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Radio Ratings Season Begins in Canberra

May 7th, 2006 at 12:27am

Welcome to the first radio ratings season in Canberra, which will run from now until Saturday June 3, which means results will be due sometime around June 13.

If those of you with (and even the rest of us without) survey books could be so kind as to tune your radios to 2CC for the duration of this season I would be most grateful, and I’m sure you will agree that you have stumbled on to Canberra’s best radio station.

Naturally I’m looking forward to seeing how this ratings season pans out, 2CC are already off to a good start with ads on busses, but it will be interesting to see what tricks the other stations in Canberra pull out of their collective hats. Last year ABC Local Radio pulled off the dirty trick of advertising on commercial television, a trick I wouldn’t mind if they had advertising themselves, but the fact that they (the ABC as a whole) cry poor and then squander precious taxpayer funds on expensive television advertising is a very low and dirty trick. Of course the question as to why the ABC pay to be included in commercial radio ratings is beyond me, but I suppose they have to do something to make themselves look like a worthwhile budget hole. If the ABC are allowed in to the commercial radio ratings using taxpayer funds, perhaps the government should just make it an open and honest affair and pay for the community stations as well.

In my view, Canberra’s radio market is severely split into two markets, one being music, and the other being talk. In recent years the music market has been a fierce competition between Mix 106.3 and 104.7, with Triple J, ABC Classic FM and 2CA making up the rear of the pack. Last ratings season 104.7 gained an astonishing 2.6 ratings points to take the lead from Mix 106.3.

Having recently been subjected to multiple hearings of 104.7, I can safely say that I think they are going downhill quickly, and will struggle to retain top spot. Mix 106.3 will probably regain top spot, and the rest are unlikely to change. 2CA could have gained if they had informed Canberra of their new format which is similar to Mix 106.3, but as they haven’t done that, I don’t forsee many gains for them.

In the talk market, the ABC have dominated, with ABC Local Radio absolutely sweeping the field with just over 2.5 times the ratings share as second place 2CC in the last survey. Radio National were just behind 2CC last time, and News Radio came last in both the talk market, and the overall Canberra market.

This ratings season sees a few interesting changes. The ABC Local Radio lineup has changed, with the awful Ross Solly (who by his own admition entered radio because he was no good at farming) heading the convoluted breakfast schedule, and being followed by good newsreader but horrible feminazi Virginia Haussegger (already complained about on the ABC guestbook) as their answer to John Laws (good luck…Ha!). ABC Local Radio have also lost their main attraction of a saturday morning, gardening host Mark Carmody, which has probably prompted listeners to fiddle with the dial and find alternatives.

I can’t understand why the ABC insist on changing their schedule, if they want to keep listeners they need to find a schedule they can keep for any length of time. They are slowly but surely driving people mad with their constant schedule fiddles.

2CC have had the same schedule for quite some time, albeit with minor alterations caused by 2UE schedule changes. In fact the only real changes at 2CC in terms of local programming is minor improvements such as a recent change to the Trading Post (whoops, new sponsor, it’s the Tradies Post now…and I thought it was a typo in the script when I heard the promo for the first time) which made calling to sell things a fairer experience for all and sundry.

2CC have a tried and tested formula which is popular amongst the listeners (and much more interesting than ABC Local Radio in my opinion), and a timetable which is easier to remember.

Of the other stations in the market, ABC Radio National has had plenty of success in podcasting, which has probably raised their “brand awareness value”, which in turn may work in their favour, although I think when it comes to their programming which has no local content, people might be happy with just the podcasts. ABC News Radio is really facing extermination here, their conversion to FM didn’t help them in the last survey, and the only reasons they survive is the taxpayer funding that keeps them there, and the fact that the other ABC stations don’t really want to take over the parliament broadcasts, which are a niche market and bore most people to tears (I personally love televised question time, which is a circus of comedic proportions). The budget proceedings may help News Radio, but their chances of getting anywhere in this survey are almost null.

It’s an interesting few weeks ahead in Canberra, and I wish all the stations the best of luck, although I wish 2CA and 2CC much more luck than the others!

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials,TV/Radio/Media

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12 Comments

  • 1. Kieran  |  May 7th, 2006 at 1:20 am

    I was wondering if you realy have listened to 104, as they have certantily improved with there ‘randomizer’ Not only do they play top40 but they also dig up some classic rock. It is definatly and enjoyable listen.

  • 2. Samuel  |  May 7th, 2006 at 1:40 am

    Welcome Kieran. I have listened to 104, overall I’m not a fan of their playlist although they do find some songs I enjoy every now and then. If I had to choose between them and Mix 106.3, I would choose Mix. That being said, the music I don’t like is generally popular, so 104 do have a good chance.

    I’m not a fan of their breakfast team (Chris, Sarah and Mason) and I can’t stand Lowie at night. The rest of the presenters I don’t mind, but when it comes to music, I want 2CA’s old format back.

