Community radio listenership castles in the sand

Dave Lennon writes: Re. “Digital killed the community radio stars? Conroy’s fight with DJs” (Friday). That community radio survey is basically crap. It’s an annual exercise in overstatement to keep government money rolling by massively inflating audience. Here in Bendigo a few years ago one of our community stations used that survey to claim 30,000 listeners in a town of 100,000. The station put an ad to this effect in The Bendigo Advertiser, which prompted a fairly snarky letter from the general manager of 3BO/StarFM pointing out the claims were in fact bullshit. I sat down and dissected the math. What in fact the survey showed was there was an average hourly listenership of  27. Now assuming at, say, 2am that number might be one or two listeners, it might mean in the breakfast slot the listenership might reach the dizzing heights of 500, but even that would mean other shifts would be well below 27 per hour.

I started in community radio and believe in community radio, but they have built a castle on sand here and it’s about time they were called on it. This may seem a strange statement when talking about the people in volunteer radio, but in my 28 years in professional radio I met some impressive egos but few were the equal of the egos that seem to be attracted to community radio.

Sinodinos’ ignorance

Dylan Taylor writes: Re. “Keane’s week in review: Gillard journeys west, without Monkey” (Friday). Thank you, Bernard Keane, for revealing what the ABC did not tell us — Arthur Sinodinos was chairman of the Obeid Company, which donated $70,000 to the Liberal Party of which Sinodinos was Treasurer, and believe it or not, the same Sinodinos knew nothing at all about the donation. In fact, Sinodinos had forgotten all about his shares (worth a cool $3 million) in the Obeid company until a journalist reminded him about it.

No one asked: “If the journalist had not reminded you, would you have just kept the shares?” No outrage among the usual suspects, either — Michelle Grattan and Fran Kelly opined on RN Breakfast that “this was a fairly minor matter, which would not do him much harm, as he moved onto bigger and better things”. The ABC only mentioned the six directorships — not the donations to the Liberal Party. At least Crikey has told the whole truth.

Richard Farmer should know better

Megan Stoyles writes: Re. Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday). Richard Farmer could have been more nuanced in his ongoing attack on Prime Minister Julia Gillard given his oft-claimed experience in prime ministerial election campaign management and media manipulation. He now criticises her for not listing her future schedule of events on her website when he would know that police and security advise such advance listings enable old greenies and young Liberals the opportunity to gatecrash the event and help themselves to plenty of publicity and media coverage. This leads to more pontificating by Farmer et al on the PM’s unpopularity. She can’t take a trick.

Beautifully done

Penny Hanley writes: Re. “Bradley Manning, succumbing to human frailty, pleads guilty” (Friday). High praise to Guy Rundle, thanks for the brilliant article on Bradley Manning. Beautifully written, very moving. Your writing gave me goosebumps. That’s extremely rare in journalism today. It should go in the Friday Australian Financial Review middle section of the best journalism from all over the (Engligh-speaking) world.

What about doctor demand?

Peter Lange writes: Re. “The doctor shortage that wasn’t: too many GPs” (Friday). Bob Birrell’s report fails to consider the most basic question regarding oversupply: what is the demand? If supply has increased, has demand? Was it starting from a balanced situation? Choosing bulk-billing rates to define oversupply is also questionable. Surely the appropriate measure of oversupply of medical care is declining gains in health per dollar spent? Who cares if there is an oversupply if the alternative is even more expensive? If patients attend emergency departments, or do not receive any medical care, costs might be higher still.

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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