Alan Jones: the radio juggernaut
The first radio ratings survey of 2018 has delivered the death knell for some formats and personalities, and a glimmer of hope for others.
The biggest and most incredible story from these results is the continuing success of 2GB. Number one in Sydney with an 11.8 point audience share delivering a record of 110 number ones in a row.
This result was led by the unrivalled success of Alan Jones up a massive 2.2 points to 15.5 points taking him to an incredible 209 number ones in a row.
He is a phenomenon.
Talkback radio has traditionally succeeded based on the host holding firm and often polarising opinions on the key issues of the day.
Jones delivers this and a whole lot more.
He has just given 2GB breakfast rating figures that his rivals can only dream about.
Many have tried to tear him down, none have succeeded. But how does he do it? What is his secret?
There is a sum of many parts which make up the success of this man on radio.
He has been around a long time and many listeners, who are creatures of habit, tune into him because of this. Among them are listeners who feel like he is part of their daily ritual; he tells them what is happening, what is important and keeps them across the daily issues that directly affect them.
People like to feel they have a friend in Jones, who can influence the decision-makers in government (at all levels) and corporations. He forms strong opinions and a commitment to upholding those opinions.
He doesn't prevaricate or back down. It does not matter how many people he upsets, including the Prime Minister if he does not agree.
Jones' opinions, whether you like them or not, are based on knowing his subject and audience.
"I prepare with a massive amount of reading and listening," he said. "I read every bit of my correspondence and answer every email, letter personally.
"My listeners are my research, I know what matters to them, I get down in the trenches with them and I stand up for the battler.
"I care, what they care about, they know I will listen to them, and they trust me."
Vital to the on-going success to any talk-back program is consistency of the presenters' views, so listeners can rely on them. To speak from the heart, means it reaches the heart. This is the key to Jones' success.
"My opinions are sometimes divisive, but I tell it like it is. My listeners know they will get the truth and I will ensure that I do the work to deliver that truth," he said.
"They may not always agree with me, but they will listen to what I have to say."
He has built on his success like an established brand; he is reliable, consistent and even when he is away from the microphone the listeners remain loyal waiting for his return.
He is devoted to responding to his listeners at a time and social media age when people are often ignored and not responded to when they reach out. Devotion to them, consistency, and time equals his success.
Elsewhere in the survey, the results were mixed for Sydney radio's major players.
WSFM maintained its No.1 FM position despite a significant drop of .07 points. The station's recent music revisions saw them move away from the 1960s and '70s to focus on the '80s and '90s could explain this loss; however, it is not uncommon when a station repositions and modifies their music position to lose some audience.
Its sister station KIIS* also experienced a significant drop of 1.8 points overall. Their new drive duo Will and Woody failed to fire, dropping a massive 1.7 points. They are a talented duo relocating from Perth and will need time to build and establish a relationship with their audience.
While this is happening the NOVA 969 Drive team of Kate, Tim and Marty seized the opportunity moving past KIIS.
2Day FM* continue to languish at the bottom of the FM ladder despite a slight increase of .02 points overall.
Since the departure of Kyle and Jackie O (more than four years ago) many mistakes have been made while trying to compete with the same style of breakfast show. They needed to have a point of difference and not directly go up against KIIS. This was a costly mistake, spending millions on several different combinations of personalities and marketing to try and make some inroads.
Finally 2Day FM has seen a slight increase in Breakfast; moving up from 2.8 points to 3.4 points.This is the first positive sign, coinciding with the toning down of Em Rusciano and the introduction of the much-loved Grant Denyer, coupled with the new music position Adult Contemporary.
ABC Sydney’s Breakfast with Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck has jumped into second place overall with an impressive 10.3 point audience share.
Triple j has also seen positive growth with a solid 6.7 points, up 1.8 points across the day.
Cherie Romaro is the CEO of International Media. She has previously been a strategic advisor for major radio stations in Australia and internationally, including ARN* and Austereo*.