Two stations’ listenership increases in the past year stand out in the relatively stable picture of local radio listenership, reflected in SAARF’s latest Radio Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS) release.
“Most stations have found their baseline. The only way it could be more positive, is if we had more growth,” Michelle Boehme, technical manager of the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF), says.
Gagasi 99.5 FM (the former P4 Radio Durban) and Kaya FM 95.9 registered a signifi cant growth in year-on-year 7-day and average Monday to Friday listenership: Gagasi’s 7-day listenership increased from 942,000 to 1.508-million (a 60 percent increase). Its average Monday to Friday listenership grew by 69 percent, from 526,000 to 891,000.
Kaya’s 7-day listenership increased by 41 percent, from 979,000 to 1.383-million. Its average Monday to Friday listenership was 38 percent higher on 598,000 in the latest release, compared with 434,000 a year ago.
Boehme says although RAMS does not determine the causes of such increases, they are normally the result of an action on the station’s part, such as a change in programme line-up, migration to FM or a footprint increase.
Asked about Kaya FM’s growth in listenership, Neil Johnson, the station’s content manager, says a “tight format” is key. Kaya’s programming is “focused on the listeners’ talk needs, music and lifestyle needs”.
Music needs are researched twice a month. “This research targets both Kaya and non-Kaya listeners in our target market and demographic.”
The database of “oldies” are tested twice a year with a group of listeners and potential listeners, Johnson says.
Particular attention is paid to the order of songs Ã¢Â€Â“ genres are not mixed haphazardly. Because Kaya’s format is based on 60 percent music and 40 percent talk, the station also competes with talk stations.
Johnson says getting John Perlman to host the evening talk show (6pm to 7pm) was “quite a feat”.
On the talk side, Kaya competes with stations such as Talk Radio 702 and SAfm from 5.30pm until 10pm. Johnson says Kaya’s programming provides a “definite alternative” from 6pm when other stations air business shows. Kaya’s business slot is aired before 6pm Ã¢Â€Â“ from 5.30pm.
Kaya’s sport show, for example, airs after Metro’s sport show hosted by Robert Marawa, so that listeners who missed that, can tune in to Kaya’s show, Johnson says. Gagasi, which was “refocused and rebranded” in March 2006, has now made its debut in the list of top ten favourite national stations. This is based on the number of respondents that identified a specific station as their favourite (and not on total listenership).
The top ten favourite stations are:
!_LT_EM* Number of listeners whose favourite it is in brackets!_LT_/EM
1. Ukhozi FM (4.392-million)*
2. Umhlobo Wenene FM (3.488-million)
3. Lesedi FM (2.308-million)
4. Thobela FM (2.073-million)
5. Motsweding FM (1.853-million)
6. Metro FM (1.722-million)
7. RSG (1.179-million)
8. East Coast Radio (951,000)
9. 94.2 Jacaranda (949,000)
10. Gagasi 99.5 FM (930,000)
Neither Gagasi nor Kaya, however, made the list of national top ten stations based on listenership.
The top ten, according to 7-day and average Monday to Friday listenership, are dominated by SABC stations.
The top ten stations, according to 7-days listenership are:
!_LT_EM* February 2007 figures in brackets!_LT_/EM
1. Ukhozi FM (SABC): 6.175-million (6.287-million)*
2. Metro FM (SABC): 5.255-million (5.257-million)
3. Umhlobo Wenene FM (SABC): 4.774-million (4.859-million)
4. Lesedi FM (SABC): 3.564-million (3.765-million)
5. Thobela FM (SABC): 3.006-million (3.060-million)
6. Motsweding FM (SABC): 2.880-million (2.935-million)
7. Jacaranda 94.2 (Kagiso Media): 2.562-million (2.485-million)
8. RSG (SABC): 1.834-million (1.892-million)
9. East Coast Radio (Kagiso Media): 1.768-million (1.779-million)
10. iKwekwezi (SABC): 1.578-million (1.728-million)
The list is unchanged compared with the February 2007 release. The picture changes slightly when the average Monday to Friday listenership is considered. Here, Ligwalagwala FM takes iKwekwezi’s place at no. 10.
The top ten stations, based on average Monday to Friday listenership are:
!_LT_EM* February 2007 figures in brackets!_LT_/EM
1. Ukhozi FM (SABC): 4.035-million (4.434-million)*
2. Umhlobo Wenene FM (SABC): 3.150-million (3.432-million)
3. Lesedi FM (SABC): 2.280-million (2.544-million)
4. Metro FM (SABC): 2.202-million (2.378-million)
5. Thobela FM (SABC): 1.981-million (1.943-million)
6. Motsweding FM (SABC): 1.740-million (1.850-million)
7. Jacaranda 94.2 (Kagiso Media): 1.281-million (1.243-million)
8. RSG (SABC): 1.221-million (1.243-million)
9. East Coast Radio (Kagiso Media): 1.036-million (1.064-million)
10. Ligwalagwala FM (SABC): 943,000 (908,000)
According to the February 2008 RAMS release, 28.635- million South Africans listen to radio at least once in seven days. This is 26,000 more than the total number in the February 2007 release (28.609-million). As a percentage of the growing adult population the latest fi gure, however, represents a slight decrease from 92.6 percent a year ago to 92 percent of South Africans 16 years and older in the latest release.
