Radio survey results released, mathematical confusion reigns and The Rock and Newstalk ZB fight over top honours

  • Media
  • October 11, 2010
  • StopPress Team
Radio survey results released, mathematical confusion reigns and The Rock and Newstalk ZB fight over top honours

Every six months, about 15000 radio listeners scattered across the country take pen to paper—or pen to diary as the case may be—and share their most intimate of radio listening habits as part of Research International’s Research Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS). And the results for the second half of the year are out.

While there weren’t any ground-breaking, knock your socks off trends from the overall results, The Radio Bureau survey snapshots show a couple of notable changes. The first of these is a slight decrease of 2400 listeners nationally in the Cume audiences for 10+, the actual number of people listening to the radio. Maybe we're stupid, but this decrease seems a bit small when you look at the tables, which show the vast majority of stations across most demographics suffering big percentage decreases in Cume audience since the last survey in April. Basically, the only station on the list with a sizable increase was Mai FM and apparently 'other/miscellaneous', which isn't on the table (the TRB says Cume is down because listeners aren't switching stations as much, indicating channel loyalty has increased).

The snapshot also shows there were overall Cume increases in the 25-54 (up by 8000) and 18-34 demographics (up by 8700). But again, an increase of this level seems strange when you look at some of the individual percentage point losses in Cume since the last survey.

Audiences are also listening in for longer and, surprisingly, on a national level, time spent with the radio actually went up in the 18-34 audience demographic, with this group now listening on average for 16hrs 35 minutes per week—an extra 44 minutes per week.

Nelson and Wellington both experienced a double digit growth in average audience for all people aged 10 and over, with Nelson up 15.2 percent and Wellington up 13.8 percent.

According to the survey, RadioWorks' The Rock took New Zealand’s number one radio station with 11.6 percent share of listening for all people 10+ across all participating stations. And it continues to dominate the All People 18-34 and All People 25-54 demographics, with a 23.7 percent and 15.9 percent share respectively.

Usually it's a case of either gloating if the numbers are good or complaining about the research methodology if they're not. But, despite survey figures showing The Radio Network's (TRN) Newstalk ZB had gone down to a 11.1 national share in 10+, a press release came through claiming it remains New Zealand’s number one radio station with an unchanged 11.6 percent share of listening. The difference, it seems, is that TRN counts its audience from 12 midnight to 12 midnight (prime time for the talkback crazies), not 6am to 12 midnight like the survey.

“The Radio Network’s performance remains strong with top five finishes for Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, Coast and ZM networks in the three important measures: most listeners, share of listening and breakfast listening share,” David Brice, TRN’s director of programming said in the release. “We look forward to next year when we expect our changes to Radio Hauraki to also move that station up. The changes include a new breakfast show with [ex The Rock host] Nick Trott returning to rock radio after an absence of four years and in afternoon drive radio’s favourite bad boy Iain Stables.”

In Auckland, four of TRN's stations—Newstalk ZB, Coast, Classic Hits and ZM—are now in the top five for share of listening. Retaining the breakfast show crown was Newstalk ZB, coming out once again as the number one breakfast show in New Zealand by both all people aged 10 and over in Cume Audience (264,700) and Station Share (15.7 percent). This was followed by ZM, which is again the number one music station in Auckland and also number one in Wellington.

When it comes to the most listened to network in the country, the Edge attracted 420,600 people aged 10+ every week, though that number is down slightly on the 434,600 recorded for the station in the April survey results.

Puffing up its country-wide listenership is RadioWorks ' Mai FM, with an extra 18,400 all people 18-34 tuning in each week, an increase of 14.4 percent. And Indian radio station Radio Tarana increased its All People 10+ Cume Audience by 18,800 to reach 60,700 listeners each week.

Cruising into the slightly older demographic, Coast managed to increase its Cume Audience in the 25-54 demographic by 6,900 listeners, to 231,000 and gained 0.7 share points (up to 3.7 percent) for this audience.

All this 'we're number one' tomfoolery reminds us of a promo skit on Bill & Ben's radio show, which, through some obligatory survey figure fudging, trumpeted the fact that it was number one (in the demographic of All Men, aged 41-43, on Sunday, between the hours of seven and nine).

There is one noticeable omission in the regional ranks results—Christchurch. The Radio Bureau’s Fleur Herscott says that in light of the earthquake, people naturally switch to radio for information and this would have resulted in a spike in listenership that isn’t reflective of people’s regular radio listening habits for the region (this was also given as the reason for the 13100 respondents, rather than the usualy 15000). But to keep results consistent, Christchurch results for the survey released in April were taken into account to generate the national data, with Herscott saying Christchurch results generally remain similar from survey to survey.

The survey is fully funded by the radio industry—in other words, if you want in, you have to pay and if you don’t pay, you won’t feature (three new stations Life FM, Radio Rheema and Radio Waatea featured in this survey). It is managed by the Radio Industry Research Committee (RIRC), chaired by the Radio Broadcasting Association (RBA) and includes representatives from The Radio Bureau (TRB), RadioWorks, The Radio Network and the Communication Agencies Association of New Zealand.


  • All the figures quoted by TRB are based on Mon-Sun 6am-12midnight.

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