2UE set adrift as 2GB sails on to greater glory

“We had a very good day,”MacRadio CEO Adam Lang told radioinfo after Survey 4 results were revealed last week. 

It was a good day, indeed, for Macquarie Media’s talk network with its Sydney flagship 2GB up 1.3 from the previous book to reach a 14.0 share overall – its best result in five years. 
But while champagne corks were popping at their stations from the east coast to the west, over at MacRadio’s second brand, Macquarie Sport Radio 954, there was little joy for the hard-working staff. Despite their high hopes, Macquarie Sport Radio which replaced the ill-fated Talking Lifestyle (itself posting a measly 3.4 in its “farewell survey” a few months ago) has now plummeted to a disastrous 0.8.
It is the lowest ratings ever recorded for the venerable 954 frequency that, until very recently, has been broadcasting as 2UE – a station that, in its prime, promoted itself as “Always at or near the top.” 
When asked whether 2GB’s success is at the expense of 2UE, Mr Lang answers matter-of-factly, “Yes, it is.
“We know that moving George and Paul, our number one Saturday and Sunday morning show across to 2GB has had immediate results. We’ve doubled the audience on weekend mornings on 2GB since survey 1. We think the show’s a much better fit on 2GB and 4BC and indeed it’s doing better on 2GB than it has on 2UE/Talking Lifestyle.” 
Graham Mott, a Radio Hall of Fame inductee, was at Southern Cross when Alan Jones and Ray Hadley were still at 2UE and the station was number one. https://radioinfo.com.au/news/graham-mott-instinct-radio
He was still there when the network, against his advice, did not do enough to keep the pair at 2UE. The station, as we all know, has never recovered from the loss.
“2GB has finally got the benefit of killing off 2UE as a Newstalk station,” says Mr Mott in his straight-shooting style. “Make no mistake about that. I’m not saying it was done deliberately of course. Someone had to get the benefit from 2UE falling over. 
“2UE did a lot better in Newstalk ratings without Jones and Hadley than 2GB ever did without them. Remember, 2GB used to get in the 3.0’s. 2UE’s been a fly in the ointment for 2GB.”
Mr Mott came to management via programming having succeeded at 2WS (now WSFM) and later taking Melbourne’s 3MP to number one.  Asked to take a forensic look at the “death” of 2UE, he declares,“Breakfast Monday to Sunday has been killed on 2UE. 
“With most radio stations, and particularly Newstalk stations, 70 per cent of your cume goes through breakfast. In other words, seven out of 10 people who listen to your station get their image of your station via breakfast. So when you take that image away, say to those people, ‘Guess what we’ve changed, we’re not as good as we were.’ Unless, of course, the act you’ve put in there ends up being better. In this case, “no” is the answer to that.
“That’s why, in Sydney, KIIS has done so well. That’s why WSFM and 2GB does so well. And 3AW too, because they’ve got killer breakfast acts.
“When I say all this, I don’t mean to downplay the role of a Neil Mitchellor a Ray Hadley. They are vitally important in what they do. But without a killer breakfast act you’re going to struggle all day. And even the great John Laws… no matter how good Lawsie was, he didn’t have the same kind of figures in Mornings as he did when he was led in by Jones,” says Graham Mott.

 Peter Saxon

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