The rat­ings on the wall

End-of-year lis­ten­ing fig­ures her­ald the usual num­ber of per­son­nel changes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - News - GREG THOM

IT DIDN’T take long for the mu­si­cal chairs syn­ony­mous with this time of year to be­gin once the fi­nal ra­dio rat­ings fig­ures were re­leased.

The an­nounce­ments have flowed thick and fast.

Stand-up co­me­dian Ak­mal Saleh will sign off from Nova’s na­tional drive pro­gram The Wrong Way Home af­ter 2½ years.

Saleh, who shared the on-air hon­ours with fel­low co­me­di­ans Cal Wil­son and Ed Kavalee, is leav­ing to write a book, a movie and hit the road with a new stand-up show. A re­place­ment has yet to be an­nounced.

Quirky co­me­di­ans John Doyle and Greig Pick­haver, bet­ter known as Roy and H.G., are head­ing to Triple M af­ter 22 years pre­sent­ing their take on all things sport on Triple J. The pair will re­place co­me­di­ans Wil An­der­son and An­thony ‘‘Lehmo’’ Lehmann on Fri­days and Mon­days. It was an­nounced sev­eral weeks ago they would be part­ing com­pany with the sta­tion af­ter two years.

Net­worked out of Syd­ney, the af­fa­ble Wil and Lehmo could do lit­tle to limit the rat­ings fall­out from their all-con­quer­ing FOX ri­vals Hamish and Andy.

The dy­namic duo sucked the rat­ings life out of any show un­lucky enough to be up against them in the same times­lot, in­clud­ing 3AW talk­back vet­eran Der­ryn Hinch.

The two mates, who just four years ago were work­ing for petrol money, fin­ished 2008 with an au­di­ence share of 23.4 — their high­est fig­ures for the year, ce­ment­ing their sta­tus as the most lis­tened-to show on the dial.

Other sta­tions had much less to crow about.

DMG, which runs Nova 100 and Vega 91.5 from its Rich­mond stu­dios, fin­ishes 2008 with mixed for­tunes.

Dave Hughes and Kate Lang­broek had a solid year, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the highly com­pet­i­tive FM break­fast stakes be­hind FOX’s Matt and Jo Show. Nova morn­ing host Dy­lan Lewis also claimed a healthy 1.7 per cent rat­ings jump to 9.5.

Sis­ter sta­tion Vega recorded mod­est in­creases in lis­ten­ers across the board, but the news wasn’t so good for the sta­tion’s flag­ship break­fast shift.

The early morn­ing team of Ian ‘‘Dicko’’ Dick­son, Dave O’Neil and Chrissie Swan (now on ma­ter­nity leave) has strug­gled all year to make an im­pact, a fact sta­tion gen­eral man­ager Sam Thomp­son finds dis­ap­point­ing.

‘‘I think what comes out of the speak­ers and the ef­fort that is put in is re­ally worth more than that,’’ Thomp­son says of the team’s 2.8 per cent re­sult.

She de­scribed the trio as an ex­tremely hard­work­ing break­fast team who coura­geously open their lives to their lis­ten­ers.

Dick­son, in par­tic­u­lar, has done ev­ery­thing this year from try­ing his hand at stand-up com­edy to climb­ing into the wrestling ring in the chase for rat­ings.

‘‘There is noth­ing they won’t do, in­clud­ing putting their life on the line— quite lit­er­ally in Dicko’s case — to pro­duce the best qual­ity and an ex­cit­ing break­fast show,’’ Thomp­son says.

The for­tunes of the Vega crew were symp­to­matic of a mar­ket that saw three new FM ra­dio break­fast teams en­ter the fray in 2008.

Along with Dicko and com­pany, TripleM­duo Peter Hel­liar and Myf Warhurst and Mix 101.1 FM’s Two Women and a Metro (fea­tur­ing Brigitte Du­c­los) all lost ground.

Hel­liar and Warhurst fin­ished the year with a dis­ap­point­ing 4.7 au­di­ence share, al­most 2 per cent down on their 6.3 per cent de­but in sur­vey one.

MIX FM’s fe­male-friendly Two Women and a Metro has also strug­gled to build an au­di­ence, fin­ish­ing 2008 down 0.2 per cent on the pre­vi­ous sur­vey to 4.4 and 0.9 points be­hind its best re­sult in sur­vey two.

Sta­tion chiefs are pub­licly back­ing all three teams, pas­sion­ately declar­ing they have faith in them and that it takes a cou­ple of years to build an au­di­ence. Only time will tell if they are right.

There are no such prob­lems at FOX.

The ru­n­away suc­cess this year of both Hamish and Andy and break­fast stal­warts Matt Tilley and Jo Stan­ley helped se­cure the over­all No.1 spot for the sta­tion, knock­ing 3AW off its perch for the first time in six years.

It has now ce­mented that lead, beat­ing the talk­back kings three sur­veys in a row.

De­spite still rul­ing the roost with the No.1-rat­ing show on the AM band, long-time 3AW break­fast team Ross Steven­son and John Burns end the year with a 0.6 per cent rat­ings dip to 17.7 per cent, their third neg­a­tive sur­vey re­sult in a row.

Out of there:

Nova’s (right) Ak­mal Saleh with Cal Wil­son and Ed Kavalee.

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