  • 3. John B1_B5  |  May 7th, 2006 at 9:08 am

    Talkback radio on the ABC (2CN ) used to be good in the 1970’s, 80’s, and early 1990’s, but in recent years it’s really gone downhill . 2CC is much better.

    As for Mix 106.3 – does anybody know who these 2 Mix presenters are ? —-

    http://spaces.msn.com/john33805/blog/cns!F2B226DE742C41C9!2586.entry

  • 4. Samuel  |  May 7th, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    I vaguely recall 2CN talkback from the early 1990s, and I seem to remember it being good, but you are right John, it has gone downhill, and 2CC is much better. I also think 2CC offer a better news service through their excellent local news team and their association with Southern Cross Radio News and Sky News.

    I had a look at the Mix site, but I can’t identify them John. Perhaps the best thing to do is ring Mix and ask them.

  • 5. John B1_B5  |  May 7th, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    Ok Samuel ….. I’m sure any Mix 106.3 listeners out there will know who they are . ( I don’t listen to FM stations as you know ) .

  • 6. sabo23  |  May 8th, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    There is no competition here. 2 Commercial FM stations, 2 commercial am stations, the other 50 station are either community or owned by the ABC. I can honestly say the 2 commercial FM stations will once again do very well (for a regional market anyway). 104.7 had made an effort with their music, so have MIX. Yes 2CA have changed their playlist too but put their format on the FM band, it would do much better than it currently does on AM. Also, not informing listeners of the changes was a bad move. But then again, has the Capital Radio Network ever cared for their listeners? I think not! 2CC…………well…………it speaks for itself. Constant “computer troubles”, and ego manic who hosts the Breakfast Program who needs toilet paper everytime he talks because it’s all crap. They call themselves “Canberra’s talk radio” when 95% of it is networked from Sydney.

  • 7. Samuel  |  May 9th, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    sabo23, it’s been a while, nice to hear from you again. I agree that the two FM stations will do well once again, they always do, but I think Mix 106.3 will regain top spot from 104.7…then again, I’m not 104’s target audience, so my criticisms are probably not reflecting the general concencus. None the less, I can’t stand most of the 104.7 programming…and don’t get me started about their station IDs…I know they are 104.7, so does everyone else, we don’t need the name shoved down our throats fifteen times in a row.

    I also agree that 2CA would rate better on the FM band, but I doubt it will happen.

    2CC’s computer troubles (oh they were fun during overnight programming) have been more or less sorted out by the installation of a new computer system. The only problems I’ve noticed recently is that a couple people seem to manage to play things multiple times at once, and 2UE stuffed the overnight pulses when they added ads between sport and weather, which triggered simultaneous ad breaks and weather, and a bunch of out of place promos and news intros during subsequent ad breaks.

    On the whole 2CC sounds much better with the new computer, as they are almost computer trouble free.

    As for breakfast host Mike Jeffreys, you might not like him sabo23, but that comes with the territory doesn’t it? All people in the public eye will have their detractors, talk radio hosts seem to attract more than many others. I happen to like Mike, as do many others, but there are many like you sabo23 who do not like him, and so be it.

    Thankyou for staying on the non-defamatory side of the defamation line.

  • 8. Samuel  |  May 10th, 2006 at 12:46 am

    Sabo23, I just re-read your comment, and the following statement in reference to 2CC stood out

    They call themselves “Canberra’s talk radio” when 95% of it is networked from Sydney.

    I could draw a comparison between your statement about a certain breakfast presenter, and a well know phrase involving glass houses, but I won’t as you’re generally a nice person and I don’t think you bothered to do the math, which surprises me as you (without disclosing your identity) work in an industry which involves a lot of time based calculations.

    So lets do the math shall we?

    If we assume that programs take up their entire timeslot, and we ignore news and ad breaks, we can say that 2CC’s schedule is as follows:

    Monday-Friday
    Midnight-5:30am: New Day Australia with Stuart Bocking (Sydney programming)
    5:30am-9:00am: Breakfast with Mike Jeffreys (Local programming)
    9:00am-Noon: The John Laws Morning Show (Sydney programming)
    Noon-3:00pm: Afternoons with John Stanley (Sydney programming)
    3:00pm-6:00pm: Drive with Mike Welsh (Local programming)
    6:00pm-8:00pm: Sports Today (Sydney Programming)
    8:00pm-Midnight: The Stan Zemanek Programme (Sydney programming)

    Saturday
    Midnight-6:00am: New Day Australia with John Kerr (Sydney programming)
    6:00am-7:00am: The Travelling Fisherman (Not really local, not really Sydney, but we’ll call it Sydney for ease of calculation)
    7:00am-9:00am: David Young’s Garden (Local programming)
    9:00am-10:00am: Weekend Magazine/Weekend Talkback/whatever they’re calling it now (Local programming)
    10:00am-Noon: The Tradies Post (Local programming)
    Noon-2:00pm: Non-football season: Weekend Magazine (Local programming), Football season: The Continuous Call Team (Sydney programming)
    2:00pm-6:00pm: Non-football season: Weekend Afternoons with Glenn Wheeler (Sydney programming), Football season: The Continuous Call Team (Sydney programming)
    6:00pm-8:00pm: Non-football season: Mike Williams (Sydney programming), Football season: The Continuous call Team (Sydney programming)
    8:00pm-Midnight: Mike Williams (Sydney programming)

