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RADIO GA GA
It's 8am on Wednesday, February 24 and Howzat! is conducting
an unscientific survey. For one hour we are listening to
four radio stations - Fox, Nova, RRR and JJJ. Breakfast
is radio prime time. But how many Australian songs are they
playing? Not many. Are they telling us what they're playing?
Yes and no. Are they giving us any information about the
music? Certainly not on the commercial stations. And are
we getting much music for breakfast? No. During the hour,
the four stations played a combined total of just 24 songs.
Only seven of them were Australian songs. The commercial
stations both played as much local music as RRR. Here's
Fox calls itself "Melbourne's Number 1 Hit Music Station".
The ratings confirm this. They're also Melbourne's number
one station for ads. During the hour, Fox played an astonishing
19 ads plus another 10 "live reads". No wonder they had
time for just four songs (from Pink, Britney, Muse and Australia's
JJJ played just two "ads" during the hour (one for their
new Paul Kelly compilation and one for the Groovin' The
Moo festival), which gave them time to play 10 songs (two
from US acts, two from the UK, two from Sweden, and four
from Australia's Space Invadas, M-Phazes, Nicholas Roy,
and Ladyhawke - well, she's Australian, according to ARIA).
Three of the 10 songs were sung by women.
Like Fox, Nova's breakfast show played just four songs in
the hour (from Richard Vission, Lady Gaga, Wolf Gang and
Melbourne's Kisschasy). The station prides itself on running
"no more than two ads in a row". But it still found time
to play 12 ads during the hour plus seven live reads.
RRR played six songs between 8 and 9am. Just one of them
was Australian - Liz Stringer's Those Wheels Rolling. RRR
also played songs from America's Yeasayer, Spoon, Josie
Cotton and Monsters Of Folk, plus one song from the UK's
Massive Attack. Two of the six songs were sung by women.
RRR played eight ads/sponsorship announcements during the
WHEN YOU PLAY IT, SAY IT
There's no doubt that commercial radio's reluctance to announce
or back announce songs is impacting on sales. Of the eight
songs played during the hour on Fox and Nova, the DJs told
us the title of just one song. Five of the eight songs were
back announced - but only the name of the artist was mentioned.
Three of the four Fox songs went totally unannounced. By
contrast, JJJ told us the artist and title of nine of the
10 songs they played, while RRR revealed the title and artist
for all six songs they played, including album information
for five of the songs.
Two quotes recently caught Howzat!'s eye. Comedian Josh
Thomas told The Age: "I haven't heard a new or exciting
idea on the radio in this country, ever." And Sydney Morning
Herald radio writer Sue Javes wrote about the breakfast
listening habits of her teenage daughter: "The second someone
opens his or her mouth, she hits the buttons searching for
a song … she just wants music." Aside from JJJ, breakfast
radio seems to be more about talk than music. And aside
from RRR, very little of the talk is about music.
WHO LISTENS TO THE RADIO?
The four stations surveyed by Howzat! have nearly one-quarter
of Melbourne's breakfast radio market. The ratings released
last Thursday show that Fox is the number one FM breakfast
show (with an 11.5 per cent share). Nova breakfast rated
7.4, with JJJ at 2.8. RRR does not participate in the radio
The main conclusions of Howzat!'s unscientific study?
- If you want more music at breakfast, head to JJJ.
- If radio ads drive you crazy, stay away from the Fox.
- If you want consistent song and album information, RRR
is your destination.
- Radio plays more American songs than Australian songs.
Of the 24 songs played on the four stations between 8 and
9am, 10 of them came from America. Just seven were homegrown
Even though they played just one local song each, both Nova
and Fox met their Australian quota. As "contemporary hits"
stations, they are required to have at least 25 per cent
Australian content. JJJ and RRR do not have to meet quotas.
Is it time for the government to look at the Australian
quota? The Canadian content rule started at 25 per cent
and was increased to 35 per cent in the '90s. In France,
the government stipulates that 40 per cent of all music
played on the radio must be in French. At a time when the
focus is on live music and venues, Howzat! believes there's
an obvious link - if radio plays more local music, more
people will go see local live music.
The new Operator Please single, Logic, lands at number 73.
On A Mission GABRIELLA CILMI (number 16)
Sweet Disposition THE TEMPER TRAP (22)
Black Box STAN WALKER (23)
Art Of Love GUY SEBASTIAN (30)
One Way Road JOHN BUTLER TRIO (33)
Hazardous VANESSA AMOROSI (35)
In The Air TV ROCK FEATURING RUDY (39)
The AC/DC tour sees their latest studio album leap from
23 to 11.
Black Ice AC/DC (number 11)
Wrapped Up Good THE McCLYMONTS (14)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (16)
The Broken Strings Tour BIRDS OF TOKYO (27)
Hazardous VANESSA AMOROSI (29)
Golden Rule POWDERFINGER (33)
Like It Like That GUY SEBASTIAN (34)
As Day Follows Night SARAH BLASKO (38)
Backtracks AC/DC (39)
Coogee Boy PERRY KEYES
Watch The Water JESS HARLEN
Goldmine TOBIAS CUMMINGS
It's Only Time THE TEALEAVES
Lucille THE VASCO ERA
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