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The Battle of the AM and FM dials – Metro Radio Survey 7, 2021 Update

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Michael Smith
November 11, 2021

Unexpected results in locked-down Sydney and Melbourne

AM stations have had a strong 2021, with locked-down Australians tuning into talk radio, most notably 2GB in Sydney and 3AW in Melbourne.

Survey 7 is the penultimate survey for 2021, and saw FM on the road to recovery in Sydney with good showings from Triple M and Nova, but FM stations Triple M and Fox on the back foot in Melbourne.

Although FM stations put in good showings in certain day parts, breakfast talk radio heavy weights continued to dominate breakfast in the nation’s two biggest markets.

Here’s a closer look at this trend, as well other key takeaways from the survey, broken down by market:


2GB’s Ben Fordham continues to solidify his lead in Sydney’s important breakfast timeslot, gaining a full percentage point to secure 19.8% of audience share, surging ahead of KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O who slipped slightly 10.7 points. WSFM’s breakfast team Jonesy and Amanda saw a significant drop of 0.9 percentage points landing on 7.9%

However, FM stations, particularly Triple M and Nova, saw a boost overall during survey 7, both growing their audience by 0.7 percentage points to each secure 5.4% of the market overall. KIIS FM held steady with 8% of all listeners 10+ across all day parts, while 2GB dropped 0.7 points to 15.7%.

This shift is interesting considering that Sydney was still under strict lockdown during the survey period, though they opened up earlier than Melbourne.

Sydney DAB stations saw a slight drop in cumulative audience from the previous owners, with Coles Radio reporting the highest audience numbers, surging ahead of previous digital leader KIIS 90s.


There were no surprises in Melbourne’s breakfast scene, with 2GB’s Ross and Russ gaining another 0.5 percentage points to secure a whopping 24.3% market share. Their closest commercial competitors for the timeslot was Gold FM which dropped 0.8 points to 8.6%.

3AW also dominated the market overall, gaining 0.7 points to a 18.9% market share across all day parts. Things weren’t looking so good for Triple M and Fox, with the latter seeing the biggest drop across the market overall, losing 1.1 points to settle on 5.5%.

Another interesting result, given that Melbourne was under lockdown during most of the Survey 7 period.

In contrast to Sydney, Melbourne’s DAB landscape grew once again, with digital stations gaining 121,000 in cumulative audience since survey 6 to 975,000 total cumulative audience. Gold 80s had the most audience overall, with other big movers being MMM Classic Rock and NOVA Noughties.


Nova dominated the Brisbane market for the second survey in a row, after tough competition throughout the year including a three-way tie for top spot in survey 5. Despite dropping 0.2 percentage points, Nova lead the market with 11.5  per cent, narrowly ahead of 4KQ on 11.3% and 97.3FM on 11%.

Nova also had the highest ratings for breakfast, holding steady on 13.1%, while 4KQ also held 12 percentage points for this day part.


Adelaide’s Fiveaa was another talk radio success story in survey 7, seeing a boost of 1.7 points to a 10% overall share after disappointments across the previous surveys. The station was also the highest-rating commercial channel for breakfast, recovering last survey’s 2.4% to return to 13.6 percentage points.

Conversely, FM station MIX 102.3 fell by a whopping 2.3 percentage points, just managing to hold onto the market’s top spot overall with 11.5% across all day parts.


FM stayed on top in Perth with Nova hanging on to the top spot for the market overall with 12.6 percentage points despite slipping 0.5%. The next biggest audience shares overall went to fellow FM stations MIX 94.5 and 96FM, on 11.2% and 11.4% respectively, despite both also dropping significantly.

For breakfast, 6iX, 6PR and Triple M all increased their market share, while Nova held on to the top spot for this day part despite dropping 1.5 percentage points.

Don’t miss our upcoming update on Survey 8, the final survey for 2021, which is sure to provide interesting insights into Australia’s post-lockdown media landscape!

Source: GFK Survey 7, 2021

About Michael Smith
If you need to know more about Michael, you can ask pretty much anyone. After more than twenty years in Australian media, it can be hard for him to make it from one side of a room to another – without bumping into someone he’s worked with along the way. Michael has built a steadfast reputation in media planning and brokering, which has been built over decades of growing small businesses into large companies.

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