Sydney radio market goes into decline following Today Network prank call nurse’s death

2day fm sydneyThe Today Network’s disastrous Royal prank call linked to the death of a British nurse led to Sydney’s radio advertising market declining in December, new figures have revealed.

Faced by a growing advertiser boycott, Southern Cross Austereo was forced to pull all ads from the Today Network’s Sydney station 2Day FM as it dealt with a global backlash to the stunt by presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig. 2Day FM has Sydney’s largest audiences and commands the market’s greatest ad revenues.

In order to get its ads back on the air, 2Day FM pledged to donate its profits for the final days of the year to the nurse’s family.

In what was expected to be a month of growth in the Sydney market, revenues instead declined by 2.09% to $15.529m – a drop of about $300,000 compared to the same month in 2011. The numbers were revealed in data released today by Commercial Radio Australia.   

However, the Today Network’s strategy of focusing attention only on its Sydney station – although the prank call on the Summer 30 was a national broadcast – was successful in insulating revenue in other markets.

As a result, Melbourne has moved past Sydney for only the third time in recent years to be Australia’s biggest radio advertising market. The Today Network’s Fox FM is the market leader in Melbourne.

An advertiser boycott of 2GB’s Alan Jones will also have contributed to Sydney’s poor performance.

In December Melbourne’s radio revenue grew by 2.66% to $16.371m. Elsewhere, Adelaide was down 1.36% in December to $5.027m, Perth was up 2.56% to $7.716m and Brisbane was down 7.77% to $8.354m.

The disappointing finish to the year – which saw a 0.91% drop across the five metro markets in December – contributed to a decline for the whole year  of 1.28 per cent drop compared to 2011. Perth was the only city to record a gain.

Advertising revenue for 2012 shows:

  • Sydney down 1.71% to $208.657 million
  • Melbourne down 1.19% to $202.330 million
  • Adelaide down 0.19% to $64.645 million
  • Brisbane down 2.52% to $106.824 million
  • Perth up 0.27% to $91.562 million.

“Radio has had a softer year but once again has shown its resilience and competed well when compared to other traditional media,” CRA boss Joan Warner said. “Results for the year show patchy figures for the five metropolitan markets with some performing better than others at different times, again dependent on local influencing factors.”

There was, however, a rise in audience with 9.5m Australians tuning into radio each week, up from 9.4 million in 2011 with the breakfast slot remaining the most popular.


  1. Kate
    8 Jan 13
    10:52 pm

  2. Still have not heard any news about SCA actually passing on the $500,000+ donation to Jacintha’s family. Has it happened, will it happen, or was it just more spin?

  3. paul
    9 Jan 13
    10:34 am

  4. I don’t recall you being part of Jacintha’s family Kate. Why should it concern you? It really is a private matter between a company and a grieving family.

    Maybe focus on your own backyard instead…

  5. Kate
    9 Jan 13
    1:55 pm

  6. Hardly a private matter when they chose to make it so public!

    They let everyone know that they would be making this donation ~ in attempt to secure their advertising revenue? I suspect so.

    My backyard is fine thank you Paul.

  7. Scotty
    9 Jan 13
    4:25 pm

  8. The insulation only to 2day from SCA was seen for what it was…disgraceful. Everyone knew that prank ran on multiple channels. So all SCA channels should have made the move not just the one where the clowns sat and made da funny.

  9. Roz
    9 Jan 13
    5:03 pm

  10. A public statement was made of apparent generosity (transparent enough for most of us to recognise it for the spin it was!) so naturally the public would like a follow-up to this altruistic offer.

    Most of us remember when 2DayFM tried to hoodwink listeners with examples of their ‘generosity’: remember the promotion they ran in which the parents of a disabled child claimed they did not receive the full amount pledged to them on air.

    Most things are private until they become “news”,Paul! I thought you understood the nature of ‘newsworthy”.

  11. Ahrozandkate
    9 Jan 13
    6:03 pm

  12. Roz and Kate,
    Your personal vendettas and negative campaigning against this particular station and company is fast becoming boring and predictable. Anyone requiring a history on this delightful duo’s consistency can look up any number of stories on this site regarding this station or company and you’ll see these two.
    Every time.
    However… they never ever appear on any other topic.
    Blow off annoying people. Take your petty campaigning elsewhere.

  13. Roz
    10 Jan 13
    4:04 pm

  14. Of course we cannot see how often the above Poster has used this site for a ‘personal vendetta’ as he/she seems to lack the courage to Post using a credible name! Like any troll he/she apparently creates a new Post Name whenever requiring anonymity! And anyone having a different opinion should apparently not express any opinion, especially when that opinion is polite or expressing genuine enquiryp; this Poster will attack with little logic. Who knows how often this chameleon has posted under different pseudonym.
    They live (and hide!) amongst us.

  15. faceless executives
    11 Jan 13
    7:46 am

  16. Apart from the announcers who must still feel terrible and need care and attention the question remains who were the executive/s who ratified the prank to go to air in breach of 9.3 of the code.Until they are named and face the regulatory group investigating then nothing has been achieved. We al know they are the one’s who should lose there incredibly well paid job/s

  17. paul
    11 Jan 13
    9:28 am

  18. So Roz if someone offers an opinion different to yours they are labeled a troll? Why is that?

  19. Roz
    12 Jan 13
    12:22 am

  20. Not at all, Paul. I have good friends (and strangers too) who seem to be able to debate an issue logically and without making it personal. It’s the nasty little snipes such as “Maybe focus on your own backyard instead…” and “Blow off annoying people. Take your petty campaigning elsewhere.” that are so transparently offensive. and snipey.
    Nasty little bites with that sarcastic little sting at the end…exposes a troll every time.
    When I read Kates’ comment, I cannot see any nasty little snipe at any one person. Just a comment.
    My comment, unfortunately, I did the snipey thing at the end..and I am ashamed of myself for falling into the retaliatory nastiness.