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A first Look at Radio in 2021- Metro Radio Survey 1, 2021 Update

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Angie Smith
March 12, 2021

Radio Audiences Are Growing, Especially for Nine Stations

The results of the first Australian metro radio survey for 2021 have been released, with another strong showing for Nine’s 2GB and 3AW. This continues the trend from last year that saw these stations dominating the Sydney and Melbourne markets respectively.

Each station led their market overall, with 2GB capturing 14.4% in Sydney across all day parts, up from 13.8% in the last survey of 2020, while 3AW has 16.3% of the Melbourne market.

There’s no doubt that the last 12 months have been disruptive to the market, but this survey shows that Australians continue to tune into radio, with stations continuing to deliver strong content.

Other key takeaways from the survey, broken down by market, are:


Talent competes over Breakfast in Sydney

2GB not only dominated the overall market but also led the breakfast time slot with presenter Ben Fordham gaining 18.1% of the market. This is not only an increase of one percentage point since the last survey, but it is 3.3 points ahead of his predecessor Alan Jones this time last year.

On the FM dial, Smooth FM led the commercials stations with a 9.4 share overall and the largest overall audience of any station in this market of 1,102,000.

The 2Day FM breakfast team of Dave Hughes, Ed Kavalee, and Erin Molan saw a 0.2 percentage point increase to 4.4% for the time slot. This followed several format changes for 2Day FM breakfast since Kyle and Jackie O left the station in August 2019, with a music breakfast show, and then returned to the talent-led format with Hughes et al.

Over on Kiis FM, Kyle and Jackie O saw their breakfast audience dip by 1.5%, though remaining in front of 2Day FM with 9.8% of breakfast. It should be noted, however, that Kyle and Jackie O took a longer summer break than most of their competitors and these results may reflect that.


Once again, 3AW dominated the Melbourne market, and in particular at breakfast, with the station capturing 22.2% listeners for this day part. Their closest commercial competitors for the time slot were Gold FM with 8.9%, followed by Smooth FM and FOX FM both at 7.2%.

As mentioned, 3AW was also the best performing station overall, with 16.3% of the market across all day parts, even though this represented a drop in market share of 3.3 percentage points since the last survey. Gold FM was next with 11.0% (an increase of 2.0%) and then SmoothFM at 8.9% (a 1.1% increase).


Nova 106.9 held on to the top spot in the Brisbane market across all day parts with 11.4%, despite a drop in market share of 1.1 points. They were followed by B105 with 10.2%, then 97.4FM and Triple M both at 9.9%.

Nova also retains the lead in breakfast with 11.4%, despite a fall of 1.6 percentage points, with closest commercial rival 4KQ closing the gap with a 0.3 point gain to 10.8%, followed by Triple M at 10.6% and B105 at 10.3%.


Mix 102.3 continued to dominate the Adelaide market with a gain of 1.3 percentage points to capture 13.0% of listeners overall. This was followed by commercial stations Cruise 1323 with 10.8%, Fiveaa at 10.0%, and Nova 919 with 9.8%, all representing very little change since the last survey.

Fiveaa did see a 2.6% increase in its breakfast audience to 14.8%, increasing its lead amongst commercial radio stations in this time slot, ahead of Mix 102.3 with 10.9%. Mix 102.3 increased 2.2 points in drive to secure 13.2% of this day part, just behind leader Nova 919’s 13.3%.


The Perth market continued to be a close race, with Nova 93.7 dropping 0.7 points to 13.6% of market share overall, holding on to the top spot despite Mix 94.5 gaining 0.6 points to 12.6%. Nova’s breakfast ratings also dropped 0.7 percentage points to 15.2%, but they remained far ahead of their closest commercial competitors for this day part, even with Mix 94.5 gaining 1.2 points to 12.0% and 6PR holding steady on 10.8%. Similarly, Nova led the drive time slot with 14.8 percentage points, followed by Mix at 12.2%.

We truly hope 2021 will be a successful, safe, and productive year for you and your team. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs more updates, as well as tips and tricks for growing a successful business with media and marketing.

Source: GFK Survey 1, 2021

About Angie Smith
Before founding independent agency MediaSmiths in 2007, Angela had worked on the agency, broadcast, and publishing sides of the media industry and has an incredible insight into how each world works. Since then, Angela has worked across numerous well-known brands covering the whole spectrum of media, and leverages this know-how with her experienced wider team to get the best results for clients.

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