floor series.
“Profiling five living New Zealand prime ministers is a great example of how we are working," he says.
“The series provided RNZ with news angles, news packages, written content, video, podcasts and radio output. Most major media outlets in New Zealand have also made good use of the series and it will be broadcast on free-to-air television by TV3 (Three) later this year.”