Matthew Ferris writes:

When he’s not taking on his daily rival The West Australian, the vitriolic Brett McCarthy of the Sunday Times loves to take on talkback radio station 6PR.

There’s a rich history there. McCarthy sacked 6PR morning talkback jock Paul Murray as a columnist a few years ago (Murray kept criticising the Times) and is very pally with Mooner Murray’s morning talkback rival Liam Bartlett on the ABC.

So it was with great curiosity that there was a small 7-par story wedged on P4 of The Times this weekend about last Tuesday’s radio ratings. To put the whole story in context, The Sunday Times never does a straight ratings story in their forward pages. Lee Tate used to cover it in his gossip column but even he rarely does these days as by the time Sunday comes around, the ratings have been covered by The West and they are five days old.

But McCarthy couldn’t help himself as 6PR suffered a dip. He stuck the boot into 6PR’s breakfast team (down 0.4), Mooner (4th) while praising MIX (is there a cross-promo on at the moment?) and naturally Bartlett. There was also comment on 96FM’s fall (6PR’s Southern Cross owned stable mate). It’s curious because last time a survey showed that 6PR had an absolute ball tearer (most shows were up two to three points), there was no story.

Don’t forget McCarthy was the one who published a government media office inspired yarn about how The West had not published the results of a Westpoll survey that showed support for the government was up.

So will we see regular Times stories about the radio ratings – or just pieces when 6PR/96FM is down and Bartlett is up?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey