After the ratings results were released last week ABC Radio Sydney’s Richard Glover called out bias in The Australian’s reporting of the results on twitter.
Glover, who hosts the drive show, was number one in his timeslot for the second time this year, but The Australian’s report highlighted the drop in his figures rather than the fact that his shift was again number one.
Glover’s show, and Jim Wilson’s 2GB’s drive show, did fall the most this survey in that timeslot, perhaps reflecting a trend towards a decline in talk radio overall, now that the pandemic is less prevalent in Australia and listeners are not chasing virus news as much as last year, but none of that analysis was included in The Australia’s article.
Enjoyed the way @theaustralian found the space to say i'd gone down a point in the radio ratings, but couldn't squeeze in the fact that ABC Drive still came (easily) number 1. Don't their readers want the full story?
— richard glover (@rgloveroz) April 15, 2021
When Glover sent his tweet, the story did not acknowledge his top position, although later versions of the online story did mention it by adding “… but retained the top spot in the timeslot.”
The ratings cume report (ie. reach), shows that Glover’s drive timeslot has a total listenership of 364,000 people this survey in Sydney. There is no comparable Sydney reach figure available from the Roy Morgan newspaper survey, but the nearest equivalent 2020 reach figure for The Australian is national readership, which is slightly above Glover’s listener numbers at 400,000.
Glover’s tweet surfaced a number of comments that criticised The Australian for biased reporting against the ABC.
While others pointed out the newspaper’s self interest in using the ratings report to find an angle that criticised The ABC and its rival Nine Entertainment, which owns 2GB, 3AW, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
By comparison with The Australian’s angle on rival Nine Entertainment’s 2GB, Glover got off easy, with reporters James Madden and Sophie Elsworth opening the story with critical comments about Ben Fordham’s “sump” and “lost ground,” finally acknowledging that he had the number one slot in his timeslot in the third paragraph.
The Australian’s report is subtitled EXCLUSIVE in red capital lettering, although radioinfo could not find anything exclusive in it, as it appears the report uses the same publicly released radio ratings figures as everyone else did.
After rubbishing Fordham the report went on to say how 3AW had slumped, failing to acknowledge that it was the number one station in Melbourne, more than 5 share points ahead of its nearest competitor, Gold 104.3.
One comment on Glover’s twitter thread pointed out that The Australian is aligned with Lachlan Murdoch’s Nova Entertainment. Lachlan Murdoch is co-chair of News Corporation and also owns the Nova and smooth stations through his private investment company Illyria.
After its reporting on various talk stations in each city, the article moved to some music stations, giving a shout out first to Nova100’s Melbourne breakfast trio of Sam Pang, Chrissie Swan and Jonathan Brown, then covering some ARN and SCA stations.
Glover’s supporters unsurprisingly backed his views on twitter, but comments at the bottom of The Australian’s article were much more aligned with the newspaper’s viewpoint, criticising Fordham and The ABC for various reasons.
In another radio related report today in The Australian, media reporter Sophie Elsworth took a negative angle on the latest Deloitte radio revenue figures, released yesterday. Read it here (subscription required), or see the equivalent information in our radioinfo report here.