Sounding off: More FM’s local/national fusion lures the listeners

As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we’ve asked a few of the company’s programme directors about the performance of their brands, the state of radio and the importance of digital channels. More FM was one of the few brands to increase its audience in the recent T2 radio survey. And network programme director Christian Boston says its dual strategy is paying dividends.   

More FM’s formula of mixing in local content for regional hubs with nationally syndicated shows anchored by well-known personalities has proved a strong one in the latest T2 radio survey ratings. It increased overall cumulative listenership to 331,600 from 294,000 in the T2 2014 survey (12mn – 12mn). And it’s also one of only two stations, along with talk-format Newstalk ZB, to have increased cumulative listenership in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 category. 

  • ​Check out all the results from the T2 survey here

Tell us a bit more about More FM’s strategy. 

We’re running a dual strategy—an entertainment show for the Metro network (Si and Gary) and a local strategy for other regions. Both are working and have paid off for us.

Simon has been a successful television personality in the past and his Dancing with the Stars appearance increased his awareness in 2015. No doubt this played a part in the survey success, but in the end you need to be putting on a great engaging breakfast show day after day to attract and hold audience, and that’s what Si and Gary do. They’re a class act.

Si & Gary have grown two surveys in a row in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Waikato. In Christchurch they’ve had their best results in over a decade, a clear number one all 10+ and up to a 20.5 percent share. In Auckland they’ve grown to number one in their target of 30-49 female and they just added 14,800 listeners, which is much more than any other Auckland show. 

In other markets our local breakfast shows are outright number one all 10+ in Northland and Manawatu. We launched a new local show into the Bay of Plenty this week to bolster the results there next year, and the recently launched local Coromandel breakfast show is going very well.

Together this strategy added over 37,000 listeners, making More FM the number two music station in the country behind The Edge (*national cume), and number one in our targets of 30-49 female and main grocery shoppers. 

In a highly networked landscape with already high levels of market saturation, are stations just cannibalising their own network’s audience? Is there room for real growth?

Our point of difference is that we tailor either local or network shows to each market.  

With music streaming services growing in popularity and increasingly incorporating the discoverability that radio always touted, as well as moving into cars (and in some cases replacing am/fm), is there a danger radio brands could become obsolete? Or will we always seek out personalities and tastemakers? 

A streaming service will play you music, yes, but only Mike West’s Palmerston North-based breakfast show has local information and wants to engage your opinion on something happening there. I can listen to a station in Wagga Wagga right now, but I don’t because it’s not relevant to me. People always gravitate to personalities they trust.

Radio was, in some ways, an early form of social media (especially talk back). And many of the brands and DJs have big social followings. So is the paper diary an accurate reflection of a radio brand’s overall clout these days? 

Interacting with a DJ or station Facebook page is engaging with the brand, all of which increases the brand clout.

How are you extending the brand online? And are events becoming a bigger part of your business? 

More FM’s website will do over 30 million page impressions this year compared to four million in 2013 and online listening for us is growing, so digital is a key part of what we’re doing. More FM has always backed the big events. Christmas in the Park, Round the Bays, Auckland Marathon have been a part of our culture. 

What are some of the best examples of ad campaigns/brand partnerships/promotions/competitions over the past year? 

Ed Sheeran’s #schoolofed visit in Christchurch

Simon and Vanessa’s win on Dancing with the Stars.  

A weekend away to see Madonna

Who is in Graham Norton’s Big Red Chair?

  • This story is part of a content partnership with MediaWorks

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