The first radio ratings survey of the year is in and its not pretty for talk radio….


Listeners around Australia turned off talk radio during the
first radio ratings survey of the year (January 18 – February 14) with no big issues to capture
the audience’s attention.


But Alan Jones defied the trend and surged back to a 15.3 per cent
share after finishing 2003 in second place on 12.7. The Parrot’s
ratings conqueror Angela Catterns on ABC 702 couldn’t match him - down
slightly from 12.8 to 12.4. 

Nova took advantage in Sydney raising its audience share from 9.0 to
11.8 to record what we think is its first overall win in the Harbour
City – easily beating 2GB’s 10.3 (up from 9.7). Nova’s Merrick and
Rosso were also strong performers in the breakfast slot boosting their
rating from 8.1 to 11.9 thanks to all that Channel Nine publicity.

In its 2004 radio preview Mediaweek wrote, “There seems a general
consensus that 2UE is back on track after a rocky couple of years.” But
that may have been a bit optimistic as Southern Cross’s Sydney talk
station continues to struggle – only managing a 7.0 share
overall (down from
8.8) – while ABC 702 was also down overall from 9.7 to 9.1.

Mediaweek is also reporting that new station boss and former “cash
for comments” broker Bob Miller has “wasted no time in making a few
changes” – but they clearly haven’t had any positive effect on the
station’s audience appeal yet.The
swap of
Mike Carlton and Steve Price appears to have backfired with Carlton’s
Breakfast ratings on 2UE tumbling from 9.9 to 7.0 and Steve Price in
Drive is still clearly suffering from the Curse of Crikey as he dropped
from 8.4 to a pitiful 6.2. He should be sacked.

John Laws also suffered a big drop-off in the 2UE morning slot
-crashing from 11.3 to 9.0. We think this has to be Lawsie’s lowest
rating in recent memory – how long is it since he rated in the 8s?

All the Sydney ratings here.


In Melbourne, 3AW’s Neil Mitchell plummeted from 18.3 at the end
of 2003 to 14.7 but mornings rival Jon Faine on ABC 774 failed to
capitalise with his rating also falling to 10.7 – down from 12.3. The
big mover was Triple M’s new morning host and proven ratings winner (at
least on radio) Mick Molloy - up from 8.6 to 12.3 in his first survey.

All the controversy surrounding Derryn Hinch’s revelations on David
Hookes didn’t translate into ratings success as he suffered a sharp
fall from 17.0 to 14.2 in the afternoons. He’ll be out the door if that
trend continues.

Sports newscomer SEN was trumpeting a minor rise from the 3AK’s 1.2 to
a first up 2.1. They’ll need to be at 4 by the end of the year so it’s
an okay start.   

The overall winer was still 3AW with a 14.2 share - down from 16.2
- followed by Gold (11.5) and Fox FM (11.0). ABC 774 also suffered
from the drop off for talk radio falling to fourth place overall with
10.7 (down from 11.8).

All the Melbourne ratings here.


The scandal over Leon Byner’s “cash for comment”
dealings hit 5AA hard with its overall audience share falling from 16.6
to 14.1. Byner was suspended midway through the survey period –
replaced in the morning slot by Paul Makin – but the station’s morning
audience still fell sharply, down to 12.5 from 14.5.

ABC 891 was also down from 10.4 to 9.9 overall.

APN’s MIX 102.3 was the standout performer, boosting its overall
share to 16.6, up from 11.4. But Austereo’s SAFM was still a clear
leader – though its overall figure dropped significantly from 23.1 to

All the Adelaide ratings here.


Interest in the Queensland election kept
audience figures for talk radio in Brisbane fairly steady with Southern
Cross’s 4BC up to 8.4 (from 8.2) overall audience share – dead even
with ABC 612, which dropped from 8.8.

The ABC’s breakfast host Tricia Duffield had another
strong result
building her audience from 10.7 to 11.0 – well ahead of her 4BC rivals
John Miller and Ross Davie (9.9) – but Aunty suffers a huge drop-off
when former station manager Steve Austin gets behind the microphone for
the morning shift.

Austin’s audience share is only 5.1 (down from 6.4)
– that ‘s a lot
of people turning off. We suspect he went a bit too heavy on the
election coverage for some listeners. Austin also has tough competiton
from John Laws, who is doing better in Brisbane than in Sydney but
still saw his audience drop from 11.3 to 10.2.

With a 7.1 overall audience share (up from 6.4)
Brisbane is now
Triple J’s strongest capital city. The Chaser boys made a good start
with their new Triple J afternoon program “Today Today” – rating 8.0 in
Brisbane (compared with 6.4 for the afternoon slot last survey). They
also increased Triple J’s afternoon audience in all the other major
cities except Adelaide.

Austereo’s B105FM was still out in front with an 18.4 share (up from 18.0).

All the Brisbane ratings here.


720 in Perth in now the ABC local radio’s best performing major metro
talk radio station in the survey after boosting its audience share from
10.1 to 11.1 – it was the only ABC talk radio station in the survey to
increase its overall audience this ratings period. Though it should be
noted that a majority of the ABC’s regular presenters
didn’t go back on air until midway through the survey period.

Breakfast host and former Liberal MP Eoin Cameron was a star
performer with a ratings jump from 14.0 to 16.2 – 6PR must be sorry
they didn’t hang on to him, he has almost double the listeners of its
breakfast hosts Howard and Louise.

Southern Cross’s 6PR suffered an overall fall from 9.4 to 7.6.

Austereo’s MIX 94.5 maintained its big lead – increasing its overall audience share from 20.7 to 21.9.

All the Perth ratings here.