Tuesdata: The key themes of 2022's radio ratings in five exclusive charts
ABC Radio National sank to new lows; Nova's the top dog in drive; Ben Fordham reasserted Sydney dominance; and why Jim Wilson had to go
Welcome to Tuesdata - examining how the radio ratings year wrapped up.
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In today’s email, we examine the eighth and final radio ratings survey release of 2022. We reveal which national show is winning drivetime (and how far behind the ABC has slipped), and explore the numbers that explain why 2GB ditched Jim Wilson.
Chart 1: Nova wins drivetime
With audience numbers released across each individual metro market, it’s hard to get a clear national picture without doing some work. So we’ve done that for you, building a cumulative view of the performance of each national drivetime show.
The data is based on the 4-7pm timeslot as that’s the one the data release covers. Today’s audience data covered the survey period covering the ten weeks from September 25 to December 3
Nova won the timeslot across the five metro capitals, with an average listening audience of just over 190,000.
The key show in the timeslot was the Kate, Tim & Joel show, featuring (the currently unwell) Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, which runs from 3-6pm.
ARN’s Will & Woody show, featuring Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, was close behind, with Kiis FM-aligned metro stations averaging just over 170,000 listeners between 4-7pm.
Hit Network, including 2Day FM in Sydney and Fox FM in Melbourne, was third with an average metro audience of just over 160,000. The Carrie & Tommy Show, featuring Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little airs from 4-6pm, followed by an hour long compilation of the best of the Sydney breakfast show with Erin Molan, Dave Hughes and Ed Kavalee.
Meanwhile the ABC’s three key networks were well behind.
Triple J, whose Drive with Lewis Hobba & Michael Hing airs from 3pm followed by youth news show Hack at 5.30pm, averaged a little over 90,000 listeners.
Hardly anyone is listening to the drivetime output of the ABC’s national speech networks, with the ABC’s evening flagship RN Drive with Andy Park pulling in an average of just 25,000 listeners nationally, and ABC News Radio just behind.
Chart 2: Why Jim Wilson lost his 2GB seat
Sticking with drivetime and focusing on Sydney, the audience gave 2GB’s Jim Wilson a final post mortem.
While the Nine station had presented Wilson’s November departure as his decision, the numbers suggest that his position was untenable.
Ben Fordham bequeathed Wilson an average listening audience of 62,000 when he switched to Alan Jones’ former breakfast slot. The final set of numbers were Wilson’s worst yet, averaging just 29,000, less than half that of Fordham 2020.
Chart 3: Fordham retakes the morning lead
Speaking of Fordham, the battle for number one in Sydney remains tight, but he returned to top position.
When Fordham inherited the 2GB breakfast show from Alan Jones in 2020, his predecessor has never lost a survey. Fordham has lost two - both to Kiis FM’s Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson.
The gap is still close, but Fordham’s average audience of 130,000 was just ahead of Kyle & Jackie O’s 123,000.
It’s worth noting that stablemate 3AW’s Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft easily top that number in Melbourne, where their show dominated with an average audience of a massive 169,000.
Chart 4: Kyle & Jackie O’s weird cume bump continued
We’ve previously written about the hard-to-fathom massive jump in the cumulative audience - the number of people reached across a week - for the Kyle & Jackie O Show in the previous survey.
There’s still been no plausible explanation - beyond a shift from paper to digital diaries among those surveyed - to explain the jump.
This time the number remained steady at 817,000. However half of the survey sample crossed over with the previous survey, suggesting the number is likely to come down in the next survey.
Chart 5: Patricia Karvelas’ RN audience has collapsed further
The ABC’s audience woes are not limited to drivetime. The collapse in breakfast listening under Patricia Karvelas has continued.
Across the five capital cities, listening to RN Breakfast collapsed to a record low of 55,000, half that of three years ago.
Chart 6: …particularly in Melbourne
The fall in listening to RN Breakfast is worst in Melbourne, with an average of just 13,000 listeners, representing just 1.8% of the listening audience. The number is less than a third of Melbourne listening to the show under Fran Kelly, prior to the pandemic, and about a quarter of the show’s high point in the early stages of Covid.
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