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Media Week: No panic as rebrand struggles


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Today, no panic (yet) as Adelaide’s newest radio station sinks in the ratings, the ABC gets a black eye, plus more trash tweets and why they’re coming your way.

Funny old ratings

It’s been a horror start in life for hit107 – Southern Cross Austereo’s rebadging of SAFM – but the station management isn’t hitting the panic button yet.

The first ratings period of the year showed hit107 losing more audience share to sit at the bottom of the pile, only out-rating the specialist ABC radio stations like Classic FM and Radio National. The new breakfast team of Amos Gill and Dani Pola also lost market share.

However, station management is taking a patient approach – at this stage.

South Cross Austereo’s Adelaide general manager James Pedersen said it would take time for the station to find a new audience, following its rebranding in October last year.

“You always take a ratings hit when you change anything – even if it’s just a breakfast team,” he told Media Week. “That pretty much always happens with new shows. In this case, it’s not just a new show but an entirely different sounding station.

“I guess we would hope that at this point we’re at ground zero.”

The station’s happy with its series of hit107-branded events – such as laneway concerts and boot camps – and its social media presence.

However, it has brought in experienced radio operator Adrian Brine as executive producer of the breakfast show, where relatively green Gill and Pola need more support.

[In a weird demographic aside, hit107 lost share in every age bracket except the eldest. It doubled its audience share in the 55-64 age bracket (from 2.3 to 4.6). But by far the best performance for hit107 – which is pitched at twenty-something women – was in the eldest demographic of people aged 64 and over, where their share increased from 0.1 to 0.5.]

As predicted by this column last year, ABC 891’s breakfast team of Matt Abraham and David Bevan have bounced back from a brief dip at the end of last year.

They are again, by some margin, the highest rating breakfast team in Adelaide.

ABC chastised for MyBudget story

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has chastised the ABC’s 7.30 program for a critical story on Adelaide-based personal budgeting business, MyBudget.

ACMA found ABC in breach of its code of practice by “failing to give MyBudget … a fair opportunity to respond to allegations of mismanagement and neglect”.

MyBudget was given a shellacking in the 9 December 2013 story about the growth in debt management firms offering services to people in financial strife.

Specifically, ACMA found the program didn’t give MyBudget the opportunity to response to “specific allegations by two former clients that its actions were improper or negligent”.

However, ACMA found there was “no breach of ABC Code obligations relating to accuracy, impartiality and informing participants of the general nature of their participation in its story”.

Go here to see the original story.

The elephant in the studio

Veteran reporters Mike Smithson and Michael Owen were back on ABC 891’s “Spin Cycle’ segment this morning, two weeks after their contentious “shirtfront” discussion about Premier Jay Weatherill.

To recap, Smithson had suggested on the program – hosted by Matt Abraham and David Bevan – that Weatherill “physically advanced” on him in an “almost shirtfront situation” during a doorstop interview at Parliament House. Owen followed it up with a story in The Australian the next day.

A spokesperson for Weatherill described the suggestion as laughable.

Both journos were given a thorough going over by the ABC’s Media Watch program this week which reviewed the footage of the alleged incident and concluded that nothing had happened.

The incident and the Media Watch criticisms were all but ignored on the Spin Cycle this morning, which is a little surprising.

Abraham, though, had asked earlier in the week (rhetorically?) whether smugness was a prerequisite for hosting Media Watch.

UPDATE: The lack of discussion about the “shirtfront” issue raised the ire of Parliamentary speaker, Labor MP Michael Atkinson who tweeted: “No attempt by @KevCorduroy & @DavidBevanSA to hold @mjowen & @mikesmithson7 to account for Media Watch expose of Shirtfront/Bullshit moment.”

Abraham, whose Twitter handle is @KevCorduroy, replied swiftly: “Media Watch don’t dictate our program content @MickAtko, and nor do you.”

This column’s author is a regular participant in the Spin Cycle.

The Tiser’s tweet-bot trash

In last week’s column we noted a trend in the The Advertiser Twitter account towards lurid syndicated news, of little or no relevance to Adelaide.

The Murdoch Twitterati apparently care little for this column’s delicate sensibilities, almost immediately uploading the following piece of news-that-every-South-Australian-needs-to-know:

selfie-stickA clue to the constant stream of clickbait coming from the Tiser might be the little note at the bottom indicating the tweet has been published via “SocialFlow”.

SocialFlow is a company that promises to help push publishers’ content to bigger audiences, including by automating aspects of social media posting. It works for some of the newspaper industry’s biggest titles, including the New York Times.

Its website promises that “SocialFlow connects directly to your content management system using any standard means of export (XML, RSS, WordPress Plug-In, Drupal, etc.). We then score your content against your active audience before ever publishing them to your social networks to see what content will resonate best.”

In other words, these Tweets are your fault – and mine.

Naughty corner

No contest this week: former Labor leader Mark Latham wins the booby prize for his two columns in the Australian Financial Review in the past week suggesting that anxiety disorders are simply made up – a “fake epidemic”. Dangerous, foolish and sloppy.

Top of the class

On the same day that Latham was showing the vastness of his ignorance about mental health, The Advertiser’s Saturday magazine published a meticulous, well-written and fascinating piece about a genetic flaw and how addressing it with a particular vitamin could help some people with severe anxiety. Journalist Elisa Black melded scientific exposition and personal experience in a compelling fashion. An important story well told.

Media Week is published on Fridays.

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