Is 2UE on the way back? Adam Lang thinks so

At the beginning of the year, critics – and Fairfax had more than most – had written the Radio Network and, indeed, the whole organisation off.

By Survey 2, only the second one conducted by new radio measurement company GfK, 2UE had fallen to a 4.6 share overall. Even that was flattering as it was being propped up by Weekends. Take the weekend out of the equation and the station’s audience share was a whittled down to a paltry 3.6 per cent, Monday – Friday.

Worse still, the Fairfax flagship, Melbourne’s 3AW, was beaten out of it’s accustomed number one spot by ABC774.

By Survey 4, things had gotten even worse. 3AW was still relegated to second place in Melbourne while 2UE was down to a 3.0 share Mon-Fri while John Stanley and Garry Linnell in Breakfast struggled to return a 3.3. The station could not even crack a 3.0 share in Mornings, Afternoons or Drive. Evenings, at least could muster a 5.1 share and Weekends a 6.4 – way below their usual contribution.

Here at radioinfo, we fielded many a harsh critique from anonymous pundits about the way the network, particularly 2UE, was being run, much of it unpublishable under our current guidelines.

Staff morale was clearly at a low ebb.

Then Survey 5 brought a glimmer of hope to Breakfast which posted a 4.1 for its time slot. The station clawed its way back to a 4.6 share Mon – Sun. As importantly, 3AW regained it’s crown in Melbourne.

No one in management dared speak of a recovery, let alone a glorious new future just over the horizon. But with the release of Survey 6, Fairfax Radio CEO, Adam Lang allowed himself a discreet fist pump. When he saw the numbers, Mr Lang says he felt, “A mixture of relief and excitement.”

3AW is now 2.4 share points clear of nearest rival ABC774 while 2UE has returned a solid 5.7 Mon-Sun share with Breakfast posting a 5.1.

“We had hopes but not expectations,” said Mr Lang. “We knew that we were earning more of our audience’s time and affection but you never rely on any one indicator. So, we weren’t expecting it, in that we didn’t know what the quantum might be.”

2UE’s eggs, of course, are far from hatched. Big rises in surveys are often followed by big falls. Nonetheless, Mr Lang is quietly confident. 

“It really does feel like we’ve achieved the beginning now.

“I know how hard everyone has worked on every one of our stations. To see a reward for that is very gratifying,” says Mr Lang.


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