    Sunday
    Midnight-6:00am: New Day Australia with John Kerr (Sydney programming)
    6:00am-7:00am: Best of Breakfast (Canberra programming)
    7:00am-9:00am: David Young’s Garden (Local programming)
    9:00am-10:00am: Best of John Laws (Sydney programming)
    10:00am-Noon: The Tradies Post (Local programming)
    Noon-2:00pm: Non-football season: Weekend Afternoons with Glenn Wheeler (Sydney programming), Football season: The Continuous Call Team (Sydney programming)
    2:00pm-6:00pm: Non-football season: Weekend Afternoons with Glenn Wheeler (Sydney programming), Football season: The Continuous Call Team (Sydney programming)
    6:00pm-8:00pm: Non-football season: Mike Williams (Sydney programming), Football season: The Continuous call Team (Sydney programming)
    8:00pm-Midnight: Mike Williams (Sydney programming)

    So what we have here is:
    Football season:
    6:30 of local programming on weekdays, 5:00 of local programming on weekends (although that does go up when 2CC cover a Raiders match on their own, but we’ll ignore that for now).
    Total: (5 x 6:30) + (2 x 5:00) = 42:30 local programming from a 168 hour week. (25.30% Local, 74.70% Sydney).

    Non-Football season:
    6:30 of local programming on weekdays, 7:00 of Local programming on Saturday, 5:00 of local programming on Sunday.
    Total: (5 x 6:30) + 7:00 + 5:00 = 44:30 local programming from a 168 hour week. (26.49% Local, 73.51% Sydney).

    If we then factor in local news the entire local content count goes up.

    For ease of calculation we will just call the news bulletins five minutes in length (which is slightly under the length of some bulletins), except for midday on weekdays which is 12 minutes. We’ve already factored in some of the news timeslots as local, we just have to claim back the ones we have marked as Sydney, a remark the couple ones marked as local which aren’t local.

    Therefore on weekdays we lose ten minutes at 5:30am, gain five minutes at 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:00pm, and gain twelve minutes at Noon. That’s an overall gain of 37 minutes of Local programming.

    On non-football season Saturday we gain 5 minutes at 6:00am and 6:30am (10 minute gain)
    On non-football season Sunday we gain 5 minutes at 9:00am and Noon (10 minute gain)

    On football season Saturday we gain 5 minutes at 6:00am and 6:30am and Noon (15 minute gain)
    On football season Sunday we gain 5 minutes at 9:00am and Noon (10 minute gain)

    That brings the totals up to:
    Football season:
    7:07 of local programming on weekdays, 5:15 of local programming on Saturday, 5:10 of local programming on Sunday.
    Total: (5 x 7:07) + 5:15 + 5:10 = 46:00 local programming from a 168 hour week. (27.38% Local, 72.62% Sydney).

    Non-Football season:
    7:07 of local programming on weekdays, 7:10 of Local programming on Saturday, 5:10 of local programming on Sunday.
    Total: (5 x 7:07) + 7:10 + 5:10 = 47:55 local programming from a 168 hour week. (28.30% Local, 71.70% Sydney).

    I could go on and declare that ads (which accounts for approximately 12 minutes of each hour) are local content, but that would just be silly.

    In reality Canberra is close enough to Sydney to take this amount of Sydney programming, especially when you consider the size of Canberra, and the amount of local news available for debate. Thankfully rabble rousing in the legislative assembly does not require 24/7 debate. The programming that 2CC broadcasts from Sydney is also of a high enough general interest to Canberra and surrounds (Don’t forget that 2CC’s coverage area does spill out of Canberra and into surrounding New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital) that it is suitable for broadcast in Canberra. I’m sure you will find that the programming on 2UE which 2CC doesn’t use is much more Sydney-centric than the content 2CC does use.

    I think I’ve made my point, I hope i didn’t confuse you all with the maths.

  • 9. Chuck A. Spear  |  May 10th, 2006 at 3:49 am

    2CC should hire Samuel in the PR dept. Sabo, I shudder to think what would happen if you really gave 2CC a serve.

  • 10. Samuel  |  May 10th, 2006 at 8:37 am

    I had fun writing that, mainly because I’ve wondered about those percentages myself.

  • 11. Samuel  |  May 10th, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Incidentally, there is another phrase which is something along the lines of “you can prove anything with statistics”, I think that needs to be expanded to “You can prove or disprove anything with statistics, including the statistics themselves”.

  • 12. Samuel’s Blog &raqu&hellip  |  July 30th, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    […] In mid-June the Canberra radio ratings were released…I then analysed the figures and promptly forgot to write anything about them. Regular readers may recall that in early May, when the ratings period started, I made some predictions. I am pleased to be able to announce that I got quite a few things right. […]


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