The latest radio ratings have thrown up some very interesting figures as radio junkees Stephen Mayne and Neal Woolrich report.

Given that the ratings period covered the Commonwealth Games, the most obvious conclusion is that SCB’s investment in covering the glorified school sports carnival was not money well spent.

This is a point we might raise at their AGM later in the year what the heck are talk radio stations doing covering sport virtually all-day over a two-week period anyway?

Our quick snapshot of results:

Sydney top 5 stations (previous survey figures in parentheses):

2Day – 10.5 (10.6)

2GB 10.1 (10.0)

2UE 8.8 (9.3)

2MMM 8.7 (8.9)

NOVA 8.2 (8.7)

702 ABC has slipped from 6th to 8th. Did you know that ABC Melbourne has more listeners than ABC Sydney. In share terms ABC Melbourne had a steady 12.1 per cent this survey whilst ABC Sydney dipped from 7.9 to 7.8. No other major metro ABC station is in double figures so can anyone explain why ABC Melbourne so dramatically outperforms every other Aunty outfit in the country. Is AFL something to do with it or is it the quality of their on-air talent?

Head to head battles

Parrot 13.6 (14.5) v Pricey 10.0 (10.2) v Catterns 9.6 (9.0) [Would expect Pricey to gain on Parrot in the next survey if we are correct in saying the SCB slump this period is Commonwealth Games related.]

Laws 11.3 (12.3) v Hadley 10.3 (9.2) v Loane 6.4 (7.6) [Golden Tonsils in real trouble.] 702 ABC drive 9.0 (8.3) v Carlton 8.8 (9.6) v 2GB drive 6.5 (5.2) [As with Pricey, would expect Carlton to rebound.]

Melbourne top 5 stations:

3AW 14.0 (15.2)

Fox FM 13.9 (13.2)

ABC774 12.1 (12.1)

Gold 9.0 (8.5)

Nova 7.8 (8.4)

All 3AW shifts lost ground, but the biggest was Neil Mitchell down to 13.5 (from 16.3) and being knocked off as number one for the first time since 1990.

Crikey favourite Jon Faine has gone from trailing Mitchell to leading up from 13.0 to 14.0. That is a hell of an effort but he’s getting an excellent lead in from stop-gap breakfast host Red Symons who lifted from 14.1 to 14.2 whilst the 3AW breakfast duo dipped from a nose-bleed inducing 18.3 to 17.3.

Enjoy it while you can Jon Faine and congratulations for finally knocking off Melbourne’s biggest radio ego. If our Commonwealth Games theory is correct, Mitchell can be expected to bounce back next survey.

The Sunday Age carried an interesting front page story on Jon Faine this week which examined how he has copied Neil Mitchell and eventually knocked him off. Check it out here.

And speaking of Crikey favourites, the gang at “When Saturday Comes” enjoyed a healthy increase in ratings (not that they matter at Aunty), up from 9.8% to 11%.

When they started their show, they were rating 6%. This decision to axe the program by local manager Ian Mannix is being shown to be plain stupid. Swallow your pride and give Francis Leach and his team another year Mannix.

In absolute terms, WSC reached 83,000 listeners, more than either the afternoon program (63,000) or the drive program (74,000).

Kennett and 3AK in trouble

Jeff Kennett finally managed to achieve a small lift in his ratings from 2.5 to 3.4 but it’s probably all too late with parent company Data and Commerce Ltd looking particularly sick after announcing an $11 million loss for the financial year. The share price is back to 10c from its Kennett inspired peak of 44c earlier this year. We give them one more ratings survey as the whole station only managed a tiny rise from 2.3 to 2.4 when they really needed to be doing at least 6 by now if the Kennett revolution and revitalisation was going to work. Instead, they just keep hiring and firing the on-air talent such as John Blackman before they have time to even settle in.

Other cities once again, our usual disclaimer that this isn’t Melbourne / Sydney bias on behalf of Crikey, we just don’t know those markets at all.

The one thing that sticks out though is KG and Cornesy in Adelaide rating an unbelievable (for a talk show) 24.4 (up from 22.5, just when you thought they couldn’t get any higher). And the show leading in rates a mere 9.5!

Brisbane developments

The strong Southern Cross Broadcasting share price was possibly explained by the rise enjoyed by 4BC from 7.2 to 9.3 as the latest management and line-up changes appear to be paying fruit for one of the network’s worst performing operations.

Crikey was sacked by ABC management in Brisbane after we carried a couple of items criticising Sydney import Susan Mitchell. After a major slump in the ratings Susan managed to recover slightly from 6.3 to 6.6 per cent. Rod Henshaw (down from 9.9 to 9.6) still gives her an excellent lead in but Susan just can’t hang on to the audience like Jon Faine does in Melbourne.

Mooner Murray vs Liam Bartlett

The great slug fest in the West between ABC morning host Liam Bartlett and his 6PR rival Paul “Mooner” Murray is now up on the website for the world to see and we’ve included the original Bartlett column in the Sunday Times plus the extraordinary editorial apology: click here

Meanwhile, Mooner will not be pleased to see that Bartlett has steamed past him in the latest ratings as Mooner dropped from 11.7 to 9.6 and Bartlett picked up from 8.8 to 9.6. Blame it on the ComGames Mooner.

The whole station suffered from the saturation coverage as 6PR dipped from 11.2 to 8.6 and ABC 720 rose from 9 to 9.7, making them easily the second best Aunty outfit in the country after the go-getters in Melbourne.

Why Triple J is so bad in Melbourne

These Triple J ratings stories from the latest survey tell an amazing story:

JJJ Perth 9.0

JJJ Adelaide 6.8

JJJ Brisbane 5.6

JJJ Sydney 4.8

JJJ Melbourne 2.7

Why is a Melbourne-based JJJ broadcaster part of the black hole that is the worst performing major metro city for our national youth network?

We reckon the answer is Australia’s biggest and best community station in inner city Fitzroy, namely RRR. No other city has a community station to rival Melbourne’s RRR but we don’t know how big it is as it can’t afford to pay to be part of the ratings.

Congratulations to John Safran and all the team at RRR for kicking the butt of JJJ in the Melbourne market without $1 of taxpayer assistance. It all comes from the loyal subscribers.

Peter Fray

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