Kiss92 sets sights on No. 1 spot

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 27, 2013

Kiss92 might have jumped to No. 3 among English radio stations here in under a year, but the team behind the station are not resting on their laurels - they are gunning for the top spot.

"Our goal is to make Kiss92 Singapore's best radio station, so expect us to work even harder to make Kiss92 even better," says its senior programme director Jamie Meldrum.

According to the latest Nielsen Radio Diary Survey released last Thursday the SPH UnionWorks station pulled in 419,000 listeners a week, up from 151,000 in September when it launched last year.

The top two spots for English radio stations are taken up by MediaCorp's Class95 with 689,000 listeners and Gold 90.5FM with 474,000 listeners, respectively.

Mr Meldrum points out that according to the survey, while the station is No. 3 overall, it is the top station among listeners in the workday 2 to 4pm slot and second in the workday 10am to 4pm slot and among listeners in the 15-49 age category. He is confident that the top spot is "definitely within reach".

The results have exceeded the station's target, he adds.

"Radio stations usually take a little time to find their audience, and we had set ourselves a target of 300,000 fans for this survey, so to get 419,000 was fantastic. We're pretty sure that makes Kiss92 the fastest-growing radio station ever in Singapore."

The Nielsen Radio Diary Survey is carried out twice a year and the latest one polled more than 2,000 people between March 25 and May 19.

Kiss92 went live on Sept 3 last year and is the first radio station in Singapore to primarily target women aged between 30 and 50. It plays pop music and features established media personalities in its line-up of presenters.

And while the station's primary target is women, he also notes that their secondary target is families, which means husbands and young listeners.

"The results also show that Kiss has plenty of male fans and a great broad appeal across all ages," says Mr Meldrum.

Its morning show, for example, is helmed by veteran radio personality Maddy Barber, former television newsreader and business journalist Arnold Gay and The New Paper's movie reviewer Jason Johnson.

Gay, 46, attributes the station's appeal to "careful planning and research".

"When I was first approached about joining Kiss last year, what won me over was the amount of work that had already been put into the station. Whom we want as fans, what the channel stands for, and what we want to do in terms of programming were all clearly defined."

The music, he adds, was chosen based on how the songs tested with the station's target listeners. The station plays a mix of hits from the mid-1980s up to current pop stars ranging from One Direction and Kelly Clarkson to Rihanna and Michael Buble.

"Even the on-air crew was carefully chosen to reflect and connect with the desired demographic. So there was a plan and I think we do a better job of keeping it all real for our fans and try hard not to be pretentious and facetious."

Barber, whose radio resume dates back to the early 1990s, credits the "natural on-air chemistry" between her and her co-presenters for helping pull the listeners in.

"I knew from our very first day of broadcast that the three of us are a match made in radio heaven. Sure, we have our differences, which team doesn't? But when the microphone comes on, it just flows effortlessly," says the 39-year-old.

She and Johnson had previously collaborated together on on-air movie reviews with another SPH UnionWorks station, Hot FM91.3. The three also did rehearsals together for two weeks before the station launched.

Veteran jazz singer and deejay Claressa Monteiro goes on air from 10am to 4pm while the latest addition the station's roster, singer, songwriter and deejay John Klass helms the 4 to 8pm slot.

Klass, 43, said that he was already a fan before he joined the station last month.

"I remember telling Maddy, about six months ago, upon listening to the station's music and the direction it was taking, that it will be a huge hit among listeners and eventually even be Singapore's No. 1 station."

Kiss92 fan Sharyl Lidzhan Sapari, a 35-year-old civil servant, says that the station's appeal lies in its ideal balance of music and presenters talking.

"On other radio stations, I get turned off if I hear too much of the deejays talking nonsense. Kiss is always playing good songs, and I get a good balance of useful information and timely news from the presenters."

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 27, 2013

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