Talkback switch leads to drop in listeners

By David Blight | 10 August 2010
SYDNEY: Nielsen has released the latest radio ratings survey, with Macquarie Radio 
Network's 2GB securing the top spot for the 50th consecutive survey.
2GB group programming director Ian Holland said: "2GB continues to dominate the sydney 
radio market and our fiftieth number one survey is a tribute to our presenters, producers 
and above all the loyalty of our listeners."
The survey indicates radio listeners are currently moving away from music and towards talk 
radio as the football season begins, while the 2Day Network continues its dominance over 
Nova.
Steve Ahern, managing director of Ahern Media and Training and author of Making Radio, 
told Adnews: "The biggest trend you usually see in Survey 5 is that the stations which 
broadcast football games spike, while music stations go down slightly. Summer is for 
music, winter is for football."
For example, in Sydney, Macquarie Radio Network's 2UE, which features sports like rugby 
league, saw a spike of 1.2%, while Austereo's Triple M, which focuses on music, saw a drop 
of 0.3%. In Melbourne, 3AW saw a spike, particularly in the Saturday/Sunday timeslot where 
football features most prominently. 
In Adelaide, ABC 891 jumped 0.8%, from 4th place to 2nd place, which Ahern believed is 
connected to football coverage.
However, not all stations conformed to this trend, with 6PR in Perth dropping 0.5%.
"The next two surveys we'll see an even bigger spike in these stations as football finals 
season comes about," Ahern said.
Ahern also said: "Over the past few surveys, the most prominenet trend has been the 
continuing ascent of the 2Day network, and the decline of Nova, in the top FM spots. A few 
years back Nova took the lead from the 2Day network, but now the opposite has occurred."
Ahern argued that Hamish and Andy, who are currently still in contract negotiations with 
Austereo, had a major impact on Austereo's 2Day network.
Austereo chief executive Guy Dobson told AdNews: "The value of Hamish and Andy is 
exceptional. Their value comes not only in terms of ratings, but also in terms of overall 
brand value."
In Melbourne, 3AW took the top spot again, however MTR 1377, Macquarie Radio Network's new 
talk station, has generated a great deal of interest. 
While MTR 1377 has only 1.3% of the market, MTR program driector and breakfast presenter 
Steve Price said: "It's early days yet. The Melbourne market is saturated with music 
stations, but there are only really two contenders in the talk-bakc market. We need to 
begin a push in terms of brand recognition to take on our competitors."
In Brisbane, Austereo's B105 retains its lead. In Adelaide, DMG's 5AA is still at the top, 
despite sliding 0.7%, and in Perth, Austereo's Mix94.5 

MELBOURNE: Macquarie Radio Network's talk radio show MTR has lost 0.4% of its audience after rebranding from 3MP and changing its format from music to talkback.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings survey covering the May to July period, MTR1377 now commands 1.3% of the market, down from 1.7% in the previous survey.

MTR program director and breakfast presenter, Steve Price, said: "It's early days yet. The Melbourne market is saturated with music stations, but there are only really two contenders in the talkback market."

Price said that MTR will launch a marketing push, involving publicity stunts and outdoor advertising, to improve "brand recognition".

"We just need to get the MTR brand out there into the market," he said.

MTR will be pleased by wider trends in the survey, which show that radio listeners are currently moving away from music and towards talk radio as the football season begins, while the 2Day Network continues its dominance over Nova.

Steve Ahern, managing director of Ahern Media and Training, told Adnews: "The biggest trend you usually see in Survey 5 is that the stations which broadcast football games spike, while music stations go down slightly. Summer is for music, winter is for football."

In Sydney, Fairfax Radio's 2UE, which features sports such as rugby league, reported a spike of 1.2%, while music station Austereo's Triple M experienced a drop of 0.3%.

In Adelaide, ABC 891 rose 0.8%, from fourth place to second place, which Ahern said was due to its coverage of all the football codes. However, not all sports themed stations reported a rise, with 6PR in Perth falling 0.5%.

"The next two surveys we'll see an even bigger spike in these stations as football finals season comes about," Ahern said. "Over the past few surveys, the most prominenet trend has been the continuing ascent of the 2Day network, and the decline of Nova, in the top FM spots. A few years back Nova took the lead from the 2Day network, but now the opposite has occurred."

Ahern believes comedy duo Hamish and Andy, who are currently still in contract negotiations with Austereo, had a major impact on Austereo's 2Day network.

Austereo chief executive, Guy Dobson, told AdNews: "The value of Hamish and Andy is exceptional. Their value comes not only in terms of ratings, but also in terms of overall brand value."

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