The research found the average Monday to Friday listenership decreased significantly (79 percent to 75 percent), as did listenership on Saturdays (74.8 percent to 71.2 percent) and Sundays (73 percent to 68.9 percent), compared with the February 2007 release.
Listenership across all categories decreased signifi cantly in Pretoria. Stations affected by the decline in Pretoria listenership include 94.7 Highveld Stereo, 99.2 YFM and Motsweding FM. The average time spent listening to radio per day, decreased overall Ã¢Â€Â“ by 16 minutes from 4:37 to 4:21.
The provinces with the highest averages for time spent listening per day are the Free State (5:12), followed by Limpopo (4:52). At the other end of the scale are Gauteng (3:48) and the Western Cape (3:44). Boehme says the RAMS study doesn’t determine the reason for the decrease in time spent listening, but it can be hypothesised, based on AMPS (All Media and Products Survey), that people spend more time on other media Ã¢Â€Â“ including television.
Aside from Gagasi and Kaya, other stations with year-on-year increases in 7-day listenership are:
!_LT_LIBRFM: 83,000 to 102,000 (23 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LITalk Radio 702: 333,000 to 406,000 (22 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LISAfm: 517,000 to 621,000 (20 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIAlgoa FM: 680,000 to 786,000 (16 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIRMFM: 634,000 to 696,000 (10 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIClassic FM 102.7: 191,000 to 208,000 (nine percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI567 Cape Talk: 133,000 to 140,000 (fi ve percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LILotus FM: 385,000 to 404,000 (fi ve percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI5fm: 1.452-million to 1.498-million (three percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIJacaranda 94.2: 2.485-million to 2.562-million (three percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI99.2 YFM: 1.184-million to 1.200-million (one percent)!_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL
Stations with !_LT_STRONGdeclining 7-day audiences (year-on-year)!_LT_/STRONG are:
!_LT_LIRadiokansel/Radio Pulpit: 464,000 to 190,000 (by 59 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIOFM: 585,000 to 506,000 (14 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LICKI FM Stereo: 605,000 to 525,000 (13 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI94.5 Kfm: 1.236-million to 1.096-million (11 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIRadio 2000: 260,000 to 234,000 (10 percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIiKwekwezi FM: 1.728-million to 1.578-million (nine percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIHeart 104.9 FM: 619,000 to 571,000 (eight percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIPhalaphala FM: 973,000 to 895,000 (eight percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI94.7 Highveld Stereo: 1.287-million to 1.192-million (seven percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LILesedi FM: 3.765-million to 3.564-million (five percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIRSG: 1.892-million to 1.834-million (three percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIMotsweding FM: 2.935-million to 2.880-million (two percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIMunghana Lonene FM: 1.269-million to 1.239-million (two percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIThobela FM: 3.060-million to 3.006-million (two percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIUkhozi FM: 6.287-million to 6.175-million (two percent)!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIUmhlobo Wenene FM: 4.859-million to 4.774-million (two percent)!_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL
Stations with a year-on-year percentage change in listenership of less than one percent are:
!_LT_LILigwalagwala FM (stayed on 1.481-million),!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIMetro FM: (5.255-million in the latest release),!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIEast Coast Radio (1.768-million) and!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIGood Hope FM (617,000).!_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL
According to the latest RAMS release, the total community radio station listenership decreased from 6.618-million to 6.095-million since the February 2007 release.
The top five community radio stations based on 7-day listenership are:
!_LT_EM* February 2007 figures in brackets!_LT_/EM
1. Jozi FM 105.8: 508,000 (487,000)*
2. Unitra Community Radio: 310,000 (400,000)
3. Radio Tygerberg 104 FM: 280,000 (318,000)
4. Radio 786 / Voice of the Cape 100.4 & 95.8 FM: 203,000 (164,000)
5. Thetha FM 100.6: 195,000 (158,000)
Other RAMS findings include:
!_LT_LIOn average, South African adults listen to two radio stations each.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIA decrease in the proportion of radio listeners in the groups LSM1 Ã¢Â€Â“ 3 and an increase in LSM 5 Ã¢Â€Â“ 7.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIiKwekwezi FM: An increase in 7-day listenership in metropolitan areas and in the group LSM 6 and above.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIMetro FM: An increase in 7-day listenership in Johannesburg.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LITalk Radio 702: An increase in 7-day listenership on the Reef.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LI94.5 Kfm: A year-on-year decline in average Monday to Friday listenership; from 811,000 to 653,000.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LILesedi FM: A year-on-year decline in average Monday to Friday listenership; from 2.544-million to 2.280-million.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIOFM: The average Monday to Friday listenership has dropped from 373,000 to 294,000 since February 2007.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIRadiokansel/Radio Pulpit: A decrease in average Monday to Friday listenership; from 243,000 to 86,000.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIUkhozi FM: A drop in the average Monday to Friday listenership; from 4.434-million to 4.035-million since February 2007.!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIUmhlobo Wenene FM: A year-on-year decline in average Monday to Friday listenership; from 3.432-million to 3.150-million since February 2007.!_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL
The results are based on 18,923 self-completion diaries placed at respondents’ homes. The February 2008 release covers the period September to December 2007.
Ã¢Â–Â This article was first published in The Media magazine’s March 2008 Radio Collection.