Both 2GB hosts survived sketchy runs during the survey period, which covered February 10 to March 2 and March 10 to April 13.
Hadley was plagued by claims of bullying and intimidation from former colleagues at the station, including in an ABC 7.30 report that aired in early April. In late March, following similar dissent on social media, he apologised on-air “for any hurt” caused and suggested he’d changed his “former behaviour”.
Jones, meanwhile, remains in the midst of lengthy contract negotiations with 2GB and parent company Macquarie Media (Nine, the owner of this masthead, has a majority stake in Macquarie Media), just months before his existing contract is due to expire.
There was some concern in whether the tumult would impact 2GB’s figures this survey, admits Macquarie Media’s Chief Executive Officer Adam Lang, but also trust in the pair’s unwavering listeners.
“We have a couple of assets in Alan and Ray in the sense that one of the things they’ve earned through their careers has been tremendous audience loyalty,” says Lang.
“[Listeners] don’t just listen for controversy, they listen to whole shows and get to know [Jones and Hadley] almost as friends, so they have an understanding of the context of those people.
“Yes, we’re always concerned with serving that audience well, including during this period, but we did trust that the audience would know them beyond just these controversial moments.”
On Jones’ contract status, Lang denies the survey’s strong results may further complicate negotiations.
“Certainly no complications,” says Lang. “But we look at trend results. One survey is not in and of itself the most significant item. We look at, usually, the last three surveys, but we also look ahead to what we need as a station, and what the audience needs. One survey is not a significant factor in a negotiation – but it’s obviously gratifying when you go up.”
Elsewhere in the survey, ABC Sydney claimed a surprise win in the 4pm to 7pm slot, increasing 1.1 per cent to a 10.4 per cent audience share to leapfrog last survey’s win by smoothfm (up 0.1 per cent to 10.3 per cent).
KIISFM saw the biggest increase across all stations for the survey period, up 1.4 per cent to a 9.1 per cent total audience share, but still trails perennial leaders 2GB (14.5 per cent) and smoothfm (9.5 per cent).
This masthead is owned by Nine, which has a majority stake in Macquarie Media, owner of 2GB and Macquarie Sports.
Robert Moran is an entertainment reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age