ZM's crew of Fletch, Vaughan and Megan won the battle for station share in the 18-34 year old audience. Photo: Facebook.

It’s rare in the commercial radio ratings for a MediaWorks music station to drop dramatically and for rival NZME to have a music brand really threatening to perform.

Both feature in the second radio audience survey for the year.


The fall was for MediaWorks’ Mai FM, the hip hop brand which for a time was way out in front for music listeners in Auckland and growing fast in second place overall behind the number one NewstalkZB. In the latest GfK survey, Mai went from an 11.1 share of the Auckland market to just 7.0, a seismic movement. 

Its loss was a gain for others, most notably the NZME pretender ZM – which has risen (by 1.9 share points this time to 5.7  in Auckland) to give its owner some return on much investment, marketing and promises to the market.

Mai fell in all its shows and across all demographics, with ZM taking number one spot in the city for 18-34 year-olds and the commercially valued 25-54 group. The drop for Mai in the 18-34 band was from a 21.8 share last survey to 11.9 and in 25-54 it fell from 16.8 share of the audience to 10.1.  ZM jumped four share points in both groups.

Another beneficiary from Mai’s decline in the important Auckland market was MediaWorks’ The Breeze, which despite falling slightly (by 0.2 of a share point to 7.6) now sits in second place.

They all sit deep in the shadow now of NewstalkZB – which has risen from 14.6 share to 15.3 in Auckland. 

In breakfast, Mike Hosking drifted slightly among Auckland listeners but is still at a 22.4 share (down from 22.6 in the first survey of the year but still well up on the already healthy 18 share recorded in the final ratings survey of last year). Second in the morning is Mai on 7.4 (down from 11.9) and then ZM (up 2.4 to 7.3).


ZB pushed its share of the national audience up again to 12.4 (from 12.0 and before that 10.4). MediaWorks filled all six of the next places, with the second biggest station The Breeze on 8.6 (up 0.2) and the broadcaster’s new combination of two former stations, Magic Music & Talk, on 8.0 (off 0.1) third, More FM (up 0.3 to 7.7), The Sound (off 0.1 to 7.5) The Rock (down 0.4 to 7.2), and The Edge (up 0.1 to 6.5). NZME’s first music station in national share was Coast in eighth with a 6.4 (down 0.7).

ZM‘s rise nationally was more modest than for Auckland, up 0.9 to 5.9, and still back in 9th place. Mai was off 1.6 nationwide to 5.9 and 11th spot.

In the breakfast slot nationwide, Hosking pushed his share to 17.2 (up 0.2) with the next biggest contender More FM on 9.7 (up a decent 0.5) and Magic Music & Talk third with 7.7 (off 0.3).

The battle between the two big broadcasters for total market share nationally has MediaWorks ahead by 51.7 to NZME’s 38.1, a slight narrowing of the gap. 

In a separate measure, for the total audience over a week nationwide, The Edge remains top, up 22,000 listeners to 630,400. MediaWorks dominates this field as well, with The Breeze up 28,000 to 569,900 and More up 28,000 to 567,500. Newstalk is fourth, up 4000 to 559,800 and ZM fifth, up 11,000 to 469,800.

RNZ National is measured in a separate survey, but its total weekly audience of 616,200 in survey 1 would have it in clear second place to The Edge. The year’s second RNZ survey should be out next week.


In the capital, NewstalkZB (13.4 share) relinquished its 1st equal place with The Breeze last time, now 0.1 of a share point behind its rival which rated 13.5. Magic Music & Talk was third equal on 8.5 (up 0.4) with The Sound (up 0.6).

In the breakfast slot, Newstalk is clearly first on 17.1 (up 0.1), with The Breeze up slightly to 13.0 in second, and ZM up 0.5 to 10.6 in third. Magic Music & Talk slipped in the breakfast show from 8.2 to 7.7 and fourth place ahead of The Sound on 7.3 (up 0.3).


In Christchurch, Newstalk on 15.2 (up 1.2) holds its first place over More FM (up 0.8 to 13.2), ahead of The Breeze on 10.3 (up 0.8) and Magic (down 0.8 to 8.7).

The breakfast market remains More FM’s jewel in the crown, despite star Simon Barnett’s departure for an afternoon show starting soon on Newstalk ZBMore is first with 19.2 share, (up 0.3) with ZB up 0.9 to 17.4, and The Breeze up 1.6 to 9.5, The Edge rising a strong 2.0 points to 8.5 and The Rock off 0.9 to 7.3 and fifth position.

The reaction

NZME was over-the-moon in its press release about ZB and ZM – citing “sensational”, “brilliant”, “fantastic” and “incredibly pleasing” results and making much of the ZM performance topping the station share for the 18-34 demographic seldom cited in such publicity in the past. While ZM won that demographic in station share, The Edge was well ahead in overall weekly audience for 18-34 year olds, by 311,000 to 246,000 – so these surveys can be read any which way.

NZME said its ZM breakfast team of Fletch, Vaughan and Megan was also number one for the 18-34s in station share (12.9 to 12.8 for The Edge) and had won more than 20,000 new listeners in the three months of this survey, to 288,000. For context, The Edge put on 23,000 listeners for its Dom, Meg and Randall breakfast show, to 328,500.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs got with the hype, paying tribute to “an incredibly classy group of extremely talented and highly professional broadcasters.”

At MediaWorks, the result was mixed and its media alert mirrored that.

It made much of dominating the 25-54 audience group – long the focus of advertisers – and having the top music station, The Breeze, nationwide and the top five afternoon drivetime music shows. These were led by The Breeze’s Robert Scott “as king of music drive time”, followed by The Edge Afternoon’s  Jono, Ben and Sharyn, then More FM Drive with Jase, Jay-Jay and Flynny, The Rock’s Jay and Dunc and The Sound’s Robert Taylor.

Mai FM didn’t warrant a mention anywhere in the statement.

Tim Murphy is co-editor of Newsroom. He writes about politics, Auckland, and media. Twitter: @tmurphynz

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