TV & Radio

Oct 30, 2012

Toothless Twitter? Listeners stick by Jones after scandal

Alan Jones doesn't have to "die of shame" for his remarks about the PM's father -- fresh ratings show more people are listening to him, not less, despite a social media-led campaign against him.

Glenn Dyer — <em>Crikey</em> business and media commentator

Glenn Dyer

Crikey business and media commentator

Alan Jones has resisted the impact of his "died of shame" comments about Julia Gillard's father in late September, as loyal listeners in his favoured older demographics stuck by him at the height of the furore over his remarks in October, according to the results of the seventh (and second last) radio ratings survey of 2012 released this morning. The results show Jones' share of the Sydney breakfast market rose to 17.3% from the 16.8% the show posted in the sixth survey (in that survey, it fell 1.7 points from the 18.5% recorded in the fourth and fifth surveys, which were his peaks for the year). Jones' better performance this time around also saw a strong gain of 1.1% (to a share of 18.7% from 17.6%) for fellow 2GB screamer Ray Hadley in mornings, while in afternoons Chris Smith, another of the loud lads of 2GB, saw a 0.9% gain to 13.7%. From the figures in the latest survey, it would seem the online and Twitter campaigns against Jones and 2GB have failed to have an impact on the Sydney radio listening public, especially in the older demographics where Jones and 2GB dominate, such as people aged from 55 to 64 and over. While the station's shares in the 18 to 24, 25 to 39 and 40 to 54 all eased in the latest survey (and there was a small rise in the already tiny share of listeners from 10 to 17), the share in the over 64s jumped by nearly 5% to 35.7% from 30.8% in the previous survey as his older audience picked and stuck by their favourite shock jock. 2GB as a whole (which has taken a financial hit from the loss of advertising on Jones' breakfast program, much of which is at a premium, especially live reads) saw its share rise to 15.5% from 14.7% in the previous survey. But like Jones, the station's latest survey share is below the 2012 peak of 15.8% in survey five. The solid performance by Jones should help him in any problems he has with management and 2GB owner Macquarie Radio (70% owned by John Singleton). The next test for him is the Sarah Ferguson examination on Four Corners, due to air next month. Elsewhere in Sydney, Fairfax's rotten experience with radio continues with 2UE sliding to a new low of 3.8% in the latest survey, down 0.5% from the weak 4.3% in survey six. That fall makes the decision to give programming boss Peter Brennan the push a little easier to understand. In Melbourne, Fairfax's flagship 3AW slipped a little, down 0.1% to 16.5%. It is still market leader though. In Brisbane, Fairfax's 4BC saw a 0.2%  rise to 6.2% in the latest survey. Unlike Jones, the other "bad man" of Sydney radio, Kyle Sandilands, lost ground with his sidekick Jackie O in breakfast for 2Day FM (owned by Southern Cross Austereo). Their share dipped 0.6 to 12.1%. ABC local radio had a mixed survey, with Sydney flagship 702 dipping 1.1% to 11.0% thanks to losses in breakfast by Adam Spencer (down 0.1% to 13.1% and second behind Jones) and a huge 2.1% loss in mornings (Linda Mottram) to 9.4%. Afternoons, Drive and Evenings also lost ground for 702, although Richard Glover in Drive is still the market leader in the slot with 11.5%. ABC 774 in Melbourne added 0.6% to 11.6% and is still second behind 3AW. Red Symons in Breakfast added 1.6% to 14.6%, one of his highest for a while and second behind 3AW which lost 1.1% to 20.5%. Jon Faine in Mornings added 0.2% to a share of 13.3% and second behind 3AW's Neil Mitchell who was steady on 18.6%.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “Toothless Twitter? Listeners stick by Jones after scandal

  1. zut alors

    Nobody really expected them to desert. But it’s important that the sponsors did.

  2. Lyn Gain

    Exactly what I was going to say when I logged on, zut alors, only you were considerably more succinct than I planned to be! I really do not see the point of the first part of this article – it reads as though the social media fuss etc. was a failure – as if anyone expected it to influence rusted on Jones supporters. This is the sort of journalism I expect to see in the mainstream media, not Crikey.

  3. klewso

    It’s a niche audience he caters to – that pay his way – reinforcing their prejudices, rather than challenging them. Preserving their idea of reality, whilst feeding off it.
    Sort of like a “Withered of Oz”?

  4. Tom Jones

    Of course the ratings increase is just as likely to have been from those who are listening to Jones program in order to see which advertisers are game enough to seek his support. It has worked, as those businesses which have more than a small section of Sydney to worry about know that new listeners do not always listen kindly and can spread their complaints just as widely and more effectively than Jones.

  5. Lyn Gain

    Very good point Tom Jones. It didn’t occur to me but it is quite likely that the increase was at least partly due to all those volunteer observers helping The Change Organisation keep tabs on the advertisers to see how effective the petition had been. Another piece of evidence for the superficial nature of this article.

  6. Lyn Gain

    Correction – I meant The Change Agency

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details