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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