Historical Metro Ratings

talkback and racing, I think?

Here’s the equivalent Melbourne survey 3/88 (with 2/88 in brackets)

FOX 16.4 (17.9)
3KZ 13.7 (13.4)
3AW 12.4 (11.6)
EON 9.8 (9.9)
3MP 9.7 (11.5)
3LO 9.0 (9.6)
3UZ 6.4 (5.9)
3XY 6.3 (5.9)
3TT 5.5 (3.9)
3AK 4.4 (4.3)
ABC FM 1.7 (2.0)
3AR 1.5 (1.5)

Some big drops for FOX (-1.5) and 3MP (-1.8) and an increase for 3TT’s 2nd survey (+1.6). A small climb for ‘light and easy’ 3AK (+0.1), the slightly revamped 3UZ (+0.5), and even 3XY managed an increase (+0.4) as it’s about to change format to XY Easy Rock.


Would love to see Brisbane around this time in 1988. Think FM104 was peaking about that time. I’m not sure if Stereo 10 had flipped to Lite and Easy, I can’t remember if it was 87 or 88.

Re the Melbourne one I’m a bit surprused 3TT wasn’t doing better. What format were they at the time? Classic hits?


TT launched in April 1988 as Classic Hits, but it was challenged by the popularity of 3KZ’s Hits and Memories and there were probably not a lot of listeners from 3DB that followed to 3TT as they most likely just migrated to 3UZ’s revamped talk and racing line-up, so even though DB’s last survey was 6.1, just how many of those followed the change to TT is unclear.

3DB’s last survey (1/88) had a rating of 6.1. 3TT’s first survey (2/88) was 3.9. (-2.2)

3UZ’s survey 1/88 was 4.1. Next survey it was 5.9. (+1.8)


BRISBANE S3/1988 (S2) [Brisbane only had 3 surveys in 1988]

  1. FM104 37.9 (30.3) That was its largest share ever, and remains the largest share ever recorded by an FM station in any of the capital metros.
  2. 4BH 882 13.5 (13.7)
  3. 4KQ 693 11.5 (12.5)
  4. 4BC 1116 9.0 (10.2)
  5. 4BK 1296 7.7 (7.7)
  6. 4QR 612 7.4 (9.7)
  7. 4IO 1008 6.3 (7.6)

Thanks. Yep thought so. FM104 was dominating for a few years by then but got an extra ‘bump’ from Expo, they were not exactly the official broadcaster but they certainly capitalised on it more than the others. And to think only a couple of years later they would be in a totally different state because of the disastrous rebrand and different format in response to B105. Yes B105 was always going to make some impact but they would have held up much better if they hadn’t messed with it.


And having to change frequency at about the same time that B105 launched probably didn’t help.

I’ve often wondered if FM104 had been able to stay on 104.1, with B105 launching on 104.9 instead, how much of a difference that would have made.


Personally I don’t think the frequency change had too much impact. If I recall correctly they moved to 104.5 well before B105 launched, so people had already found it. It was the more the fact they literally changed the station’s identity at the exact moment B105 launched so people were confused. It was like there were suddenly 2 new stations. They effectively pushed their long standing audience to try both. B105 outgunned them with promotion by an absolute mile. People of course tried out the new station in droves because all of a sudden the station they had loved for years was gone overnight. It was a masterclass in what NOT to do when an utterly dominant station meets its first real competition.


Here is the first survey for 1984 in Sydney. It’s an interesting one for several reasons:

  • 2WS hit No.1 for the first time and it shared the win with 2UE who had the powerhouse line up of O’Callaghan, Laws, Buttrose, Malcolm T and John Pearce.
  • 2UW had relaunched as Magic 11. The format flopped but it cut loose a swathe of under 24 year olds that caused a surge for 2MMM and 2SM. In Survey 2, 1107 started to revert back to the 2UW call sign but the damage was done and the ratings continued to fall. It was only three years earlier that The New 2UW was rating close to 16%.
  • 2CH’s elevator music continues to be a winning format with those over 50. No commercial stations play this style of music anymore.
  • Both 2KY and 2GB were providing a credible alternative to 2UE in the world of commercial talk. 702 was struggling and after midday it failed to reach above a 3 share.
  • 2DayFM was a “smooth style” station and was enjoying respectable ratings, although it trailed MMM, 2SM and 2WS


It was about August 1988 when the change over to Lite and Easy 1008 occurred.As I was a big radio nut back in those days (not anymore) of course I remember :blush:
FM 104 definitely ruled the airwaves back then


Melbourne’s Survey 1/84 (4/83 in brackets)

3AW 14.5 (11.1)
3KZ 13.7 (14.5)
3AK 11.2 (12.1)
3XY 10.7 (11.0)
EON 10.6 (8.8)
3LO 8.4 (6.6)
FOX 7.3 (8.3)
3MP 7.2 (8.3)
3DB 6.5 (5.1)
3UZ 3.3 (8.5)
3AR 2.5 (2.4)
O/FM 2.1 (1.6)
O/AM 2.0 (1.7)

EON’s first double-figure score. Just over a year later (2/85) it would hit #1.

