Hit105’s Stav Davidson slams ‘archaic’ radio ratings

Former Assistant Editor
Stav, Abby & Matt

The first GfK radio ratings of 2020 are just over a week away, but Stav Davidson won’t be looking too closely at the results.

Speaking with The AustralianThe Hit105 Breakfast show host has made it clear he doesn’t consider the current system to be particularly meaningful, labelling it “archaic”.

Davidson also said that not caring about ratings has helped his own longevity on-air.

“If you go chasing them you’ll end up failing. If I don’t think I’m doing the best show regardless of what it’s rating, then I shouldn’t be doing the show,” he said.

“I just try to do the best show I can do, and hopefully that resonates with people. The way they take the ratings is very archaic and I don’t think it’s very accurate.”

Davidson’s Hit105 Breakfast show, which he co-hosts with Matty Acton and Abby Coleman, ended 2019 with an 11% share of listening among People 10+ leaving it equal second with Triple M and just -0.2% behind leaders, axed 97.3FM show Bianca, Mike & Bob.

In response, Commercial Radio Australia’s chief executive Joan Warner tells Radio Today that “Audience measurement is always evolving.

“Radio has a very transparent, consistent and independent measurement system that has been in place for many, many years and involves surveying more than 50,000 listeners each year based on nationally representative samples,” she says.

“We’re now working on hybrid measurement, which will provide even more granularity and will incorporate data from electronic measurement devices, apps and streaming data.”

Radio’s current surveying methods have also drawn criticism from the podcasting world.

Last Thursday, Spotify launched a series of new, original podcasts.

On a panel that included representatives from Vice Media, Mamamia and The Betoota Advocate, it was suggested that radio’s methodology of audience measurement won’t be able to keep pace with podcasting’s exact audience numbers, and will struggle to continue to remain relevant to advertisers due to its perceived inaccuracy.

Betoota’s editor Clancy Overell said he was excited about the future of podcasting because advertisers are getting sick of a system that asking “30 people in a nursing home [what they listen to] and times-ing it by the population of Australia”.

Warner also says that podcasting presents its own challenges for advertisers, and pointed to CRA’s development of the Australian Podcast Ranker as proof that the body is behind the development of the medium.

“Podcasting is a newer development and presents many challenges in measurement because of the multiple publishers involved, making it hard for advertisers to obtain data and compare like for like,” she tells Radio Today.

“Some data such as the age of listeners is self-reported, and we know on digital platforms like Facebook that people don’t always provide their real age when creating accounts.

“The Australian Podcast Ranker was developed to try to get as many large players together as possible on a common reporting platform, using globally recognised methodology.

“It is still developing and growing, but is a move in the right direction to provide more transparency on an industry-wide basis.”

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2 Mar 2020 - 5:37 pm

No wonder Hit 105 get beaten by 97.3, Triple M and Nova. This guy should focus on content and not the ratings system which is a sales tool to sell ads.

2 Mar 2020 - 8:22 pm

He has a point though, for one ratings should be weekly at least monthly to monitor better.

2 Mar 2020 - 8:47 pm

Richard pretty sure that’s exactly what he’s doing according to the article

2 Mar 2020 - 10:27 pm

What would you propose instead Stav?

3 Mar 2020 - 7:15 am

SCA shouldn’t let DJ’s publicly criticise our ratings system. I think the Chairman of CRA would have something to say about this. Very poor form.

3 Mar 2020 - 7:20 am

Radio doesn’t need overnight ratings. Ad buyers buy average reach and Radio is a frequency medium. TV is bought differently as you buy particular shows.
Podcasting is completely different again as you buy episodes. Some announcers will do anything for publicity, must be expecting bad ratings next week.
The old lineup at 97 should have a ripper.

3 Mar 2020 - 8:51 am

This guy must be deluded. Is it April Fool already?

3 Mar 2020 - 9:57 am

If the radio ratings system became more accurate it would show how little people actually listen.

When CRA came out last year and said “10-17 year olds are listening more than ever” there was a huge roar of laughter at my agency. We were also told people who don’t listen to radio aren’t included in the survery. Is this true?

3 Mar 2020 - 10:07 am

Its always interesting when talent have a go at the ratings. Its the same old story… the system is great when they are winning, its poor when they are losing.

The reality is while only a few hundred people have diaries for every survey in each city, over the course of a year that equates to thousands of different people. Over the course of a few years that equates to tens of thousands of different people…

… and guess what the ratings results don’t change that much. In other words, the tens of thousands of different people surveyed give similar results over the course of time. That shows the system works. Its robust. Its consistent. One of the most stable, consistent, regular, well funded systems in the world.

So gets used to it !

Wayne Slicer
4 Mar 2020 - 3:19 pm

Wasn’t entertaining on tv , not any better on radio..
That’s why AJ and Kyle and Jonesy & Amanda Keller have ruled for more than a Decade… It’s not rocket science..
Get Ronnie Sparks Back.. Jock Legend..


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