Winner: Ross and John (3AW)
Now under the control of Nine Entertainment Co, the new proprietor will be happy that the co-host of Australia’s highest-rating metro breakfast show, has signed on for five more years. Stevenson explained recently to journalist Fiona Byrne that his new contract has triggers in it that could even extend the deal beyond five years. Contract negotiations with his co-host John Burns are believed to have concluded more recently, as the two have separate deals with the broadcaster. Stevenson is 3AW’s ratings dynamo and has been with the station since 1990. The program is a model on consistency and in the past three years the station’s lowest breakfast share was 17.8%.
Second place: Alan Jones (2GB)
It has been a year of turmoil for Sydney’s perennial market leader that started and ended with him hospitalised for back pain. In between he faced arguably even bigger challenges including a court case in Brisbane where he was found to have defamed the Wagner family and ordered to pay $3.4m damages. Soon after he was engulfed by the furore that surrounded his interview with Louise Herron from the Sydney Opera House. Jones later apologised for comments made during the interview.
Despite the dramas, Jones was never challenged in the ratings with share climbing as high as 19.0% midyear and he finished 2018 with record ratings for his show in Brisbane on 4BC.
Tied in third place: Steve and Baz (6PR), David and Will (Fiveaa)
Both these commercial AM breakfast shows perform exceptionally well in their respective markets.
In Perth Steve Mills and Basil Zempilas always bat way above the station average and after starting on 8.6% in survey one in 2018, finished the year with five successive surveys in double figures. The hosts have looked after 6PR breakfast since 2014.
Zempilas had another big year – his 25th working in the media. His routine will begin differently though in 2019 as he is freed from duty for Seven at the Australian Open with Nine now broadcasting the tournament.
In Adelaide David Penberthy and Will Goodings too have had an outstanding year with survey eight seeing them as #1 commercial, a ranking they had for much of the year. They do much of the heavy lifting that keeps Fiveaa as the market’s #1 AM station. They also bat well above the station average and breakfast share this year peaked on 15.6%.
David Penberthy has spent much of his media career in newspapers. He has edited news.com.au, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s The Sunday Mail.
This meant many late nights in the office so it was a big lifestyle change in 2015 when he took a job as a breakfast presenter on Adelaide’s only talkback station Fiveaa.
“Going to bed early sucks and I am not a morning person. With newspapers, particularly in Sydney, I was rarely home before 11pm. Now, I am barely awake after 11pm,” Penberthy told Mediaweek. “That has been a hard and weird transition.”