Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Radio Ratings Report #1

Once again there were not many surprises in Survey #6 of the Radio Ratings. The Kyle and Jackie O show suffered a sizeable hit, along with its station 2day fm, whereas in other states it remained fairly dominant, Triple M continued its troubles in everywhere but Adelaide and the usual ABC and talk-back stations continued their strength.

In Melbourne, the Matt and Jo show maintained its lead over all FM competitors, however, after consecutive drops, Nova100's Hughesy and Kate (with Ed Kavalee) narrowed the gap by 0.6. 3AW and ABC 774 continue to win in their focus on news. It is easy to see, therefore why the languishing Triple M network has opted for a professional news-focus for their new show- The Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire. If anyone oozes professionalism it is Eddie and he is well-known in Melbourne for his Sunday Herald Sun editorials. More on Eddie later. Hamish and Andy increased their strangle-hold on all competition, increasing their share to 22.6... almost 1 in 4 Melbourne's listen to Hamish and Andy! Even though Roy and HG are only on Mondays and Fridays, they have not appeared to lift Triple M out of its afternoon slump, with its share dropping to 3.6. Nova 100's drive show had a significant drop of 0.8 to 6.8. This hurts after their "Everything's on show" TV and bill-board campaign. It often comes across as talking about trivial things, without the wit and polished nature of Hamish and Andy. Also, Triple M's new "music that rocks" motto has not lifted its share across the workday. It should return to its traditionally rock music format... that means no Katy Perry.

The show itself has a heavy focus on interviews, rather than talk-back, and features AFL rather heavily. This not only puts it in competition with the newsy AM shows but with Sen 1116's Morning Glory show, which puttered along with 3.6 points, which is fairly average. We shouldn't read into the MMM breakfast slot result of 3.7 as the survey was taken prior to when Eddie's show commenced. The show has only been on air for one and a half weeks and it has a fair way to go to make up the ratings lost by Pete and Myf.
The Hot Breakfast is certainly not all about Eddie, with Mieke Buchan, Tony Moclair and Luke Darcy comprising the rest of the team. Good to see them going with a group of relative unknowns (or it could just be that they couldn't afford big names with Ed draining the budget). However, they are quite a nifty group, individually at least. Buchan is a sports interviewer among other things, who sounds fairly good on radio... thankfully she doesn't seem to be too much in the Jackie O mould. Luke Darcy would be relatively well known to any AFL nut, which is most of Melbourne and he also is quite perceptive when it comes to AFL. However it remains to be seen how well he can contribute to other matters. Tony Moclair has a large array of voices in arsenal and is also quite witty, he just needs to establish himself with the audience. However as observed in the Herald Sun after his first show, it is firmly the Eddie show... which people will either love or hate.

Back to the ratings, however. Over in Sydney, the most significant story comes in 2day fm's big drop. The whole Kyle suspension seems to have resulted in a massive 2.2 point drop for the Breakfast slot, which seemingly had a flow-on effect for the rest of the day. A huge 2.9 drop in the 9-12 shift and a 2.0 drop in the 12-3 shift. Even Hamish and Andy suffered a 0.2 point drop, though they have never been as popular in Sydney as in Melbourne. Either way, 2day's nemesis in Nova 100 is rubbing its hands after being level with Kyle and Jackie O, despite also dropping across the rest of the day.

And Perth continues to show its love for Mix 94.5 (an Austereo station) with an increase of nearly 3 points to 18.5. However, Hamish and Andy continue to dominate across Australia, increasing their afternoon lead to 19.8. However, there is tight competition with The Big Couch, with a huge 2.5 point surge to 16.0.

Over in Adelaide, there were no huge changes, with SAfm, Mix and MMM still dominating the FM dial and sports station FIVEaa and ABC the AM airwaves. Hamish and Andy are 6.7 points clear of 5AA for the drive home. And Adelaide's dominant brekky team continues to be the experienced bunch on FIVEaa.

In Brisbane, FM stations reign supreme, with B105 (Fox and 2day's sister station), 97.3FM, Triple M and Nova all doing well. Most notably, Nova continues to increase its lead over B105. Hamish and Andy are also more than 5 points clear of the nearest competitor, Ryan, Monty and Wippa.

The Nail in Kyle's Coffin?

The axe is hovering over Kyle after dropping much sought after radio points in the latest rating survey. This of course comes after, the widespread condemnation of him, first after his questioning of an under-age girl about her "other" sexual experiences, then his "fat jibe" about Magda Szubanski's weight.

Enough has been written about these two, seemingly off-the-cuff comments. We all know that he couldn't have picked any two touchier subjects... well, he could have, but that is beside the point.
Everyone is aware of the readiness of the media, including various "experts" and groups to grind anyone down to a pulp who makes any vaguely offensive comments. And Kyle played right into the hands of them.

As soon as the word "rape" was used, he was already in hot water. This water began to boil when a young girl was involved. And the pot began to boil dry when he probed her for more information about other times she had had sex.

Then came the comments taunting a much-loved Aussie celebrity from the most successful Australian comedy of all time who has won public support and adoration with her weight-loss campaign. But all personalities know that when talking about women, they should be especially careful, just ask Sam Newman. But Kyle had to bring weight issues into it... as well as the third biggest genocide in history. Kyle definitely has a knack for it.

And moreover, anything Kyle said was going to be amplified ten-fold. Let's face it, for Melbourne listeners of the Matt and Jo show, would they blink an eyelid if a similar off-the-cuff "joke" was made by Matt Tilley. Well, maybe, but he would not have been suspended. It would have been seen as Matt being his cheeky Gotcha-call self. Kyle's quip was, however, seen to be malicious and pre-conceived.

Don't get me wrong, the latter comment was definitely offensive and inconsiderate. But up until now we have had the argument; if you don't like Kyle's abrasive style, just turn it off and don't complain. Yes, true in some ways, and Kyle and Jackie O do have a sizeable legion of followers who listen for this exact reason. However, the latest Radio survey may just turn this theory on its head. The show is waning in popularity, and quite significantly for the first time quite a while. Their (quite large) share of 12.0 has decreased to a lower 9.8. Does this show that even their most loyal followers have deserted Kyle, thinking that he has finally pushed that line too far.

However, it is easy to see why 2day fm have been deliberating for so long whether to axe Kyle or not. He obviously has huge support- there have even been people calling for his return on Australian Idol after J.D. Springbett... oh sorry Jay Dee Springbett has sent viewers to sleep... however only after they turn off in droves.

If he returns the scrutiny on him if he does come back will be more intense than ever. Reporters will be hungrily waiting for the next slip-up... the next "Kyle embroiled in _______ scandal" story. If he returns 2day will not need to start from scratch and build a new show, a very difficult task... and then to maintain Kyle's audience.

A declining audience may be unfavourable for 2day fm, but if they brought Kyle back after the furore subsides, and make sure he is VERY careful in what he says, I'm sure the show could go on as if nothing had happened.