The bit of ABC content that’s beyond Michael Mason’s control

It wasn’t a great survey for ABC Local Radio – except for Adelaide’s 891.

With 11.4 percent share of the audience in that market it holds down second place overall while number one in Breakfast with Matthew Abraham and David Bevan on a 16.6 share. It’s not a bad effort for an AM station in an FM music leaning town.

In the more talk oriented markets of Sydney and Melbourne, ABC’s 702 and 774 have, until recently with a few odd surveys notwithstanding, held a mortgage on second place behind 2GB and 3AW respectively.

But in Survey 7 we find that ABC702 with a 9.0 share in Sydney is now in 4th place behind 2GB, smoothfm and KIIS1065. In Melbourne, ABC774 has slipped to 3rd place with a 9.5 share behind 3AW and FOXFM.

The ABC’s Director of Radio, Michael Mason isn’t fazed. “Overall I think it’s been a fairly solid year for both stations with strong results. But there’s also been some changes in the line up and that will take a while to settle but we’re not rattled by these numbers at this stage.”

So, at what point does Mr Mason start to get rattled?

“Well, ratings are one measure but there are other forms of audience feedback… other forms of audience engagement and how those presenters and programs are sitting with the stations overall in terms of our key demographics.

“I think that the first thing is that we like to think we are backing people in and to give them a good few years to build an audience – to understand the audience and to get the audience to understand them. The radio that we do being so intimate, so personal. It takes time to build a connection and be a part of people’s lives.”

Mr Mason expects a boost in audience for ABC radio through its exclusive coverage of the cricket, 

“We always see a bump in numbers in males between 30 and 40 who come across to engage with the cricket.

“But we need those Australians winning to keep those audiences engaged.” 

Short of barging into the Australian dressing room and giving the players a gee up, that’s the one thing over which Mr Mason has no control. 

“We are just like everyone else and hope for a good result,” he says.

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