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Radio ratings: ABC Radio Adelaide's bittersweet victory

Media and marketing

ABC Radio Adelaide has surged to a stunning victory in the final ratings survey of the year – but the win is a bittersweet one, with triumphant breakfast announcer Ali Clarke leaving the national broadcaster.

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For the first time since 2017, Mix 102.3 has been dislodged from top spot, with the ABC’s local station taking 12.2 per cent of audience share compared to the FM station’s 10.9.

FIVEaa was the last rival to defeat Mix, back in survey 3, 2017. ABC Radio Adelaide last beat Mix to top spot in 2016.

Apart from a few blips, Mix has been Adelaide’s dominant station for the past decade but its numbers in the crucial breakfast shift have been falling.

It finishes the year in second place, followed by Triple M and Cruise, on equal footing, and then FIVEaa and Nova – also both on the same listener share.

Today’s survey, which covers September 26 to December 4, sets up an intriguing 2022 for Adelaide radio.

Ali Clarke, who has consistently led the breakfast ratings since she joined the ABC in 2016, finished her ABC career well on top – with a huge 17.4 per cent of listener share – way ahead of her nearest rivals, FIVEaa’s David Penberthy and Will Goodings on 12.6.

Clarke is widely tipped to join Mix next year, but she has so far refused to reveal her plans after informing her ABC colleagues last Friday that she was leaving.

Adelaide radio ratings by percentage share. Survey period: September 26 to December 4. Source: GfK

In the mornings shift, ABC veteran David Bevan leapfrogged Mix into first place. The afternoons still belong to Mix, despite a loss in share.

In  Drive – usually a problem child for the ABC – announcer Jules Schiller has continued his rise to take second position behind Nova.

In the evenings, FIVEaa’s line-up of Jon Blake followed by Matthew Pantelis maintained top spot, despite losing share. The ABC’s Peter Goers had a good survey, keeping second spot.

Given the importance of breakfast ratings, next year could throw up some surprises, particularly if Clarke joins Mix as expected.

The popular announcer was rarely beaten in breakfast. By contrast, the breakfast shift has been a major problem for Mix this year, first with the new team of Mark Soderstrom and Erin Phillips mysteriously off-air for weeks and then a sinking ratings performance.

In today’s figures, Mix’s breakfast show sunk to 9 per cent, well behind the ABC, FIVEaa and Triple M. In the first survey this year, Mix attracted 10.9 per cent of listener share.

The figures show why Mix would be keen for Clarke to return to the station where she made her on-air start in Adelaide radio in 2003.

While the ABC’s key task will be to find a new breakfast star, other stations have bigger questions to answer in 2022.

FIVEaa has struggled this year in the wake of budget cuts, but has mostly managed to stay competitive where it counts.

However, in today’s survey, it is ranked behind four rivals, with just 9.5 per cent of the listener share. Its Drive shift is struggling for relevance, with Stephen Rowe’s show ranked last of all the local stations in the AFL post-season.

FIVEaa’s afternoon shift is also last, like Rowe, only above the ABC’s national stations, while weekends are also performing relatively poorly.

Without stellar performances from breakfast and veteran Leon Byner in mornings, FIVEaa can struggle.

FIVEaa’s stablemate Nova will also be seeking answers over the summer ratings break. It fell behind Triple M in this survey, and will be looking for improvement from its well-credentialed breakfast team, Ben & Liam.

Triple M’s Mark Ricciuto and Chris Dittmar, recently joined by Laura O’Callaghan, end the year as the clear third force in breakfast radio, behind the ABC and FIVEaa, and it has solid performances across the schedule. Overall, Triple M was equal third with Cruise.

Adelaide radio ratings by shift, survey 8, 2021. Source: GfK





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