Archive for February 26th, 2012

The Sunday Bits for the 26th of February, 2012

Good morning.

Based on some feedback, I have decided that in order to make these Sunday Bits posts a bit easier to navigate, they will now contain a list of contents, and headers at the start of each section. I hope this makes it easier for you to read the bits that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t, rather than simply skipped the entire post due to a small section which doesn’t interest you.

In this edition:
* A prediction for tomorrow’s Labor leadership showdown
* The first radio ratings of 2012
* 2UE dumps their only weekday ratings winner of 2012
* Why telecommunication monopolies are bad
* A review (well, almost) of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
* Mount Majura in the fog

A prediction for tomorrow’s Labor leadership showdown

Tomorrow morning at about 11am we will know, one way or another, who will lead the Australian Labor Party for at least the next few days, and who will probably be sworn in as Prime Minister when Governor-General Quentin Bryce returns to the country on Thursday or Friday.

Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard
(Thanks to Jane Turner from 7HO FM in Hobart for the image)

My prediction is that Julia Gillard will win, but not because she is a better leader. I expect her to win on the basis that the agreement with the independents and the Greens was made with her, and not with the Labor Party. Julia Gillard was very clever when she made sure that the agreement was made with herself and not the Party as it helps to secure her position as leader, a position which she would have known would, at some stage, come under threat due to the tenuous nature of minority government.

Electing anyone other than Julia Gillard as Labor leader potentially puts the agreement with the cross-benches under threat, and could potentially lead to a new general election. At this time, based on current opinion polling, Labor do not want to risk an election which is likely to see them annihilated.

For the record, I doubt that the Greens will ever back out of their effective coalition with Labor, as they really need Labor more than Labor need them, but the independents are another story as they might see disassociating themselves with the current disorganised mess as a way to secure their seats.

On the off chance that Kevin Rudd or some other as-yet unnamed contender takes over the Labor leadership, they have the advantage of having the Governor-General out of the country until at least Thursday, giving them time to negotiate to keep the independents and the Greens on-side…because it would be terribly embarrassing and destructive to themself and the Labor party to take over as Prime Minister and then immediately have an election called due to a no-confidence motion succeeding in the parliament.

Also, while it is true that a state governor could swear in a new Prime Minister in the absence of the Governor-General, I doubt that it will happen as a new Labor leader won’t mind waiting a few days to shore up the numbers.

***

The first radio ratings of 2012

During the week, the first metropolitan radio ratings for the year were released.

On the whole, it wasn’t a great survey for commercial talk radio. In Sydney, while 2GB remains on top of the ratings by four whole percentage points, they did lose ground, losing 0.8 percentage points. 2UE went up by 0.3, mostly on the back of weekend ratings, but lost ground on most weekday shifts and remain a fair way down the ratings pile.

Sydney’s leaderboard is:
2GB: 13.4%
ABC 702: 9.4%
2DAY FM: 8.3%
WSFM: 7.8%
JJJ: 7.4%

The biggest winner was Triple J which went up 2.7% to 7.4%. The biggest loser was 2DAY FM which went down 1.6% to 8.3%.

Last place belongs to ABC NewsRadio on 2.2%.

In Melbourne, 3AW remains on top but, like 2GB, took a bit of a hit. MTR lost ground in every timeslot, although it is worth noting that some of the survey period took place while MTR were taking extra programming from 2GB, so the next survey will give a better indication of how the local news cutbacks have affected MTR. Interesting, for the first time in a very long time (many years I believe), 3AW’s Neil Mitchell did not win his timeslot. He lost 3.5 percentage points in the morning timeslot, dropping from 15.7% to 12.2%, meaning that the local ABC station’s Jon Faine is now winning mornings on 13.7%.

