Neil Mitchell blasts Nine’s own reporting of radio ratings

Former Editor & Content Director

3AW Mornings host Neil Mitchell has hit out at the media’s radio ratings reporting, in particular that of The Age.

The Age is owned by Nine, which also owns 3AW.

Mitchell noted that while most of the media tends to focus on FM radio, The Age instead printed “fake news” by running reports of last year’s ratings in the paper.

“Yesterday, 3AW put in its best first survey ratings performance in 14 years. 14 years. Now, I’m not really boasting, I’m trying to give it some context. We’re very proud of it. We’re very humbled by it. But The Age has got fake news today. Look, I know mistakes happen in newspapers. But they reported at length the ratings from last year, at least in my edition of today’s paper. They had an online report out of Sydney,” he said on air, calling it a “stupid stuff up”.

He also lashed the rest of the media, who may have had the figures technically correct, but give the general public the impression that “that FM bloke” – being GOLD 104.3’s Christian O’Connell – is leading the ratings.

“Now others would have you believe FM radio is the powerhouse. It is not. 3AW is. You have turned to us through the crisis, that support is continuing. Now I’m not kidding, it sounds trite, but we are humbled, it’s a privilege. I always said when ratings dropped it was a good sign because the pandemic was easing. And there was a slight drop yesterday, we thought there would be, and it’s not as much as we expected. But we’re still so far out in front, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

The way the figures are reported, he said, are an example of the media’s failings.

“Now I’m not boasting, but they always say that if you want to see the failings in the media, wait until they report on something in which you were involved. And it’s always frustrated me that very few people over the years have actually understood radio ratings or analysed them properly,” he said.

3AW’s achievements, he said, are unprecedented in the history of radio, and it needs to be acknowledged – even if it does come with backlash.

“I promise never to do it again, but I really couldn’t resist putting that into some context, and if it means I set off those idiots on social media to tell me what a self-indulgent whacker I am, then so be it, perhaps it was a bit self-indulgent, but it had to be said, because you’re not going to hear about it anywhere else,” he said.

Mitchell has previously told Radio Today he doesn’t celebrate the historically-high ratings as they are based off people’s pain, suffering and uncertainty during the pandemic.

“I wouldn’t say for a moment that ratings will stay at that level, but for once it will be a good thing if they go down, because it might show that the virus has eased,” he said.

“We didn’t celebrate them because of what they were based on, but it was quietly reassuring to know that what we were doing, the audience were getting some value out of.”

Radio Today understands a production error at The Age led to the paper running last year’s story. The online version was then updated and Nine issued an apology.

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Recent comments (14)
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16 Mar 2021 - 12:32 pm

Come on Neil 3AW has no competition unless you call the ABC competition.

Dead end of the Dial
16 Mar 2021 - 1:11 pm

Neil is getting a bit grumpy in his old age

16 Mar 2021 - 2:26 pm

Cranky old man Neil needs to do the math. The FM’ers have 42.5% Breakfast share in Melbourne. It is very competitive with 6 quality FM Breakfast shows competing for the listener pie. Sam, is right, AW has no competition, only the ABC. On the AM band there’s 1 ( one ) commercial breakfast show.

16 Mar 2021 - 2:39 pm

Is this what you call blowing smoke up your own arse?

16 Mar 2021 - 5:05 pm

“It suns trite “?!

How many times does Neil have to blow his own trumpet? “Now, I’m not boasting “… Yes, you are, Neil.

    16 Mar 2021 - 5:08 pm

    * Sounds.

    Thanks for flagging. The typo has been corrected.

    Vivienne – Radio Today

16 Mar 2021 - 10:15 pm

Radio is radio.
Why should FM and AM ratings be assessed differently?
FM and AM ratings for football are never
separated, and nor should the morning programs.

Rose-Marie lynn Dale
17 Mar 2021 - 12:07 am

Me Me Me .
3AW has good ratings.
But NEIL thinks its all about him ..
I am going to stop listening 100% to his over him .

17 Mar 2021 - 9:16 am

The major majority of AW’s listeners are 65% and they have some 55-64’s literally no one under 55 listens. Most listeners are 70+
It’s really hard to sell ads for that market,
funeral homes, incontinuance supplies etc
Even the Nine network is after 25-54’s and are not interested in 60+
Neil benefits from aging population and no competition. He should be more appreciative he has a job and a strong breakfast lead in which bolster up his ratings.

17 Mar 2021 - 9:18 am

As of last survey AW listeners 25-39 and 40-54 are dropping like flies. No one under 55 listens to AM radio. Get real.

17 Mar 2021 - 9:37 am

Really when are you going to grow up Neil, most people are not listening it’s just background noise in the morning. …

17 Mar 2021 - 9:52 am

ross stevenson is the powerhouse that drives 3aw and without his massive audience Mitchell would struggle to hold his own….

17 Mar 2021 - 1:06 pm

@Thomas – You are an absolute goose

There are many, many advertising campaigns that run on both AM and FM stations

Simon Altrin
17 Mar 2021 - 7:12 pm

I wonder why Neil didn’t continue to quote the FM figure in arvos… oh that’s right, Gold 104.3 is outright first, and has been for the last 10 surveys. So yes Neil, it gets spun how you want it to be spun. 1/2 The story.


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