Fairfax re-signs Carlton to 2UE breakfast . Fairfax has re-signed Mike Carlton to the 2UE breakfast slot for next year but not before he accepted a big pay cut and a restructuring of his contract. Carlton had been paid around $1.3 million under his about-to-expire contract with 2UE’s old owners, Southern Cross Broadcasting, which included the salaries and costs of three staffers for his shift. Carlton’s new contract will be for $800,000 a year but his staff will be taken onto the station’s payroll. That way the on costs will be lower as they can be rostered across all shifts. Fairfax had Carlton over a barrel: he has nowhere else to go in Sydney talk radio. Sydney radio sources reckon Carlton would have done the gig for much less, but Fairfax offered him $800,000 because he’s a columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald and has a reservoir of mates on the paper. Fairfax now has to find a “co-host” to replace Peter FitzSimons who has returned to full time book writing. The question is whether Fairfax will be able to find anyone with a thick enough skin to cope with working in tandem with Carlton. Carlton’s share in the last survey of the year was 7.6 (up from 7.4), well behind 2GB’s Alan Jones on 14.1 (13.4) and ABC 702’s Adam Spencer, who finished with a share of 11.5 (10.7). 2DayFM’s Kyle Sandilands/Jackie O pairing was second in breakfast with 11.8 (11.6). No wonder Ten signed them up to host Big Brother next year.

ABC local radio raids SMH … again. Meanwhile the ABC and Fairfax remain joined at the hip in Sydney. The national broadcaster has again raided the ranks of the Sydney Morning Herald to replace morning host Virginia Trioli in 2008. Deborah Cameron, a well regarded writer, columnist and foreign correspondent has been given the gig, joining the likes of Trioli (who worked at The Age before entering radio), Richard Glover and Sally Loan, (Trioli’s predecessor in mornings for 702), who have come from Fairfax. Trioli wraps up her time on Friday and in the last ratings survey she lifted her share from 6.7 to 7.2, continuing her recovery from a mid-year slump. There was also a belated surge in listeners after she revealed her departure. Like Mike Carlton, Trioli came across as spending too much time on transmit and not enough on listening to her audience. Her share was consistently the lowest of the various shifts on 702 Monday to Friday, even lower than evenings where the available audience is half the size of mornings. 702 also has to find a replacement for James O’Loughlin who finishes up on evenings this week.

Sydney radio ratings. 702 had a good survey, up from 8.6 to 9.4 and second place in AM talk behind 2GB, which rose to 11.7 (from 11.1). 2UE was a distant third with 7.4 (down from 7.6). Richard Glover is now the top AM drive host in Sydney, second only to 2Day. And John Laws exited radio very much a loser. He finished with a share of 7.3, which was only good enough for sixth in the market, just in front of Trioli. 2GB’s Ray Hadley yelled his way to 14.9, up 1.5. That’s the biggest share for any shift in Sydney radio.

Melbourne radio ratings. There was more of the same in Melbourne with 3AW out in front, chased by Fox FM and ABC 774. 3AW, which is now part of Fairfax Radio, averaged 15.7 (up from 15.6), with Neil Mitchell up 0.9 to 15.7 in the morning. Fox was second overall with a 13.2 share, in front of 774 with 10.9. 774’s Red Symons was second in breakfast with 13.7 (down 0.4), behind 3AW with 20.0 (down 0.9), and Jon Faine was also down, losing 0.6 to 11.9. Fox won afternoons and drive; 3AW was king of the evenings.