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Nine’s Talk Radio Stations Facing Stiff Competition – Metro Radio Survey 3, 2021 Update

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Angie Smith
June 2, 2021

Does Survey 3 signal the beginning of the end of talk radio dominance?

In the last few surveys, we’ve seen the dominance of Nine talk radio stations, particularly in the Sydney and Melbourne markets. However, Survey 3 for 2021, which was released on June 1, indicates a departure from this trend. Nine’s 2GB in Sydney and 3AW in Melbourne saw a reduced market share for the survey period, though both managed to hold on to the leading position in their markets.

In Sydney, this fall was largely driven by a decline in breakfast audience, with 2GB falling 2.0 percentage points for this time slot, and 1.7% overall across all day parts. While over in Melbourne, 3AW lost 1.4% to 15.6% of the market.

We’ll have to wait for Survey 4 in July to see whether this trend continues, or whether Nine’s talk back stations can consolidate their position and hold on to the top spots in Australia’s largest markets.

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


KIIS1065 gained most from 2GB’s loss of market share in the breakfast time slot, gaining 2% audience share for this day part for the third survey period. This put KIIS’ Kyle and Jackie O at their highest ever Sydney breakfast audience share of 12.9%, not too far behind 2GB at 13.5%.

SmoothFM captured the highest audience share for drive, surging 1.3% to 11.1% for this day part. This helped the station secure 10.8% of overall audience share, climbing 1.5% since Survey 2 and putting SmoothFM in second place for Sydney, behind 2GB. However, KIIS was not too far behind, gaining 0.7 points in Survey 3 to 9.6% overall.


Despite following the trend for Nine talkback stations with a loss of 1.4%, 3AW breakfast team Ross and Russell are still well in front of their competitors with 20.1% of the market. The biggest gain for breakfast in Melbourne was KIS101.1 with a 1.8% rise to 7.4%. However, Survey 3 will be the last for KIIS’ Melbourne breakfast duo Jase and PJ with PJ going back to New Zealand, so it will be interesting to see how the station performs across the next few surveys.

3AW also held on to the top spot for drive, despite dropping 1.2 percentage points to 13.5%, while Gold 104.3 dominated afternoons with a 14.9% market share. Overall, 3AW’s closest competitor was Gold 104.3 which slipped slightly to hold on to 11.1%, followed by Fox FM and Nova, both with 7.8% across all day parts.


Nova 106.9 took back the top spot of the Brisbane market, gaining 0.5 percentage points to secure 11.1% of the market overall across all day parts, taking the lead back from B105, which lost 1.2 points to end on 9.9%, and surging ahead of 4KQ, which slipped 0.7 points to 10.3%.

Nova also dominated breakfast in Brisbane with 12.0 percentage points, an increase of 0.8 points, ahead of closest commercial competitors 4KQ which fell 1.7% to 10.3% for the day part, and Triple M which held steady on 10.6 percentage points.


Mix 102.3 continued its dominance of the Adelaide market with a relatively steady 13.0% share of the market overall, with its closest competitor being Nova, which gained 0.6 points to 11.5%. Mix also dominated the breakfast time slot gaining 0.3 percentage points to 12.3%.

SAFM faltered, slipping 1.5% to 7.1%, despite the station’s rebranding from Hit Network back to SAFM last year.


Nova 93.7 consolidated its dominance of the Perth market with a 0.2 percentage point-gain to 13.5% of the market. Mix 94.5 lost 0.7% but held on to the second position with a 11.9% share across all day parts, ahead of 96FM at 11.1%, despite that station growing by 0.4 points.

Both Nova and 96FM enjoyed 1.9 point gains for drive in Survey 2, putting them in first and third spot for that day part, with 17.1% and 12.0% respectively. Mix 94.5 held on to the second spot for drive, despite slipping slightly to 12.7%.

We hope you will find these insights helpful as you formulate your media strategy for the rest of the year. Keep checking back for more news and updates!

Source: GFK Survey 3, 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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