SYDNEY: Radio is continuing to strengthen in Australia, as increased breakfast and drive-time ratings provide a great value proposition for advertisers.

Findings from Australia's recently released annual radio survey, run by GfK, show that the cumulative number of commercial radio listeners in Australia's five metro markets has increased steadily in the past five years, as stations invest in high profile talent to lead their offerings.

Data from the survey, reported in B&T, shows that commercial radio now reaches 79% of all Australians aged 10+ each week, 87% of those aged 10-17 and 78% of those aged 18-24.

Audiences across both radio and digital radio channels increased 1.8% from 2014, and 6.2% over two years. Over the past five years, an estimated 900,000 new listeners have tuned in to commercial radio, which now has more than 10.3m listeners.

Breakfast shows lead with an average of 7.9m listeners, up from 7.8m in the 2014/2015 survey period. Later in the day, drive-time listenership has shown a similar increase, rising from 6.8m to 6.9m.

More than 3m Australians also listen to the radio online and digitisation of radio has been critical to engaging younger audiences, with live streaming, podcasts, mobile apps and smart use of social media drawing in a new generation of listeners.

Listeners between 18-24 years old are actually one of radio's fastest growing demographics in Australia, with an estimated 30,000 new fans tuning in last year.

Media companies are also integrating their radio and TV offerings, cross-promoting top level talent across platforms. Hamish and Andy – one of Australia's top media brands – now host Melbourne's most popular drive-time radio show, are bona fide TV stars and have an extensive library of on-demand podcast material.

Data sourced from B&T, Sydney Morning Herald, Commercial Radio Australia; additional content by Warc staff