Rock music station 96fm has taken out the top spot in the first ratings survey of the year, jumping an impressive 2.9 per cent overall to leapfrog over Perth’s former leading station Nova 93.7.
It’s a stunning comeback for 96fm which spent several years in the ratings wilderness after losing its sense of identity. But things started to turn around for the station when radio stalwart Gary Roberts was installed as managing director in 2019 and promptly made what was old new again by ‘re-branding’ as a rock music station.
Survey One also revealed the bad news continued for former top station 92.9 Triple M, which was nudged into eighth spot by golden oldies station 6IX.
In the AM ratings race, both ABC and 6PR recorded falls overall, losing 1.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.
In a breakdown of the stats per timeslot, 96fm’s breakfast team of Clairsy and Lisa made a huge gain of 2.5 per cent to sit at 11.4 per cent of the audience share, but it wasn’t enough to knock Nova’s long running breakfast team of Nathan, Nat and Shaun out of top spot, with the team still sitting on a high of 14.4 after gaining 1.7 points themselves.
Over at the ABC, new breakfast host Tom Baddeley had some very big shoes to fill after the sudden passing of the much-loved Russel Woolf, who finished last year’s ratings on top. A dip in the ratings after the high was to be expected, with the program losing 2.7 per cent to sit fourth overall in the timeslot, although just a whisker above rival station 6PR’s breakfast program, hosted by Gareth Parker.
96fm took another massive leap in the Mornings timeslot to be on top at 14.2 per cent, with Nova and former Perth number one station Mix 94.5 on equal second with 12.1 per cent. The news wasn’t so good over at the ABC, with Nadia Mitsopoulos falling 1.8 per cent to 5.9 per cent of audience share, while her counterpart at 6PR Liam Bartlett held steady on 9.2 per cent.
96fm continued its good form over both the Afternoons and Drive slots, picking up 3.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively. In the AM stable, both the ABC’s Geoff Hutchison and 6PR’s Ollie Peterson had significant falls, with Hutchison losing 2.1 per cent to sit at 5.8 per cent of audience share, and Peterson losing 2.6 per cent to capture 6.1 per cent of the Drive audience.
Gary Roberts, who stepped down as managing director of 96fm at the end of last year, would no doubt be chuffed that all his hard work is paying off. Survey Two will be out on April 12 and will tell whether the station can hold on to its new crown.