Neil Mitchell blasts Nine’s own reporting of radio ratings
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.