Sydney

Talk was back in business in Sydney with both 2GB and 2UE
gaining audience in this survey. But the big story in the Harbour City
is the demise of former Austereo powerhouse 2DAY-FM. Six months into
the post-Harmer era and the collapse of 2DAY-FM is almost complete as
it languishes in 6th place overall with a rating of just 7.7 – its
lowest figure in recent memory and almost 4 points behind where they
were 12 months ago.

Despite a drop of one point, Nova maintained its position as the city’s
No.1 FM station with an audience share of 10.4. Nova is second overall
behind 2GB whose share rose more than 2 points to 12.7.

The 2DAY breakfast show of Judith Lucy, Kaz Cooke and Peter Hellier
is tanking. They currently rate a pathetic 5.6 and are down nearly two
points on the last survey. Not even Pricey went that low in breakfast!
To put that in some perspective, Lucy & co are not even attracting
half the audience that Wendy Harmer did this time last year.

Overall 2GB took out the survey quite comfortably with increases in all
shifts. Strong gains by Philip Clarke in Drive now see GB out rate UE
in every slot across the day. Clarke increased his audience by more
than 2 points to be 8.0 and easily eclipsed Steve Price who lost 0.4 to
be only 6.6. Price is out of contract at the end of the year and you
would have to question his worth to 2UE. The simple fact is that in two
and half years he just has not delivered.

The Parrot was up more than 2 points to be 15.5 and is now starting to
return numbers similar to his glory (or should that be Gloria?) days at
2UE. He’s now more than 4 points ahead of former conqueror, the ABC’s
Angela Catterns.

2UE did increase its overall share from 6.6 to 7.5 thanks mainly to
gains by John Laws, John Stanley and for some strange reason, Stan
Zemanek. But the station continues to tread water and is unable to make
any impact on the now dominant 2GB.

But Mike Carlton’s performance on UE breakfast continues to be
disappointing. He lost audience in this survey and his numbers are
lower than Pricey’s were 12 months ago. The SMH reported yesterday that
Carlton will have a new producer when he returns on Monday and
management will be hoping that these changes can lift the breakfast
rating to that elusive double figure target.

Seven months into his seven year contract and John Laws finally gained
audience to be third overall. The problem was that 2GB’s Ray Hadley
gained slightly more and maintained his No.1 morning spot. The
likelihood that Master will once again beat the Apprentice is becoming
increasingly remote. The famous Laws ego is being sorely tested as the
golden microphone continues to lose its shine.

Melbourne

The trend towards talk radio continued in Melbourne with 3AW – up from
14.4 to 15.4 overall – extending its lead over ABC 774 to almost 5
points. 3AW’s breakfast team of Ross Stevenson and John Burns continue
to dominate up to 19.8 from 17.6.

And 3AW’s bearded burblers were both up. Neil Mitchell was up again
from 14.9 to 15.4 further increasing his lead over rival Jon Faine who
was down from 11.1 to 10.1. Derryn Hinch went from 14.9 to 15.1. Just
like Catterns, Faine has conquered the king and then slipped 5 point
behind in less than a year.

Sports station SEN couldn’t maintain its strong growth for a fourth
consecutive survey and lost listeners for the first time since its
launch down from 3.0 to 2.8.

Adelaide

5AA’s domination of talkback radio continued as it increased its
overall share from 16.8 to 17.2 – now more than double ABC 891’s 8.4
(down from 10.0). ABC 891 must be Aunty’s worst performing local
station – at least it is by far the furthest behind its main commercial
rival. (ABC 612 in Brisbane still has the lowest overall share).
Austereo’s SAFM was still no.1 but down from 20.1 to 19.2.

Disgraced shock jock Leon Byner couldn’t maintain his recent recovery
and slipped in the morning from 15.1 to 13.8. The outstanding breakfast
team led by Keith Conlon was up to 19.9 (from 19.2).

And there are some unhappy campers at ABC 891.
The flagship Matt Abraham/David Bevan morning program slumped in
yesterday’s ratings from 10.8 to nine per cent. Sources say the
show is well resourced. Very well resourced by ABC
standards. They also ask if taxpayers are getting value for
money.

Perth

ABC 720 bounced back to reclaim its title as ABC’s best performing
local station up from 9.8 to 11.0, well ahead of its main commercial
rival 6PR on 6.8 (down from 8.3 – more bad news for Southern Cross).
Austereo’s MIX 94.5 maintained its big lead overall though it was down
from 19.5 to 19.0.

Brisbane

Brisbane defied the trend to talk radio with both 4BC (9.3 to 9.1)
and ABC 612 (7.8 to 6.8) down. But it’s not all bad news for Aunty,
Triple J had its strongest performance in Brisbane with a 6.3 share
overall.

Share price reactions

The share price reactions of the big radio companies usually
give an indication of overall ratings performance. Southern Cross
closed up 14c in a weaker market at $11.78, Austereo fell 2c to
$1.45 and APN dipped 2c to $4.18. Looks like the shock jocks have
won the day.

Peter Fray

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