Suspicious Surveys



Friday, 28 July 2006


Community radio station 107.9 Life FM publishes a quarterly newsletter as part of their broadcasting outreach. This newsletter as many of you will know is entitled: Wavelength. In general terms the magazine is an update on their [Life FM’s] efforts along with the obligatory appeal for money, no criticism there – many media outlets do the very same thing. However, in its Winter 2006 Edition the following is stated on Page 2. .



We've just received the results of our latest audience survey. .

         The number of people who listen weekly has risen to 120,000 people. That's the highest result we've ever had!  That means that 120,000 individual people are choosing to listen to Life FM each week.

         For the first time ever, we asked participants, "Have you ever listened to Life FM?" and the results were astounding: 370,000 people across Adelaide identified that they had intentionally tuned into Life FM.


In other words Life FM is claiming 12% market share which compares with the likes of commercial broadcasters SAFM and the ABC. The article goes on to expound upon Life FM’s apparent listener appeal and numerical growth attributing such to God (you will recall our last Watchman report dealt with that fallacy); and then goes on to speak about the desired funds required for their expansion ambitions, which for the first time since its inception lists ‘political’ aspirations – sounding very much like Paradise Community Church lingo; which is hardly surprising in that the Chairman of Life FM’s Board of Directors, Peter Harris, is a faithful Paradisian. Followers of the saga involving my criticism of the Paradise Community Church and my subsequent ‘gagging’ will surely identify with Peter who was quote: “Ropeable” with my rebuke of Life FM’s financial benefactor. Am I suggesting Peter Harris or the Paradise Community Church are up to no good? No I am not, what I am saying is that this appears to be a very sticky mess folks!


Having worked with Life FM for over 11 years, and given their current bland and frankly boring broadcast content, as well as being very sceptical of these numbers and how they are presented; I wrote to CEO Timothy Millar and politely asked him to supply me with the survey data as I was keen to investigate certain portions of the survey results, namely:


1.            Which research company conducted the survey?

2.            What was the target demographic?

3.            How many people were surveyed and by what means?

4.            What was the cost of the survey?

5.            What were the processes by which the conclusions were drawn?


Not expecting a speedy reply given that Timothy Millar has habitually neglected to respond to any correspondence Moriah Ministries Australia has forwarded him over a three year plus period, I went on a search for these elusive survey results. Indeed radio surveys had recently been conducted and the results had been published online, however any mention of 107.9 Life FM was curiously absent. I discovered there were two polls; one for Commercial radio stations conducted by research company AC Nielsen, and another for Community-based radio stations conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research. Life FM did not appear in any of the survey results I could locate.


Now it was getting very interesting.  After four weeks of hearing nothing from Timothy Millar, I sent a second letter explaining to Timothy that if he did not forward the requested information, Moriah Ministries Australia would make a complaint to both the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and to the Office of Business and Consumer Affairs requesting that they conduct an investigation into the matter on behalf of Moriah Ministries Australia.


It is entirely possible that Life FM engaged an independent survey company and it could possibly be that the results are entirely legitimate. That being the case it surely does beggar the imagination why such is kept so close to the chest when in Christendom all things should be in the light.


To date, the management of Life FM are refusing to release the requested information and our curiosity continues to grow. As Timothy Millar has been informed, once the relevant authorities report back to us, subscribers to The Watchman Report will be briefed with regard to the findings. In the meantime all we can draw from the stated data is that the majority of those who tuned in to 107.9 Life FM also tuned out – that’s 68%, which I would have thought was hardly something to boast about.


Still, while we await the results we would like to offer our South Australian Watchman Report subscribers the opportunity to indicate whether or not they were approached by either Life FM or a Radio Survey Organisation concerning their radio listener ship.  Watchman Report subscribers who are employees, volunteers, or who have intimate, financial or vested interests in 107.9 Life FM are requested to not engage in this exercise. To participate click HERE



Thank you


In His Everlasting Embrace


Tony Dean

Director - Moriah Ministries Australia

© 2006


Related Information


AC Nielsen June 20, 2006 Survey Results

McNair Community Radio National Listener Survey

Community Broadcasting Association