Howson shows how it's done

Howson shows how it's done

Posted December 13th, 2011 by debritz

612 ABC breakfast host Spencer Howson has made it a clean sweep of the Brisbane radio ratings, with the year's final survey confirming him as the capital's No. 1 cereal thriller.

Howson has been the listeners' choice in the cornflakes session since the middle of last year.

Overall, the winner was 97.3FM, ahead of a packed field, with Nova, B105 and Triple M close behind, all within 0.4 percentage points, then 612ABC, 4KQ, Triple J, 4BC and 4BH following.

In breakfast, 97.3FM's Robin Bailey, Terry Hansen and Bob Gallagher tied with Triple M's Grill Team with Greg "Marto" Martin for second place, and B105's Labby, Stav Davidson and Abby Coleman tied for fourth with Nova 106.9's Ash Bradnam, David "Luttsy" Lutteral, Camilla Severi and Dan Anstey (standing in for Kip Wightman, who will return to the station in January). They were followed by 4KQ, 4BC, Triple J and 4BH.

Ratings for 4KQ and 4BC softened in breakfast, but they had gains overall, and 4BH rebounded from a shocker of a survey last time to gain 1.9pc in breakfast and 1.0pc overall.

In the drive session, B105's Fifi and Jules/ Hamish and Andy combo losing 2.8pc, leapfrogged by 97.3FM's Paul "Campo" Campion, and Nova' Meshel Laurie, Marty Sheargold and Tim Blackwell down 0.5pc but still No.1.

In the evenings, there was a 4.0pc shift to Triple M's Peanut Gallery, but it was not enough to get ahead of B105's Hot 30 and 612ABC's Steve Austin, who both lost audience share.

In other breakfast radio news, it's been revealed that acting 612ABC Mornings host Terri Begley will be on the road next year as roving reporter for the afternoon show, to be hosted by Kelly Higgins-Devine, and Tim Cox's new drive show.

Utterly deserving !

Utterly deserving !

Posted by 'Beer and skittles' (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 09:55
Ratings Survey #8 Brisbane - Breakfast Hosts "Starpower"?

The consistent praise of 612 ABC's Spencer Howson as the #1 rating Brisbane breakfast presenter is a massive misinterpretation of the radio market.

Any ABC presenter has a "walk up start" compared to commercial announcers. There are three (3) advantages that inflate listener numbers beyond what the "personality" is contributing.

1.) ABC radio has no commercials. A substantial number of listeners choose 612 ABC for this reason alone.

2.) Many listeners are attracted to the demonstrably superior (longer, more detailed, more serious) ABC news.

3.) Listeners are attracted to "AM" the current affairs program that is not matched by any commercial station.

Overall, the ABC is the choice for "serious" listeners who do not wish to be distracted (annoyed?) by advertisements.

If Spencer Howson was hired to present 4BC breakfast (either alone or with a co-presenter), it is unlikely he would improve ratings for the commercial broadcaster. Whoever replaced him at 612 ABC would be likely to maintain the current ratings superiority, regardless of their perceived talent or personality.

Spencer Howson is no John Laws. I'll leave others to contemplate what that means.

Posted by ListenUp (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 10:05
I agree with you that not
I agree with you that not carrying commercials does give the ABC a certain guaranteed minimum audience, but I think you are downplaying the excellent work by Spencer Howson and the ABC team in general. I think credit should be given where it's due. Of course, you could equally argue that the choice of music, with its appeal to a certain demographic, gives a leg-up to B105 and Nova irrespective of what their on-air people do.

Your assertion that the ABC has an advantage over the commercial stations also fails to explain the superiority of 3AW and 2GB, and their breakfast hosts, in their respective markets. Howson may or may not "work" in a commercial environment -- some ABC people have, some haven't -- but that's not an issue, as he is safely signed to the ABC and, as far as I am aware, he has no plans to make a move.

Analysts, including some involved with commercial media, believe that Howson's personal appeal accounts for at least 2 or 3 points above what the ABC might otherwise rate right now in the breakfast slot. Of course, that's not to say that another broadcaster in the same job wouldn't match or exceed his ratings over time. But if a "drover's dog" could be No. 1 in breakfast if they were on the ABC, as you seem to suggest, why did Howson's immediate predecessors not achieve that position for any sustained period? He has won all the surveys this year, and the lion's share of last year's.

And, before you ask, I consider Spencer to be a friend and I have met him socially -- however that's also true of many people in commercial radio and the broader Brisbane media scene.

Posted by debritz on December 13, 2011 - 10:36
Spencer Howson

If the ABC has such an advantage over commercial networks then why are they not number one in all shifts and not just breakfast?

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 11:05
Why does ABC612 not lead

Why does ABC612 not lead Brisbane commercial stations at all times of the day as well as breakfast?

The superiority of the "long" ABC news bulletin and Current Affairs program "AM" which do not exist in all other shifts.

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 11:44
Unbelievable!

Unbelievable!

Posted by 'Beer and skittles' (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 13:57
Brett, Sydney and Melbourne

Brett,

Sydney and Melbourne are different markets. Their commercial "breakfast personalities" (2GB and 3AW) are more entrenched than the Brisbane "talk" presenters on 1116 4BC. As you have commented over the past few years, Fairfax management have been unsuccessful in choosing the right presenters for the breakfast shift. I'd like to see them try Howson and view the results. However, I think he would be too smart to chance his arm (voice?) in the commercial arena. Like J. Dunne, he might achieve 2 years and then oblivion.

We are just speculating about a "commercial" Howson. He suits the ABC and talk. An extremely versatile presenter? Probably not.

