Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have Nova’s drive team nipping at their heels. Photo: Simon SchluterHamish and Andy have suffered another dramatic drop in listeners as Austereo continues to nurse the show through to its conclusion at the end of the year.

The show lost a 2.6 point audience share in the latest ratings survey, allowing 3AW’s drive host Tom Elliott to return to the No.1 spot with a 12.4 point audience share.

Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty’s 10.1 point audience share also puts them just 0.2 points behind Hamish and Andy.

Nova – which has deliberately set out to lure a younger demographic – is also chasing Fox in the coveted breakfast timeslot, with Chrissie, Sam and Browny just 0.1 point behind Fifi, Dave, Fev and Byron.

Kate, Tim and Marty won drive in both Sydney and Brisbane this survey, with executives keen to leapfrog Fox in Melbourne when Hamish and Andy retire at the end of the year.

Peter Colosimo, the general manager of Nova Melbourne, told Fairfax Media the station’s strategy of building up listeners slowly but steadily appears to be paying off.

“To nip them [Fox] at 4-6pm in Hamish and Andy heartland is a great result,” he said.

However, the Hit Networks’ Gemma Fordham said she isn’t concerned by Nova’s slow march.

“We’ve got a consistent story [of being No.1],” she said. “If you look at the station performance across the work day as well, we’ve got quite a gap between us and Nova.”

Fordham also confirmed the network has had “lots of conversations” about replacing Hamish and Andy at the end of the year.

“But the reality is it’s not as simple as replacing Hamish and Andy,” she said. “We’re not trying to recreate that show – they’re legendary for a reason.”

Meanwhile, Smooth managed to reclaim its title as number one FM station overall this survey after losing the title to Fox over the past few months.

Gold wasn’t far behind, with ARN’s Duncan Campbell pointing out the “battle” between the easy-listening rivals would be one to watch.

3AW continued its market dominance this survey, seeing a small lift in every single timeslot. Operations manager Stephen Beers said it proved talkback radio isn’t going anywhere.

“We’re the only station in double figures,” he said. “Our strength is live and local.”

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