Megaphones Watch

Toothless Twitter? Listeners stick by Alan Jones after PM scandal

Alan Jones has resisted the impact of his "died of shame" comments about Julia Gillard's father in late September, as loyal listeners in his favoured older demographics stuck by him at the height of the furore over his remarks in October, according to the results of the seventh (and second last) radio ratings survey of 2012, released this morning.

The results show that Jones' share of the Sydney breakfast market rose to 17.3% from the 16.8% the show posted in the sixth survey (in that survey, it fell 1.7 points, from the 18.5% recorded in the fourth and fifth surveys, which were his peaks for the year). Jones' better performance this time around also saw a strong gain of 1.1% (to a share of 18.7% from 17.6%) for fellow 2GB screamer Ray Hadley in mornings, while in afternoons Chris Smith, another of the loud lads of 2GB, saw a 0.9% gain to 13.7%.

From the figures in the latest survey, it would seem that the online and Twitter campaigns against Jones and his employer, 2GB, have failed to have an impact on the Sydney radio listening public, especially in the older demographics where Jones and 2GB dominate, such as people aged from 55 to 64 and over 64.

While the station's shares in the 18 to 24, 25 to 39 and 40 to 54 all eased in the latest survey (and there was a small rise in the already tiny share of listeners from 10 to 17), the share in the over 64s jumped by nearly 5% to 35.7% from 30.8% in the previous survey as his older audience picked and stuck by their favourite shock jock.

2GB as a whole (which has taken a financial hit from the loss of advertising on Jones' breakfast program, much of which is at a premium, especially live reads) saw its share rise to 15.5% from 14.7% in the previous survey. But like Jones, the station's latest survey share is below the 2012 peak of 15.8% in survey five. The solid performance by Jones should help him in any problems he has with management and 2GB owner, Macquarie Radio (70% owned by John Singleton). The next test for him is the Sarah Ferguson examination of him for Four Corners which is due to air next month.

Elsewhere in Sydney, Fairfax's Media rotten experience with radio continues with 2UE sliding to a new low of 3.8% in the latest survey, down 0.5% from the weak 4.3% in survey six. That fall makes the decision to give programming boss, Peter Brennan, the push, a little easier to understand. In Melbourne, Fairfax's flagship 3AW slipped a little, down 0.1% to 16.5%. It is still market leader though. In Brisbane, Fairfax's 4BC saw a 0.2%  rise to 6.2% in the latest survey.

Unlike Jones, the other "bad man" of Sydney radio, Kyle Sandilands, lost ground with his sidekick Jackie O in breakfast for 2Day FM (owned by Southern Cross Austereo). Their share dipped 0.6 to 12.1%.

ABC local radio has a mixed survey, with the Sydney flagship 702 dipping 1.1% to 11.0% thanks to losses in breakfast by Adam Spencer (down 0.1% to 13.1% and second behind Jones), and a huge 2.1% loss in mornings (Linda Mottram) to 9.4%. AfternoonsDrive and Evenings also lost ground for 702, although Richard Glover inDrive is still the market leader in the slot with 11.5%.

ABC 774 in Melbourne added 0.6% to 11.6% and is still second behind 3AW. Red Symons in Breakfast added 1.6% to 14.6%, one of his highest for a while and second behind 3AW which lost 1.1% to 20.5%. Jon Faine in Mornings added 0.2% to a share of 13.3% and second behind 3AW's Neil Mitchell who was steady on 18.6%.

*This piece was originally published by Crikey


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