The Edge, Newstalk win radio wars

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 13:24 11/04/2014

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Despite high-profile changes of radio hosts, Newstalk ZB and The Edge have dominated commercial radio according to a new survey.

Mediaworks-owned youth-orientated music station The Edge, which lost popular drive-time hosts Fletch and Vaughn to rivals The Radio Network, remains the most listened to radio station nationwide, with a cumulative weekly audience of close to 430,000, according to the TNS national audience survey.

Mediaworks spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer said despite losing Fletch and Vaughn, replacement host and comedian Guy Williams "is something of a secret weapon" who had helped improve drive show audiences.

"The Edge has just been blockbuster," Lorimer said.

But talkback station Newstalk ZB, with personalities such as Mike Hosking and Kerre McIvor, can also claim a win, maintaining the highest market share, at 12.1 per cent and winning the lucrative Auckland breakfast market, with about 170,000 listeners.

Public radio station Radio New Zealand is not included in the survey.

A radio industry insider said the twice-yearly survey results would mean "much of the same" for advertisers, who used the survey results to gauge where to spend their clients' advertising budgets.

He said there were two measures of success - weekly cumulative audience, which indicated how many listeners tuned in to a station, and market share which measured how long listeners remain on a station. Both were important for advertisers.

Nationally, The Edge pipped Newstalk ZB by 30,000 listeners, followed by rival pop music station ZM in third and The Breeze, The Rock and Classic Hits.

Newstalk ZB's talkback and current affairs rival RadioLive has seen its national audience figures largely stagnate, despite the high profile appointments of Duncan Garner and Alison Mau.

Lorimer said Mau, who replaced John Tamihere at the start of the year, had helped the lunchtime show increase cumulative audience figures by 10 per cent.

However, nationally RadioLive has less than half of Newstalk's cumulative audience and ranks 10th in audience market share to Newstalk ZB's first.

In the Wellington market ZM kept the largest cumulative audience, ahead of The Breeze and Newstalk ZB.

In Canterbury More FM, with popular local hosts Gary McCormick and Simon Barnett, led the pack, with The Edge and Newstalk ZB second and third respectively.

TNS said total national audiences had only marginally slipped as new digital music platforms, such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify gained popularity. They are not included in the audience survey.

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- Fairfax Media

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