The leaderboard in Melbourne:
3AW: 12.8%
ABC 702: 12.3%
Fox FM: 9.6%
Nova: 8.5%
Gold FM: 7.4%

The biggest winner was Nova which went up 1.5% to 8.5%. The biggest loser was shared between Fox FM and Melbourne’s 91.5FM which both went down 1.3%, Fox to 9.6% and 91.5FM to 2.9%.

Last place went to MTR1377 and ABC NewsRadio, both on 1.4%.

In Brisbane, 4BC bucked the trend for commercial talk stations, going up by 0.9 percentage points.

Brisbane’s leaderboard:
97.3FM: 14.1%
ABC 612: 10.9%
Nova: 10.5%
B105: 10.2%
Triple M: 9.4%

The biggest winner was 97.3 which turned a narrow lead in to a massive one by gaining 2.4% to sit on 14.1%. The biggest loser was Triple M which lost 1.7% to drop from 4th to 5th, drop out of double digits, and sit on 9.4%.

In last place, yet again, ABC NewsRadio on 1.5%.

In Adelaide, FiveAA lost ground but remained in second place. Of particular concern for FiveAA has to be their afternoon drive shift which lost a whopping 6.3% to drop from 1st place to 5th place.

Adelaide’s leaderboard:
Mix 102.3: 14.1%
FiveAA: 12.1%
SAFM: 10.7%
ABC 891: 10.6%
Nova 9.6%

The biggest winner was Triple J which gained 2.7% to sit on 8.3%. The biggest loser was Mix 102.3 which lost 2.3% to sit on 13.6%, retaining first place due to FiveAA also losing ground.

In Perth, 6PR lost ground as well, losing 1.2% overall and losing ground in every timeslot. Howard Sattler suffered the biggest loss, losing 3.4%.

Perth’s leaderboard:
Mix 94.5: 16.2%
96FM: 11.8%
92.9FM: 11.7%
ABC 720: 11.4%
Nova & Triple J (tied): 9.5%

The biggest winner was 96FM which went up by 2.4% to 11.8%. The biggest loser was 6PR which went down by 1.2% to 8.1%.

Last place went to ABC NewsRadio on 1.2%.

The one consistent thing across all of the surveyed cities is that NewsRadio is in last place. How thankful the NewsRadio staff must be that it is not a commercial operation, and doesn’t need to make money, because if it was, heads would roll and changes would be made. For the rest of us, who pay for NewsRadio through our taxes, what a shame it is that we are paying for a service that almost nobody listens to, when in other countries all-news formats have been made commercially viable…even without the advertising, NewsRadio could reach a much larger audience simply by making some changes that have been proven to work elsewhere, but as long as the tax dollars keep rolling in, there is no incentive to do so, as thus, they won’t.

***

2UE dumps their only weekday ratings winner of 2012

Back to Sydney we go, and 2UE’s perennial game of shuffles is on again. Sport’s Today, which was dumped at the beginning of last year, is back, albeit with two extra hosts. It reclaims its old 6pm-8pm timeslot, bumping Murray Olds and Murray Wilton who have shared the 6pm-9pm timeslot over the last year to mixed success.

The Two Murrays, combined with Mike Jeffreys until midnight (as the publicly available data goes from 7pm-midnight) lost 2%, the station’s largest loss. It seems quite bizarre then that The Two Murrays are being placed in to the weekday afternoon slot, formerly hosted by Michael Smith and recently hosted by Stuart Bocking since Smith’s axing, when Stuart Bocking delivered the station’s largest weekday gain of 0.6%. Even stranger, Stuart has been dropped from the schedule completely. He remains on the payroll though, as is expected to be retained as a fill-in host, but I think it’s safe to say that Stuart deserves better given his recent performance.

Sports Today starts tomorrow. It’s likely that Mike Jeffreys’ night program will start at the earlier time of 8pm. The Two Murrays start in their new timeslot in a week, so Stuart Bocking probably still has the coming week in the timeslot.

