“Sack the lot of them” Q: How much does reporting of radio ratings matter?

Kyle and Jackie O

A: Quite a lot. Host of Australia’s most-listened to show calls for PR overhaul

Commercial Radio Australia has just eight days each year when metro radio ratings are released.

The surveys come from research company GfK and the data is used to sell the various commercial radio shows to advertisers around Australia.

Breakfast radio shows live and die by the results. Breakfast shows are radio primetime. They attract the biggest audiences and the revenue powers the station and, if the show is any good, keeps listeners locked into the station across the rest of the day.

Just how much the results, and how they are reported, means to announcers was made clear this morning.

Shortly after The Kyle and Jackie O Show started today, and a segment about why co-host Jackie might be wasting her money on designer threads when she could be shopping at army disposal stores, Kyle Sandilands unloaded on both the ARN internal and external PR executives charged with communicating the ratings results to the market.

It’s not unusual for Kyle to express his displeasure with his production team – “sack them all and get some decent people” he ranted at one stage today. That’s something his team hears reasonably regularly.

However, Kyle went further today, expressing his displeasure with how the ratings results were communicated to the market. After it was explained to him that ARN has internal and external PR execs, Sandilands threw them both under the bus.

Sandilands tried to get the external PR agency on the line, but was told they weren’t picking up the phone. He also later explained to listeners he had a meeting with the newish internal PR after the show. “I will be very pleased to meet her,” he said.

Sandiland’s beef? The Kyle and Jackie O Show posted its biggest-ever total cume audience this week and the co-host was concerned that the news was not getting reported on.

Radio ratings

In defence of the ARN PR, Mediaweek received an email before the release of the data on Tuesday morning with the subject line: “Kyle & Jackie O smash breakfast cume records with highest ever number of listeners in Sydney.”

Just over an hour later, Mediaweek received the full ARN release which detailed, amongst other things: “Kyle & Jackie O has achieved the biggest ever brekkie cume for KIIS & Sydney, and the biggest cume nationally since 2011.”

That morning Mediaweek’s Trent Thomas reported on the KIIS 106.5 results including updating the new cume number: “This is the 30th consecutive winning survey for Kyle and Jackie O for FM breakfast in Sydney as the pair added 0.3 points to their market share.”

Then today in Mediaweek, ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell told Tess Connery: “It’s been a long time coming, but Kyle and Jackie O have cracked their 30th consecutive survey as #1 FM breakfast in Sydney – and achieved the biggest ever breakfast cume for KIIS and Sydney.”

On the KIIS 106.5 breakfast show today, Sandilands also noted how well their breakfast show compares to primetime TV, using A Current Affair as an example. However, he was using the total cume audience for radio and comparing it to the average audience for a TV show.

While The Kyle and Jackie O Show has a total cume audience of 738,000, the average cume audience is 105,000. While KIIS 106.5 has a much larger total cume than all other stations, its average audience is just smaller than the average 2GB cume audience of 138,000 who listen to rival breakfast broadcaster Ben Fordham.

Manipulating radio ratings data is part of the industry, but you have to be careful interpreting the numbers. Just yesterday, Mediaweek reported on what has turned out to be SEN’s controversial claims about its flagship station SEN 1116 outperforming 3AW in a certain demographic.

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