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Welcome to a Friday update of Unmade, the industry publication your boss reads.
Today, we dive into the radio ratings and the podcast rankings, and explore what both sets of data tell us about the extraordinary rise and rise of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson, from Sydney personalities into national audio players.
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How The Kyle & Jackie O Show moved to a new level
Every once in a while the planets align.
This year it will happen three times - in March, April and November.
This was one of those weeks.
On Wednesday, the monthly Australian Podcast Ranker dropped, featuring the numbers for February.
And yesterday, the first set of radio ratings for the year, covering the six-week period of January 15 to February 25, landed.
We’re in one of three weeks in the year where we get the fullest snapshot of the state of play in audio with radio and podcast numbers both arriving in the same week.
The winners in both were Kyle Sandilands & Jackie Henderson.
On Wednesday The Kyle & Jackie O Show topped the Podcast Ranker for monthly listeners for the first time, with 1.061m monthly listeners.
The closest they’ve come before was third. More commonly, the battle for the top has been a two-way fight between the Hamish & Andy show, featuring Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, and Casefile True Crime.
This number was the biggest by a long way for Sandilands & Henderson in the podcast ranker. Something is going on with their audience listening habits. And we’ll come on to that.
The pair were also involved in another landmark moment yesterday. Nine’s talk station 2GB finally lost its crown to Kiis FM after nearly two decades as Sydney’s number one radio station. Monday to Sunday, KiisFM took a 11.9% share of the Sydney market. 2GB’s share slipped to 11%.
Alongside that, The Kyle & Jackie O Show overtook 2GB’s Ben Fordham, for the number one breakfast slot. They’ve done that twice before, once in 2021 and once in 2022.
But one of the fascinating things about both sets of numbers coming out in the same week is that two different metrics, measured completely differently - have confirmed the same simple fact - there’s a huge new momentum behind Sandilands and Henderson.
The Kyle & Jackie O Show has remade the radio market a couple of times - first taking top slot for 2Day FM; then at the start of 2014, when they switched from Southern Cross Austereo to help ARN launch KiisFM which became the top FM station.
Both of those achievements have been widely recognised, but what is even more remarkable is that they are remaking the landscape for a third time.
Their current wins aren’t just incremental. To understand the rocket fuel behind the show at the moment, you need to look at the long term trends.
First, we’ll look at cumulative audience - the number of people in the radio survey who tune in at some point across the week.
In the second half of last year, something a bit odd started to happen. The Kyle & Jackie O Show cume number started to break out, higher than it had even been before - with an unusual degree of movement for an established show that had been on air for the best part of nine years. I initially suspected that the final two cume numbers of last year were some sort of sampling blip (the ratings are calculated by GfK via a panel of people keeping diaries) - not least because they shared half of the same sample.
But yesterday’s numbers were a fresh set with a whole new sample. And they grew again - hitting a cume of 842,000. And remember, that’s just for the Sydney version of the show.
The largest cume 2GB’s Alan Jones every achieved was 516,000 while his successor Ben Fordham’s top point was 519,000, early last year, He’s now down to 417,000.
A second reason to begin to believe the numbers are real, is the similarity in the pattern of podcast downloads. Triton captures actual streaming data, rather than panels keeping diaries. Look at the pattern for the Kyle & Jackie O Show.
Even allowing for the dip in podcast downloads during the long summer break when the normal show isn’t on air, that jump in February is extraordinary. Again, they appear to be finding a new audience.
Sandilands, a new father, has became less polarising. He’s stayed interesting enough to retain existing listeners, but found new listeners too.
There’s a good piece on Media Week this morning featuring Kiis FM’s content boss Duncan Campbell, who offers his own theory:
“They’re still relevant to the audience which is extraordinary given their ages – but they just love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious.
“I think having had the baby, to be honest, has really taken some of the rough edges off Kyle, but not in a negative sense. I think he’s now more accessible than ever before, to be honest, and in a really positive way.”
I suspect that Sandilands and Henderson don’t keep an eye on the fluctuations of the ASX. If they had, they would have seen Southern Cross Austereo’s market capitalisation sink to the lowest in the company’s history on Tuesday. I wonder where we’d be at, if SCA had managed to hang on to them.
For a couple of years now, Sandilands has been making it clear that he’d like the live show to be broadcast nationaly (ARN stations around the country already carry a best-of version in the evening, and the live show is available to be streamed).
The challenge for ARN to get Sandilands and Henderson to renew their contracts when they come up again must be not just financial, but to find new ways of keeping them interested. Yet making the leap would be putting a lot of eggs in one basket. The current momentum may make that decision a little easier.
Unmade Index steadies
It was a better day on The Unmade Index yesterday, as markets calmed down after a nervous few days around the global banking system. The index was flat, rising by 0.15%
Seven West Media and Nine both recovered a little yesterday, while Southern Cross Austereo and HT&E both fell some more.
Time to leave you to your Friday. I’ll be back with Best of the Week tomorrow.
Have a great day.
Publisher - Unmade
I wonder how much ARN have Channel 7 to thank for this? Having Kyle as a judge on Australian Idol must be helping his brand, and the uptake in his audio content must surely be slipstreaming off the back of that.