Mid Year Review... 2017

Frank Avis by | September 21, 2017 | 2010s

So here we are at the half way mark in another ratings year and the 2GB juggernaut continues to jugger along, at no. 1 overall – around 12.6 percent. SMOOTH FM fell victim to the "commentator's curse" – yours truly should have held his tongue in his previous blog. The Smoothies lost over a full point, down to 8%. WSFM is now the big boy in the FM market, with a rating of 9.3%.
So here we are at the half way mark in another ratings year and the 2GB juggernaut continues to jugger along, at no. 1 overall – around 12.6 percent. SMOOTH FM fell victim to the "commentator's curse" – yours truly should have held his tongue in his previous blog. The Smoothies lost over a full point, down to 8%. WSFM is now the big boy in the FM market, with a rating of 9.3%.

A couple of "old stagers" are looking a bit on the peaky side.

2UE – now Lifestyle – has dipped seriously in recent times, down around the dreaded 3.5% level. CH is hanging on just under 3.5. Neither is in good territory. It's honestly, difficult to know where these two old giants are going to be by the end of the year if this trend continues.

But in fairness, the electronic age is sorting out a few areas in the media as we speak. What is "free to air" TV going to do in the wake of the specialisation and sophistication of Cable? I mean, seriously, I'm a sports/news/documentary freak so where do think I spend most of my time in front of the tv? Foxtel Folks... have you seen their sports coverage? And don't mention the fate of newspapers. They're in turmoil across the Globe. Somebody tells me the Melbourne Age is going to dump the printers and convert to an electronic edition .Anyway, we are due for another radio survey result shortly so we'll talk further about the industry then.

I'm one of the lucky observers who has lived in AFL and RUGBY LEAGUE territory having been raised in Sydney and worked in Melbourne, Perth and Hobart. The difference between the codes and their place in the local society is incredible. We're into the finals at the moment and the crowd figures perhaps summarise this amazing disparity. There were 95,000 fans at the MCG to see Richmond whack Geelong and even in the heart of Rugby League territory, Sydney's eastern suburbs, the Swans drew 46,000 for their win over Essendon. You have to add three of the rugby League final crowds together to pass the Swans attendance. In fact you can add the four League finals together and they don't pass the MCG crowd of Friday night. And that's just one match.

I remember trying to explain to a Sydneysider, some years ago, the difference between footy in Melbourne and Sydney. I explained that VFL-AFL was in the local DNA. It was immersed in the suburban fabric. Victorian footy fans are total fanatics. Some families have followed the same team for over 5 generations. "And" I remember him asking " what about the other Aussie Rules states ?". I had to tell him that from my experience in WA, South Australia and Tasmania they were probably even worse... probably more fanatical. He looked a bit shell shocked after that.

I should point out however that the recent Final between the GWS Giants and the visiting WA Eagles drew a packed house of just over 14-thousand. Admittedly it was hosted by GWS at their home stadium, Spotless, but that is an incredibly small attendance for an AFL game anywhere.

As a matter of comparison, the national women's Soccer team, the Matildas, played a "Friendly" against Brazil the same week, getting over 16-thousand through the turnstiles. And that was in Newcastle. Woops... I'm still arguing that the AFL decision to put a second team into Sydney and undermine the Swans in the heart of League territory was absolutely crazy.

On other issues, at long last the Politicians caught up with reality and have started discussing the introduction of a shuttle-bus system, to operate peak hour, getting commuters to and from stations and bus transit centres. Yours Truly has written to everybody there is to write to in the last decade and even bored the pants off readers in a blog not long ago, begging somebody to take a close look at commuter transport. But, as usual, they're going to get it half right/half wrong. The "wrong part" is that they want it to pay for itself. God forbid, Nick Greiner... can you see what you started?

This is not a business decision folks: this is a social/transport issue. Just let people making regular commuter trips have access to a suburban shuttle fleet... free. You travel five days a week by train to and from work and you get the shuttle free. Two things happen here... 1) the amount of cars on the road drops dramatically in the peak hour and 2) we start tearing down those awful eyesores, the railway commuter car park. Oh, and we stop having a car that is used essentially to sit in a car park for 8-10 hours a day, DOING NOTHING. Even a 14 year old kid doing Woodwork at High School knows that is economically stupid.

Met up with an old colleague from 3XY, Mike Menner, recently. Haven't seen him since 1967 and man ! had Mike covered some territory in those years, including Hobart, Bendigo, several stints in Melbourne –XY,AW,AK,KZ----even as far as Brisbane and Cairns. This is what we do in this trade. When we got down to reminiscing about XY all the old names started flowing – Ray Woods, Dick Heming, Bob Baeck, Johnny Young, Barry Seeber, Lobo, John Burls, Paul Konik, Jeff Sunderland, Jeff Warden, Wayne and Maurie Kirby and oh yes, the beloved Wally Chamberlain. Oh, we loved those days.

Actress Jeanne Crain tells the delightful story from the 40's of how 20th Century Fox shot the movie HOME IN INDIANA in Ohio and Kentucky. Only Hollywood could do that.

Then there's the news this week showing that 40% of dog owners in Britain actually sleep WITH THEIR DOGS. The same survey shows that a large number of dog owners get up half an hour earlier in the morning so they can get their pet's breakfast. And a surprisingly large number KISS THEIR DOGS goodbye before heading off to work. Our society has gone folks... seriously gone.

Oh and in conclusion, the competition for Best line of the Year has been officially declared over even at this early point with the following quote from the Weekend Australian. John Durie, covering "Media" is commenting on the Head of Fairfax Greg Hywood remaining bullish about the newspaper having "significant growth prospects".

This Durie describes as "akin to putting lipstick on a pig". OMG that is wickedly delicious.

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This is the history of radio newsman Frank Avis who worked in the Australian electronic media from 1954 to 1996.


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