ABC Radio Melbourne's Audience Share Plummets to 6% Despite Revamped Shows

ABC Radio Melbourne's audience share plummets to 6%, raising concerns about the public broadcaster's ability to engage listeners and maintain relevance in the digital age. The ABC acknowledges long-term audience declines and is implementing a plan to address the issues, but the results have not yet improved.

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Geeta Pillai
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ABC Radio Melbourne's Audience Share Plummets to 6% Despite Revamped Shows

ABC Radio Melbourne's Audience Share Plummets to 6% Despite Revamped Shows

ABC Radio Melbourne's audience share has fallen to a dismal 6% in the second survey of 2024, marking its second-worst result since GfK records began in 2004. This steep decline comes despite the station's efforts to revamp its shows and attract younger listeners.

The slump in audience share has affected key programs, with listeners tuning out of the breakfast show hosted by Sammy J and the mornings show hosted by Raf Epstein. The once-popular station has struggled to maintain its audience in the face of increasing competition from other broadcasters in the Melbourne radio market.

ABC Radio Melbourne's poor performance is part of a broader trend across the ABC's local radio stations, with ABC Sydney and ABC Brisbane also posting their lowest station market shares since 2004. The national broadcaster had previously peaked during the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic but has been on a downward trajectory for an extended period.

Why this matters: The significant decline in ABC Radio Melbourne's audience share raises concerns about the effectiveness of the station's strategies to engage listeners and maintain its relevance in the digital age. As a public broadcaster, the ABC's ability to connect with its audience and fulfill its mandate is of critical importance to the Australian media landscape.

The ABC has acknowledged the long-term audience declines and has implemented a plan to address the issues, including reviewing on-air talent, investing in new equipment, and modernizing music choices. However, the results have not yet improved, and the ABC is still aiming to return to pre-COVID levels of around 8.5% market share in Sydney and Melbourne.

Former ABC presenter Jon Faine criticized the management for over-interfering with the talent, instead of allowing them to connect with their audience. The ABC has signaled a focus on digital priorities, which some believe is coming at the expense of its 'legacy' products like radio and television.

The new audio boss, Ben Latimer, wants to reframe the ABC's success and aim to reach pre-COVID audience levels, which will require significant work to achieve. "Simply putting a younger host with an Instagram following into the critical drive time slot is not enough to attract younger listeners to AM radio," the article notes.

As the ABC continues to navigate the challenges of the evolving media landscape, it remains to be seen whether its efforts to revitalize its radio programming will bear fruit. The broadcaster faces a challenging battle in regaining its once-loyal audience and maintaining its position as a trusted source of news, information, and entertainment for Australians.

Key Takeaways

  • ABC Radio Melbourne's audience share fell to 6%, its 2nd-worst result since 2004.
  • Declining audience affected key programs like breakfast and mornings shows.
  • ABC local radio stations in Sydney and Brisbane also posted lowest shares since 2004.
  • ABC acknowledged audience declines and implemented plans to address issues, but results not improved.
  • ABC faces challenges in regaining loyal audience and maintaining position as trusted media source.