Election fatigue: a drag on talk radio | radioinfo

Election fatigue: a drag on talk radio

Tuesday 05 July, 2016
Image: Shutterstock

Conventional wisdom suggests that elections are good for talk stations in the same way grand finals are good for football stations. Not so, if Survey 4 results, which took in most of the marathon Federal Election campaign, are anything to go by.

ABC Local Radio was down in every capital city except for Melbourne where 774 posted a gain of 1.0 to solidify second place in the market. But even the Melbourne result could be more to do with a natural bounce back from an unusually poor showing last time than anything to do with an election.

However, Linda Bracken, ABC Radio’s Head of Content & Digital, puts at least some of 774’s success down to its particularly strong coverage of local issues. In other markets, though, Ms Bracken feels that the length of the election may have caused political fatigue among listeners, “We have seen in some markets people move from talk to music. What we saw with Local Radio, overall, was that the reach was up in most places but people weren’t hanging around for quite as long during the election period.”

Of the major commercial talk stations only FIVEaa enjoyed a substantial increase (1.0) which was good enough for second place in the Adelaide market. 6PR Perth did okay with 0.6 gain. 4BC Brisbane managed to do little more than hold its ground with a 0.2 gain and a 5.0 share overall. 2UE also edged upwards to reach a 4.0 share.

Meanwhile, the major political talk powerhouses, 2GB in Sydney and 3AW in Melbourne both lost ground. Not that it bothered Macquarie Media’s CEO, Adam Lang. Why would it? Despite the losses, both stations remain firmly entrenched in first place.

Like Linda Bracken, he blames a long election and listener fatigue. He says, “Over time Federal and State elections have had a neutral effect. While it is more our stations’ staple diet, there’s a hell of a lot more going on in terms of other media. And people do tire of it.”


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Eugene Delargy
7 July 2016 - 10:48am
Re. 4BC holding its ground, what you're missing is that 4BC has consistently hovered a point either side of 5% (10+) since Fairfax/MRN removed nearly all the local staff.

17 hours local radio out of 168 hours in a week or 10.11% local is disrespectful to any market purporting to be serious talkback.

The result looks poor, is low on cost, seemingly the only thing MRN worry of.

4BC will never improve until local programs are invested and the station regains the respect of Brisbane.
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