Radio’s infant station Smoothfm has proved itself strong amongst a competitive set and, after just one year on-air, is “absolutely changing the landscape”, says DMG Radio’s Tony Thomas (pictured).
Smoothfm turned one on May 21, its milestone coinciding with the release of the latest radio ratings survey which revealed a station growing to take a 5.3% share of Sydney and 5.7% of Melbourne.
“There are a lot of well established stations that we have managed to build a similar position to after only one year,” Thomas, DMG’s group marketing director, told B&T this morning.
Thomas and other DMG execs were in Melbourne last night to celebrate the anniversary of Smoothfm, which now claims around 30% unaided awareness amongst radio listeners.
“That’s versus a competitive set that has awareness figures between 45% and 60% for the more established stations,” Thomas said.
“So we know after one year having that sort of impact in the market is absolutely changing the landscape.”
To increase the station’s awareness levels there will be a campaign launching in the “next couple of months” with Michael Buble again the face.
Buble was the face of the easy listening station’s launch campaign last year (below), with the television ads featuring his popular soundtrack ‘Haven’t met you yet’.
There are “a lot more legs” left in that campaign, according to Thomas who described Buble as an “incredible ambassador” for Smooth.
“He fits the positioning perfectly. He is broadly appealing, males really admire him and he’s obviously a big hit with females,” Thomas explained.
“His music is also the right fit so he ticks a number of boxes.”
Thomas is confident Smoothfm will continue to grow as DMG moves to educate the 70% of radio listeners in Sydney and Melbourne who are unaware of its existence.
“For every one point of awareness that we increase we convert 80% of that into a listener on the station – it’s a really compelling proposition.”
The easy-listening nature of the station means time spent listening is high, a factor Thomas said will deliver an increase to its overall share.
“Plus its broad appeal means that there is definite upside in where we are now,” he continued.
Smoothfm 91.5 in Melbourne is currently ahead of Sydney’s Smooth 95.3 with Thomas attributing the difference to the fact that its marketing achieved better cut-through in Melbourne.
“But I think you’ll find it will settle out fairly evenly across Sydney and Melbourne because the markets aren’t so different.”
It is case of third time lucky for 91.5 and 95.3 which underwent two failed rebrands as first Vega Radio and more recently into Classic Rock.
Thomas said it was “incredibly important” Smooth worked, “but less so because we had two failures”: “It was more important getting it right because we knew that the opportunity was there.”
Smooth acts as a complimentary station to DMG’s Nova network which courts the under 40 market while Smoothfm focuses on females 35+.
The launch of Smoothfm has allowed Nova to remain true to its core audience with Nova now “the number one under 40 network”.
“We were well off the pace a couple of years ago on that so that focus has lead to some really good results.”
Asked where he wants Smoothfm to be on its second birthday, Thomas said: “Whilst we won’t say where we will be in 12 months, we do have pretty strong aspirations for growth.
“There is a hell of a lot of opportunity.”
Above (l-r): Melbourne GM Helen Davies, Thomas, CEO Cathy O'Connor and Group GM Louise Higgins at the Smoothfm party.