The latest radio ratings are out and we’ve put together a quick wrap
of the various highs and lows throughout the country – click on the
city headlines below to see the figures in detail (AC Nielsen are slack
so we had to use the Austereo website).


SYDNEY

John
Laws plunged from 8.5 to 7.3 in the latest radio rating survey out
today, which must be his lowest rating ever in Sydney – this time last
year he was rating 12.3. Is it time to go for the Golden Tonsils?

Just
last week in The Reader Eric Beecher rated Laws the most influential
media commentator in Australia due to his reach across 61 stations but
how long can 2UE allow this hemorrhaging to continue? Laws’s very
public war of words with Alan Jones didn’t kick off until the end of
the survey so that wasn’t a factor.

Overall 2UE sank further
into the mire with its overall share dropping from 7.3 to 6.6 – leaving
it eighth overall in the Sydney market – which must be close to its
lowest ever and hardly something that justifies a book value at
Southern Cross Broadcasting of $80 million. Arch-rival 2GB improved its
overall rating from 9.9 to 10.4, closing the gap on Nova which saw its
rating drop from 12.0 to 11.4. ABC 702 was down from 9.4 to 8.7.

2UE’s
other “stars” didn’t fair much better than Laws with Breakfast host
Mike Carlton down to 7.8 (from 8.0); Steve Price on Drive down to 7.0
(7.2) and Stan Zemanek in the evening rated a dismal 6.1 (7.6). Some
fundamental errors made by Southern Cross since it took over 2UE –
losing Jones, dropping Price into Sydney and bringing the Zemaniac back
into the fold – are really beginning to take their toll. The total lack
of compatibility between Carlton and Laws must also be dragging down
the station’s overall rating. Not many listeners would be tuning in to
both every morning. It is clearly unsustainable for 2UE to have three
presenters earning more than $1 million a year and we’re predicting
Steve Price could be the first t0 go when his contract expires at the
end of the year. The curse of Crikey is clearly still hurting the guy.

The
Mediawatch campaign against Alan Jones (which kicked off midway through
this survey) hasn’t had much effect on The Parrot’s ratings. He was
down slightly from 13.5 to 13.3 but still well ahead of breakfast rival
ABC 702’s Angela Catterns who was also down to 11.3 (11.7). 2GB’s
mornings host Ray Hadley was well clear of Laws and ABC 702’s Sally
Loane, up from 10.7 to 11.5.

MELBOURNE

Better
news for Southern Cross in Melbourne with 3AW building its overall
share from 14.2 to 14.4 to stay rock solid at number one. ABC 774 was
down overall to 10.3 (10.9) but it’s once again Aunty’s strongest local
radio station after Perth slipped.

The Beards performed strongly
for 3AW; Neil Mitchell in the mornings steady at 14.9 and Derryn Hinch
on Drive up to 14.9 from 14.3. Mitchell has opened up a sizeable gap
over his bearded rival, ABC 774’s Jon Faine, who fell from 11.7 to
11.1, making last year’s change at the top look like a one-off.

ABC
breakfast host Red Symons was rating 15s late last year but he was down
again to 11.6. However, the host he replaced hasn’t set the world on
fire either because Lynne Haultain’s afternoon rating dipped from 8.4
to 7.7 – which might reflect the number of days she takes off.

Sports
station SEN continues to build its audience with its overall rating
jumping again to 3.0 (2.6). SEN’s success is built on its strong
breakfast line-up of Garry Lyon, Tim Watson & Billy Brownless, up
from 3.2 to 4.2. Crikey bumped into Lynne Haultain’s husband, former
Triple J morning host Francis Leach, when he took the ratings call this
morning. The lad has lifted SEN’s afternoon ratings from 2.5 per cent
to 2.9 per cent but we can’t see him overtaking his wife any time soon.

BRISBANE

Southern
Cross’s 4BC continues to lead the talk radio battle in Brisbane, while
its overall rating was down from 9.6 to 9.3. ABC 612 is the weakest
local radio station in the survey for Aunty, rating 7.8 overall, up
slightly from 7.7. Austereo’s powerhouse B105FM was down from 19.9 to
19.1 but still came out on top, while ARN’s 97.3FM closed the gap – up
to 15.1 from 14.2.

ADELAIDE

DMG’s
5AA rules the talk-back ratings Adelaide boosting its overall rating
from 15.3 to 16.8, leaving it second only to Austereo’s SAFM on 20.1
(down from 21.0). ABC 891 was down from 10.2 to 10.0. Shamed shock jock
Leon Byner returned to mornings on 5AA at the beginning of the survey
and rebuilt his audience from 13.6 to 15.1. He now joins Alan Jones and
John Laws in having an audience that doesn’t switch off when major
ethical questions are raised.

PERTH

Austereo’s
MIX 94.5 dominates the ratings in Perth but dropped off in this survey
down from 21.3 to 19.5. ABC 720 has been Aunty’s strongest performer in
recent months but fell from 11.0 to 9.8, though it’s still well ahead
of Southern Cross’s 6PR which improved to 8.3 (7.9).

ABC 720’s
popular breakfast host Eoin Cameron fell sharply from 15.5 to 13.6
though he is still easily the highest rating talk radio host in Perth
and the best in Australia for Aunty. Who said there were no Liberals on
the ABC? The former Liberal MP is kicking butt in the West. ABC 720
suffers one of the biggest turn-off factors in Australia following
Cameron, with Liam Bartlett only rating an 8.6 (10.5) in the mornings.

MARKET REACTION

The
ratings did not produce any major surprises for the market. Southern
Cross Broadcasting was up 5 cents to $10.71; APN down 1c to $3.89 and
Austereo up 1c to $1.36. DMG is the only big player not listed in
Australia but its growing stable of stations performed well, as it
remained at number one in Sydney and picked up in Melbourne. However,
it remains to be seen if spending more than $500 million on licences
will ever deliver a decent return on its investment.

Peter Fray

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