By ALAN PERROTT
Youth station Mai FM was the biggest mover in the latest Auckland radio survey, boosting its cumulative audience by almost 24 per cent to 187,300.
The survey shows the Ngati Whatua-owned Mai FM moved into clear second place with a market share of 11.6 per cent.
Newstalk ZB continues to head Auckland's competitive radio market.
The talkback station's market share in Auckland dropped by 0.8 percentage points to 12.3 per cent in the survey conducted by Research International for the period February 21 to April 2.
Market share is a measurement combining the number of people tuning into a station and the time they spend listening.
Despite the drop, Newstalk ZB increased its estimated weekly cumulative audience (the number of people aged 10 years or older who tune in at any time over a week) by 3.7 per cent to about 204,600 listeners, about 17,000 more than second-placed Mai FM.
National results show Newstalk ZB is dropping in all regions other than Waikato. The station is ranked third in Wellington and second equal in Dunedin, first in Christchurch and fourth in Waikato behind music stations Classic Hits ZHFM, The Edge and The Rock.
The second biggest mover in audience numbers was Radio Sport, which rose by 21.2 per cent to 97,500 listeners, the eighth largest total in the Auckland market. The station's market share has also lifted in every region surveyed.
Sixth-ranked 91.8 More FM suffered the worst drop in Auckland with it's market share dropping by almost 1 per cent and audience numbers by almost 15 per cent.
Auckland University-based 95bFM holds a narrow lead of about 60,000 listeners over its Ponsonby-based rival George FM, which has an estimated audience of 55,100.
Andrew Dubber, radio and media lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, said rating surveys needed to be treated with caution.
"Mai FM and Newstalk ZB are the only radio stations that can be picked up by Japanese import car radios. No coincidence. A lot of listening happens in cars," said Mr Dubber.
The most important figure was not any individual station's result, but the audience share of each of the major networks, said Mr Dubber.
TRN have about 40 per cent of the Auckland market, and CanWest about 25 per cent.
"Overall, they have both dropped a couple of per cent, which is really margin of error stuff, but they have maintained more or less the same ratio comparative to the other crowd.
"It's not about beating your earlier performance, it's about beating the other guy."
The top five Auckland stations by market share were Newstalk ZB (12.3 per cent), Mai FM 88.6 (11.7 per cent), Classic Hits 97FM (10 per cent), 91ZM (5.5 per cent) and Solid Gold (5.4 per cent).
The survey included 14 of the city's 27 FM stations and three of the 15 AM stations. It did not include stations such as Concert FM or National Radio.
By ALAN PERROTT