Looks like 3UZ took quite a hit, there might have been some fallout when 3UZ dumped its racing broadcasts in 1983 and became “3UZ Muzic”. On the other hand, 3DB, now having racing all to itself, has gone up a bit. The days when saturation racing coverage could still draw in an audience!


(EDIT: The 3UZ logo will be from 1985, not 84, as Stereo AM launched in 1985. IIRC the station had similar imagery but was branded as just 927AM in 1984?)

3XY still just hanging in to double figures, though by 3/84 it would dip below the 10 mark and would never hit it again.

A bit of a contrast between 2BL (4.8) and its Melbourne equivalent 3LO (8.4), although both stations would have to work around parliament broadcasts at various times during the year so that would play havoc with trying to hold onto regular listeners.


They also dumped Bert Newton, who brought in the listeners. Here’s an ad from August 1983 - with the slogan TalkRadio 927. I think it was more a talk and racing station hybrid that switched to a music station, so no surprise at the fall.



Was that just based on a huge mass of telephone bookmakers or something - or was there genuine just interest in just hearing the races as if it were a call of a football game?

I can kinda get watching/listening now that it’s all betting on apps or whatever, but I struggle to imagine how it’d be a mainstream thing to listen to, rather than the 2-3% maybe that it can draw now - overestimating to account for those watching TV or streaming.

My memory may be biased, but I think it was a case of “less is more”. I don’t really recall many interstate races being covered, so there was less racing coverage, but you took a general interest. Information about overseas sports (eg NBA, EPL etc) was a lot more limited, so races were just part of general interest like Tattslotto. Think of it, as there was a lot less choice/specialisations to focus on.

Betting was either the government owned TAB or bookies at the track. Blissfully, there were no ads for bookmakers (I think it was illegal).

Curious as to others views/recollections


a good question I don’t really know the answer to. But racing broadcasts used to be pretty much mainstream but would be generally integrated into talk or news-based formats like 3UZ did as above, and 3DB in various guises during the 1980s. Even in the Bert Newton-led “New Beginning”, 3DB still had racing in the afternoon and evenings and throughout Saturdays.

Also, note that one of the most popular TV formats in the 1970s (in Melbourne, anyway) was the Penthouse club which was a variety show that really just filled the 20 minutes between each race at the trots at the Showgrounds or Moonee Valley. It was a popular show though it’s unclear whether there was an active interest in the live crosses to the races or whether viewers just put up with it until the variety would come back on.

It wasn’t really until the '90s with the advent of stations like 4TAB and racing formats being herded into HPONs in cities like Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, that the stations more focused on racing/sport at the exclusion of much else.


These are really interesting figures. Does anyone have the 1981 or 1982 figures when 3DB changed from playing Disco and current music to skewing towards and older audience and Talk. I remember they replaced Peter Harrison with Ernie Sigley for Breakfast and things went downhill quickly from there.

3DB’s ratings from Survey 4/1980 to 4/1982:

9.5, 8.1, 8.2, 6.4, 7.3, 7.3, 7.4, 5.9, 6.5


Thanks. The format change occurred around Aug 81 so I am tipping this is the drop from 8.2 to 6.4 but then strangely increases the next 3 surveys.

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Might as well bring the rest of the metros into the party!

BRISANE 1/84 (4/83)
4BH 15.6 (20.6)
4KQ 15.6 (15.3)
FM104 14.8 (16.9)
4BC 13.8 (12.6)
4IO 13.3 (14.2)
4QR 12.6 (8.5)
4BK 6.0 (5.7)
4QG 4.2 (2.4)

ADELAIDE 4/83 (1984 surveys not available)
5DN 21.1
5KA 20.2
SAFM 18.1
5AA 15.8
5AD 12.5
5AN 6.2
5CL 3.5

PERTH 4/83 (1984 surveys not available)
6PM 24.1
96FM 17.5
6PR 15.8
6KY 12.9
6WF 12.1
6IX 11.6
6WN 3.1

CANBERRA 1/84 (1983 survey not available)
2CC 52.2
2CN 20.0
2CA 16.4
2CY 4.6


Was that one of the final surveys before FM began to dominate each market?

First #1 FM in each market:
BRISBANE - FM104, S3/84
SYDNEY - Triple M, S4/84
PERTH - 96FM, S2/85
ADELAIDE - not available