3AW maintains dominance while ABC regains ground amid Trioli’s absence

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Radio station 3AW* has maintained its dominance in the second ratings survey of 2023, claiming 16.3 per cent of the available audience, with Gold in second place on 11.6 per cent. ABC Melbourne recorded a slight recovery by increasing from a record low of 5.8 per cent in the previous survey to 6.2 per cent.

The greatest improvement for ABC Melbourne occurred in the morning slot (9am to midday), where its average audience increased from 51,000 to 59,000.

ABC Drive presenter Raf Epstein has been temporarily filling in for Virginia Trioli on ABC Mornings.Credit: ABC

Overall, slightly fewer people listened to radio this survey – which covers February 5 to April 1 – than last, with an average of 514,000 people listening (down from 522,000) in any given quarter-hour during the survey period.

Though a welcome boost for the ABC, it comes amid the absence of mornings presenter Virginia Trioli. Trioli took time off over summer and was due to return in March, but extended her leave for personal reasons. Her chair was filled by Ali Moore and drive host Rafael Epstein throughout this survey period.

Trioli is now back in her seat for the first time this year (she returned on Monday), and all eyes will be on how audience numbers fluctuate from this survey to the next.

During Epstein’s stint on mornings, various hosts have been filling in on drive (4pm to 7pm), which also saw an increase in average audience (from 30,000 to 35,000 listeners), perhaps indicating the benefits of a temporary shake-up on-air. It should be noted, however, that one instance does not necessarily indicate a trend.

The only ABC slot to lose listeners was breakfast (5.30am-9am), which fell by an average of 5,000 listeners since its previous average audience of 55,000. These numbers coincide with the only permanent change made to ABC’s radio line-up this year, which saw comedian Charlie Pickering take over the Friday breakfast slot. Comedian and satirist Sammie J remains host from Monday to Thursday.

The average share of listeners for every one of its slots fell, including the morning show which is hosted by Gold’s unsung hero, Craig “Huggy” Huggins. The average audience of his slot fell by 14,000 listeners to 88,000.

The breakfast slot with Christian O’Connell – usually touted as the king of FM breakfast – fell by an average of 3,000 listeners to 83,000.

Survey timeslots do not always correlate precisely with program/host slots.

All other Melbourne stations have remained relatively steady since the previous survey, including Triple J, which saw its average share of listeners jump by a humble 0.1 points to 3.7 per cent, and Triple M, which remained even at 6.1 per cent.

The average audience for ABC’s talk rival 3AW* dropped by 3,000 listeners (down from 87,000) in any given quarter-hour during the survey period. However, the station remains the most listened to overall, attracting 84,000 listeners in any given quarter-hour – 25,000 more than the runner-up, Gold FM.

*3AW is owned by Nine, the publisher of this masthead.

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