There’s life in Lifestyle after all
Monday 20 March, 2017
#1 Weekend Breakfast and 3rd highest rating shift overall in Sydney
Adam Lang says it's all in the execution
To confound the ‘radio claque’ and itinerant naysayers, Survey One threw up an unexpected rise for 2UE.
The Talking Lifestyle format that has now been rolled out to Magic in Melbourne and Brisbane was expected to fail spectacularly, yet survives. Not only that, it seems to be in rude health. Up from a lowly 3.5 to a less lowly 4.4, increasing its audience share by 26%.
But before anyone gets too excited, there are some disclaimers.
Firstly, it’s just one survey result. You need several before you can point to the establishment of any sort of trend.
Secondly, It was their ‘non-lifestyle’ talk shows that recorded the biggest gains. John and Garry on Breakfast rose by 1.3 to a 5.1 share.
Enter George and Paul on Weekend Breakfast (6am - midday, Sat & Sun) who grabbed an incredible 12.4% share - almost triple the station average - making them not only a runaway #1 in their timeslot, but the third highest rating show in all of Sydney radio behind Ray Hadley (15.6) and Alan Jones (in his absence, 12.9)
Adam Lang, (left) MacRadio COO disputes the assertion that 2UE’s Breakfast shows are ‘non-lifestyle’ in nature. “Before, it was Newstalk,” he says.
Certainly the John and Garry Breakfast show is more a general conversation about “stuff” than the heavy news and political content on 2UE’s sister station, 2GB. George and Paul, though, are in their 15th year on 2UE and little has changed. They still provide their listeners with a solid dose of conservative politics mixed in with quizzes, entertainment news, crime files and bush poetry.
That aside, what most in the industry understands the Talking Lifestyle format to be is a series of bloc programs on subjects such as Gardening, Travel, Wellbeing etc, designed to entice relevant advertisers to the station. The rationale being that if the station couldn’t generate more listeners and, since the merger, no longer wanted to steal them from 2GB anyway, why not change the format to one where it could offer advertisers better targeting and immersion into the station’s content? In other words, fewer but more engaged listeners.
On that basis, a rise in revenue at the expense of audience share might have been an acceptable outcome for the beancounters at Macquarie.
But blow us all down, even the Lifestyle blocs rose in share. Evenings (7pm - midnight) was the only shift to drop.
“We’re finding that people are indeed enjoying the content.” says Mr Lang. “When we are doing our own digging hour by hour we are seeing some really good results on individual shows. This format is less about the presenters shifts and more about the shows we’re putting on across the whole schedule.”
Since launch, the format has been tweaked somewhat. The advertorial laden blocs have been toned down and pared back. The first hour of Mornings with Tim Webster (left) which was a sponsor supported platform for the cruising industry has become The Morning Mix, a more generalist program that covers a range of current topics.
“Truthfully, we’ve evolved as we’ve launched into it,” says Mr Lang. “The morning mix is a reflection of both the network and the nature of the content. We’ve had two hours travel but it’s worked out better to have one hour of travel.”
The challenge now is to network the entire station to Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We’ve got Diane 'Dee Dee' Dunleavy (left) joining The Morning Mix to really give it a Melbourne perspective as well as Sydney. Because we realise we’re talking to three audiences in three locations. And then at the end of the day from five to seven we have Nick Bennett and Kayley Harris on to do the Daily Drive (5pm - 7pm) which is again very lifestyle but also crosses over a lot of the topics that we’ve covered during the day,” says Mr Lang.
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