The biggest loser is Hit 92.9, which dropped a huge 2 per cent of its audience overall, with losses in every timeslot other than evenings. Its stablemate Mix 94.5 also sustained a big 1.4 per cent loss overall, but it’s in a better position to absorb the hit and still maintains its dominance as the most listened-to station in the state. Of the talkback stations, ABC was a big winner, picking up 1.6 per cent overall to sit in third place (after Mix and Nova). The most improved in the overall ratings was 96fm, which was rewarded by listeners for getting over its identity crisis and returning to its more rock n roll roots.
In the individual programs, Peter Bell has paid back the faith ABC management showed in hiring him for the coveted breakfast spot, making an impressive 1.7 per cent gain to retain the number one position. Despite spending the first couple of months playing a lot of music and not doing much talking, Bell seems to have relaxed into the position and let listeners hear a bit more of his personality. They clearly like what they hear. Rounding out the top 3 in breakfast are Mix 94.5’s Clairsy, Matt and Kimba and (who had a good gain of 1.3), and Nova 937’s Nathan, Nat and Shaun, who are only about 1 per cent behind them. The biggest losers in the slot were 6PR’s breakfast team of Millsy and Basil, who had been making steady gains toward the end of last year.
The Morning timeslot brought some bad news for Austereo, with Mix losing 1.8 per cent (even though it maintains top spot) and Hit 92.9 dropping a massive 2.5 per cent. There were also some huge gains in the slot, with 96fm picking up 2.3 per cent and the ABC’s Geoff Hutchison improving his ratings by 2.2 per cent. Although officially the ABC doesn’t pay attention to ratings, there’s sure to be at least a hint of celebration that Hutchison has extended his lead over rival talkback station 6PR to sit third overall. Despite the fact that audiences generally don’t like change, 6PR listeners didn’t seem to mind too much that host Gary Adshead has been replaced by the West’s Gareth Parker, with Parker only dropping a very modest 0.4 per cent.
In the battle for Drivetime, 6PR’s new recruit Oly Peterson took a whopping 2.6 per cent hit on his re-branded show Perth Live, while Mix’s ‘very own’ team of Lisa and Pete suffered the same loss and gave up the number one spot to Nova 937’s Kate, Tim and Marty. The ABC will again be patting itself on the back (discreetly) for its choice of Belinda Varischetti to replace Jane Marwick, with Varischetti picking up a huge 2.5 per cent.
The evening timeslot had some wildly varied results, with Mix losing a gigantic 4.6 per cent, and ABC picking up an enormous 4 per cent.
The stage is set for an interesting year. Survey 2 is due out on April 27.
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