Meanwhile it is rumoured that David Oldfield might also succumb to the game of shuffles, to be replaced by a duo of Prue MacSween and Tracey Spicer. David Oldfield has failed to make a dent on rival Ray Hadley’s ratings, and I highly doubt that anyone can make significant inroads there, so I understand the move to an extent.

I don’t have access to demographic breakdowns of Ray Hadley’s ratings, so this is all somewhat informed conjecture based on the callers to Ray’s show, but I have always thought that Ray’s ratings primarily come from a male audience, and an older female audience. 2UE have clearly attempted to attract a younger audience, and I suspect that they have a shot at attracting a decent-sized 30 to 6o-year-old female audience with a duo of Prue MacSween and Tracey Spicer. This is a demographic which, to my ear at least, is dominated by FM music stations and possibly ABC 702, and as such lacks any strong commercial talk presence. Talk radio generally has a more engaged audience due to the nature of the programming, and thus if 2UE can successfully build a reasonably sized female audience in that timeslot, then they could attract a new set of advertisers. Alas, I fail to see how The Two Murrays could retain that type of audience, and think Stuart Bocking would be much better at retaining a female audience, as women seem to absolutely love him.

***

Why telecommunication monopolies are bad

On Thursday, Telstra suffered a rather nasty outage on their network, apparently caused by an issue between themselves and Dodo, which took down their entire Australian data network for the better part of an hour. This caused issue beyond Telstra as many other internet service providers use Telstra’s network for various bits of their connections, however as other providers also hook in to networks other than Telstra’s network, many were able to route around Telstra and minimise the disruption for their own customers.

Some providers, my ISP Internode included, had almost no disruption as Telstra are not their primary network provider.

It’s a bad thing when a large player has an issue, but imagine what would happen in the case of a monopoly. The monopoly goes down, and this takes everyone down.

Now, aren’t you glad that in the not-too-distant future, everyone is going to be relying on the infrastructure of the National Broadband Network?

Ahh yes, the government-owned NBN Monopoly…is it any wonder that some worry about the possibility of the government having a “kill switch” for the internet once the NBN is in place? Even without a kill switch, the NBN will make us all reliant on a single network, which is precisely what the distributed nature of the internet was designed to prevent. It’s certainly not what I call “progress”.

***

A review (well, almost) of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

On Friday I went along to Dendy in Civic to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a movie which is set during the cold war years and involves a sacked British spy being asked to investigate the possibility that there is a Russian spy embedded at or near the top of MI6.

The movie is quite dense, and requires a lot of attention. Turn away or lose concentration for a minute, and you will miss vital information. This is a bit of a problem as the movie also makes you think, and there’s not a lot of time between informative bits of the movie in which to think.

It’s a very enjoyable movie, partially because it doesn’t waste time explaining things which are patently obvious, and is therefore aimed at an audience which enjoys working things out for themselves.

Without giving away any detail of the ending, I will say that it leaves you somewhat satisfied, but still wanting more, and also leaves you thinking and putting together some of the dots that the movie doesn’t fully explain.

I enjoyed it, but want to see it again on DVD (yes, I am one of those people who has not upgrade to Blu Ray yet) so that I can pause and rewind the movie occasionally to check things.

The movie is rated MA, but I can’t work out why. “Strong Violence” is the reason according to the consumer advice, but the violence in the movie is really extremely intermittent and no worse than a shooting or two, and a beating. Even with the sex scenes, I see no good reason for this to be rated higher than M.

Four and a half stars from me. I would have given it five stars if the movie had taken just a bit more time to explain the ending. Then again, maybe it did, and I missed those plot points while I was thinking.

Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star

***

Mount Majura in the fog

Finally, a photo to leave you with on a mostly cloudy day in Canberra. It’s not from today, but was a nice sight earlier in the week anyway. Mount Majura, with the airport radar obscured by fog.

Mount Majura in the fog

Samuel

February 26th, 2012 at 09:10am


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