2GB and 3AW dominate latest radio ratings. The status quo was maintained in Sydney and Melbourne in the second radio survey of 2007 with 2GB top of the ears in Sydney and 3AW dominating Melbourne. 2GB finished with a share of 12.8 (Monday to Sunday, 5.30am to midnight). That was up from the 11.8 share in the first survey of the year. 2Day FM was second with 10.1, down from 10.4 and third was the ABC local radio outlet, 702, with 9.3, down from 9.9. 2UE, owned by South Cross Broadcasting, finished with a slight gain which saw its share rise to 6.6 from 6.5. Top of the breakfast shifts was of course Alan Jones who saw his share jump to 17.9 from 16.2. 702 was second with a share of 10.7, down sharply from 12.3. In mornings, 2GB’s Ray Hadley led with a 15.7 share (up from 13.7). The former Number 1, 2UE’s John Laws, had a small gain, rising from 6.3 to 6.7 but he was out-rated by 2GB’s sister station, the easy listening music station 2CH which saw its share slip from 8.6 to 7.4. Virginia Trioli on ABC 702 is now the second-ranked morning talk program with her share rising to 8.2 from 7.7. In Melbourne 3AW was easily the most listened to station with a share of 17.5 (22.5 when combined with Magic). Both were up on Survey One. ABC local radio station, 774, was a clear second with 11.9 share (down from 12.2). Fox was third with 10.6 (10.3). 3AW dominated breakfast with a 21.6 share (unchanged). Second was the ABC’s 774 with 14.8 (14.0), followed by Fox with 9.4 (10.0). In morning the rankings were the same with 3AW by itself with 18.5 (17.2), 774 with 12.4 (12.6) and Fox with 10.0 (10.9).

Time Inc puts mags up for sale. First it was the Hannan family selling its Federal Publishing magazines (and newspapers) to News Ltd for an estimated $170 million (though that was reduced after due diligence). Now US magazine publisher, Time Inc, is checking the market to see if it should sell four of its six titles in Australia. Investment bankers, Goldman SachsJBWere, have been appointed to consider “strategic alternatives” for magazines In Style, Who, Practical Parenting and Bride to Be. Time Inc will keep Time magazine and will also continue publishing and distributing English Woman’s Weekly. Seven Media Groups’ Pacific Magazines won’t comment, a sign it is interested, while ACP Magazines (part of PBL Media), Fairfax Magazines, News Ltd and perhaps EMAP of the UK might kick the tyres to see if the price is right. There’s talk that the quartet could cost $100 million, which would be double estimated revenues of $50 million or so and earnings put around $3 million pre tax. But it’s all conjecture as Time has put its magazines on the market several times before in the past few years but pulled back after the response fell short. The Time mags are the last significant portfolio outside the holdings of EMAP and the majors. ACP’s earnings and revenue growth stalled in the year to December and needs a kick along which these magazines could deliver; likewise Seven’s Pacific. Of the others, News would be the most interested as the portfolio would take it more deeply into the female magazine buyers who dominate the mags market in this country. — Glenn Dyer

Variety entertainment coming back to Saturday and Sunday nights. Suddenly it’s cool to be thinking of entertaining TV viewers with a a variety based program on Saturday and Sunday nights. Ten kicks off this “radical new innovation” this Sunday night with the appearance of Rove at 8.30pm and the ABC debuts Sideshow, hosted by Paul McDermott, on Saturday nights from 21 April. Rove’s new program will also feature Hamish Blake and Andy Lee as well as Dave Hughes, so it will have a very Melbourne look and feel to it. Peter Helliar, his old sidekick from Tuesday nights, will also be there. It’s aimed at giving Ten a regular 700,000 to one million audience at 8.30pm on a night which has become the network’s black hole. It will really kick into gear when Big Brother starts on Ten in May. Rove is aimed at the 18 to 49 demographic which Ten is trying to tackle (but which Seven is dominating this year), while the ABC seems to be going towards a broader audience in the 25 to 54 group. The ABC’s effort was announced yesterday while the Nine Network has long talked about reviving a program like the old Hey Hey (and even tried to lure Daryl Somers back to front it). Nine will be talking about it for some time while the analysts in PBL Media crunch the numbers. Nine is short of good variety talent except for Bert Newton and perhaps Eddie McGuire. Sideshow will be produced by Ted Robinson after The Glass House was canned late last year to allow The Chaser to move to the 9pm on Wednesdays (that starts tomorrow night). — Glenn Dyer

