ABC Radio’s new Head of Audio Content Ben Latimer has hit the ground running after his appointment earlier this year, flagging potential music changes at triple j in 2024 as the station addresses a slump in ratings, particularly among young people.
In a recent Sydney Morning Herald report, Latimer addressed the changes he’s spearheading across both triple j and ABC Local Radio, admitting that youth audience tastes are changing and that the youth broadcaster must strengthen its position.
Calling the national youth broadcaster an “incredibly important brand” to the ABC, Latimer also admitted that the 18–24 demographic was difficult to capture with radio programming in 2023.
Latimer explained, “The challenge with triple j is that we’ve got this exceptionally engaged audience on the digital offering but a declining audience on linear [traditional broadcast radio].
“We are more than a radio station; we tell people this all the time; it’s a multi-platform youth network. But we must have a strong linear broadcast reach, and right now, the current five capital city share is 4.2 per cent, so clearly, we’ve got to do some work around that.”
Latimer discussed his and the team’s plans to update things at triple j by “working more closely with our talent-led shows, particularly Breakfast and Drive, on content, strategy and execution, and taking a better look at music preferences for younger audiences”.
It’s ex-Nova program director Latimer’s focus on music that will be the music industry’s key concern in 2024 as they grapple with how to make Australian music cut through with the public.
Today, triple j announced their most-played artists, which were:
1. Fred Again..
4. Maisie Peters
8. Royel Otis
9. Tkay Maidza
10. Teenage Dads
Apart from Flume (whose greatest success chart success came off the back of his Hottest 100 victory in January), none of the other most-played Australian artists have troubled the ARIA consumption charts in 2023, suggesting a disconnect between what is being played on radio and what is breaking through to consumers, although Teenage Dads did pick up the industry-voted ARIA for Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
The exact nature of triple j’s “better look” at music is unknown, however it is expected that any changes to the music direction will be implemented in the new year.
Latimer has also made wide-ranging changes at ABC Local Radio, including Sammy J returning for five days on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Breakfast program, Ali Moore leading ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive, and Charlie Pickering departing the Friday Breakfast show at the end of this week.
As well as those changes, Fran Kelly has inked her return to ABC Radio National for a weekend role. Meanwhile, Kelly Nestor, fresh off a 15-year absence working in media, is heading to ABC Radio Adelaide’s Afternoons program.
Latimer also said his Audio Content team is also looking to find the next “iconic brand” to boost the broadcaster led by the Hottest 100 and Like A Version.
Earlier this year, triple j launched the station triple j Hottest. As the title suggests, the station only features songs listeners have selected for triple j Hottest 100 countdowns of the past. The triple j Hottest station is available to listen to 24 hours a day online through the triple j or ABC Listen apps.
Yesterday, triple j announced the dates and details of the Hottest 100 of 2023, which is taking place on Saturday, 27 January, from noon AEDT.