ABC Radio Canberra suffers dramatic drop in ratings across all times
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ABC Radio Canberra suffers dramatic drop in ratings across all times

The dramatic upheaval to on-air talent at ABC Radio Canberra - including the loss of Genevieve Jacobs - appears to be not working, with the broadcaster losing listeners across all timeslots and falling from the No.1 to No.3 station in the national capital.

The biggest drop in ratings at ABC Radio Canberra was suffered in the critical breakfast shift, anchored by Dan Bourchier, with not even the addition of Adam Shirley co-presenting in its last half hour preventing a ratings drop of 5.6 percentage points since the last ratings were released in September.

Ratings for ABC Radio Canberra's breakfast shift, anchored by Dan Bourchier, have fallen.

Ratings for ABC Radio Canberra's breakfast shift, anchored by Dan Bourchier, have fallen.

Photo: Karleen Minney

ABC Canberra also fell from first to third in breakfast, lagging behind commercial stations MIX 106.3, the new number one station,  and Hit 104.7.

ABC Canberra, generally,  lost listeners in age groups spanning from 25 to 64, with the 40 to 54 age group falling by a significant 8.4 percentage points.

The latest ratings cover the period February 4 to March 31, taking into account the switching of ABC presenters including Shirley taking over from the dumped Jacobs in the Mornings slot and Anna Vidot taking over Afternoons from Laura Tchilinguirian, who took over the Drive program.

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Mornings without Jacobs — who was told last year her services were now longer required at the ABC — fell 2.1 percentage points in the ratings.

Genevieve Jacobs on her last day at ABC Radio Canberra last year.  Ratings for the Mornings program have fallen since she left.

Genevieve Jacobs on her last day at ABC Radio Canberra last year. Ratings for the Mornings program have fallen since she left.

Photo: Karleen Minney

When the line-up changes were announced last December, ABC Canberra editor Michelle Ainsworth said: "I'm thrilled to announce a refreshed line-up for 2018, and we're looking forward to continuing to engage with local audiences in 2018 with this enhanced on air offer''.

Ms Ainsworth was more circumspect on Wednesday as the ratings were released.

"Following the changes made to our line-up at the beginning of the year, it was not unexpected to see a fall in audience numbers as listeners take time to settle in to our new content. We are confident that we have the right mix of  presenters and program content to engage our Canberra audiences through the year,'' she said.

Overall, MIX 106.3 claimed the number one spot in Canberra with a share of 18.1 per cent , with Hit104.7 in second spot with 15.1 per cent.

ABC Radio Canberra tumbled from its number one position in the last survey to number three, with a 12.9 per cent share, a drop of 4 percentage points.

Afternoons fell 1.5 percentage points to a 0.2 per cent audience share, while Drive dropped 1 percentage point to a 9.9 per cent share.

The ratings were a success for Mix 106.3.

It not only took out the top spot overall, but had a clean sweep across the timeslots. Its breakfast program, the Kirsten and Wilko Show, anchored by Kirsten Henry and  Neil Wilcock held a 17. 9 per cent share, an increase of 3.2 percentage points since the last survey.

MIX 106.3's Kirsten Henry and Neil Wilcock are the new No.1 breakfast team in Canberra.

MIX 106.3's Kirsten Henry and Neil Wilcock are the new No.1 breakfast team in Canberra.

It's understood there was a tense atmosphere at the ABC headquarters on Wakefield Avenue on Wednesday and staff were told the ratings were simply a reflection of staff changes over the past 12 months, which would take time to bed down.

But there were also changes to the online talent at the commercial stations, with the effect of gaining, not losing, listeners.

The new Hit 104.7 breakfast team of Ned Breward and Josh Torney also picked up listeners, increasing their share by 2.2 percentage points to a 13.9 per cent share. They took over from Ryan Jon and Tanya Hennessy.

Breakfast presenters Ned Breward and  Josh Torney only started at Hit 104.7 this year but have picked up listeners.

Breakfast presenters Ned Breward and  Josh Torney only started at Hit 104.7 this year but have picked up listeners.

Canberra FM Radio owns both MIX and Hit. General manager Craig Wagstaff was "humbled'' by the results.

“There’s certainly a range of strong results for both our stations which we of course, remain very humbled by and for which we are extremely grateful for the audience support and community engagement which remain a priority for us,'' he said.

"Like all stations, we are fortunate to have a passionate and dedicated team spearheaded on-air but supported across every department, which allow us to entertain, inform and engage audiences and serve our loyal commercial partners across Canberra and the region.''

Megan Doherty is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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