Nine found lacking on NSW election coverage. In years gone by, the Nine Network would have covered the NSW state election in some depth on the Saturday night. The fact that Nine didn’t provide comprehensive coverage would indicate that the network has no one really connected to state and federal politics any more apart from Laurie Oakes in Canberra. Graham Richardson couldn’t appear on camera any more, not with tax charges hanging over his head. And with Richo having to keep low, there’s no one at PBL who knows who to call or the favours that are still out in the political arena, courtesy of the late KP. Nor is there anyone like Ian Frykberg working for Nine: he was a senior current affairs and sports EP and Director and was extremely well connected to the NSW and Federal ALP. Thanks to him, Neville Wran announced his retirement on the Sunday program in 1986 before announcing it to the party faithful at the state conference in Sydney later that day (Jennifer Byrne was the interviewer). With talk around the stockmarket that James Packer and PBL are trying to see if the Star City casino licence can be snaffled away from Tabcorp, you would have thought it was politically expedient to show a greater interest in the election. As an old TV hand said yesterday, “the old bloke would have made sure the election count was covered”. End of story. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Another win to Seven and while the world swimming titles lifted its audience numbers last night, the margin was large again. Desperate Housewives was number one with 1.563 million at 8.30pm, followed by Seven News (1.542 million), Today Tonight (1.470 million) and The Rich List (1.381 million viewers). Nine News was next with 1.308 million, then The Biggest Loser (1.295 million for the weekly elimination ep at 7pm) and Bondi Rescue (1.219 million). A Current Affair had 1.181 million and 1 vs 100 averaged 1.138 million starting at the odd time of 8.50pm after the swimming. Home and Away had 1.102 million and swimming averaged 1.075 million from 7pm to 8.50pm. That was well up on the 789,000 of Sunday night. The 7pm ABC News had 1.037 million and Seven’s 9.30pm soap, Brothers and Sisters averaged 1.014 million. Supernatural on Ten at 8.30pm averaged 897,000; Australian Story on the ABC averaged 877,000 and Mythbusters on SBS at 7.30pm averaged 608,000.

The Losers: CSI New York, 765,000 for a repeat at the odd time of 9.50pm: ratings fodder. The ABC’s Difference of Opinion, 461,000 for a program on costly housing.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally and in every market but Sydney, as did Today Tonight. Both had comfortable wins, even after the usual big margins in Perth. Even though Nine News won Sydney it had a low audience nationally. Ten News averaged 907,000, and the Late News/Sports Tonight 361,000.The ABC’s 7.30 Report averaged 853,000, thanks to the solid numbers for the 7pm news. Lateline averaged 273,000, Lateline Business, 123,000. SBS News averaged 218,000 at 6.30pm and 180,000 at 9.30pm. Four Corners averaged 783,000 and Media Watch, 688,000. 7am Sunrise averaged 397,000, 7am Today, 268,000. The Catch Up at 1pm, 175,000, third behind Oprah and the midday movie on Seven.

The Stats: Seven won with a 31.8% share (31.3% last week) from Nine with 25.1% (27.1%), Ten with 21.9% (21.5%), the ABC with 14.4% (13.6%) and SBS with 6.8% (6.6%). Seven won all five metro markets. Seven leads 32.5% to 23.5%. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 29.9% to WIN/NBN with 24.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.9%, the ABC with 15.1% and SBS with 8.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Word of mouth and a bit of coverage of Sunday night’s performance by Australia’s swimmers helped boost last night’s audience for the swimming titles but Nine lost share simply because the audience for the titles and then Eddie’s 1 vs 100 were lower. Swimming might pick up again but it’s up against Dancing on Seven tonight and McLeod’s Daughters (1.3 million) has been dropped tomorrow night. The real test will be Thursday night where two hours and 20 minutes of swimming has been scheduled from 7pm to lead directly into the AFL and NRL Footy Shows at 9.20pm. Apart from Dancing tonight Seven has All Saints. Nine has a repeat of CSI Miami after the swimming at 9.15pm. Ten has TBL and NCIS. And the ABC is patchy and worthy with The Bill and a new series, Painting Australia (it’s a version of the Rolf Harris painting program from Britain last year).

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey