The Great SA Internet Radio Numbers Debate

It’s been a tough week for SA’s premier Online Radio stations. Having had only good news up to last week. Their world was purposely shat on by a Blogger and IT expert Shawn Dewberry. Revelations since that eventful day have show that these stations have been taken for a ride by their major supplier as well. Seems they’re all looking for new friends.

Not so long ago, everyone and its dog was singing the praises of online radio, with the growth of broadband and its ever cheaper outlay, the death of traditional terrestrial radio was all but confirmed. Radio Stations such as 2 Oceans Vibe as well as newbie Ballz Visual Radio touted listenership of roughly 50 000 people at any single point. Everyone jumped on the band wagon, Bob Skinstad and Sasha Martinengo to name but a few. Though these numbers seemed a bit outlandish, most people took them in good faith.

Then came Shawn Dewberry, a fellow blogger who single handedly blew everything out of the water. His findings were that these figures were grossly inflated and the methodology of recording them was incorrect. To cut a long story short, Shawn Dewberry was right. An external audit (by Mybroadband) commissioned by the radio stations in questions verified that the figures were grossly inflated and that the suppliers of the stats (NetDynamix) mislead their clients. The 50 000-plus listeners for certain online stations were revealed as little more than a few hundred.

Now NetDynamix is silent, while the two prominent online radio stations were equally affected by the revelations, their different PR strategies have made all the difference. Ballz Visual Radio run by former disgraced Jacaranda radio host Darren Scott stands with egg on their face. 2 Oceans Vibe from all media attention has handled that saga quite responsibly and seemed better for it.

See their responses:

2oceansvibe Response To Listenership Audit

“I think 2OceansVibe has been quite exemplary whereas Ballz Visual Radio has continued playing the bully role with which they initiated the debate on their side,” said World Wide Worx MD and ICT analyst Arthur Goldstuck.

“What’s been made clear from 2OceansVibe is that they want to resolve this issue and be transparent whereas Ballz, although they acknowledged the situation and want it to be resolved, are still taking a shoot the messenger, and bullying approach.”

DJ Darren Scott from Ballz Visual Radio was slammed for his heavyhanded interview with Dewberry last week after the latter’s damaging report was published on his blog and widely circulated on social media. Dewberry was cold-called and derided on air.

“I unequivocally apologise on behalf of our entire team. I take full responsibility for my outburst at you,” said Scott in Monday’s interview, in stark contrast to his original hostile interview. A bit late I suspect, most of the damage has been done.

Only time will tell how the growth of internet radio will increase or decrease as a result of this scandal. With broadband prices decreasing and burgeoning internet penetration it all bodes well for them. Ultimately blame cannot be leveled at either Radio Station but rather at the supplier, who in all honesty deserves their day in court.


Further Reading:

External Audit by

2ov Radio Audit Shows Over 4,000 Unique Listeners In A Day

What’s the Fuss about Online Radio numbers?

Bad PR further damages Online Radio in SA




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