I could not see him being an AM "DJ" on say 882 4BH. I'm not a fan of weak-voiced presenters. A truly great announcer needs (a.) strong voice quality (b.) excellent vocal skills (c.) a compelling personality. Just as well I'm not also a friend of Spencer!!! I could not rate him highly on any of those parameters.

Let's continue to debate this and other subjects (respectfully) without fear or favor. Your "board" will benefit from some new opinions and insights. A bit of controversy will do no harm.

Posted by ListenUp (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 12:14
Very happy to have some
Very happy to have some spirited discussion here.

Meanwhile, some new figures have fallen of the back of a truck. I'll probably blog again about the ratings, but this information is interesting in relation to your assertion that the ABC's 15-minute news and 30-minute AM program help lift Spencer Howson's average ratings.

In fact, the 15-minute breakdowns show that 612ABC loses audiences when the news and the AM come on, declining from an average 12.4pc to 12.1pc for the 7.45am news quarter hour, to an an average 11.2pc for AM, and then to an average 9.7pc for the 8.30-11am Mornings segment (which over the period of the survey was shared by Madonna King and Terri Begley).

You may not like Howson, but many people obviously do.

Posted by debritz on December 14, 2011 - 09:26
Brett, Even though there is

Brett,

Even though there is a slight reduction in audience with the ABC News and AM, that does not mean these programs don't add numbers to ABC ratings during "breakfast".

The figures could be due to listeners getting to work and therefore not listening to any radio station.

It's not that I "don't like Howson". I'm simply saying that he is not the "broadcasting superstar" the ratings would indicate.

Take away the ABC News and AM and insert "ads" or "promos" at the same rate as commercial stations and see what happens to SH's ratings? Alternately put him on 4BC for a month and "watch what happens". That's a favorite song of mine, incidentally.

ListenUp (not Jamie Dunne)

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2011 - 16:09
The reduction in audience

The reduction in audience share actually affects the overall average for a session. In other words, the ratings for AM and the news not only don't "add numbers" as you assert, they actually lower the average for the whole breakfast session.

Oh and we're talking about percentages of total available audience here, so the people who aren't listening to any station at all are not "counted".

As I've said before, it's irrelevant to speculate about Howson being on 4BC or any other station, because he isn't, and is not likely to be any time soon. It's a non-issue. I'm not proclaiming Howson a superstar, I am simply calling him what he is -- Brisbane's most-listened-to breakfast announcer, as measured by the current ratings system.

Posted by debritz on December 14, 2011 - 22:14
My thoughts exactly... "If

My thoughts exactly... "If the ABC has such an advantage over commercial networks then why are they not number one in all shifts and not just breakfast?" - Anonymous, December 13, 2011 - 11:05

Over to you ListenUp !

Posted by 'Beer and skittles' (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 11:38
The ABC news (15 minute

The ABC news (15 minute bulletin) AND particularly "AM" are what makes "breakfast" rate so well. Most other shifts do not possess that "combined advantage". Of course, there is "PM" at night which would bolster the evening numbers somewhat.

I'm sure "Spence" is a fine fellow, he just doesn't inspire me.

Oh for the days of the superior-sounding "AirBeeCee" announcers.

Remember, "ThisIsTheABCnewsReadByPeterDawesSmith"!!!.

Big, plummy voice and as posh as all get-out. Something you could listen to in awe. Not anymore.

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 14:08
Spencer

Maybe the commercial radio station PDs should listen to Spencer and actually try to understand what is it he has/does that has the listeners being so loyal
A good tip is that he doesn't work to the lowest common denominator, treats his audience as intelligent and doesn't use interviews
to push his own personal beliefs.
Not every listener wants "icy cold cans of coke" or "those damn refugees/unemployed/greenie/young people"

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 11:59
Spencer

Who the hell would want to be on 4BH as breakfast announcer ?
Or for that matter, 4BC.
I have seen bigger audiences for breakfast at a McDonalds.

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 12:49
Good point. Perhaps we will

Good point. Perhaps we will see in January?

Would your name be Jamie, by any chance?

Posted by ListenUp (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 14:11
I think Spencer's advantage

I think Spencer's advantage is his accessibility to people.
His regular twitter interaction, speeches at Rotary (or Zonta or whatever clubs he goes to) and the "in-touch" feel he has for his audience makes a difference. I have had occasion to tweet both Spencer and hs FM rivals and not once has Spencer failed to reply... The same can not be said for the jocks on FM. Even the temporary ones.
And by the way, I spend the rest of my post 7.45 day flicking between Nova and 97.3.... And podcasts!

Posted by PDH (not verified) on December 13, 2011 - 21:15
Sadly, some radio station
Sadly, some radio station Twitter accounts are broadcast only -- nobody is monitoring the incoming traffic. It sort of takes the "social" out of the media, don't you think?

Posted by debritz on December 14, 2011 - 22:17
Sadly, some radio station
Sadly, some radio station Twitter accounts are broadcast only -- nobody is monitoring the incoming traffic. It sort of takes the "social" out of the media, don't you think?

Posted by debritz on December 14, 2011 - 22:17
I do think Spencer has

I do think Spencer has tickets on himself and his head has gotten bigger since all this hype over ratings. I won't listen to him. I hear enough about him constantly on twitter and bag. Please let's talk about something important like unemployment or small business going to the wall

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2011 - 10:39
I'm sure if you ask nicely

I'm sure if you ask nicely Mr Howson would be more than happy to share his secret to success with you. Spencer would make a wonderful mentor to anyone who wants to succeed in life!

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2011 - 11:46