Alan Jones rides high on radio ratings, but listeners miss Red Symons

Following Red Symons' departure ABC radio ratings have declined, meanwhile, Alan Jones continues to stay on top of his game. Source: Getty

Listeners have turned their backs on ABC breakfast radio in Melbourne following Red Symons’ shock departure. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Alan Jones has proved once again he’s king of breakfast radio. 

The exit of former Hey Hey star Symons saw a drop in audience, with the breakfast slot falling 2.9 per cent, according to a survey by market research company GFK.  In November, the long-term host announced he was leaving, after telling listeners that he was offered other positions at the station but decided instead to end his 15-year radio career. 

It was an eventful year for Symons, who’s best known for his years on Hey Hey It’s Saturday alongside Daryl Somers. In June he apologised for an interview that saw him accused of making racist remarks, then in July he fell and hit his head while walking home from the supermarket, forcing him to take two months off while he recovered from a brain injury.

Following Symons’ departure, Jacinta Parsons and Sami Shah took the popular breakfast slot. And despite the sudden drop, the pair still attracted a healthy 10.1 per cent of listeners. 

Meanwhile, high-profile conservative radio host Alan Jones has surged ahead in the Sydney breakfast radio ratings. Jones’ 2GB show had a 2.2 ratings-point increase, to extend his lead in breakfast radio to a 15.5 per cent audience share.  The result sees the long-term host claiming his biggest share in the slot since September 2016, when he had a 16.2 per cent audience share. Jones has been a host on 2GB since 2002. 

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Jones’ biggest rivals, KISS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O, suffered a shock 2.1 point loss to drop to an even 10 per cent share. The FM hosts also fell behind ABC Sydney’s Wendy Harmer and Robbie Bucks, who rose 0.9 points to a 10.3 per cent audience share. 

But the ABC’s new programs, called Focus with Cassie McCullagh and Conversations with Richard Fidler, fell 1.6 points to 7.0 per cent.  KISS FM’s drive show, hosted by newcomers Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, dropped 1.7 points to a 9.1 per cent share, but despite the decline, the pair were still the third most listened-to show in the drive slot. 

The 2DayFM show, hosted by Hughsey and Kate, saw the station suffer a 0.3 per cent drop in the slot, which was previously hosted by popular duo Hamish and Andy.  And Em Rusciano’s 2DayFM breakfast show, with new co-hosts Ed Kavalee and Grant Denyer, jumped 0.6 per cent to increase its audience share to 3.4 per cent. 

What do you think? Did you stop listening to ABC radio after Symons’ departure? Do you listen to Alan Jones?

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