Radio ratings: Finely chopped, stirred and spun

Radio audience figures can be sliced and diced. Last week’s release of the first quarter’s ratings was cut so many ways that even the bobby dazzler of the chopping board Jamie Oliver would have been impressed.

NewstalkZB could afford to play it straight (almost) with figures that showed breakfast host Mike Hosking has well-and-truly eclipsed RNZ’s Morning Report as the most-listened-to programme. It stated on its website that “already king of the airwaves” Hosking has “surged to a new record of more than half a million listeners”. His 511,700 listeners – compared to Morning Report’s 429,100 – was certainly worth crowing about.

So, too, was ZB’s place as the top commercial station in the GfK commercial survey with a cumulative weekly audience of 744,000 people. That, too, topped RNZ National’s weekly audience by 117,000 listeners, although ZB wouldn’t draw the parallel because the commercial broadcasters have assiduously avoided a single radio market survey where non-commercial audiences are included in the comparisons.

However, what ZB and its sister, the New Zealand Herald, didn’t tell us was that in its biggest market – Auckland – both Hosking and the station’s overall audience  have come off the boil. The breakfast host’s share of audience in that market has dropped 4.6 percentage points to 30.3 per cent and his weekly cumulative audience is down by almost 6000 to 217,800. The station’s overall share in Auckland is down from 24.3 per cent to 21.5 per cent. Continue reading “Radio ratings: Finely chopped, stirred and spun”

Fundamental flaws in public media plans call for big fixes

The proposal for a new entity to replace Television New Zealand and RNZ has two fundamental flaws that must be fixed if it is to gain the public’s trust.

The first flaw is the assumption that an existing legal structure – the Autonomous Crown Entity – is an appropriate form of governance. The second is that it has provided inadequate protection from political interference. The two issues are related.

Let me say at the outset that I support the restructuring of public service media. It is an idea whose time has come. It is an opportunity to create, almost from the ground up, a public organisation designed to live up to a digital incarnation of BBC-founder Lord Reith’s dictum that public media should inform, educate and entertain (now, however, in a creative and clever mix).

My concern lies in the need for this new entity to demonstrate from the outset that it will be free-standing and free from influence. By treating its formation little differently from a stock-standard Autonomous Crown Entity (ACE) into which existing organisations are dropped, the government is sending the wrong signals. From Day One (i.e., right now) it needs to be treated very much as a special case. Continue reading “Fundamental flaws in public media plans call for big fixes”

New snap and crackle in breakfast radio

Santa has already sent my Christmas present, and I confess to taking a sneak peep. I can’t wait to fully unwrap the 2022 Breakfast Battle Royal.

Before we have vacuumed the sand out of the car and packed away the folding chairs, New Zealand broadcasters will be hard at work finessing the line-ups they offer in the most hotly contested and crowded part of the market.

It is the space where not only do the two broadcast television networks fight each other for audience but must also compete with radio stations that are determined to hook morning listeners before they start their commute to work. And, somewhere in that mix, newspaper publishers and news sites also are vying for eyeballs. Continue reading “New snap and crackle in breakfast radio”

RNZ thrown by horns of dilemma

Radio New Zealand has just discovered that a bull will toss you no matter which horn you grasp.

The particular horns it found itself upon belonged to the dilemma over whether it should broadcast material obtained illegally.

This was not another Rawshark data dump from Cameron Slater’s Dirty Politics email server. It related to material placed on the Dark Web by a group of international cyber extortionists. Continue reading “RNZ thrown by horns of dilemma”