Source and entire item The Green Guide

Triple M, Vega and Mix spent a fortune on new breakfast shows but each lost a chunk of its early morning audience in the first radio ratings survey of the year.

Talk giant 3AW remains Melbourne's top station, despite a half-point drop overall and big losses for afternoon host Ernie Sigley (now languishing in fifth place — 3AW's worst performer).

Runner up 774 ABC Melbourne is narrowing the gap with 3AW, attracting a record 896,000 listeners in the first ratings period, mostly because of the station's popular cricket coverage.

But the big news in Tuesday's figures is the lack of listener interest in Melbourne's newest FM stars.

Triple M must be licking its wounds after spending a bomb on the new breakfast duo of comedian Pete Helliar and rock identity Myf Warhurst, whose faces are splashed across all corners of the city on billboards and television ads. But the expensive saturation tactics have not saved the pair from a 0.1 point drop — two points behind their veteran predecessors The Cage.

Mix may not have spent money on advertising, but the station had high hopes for its new breakfast crew Brigitte Duclos, George McEncroe and Tom Gleeson. Unfortunately, Two Women and a Metro lost 0.5 points and remains well behind the top four stations.

A similar story unfolded at Vega, where the new breakfast team of Idol judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson, comedian Dave O'Neil and Big Brother contestant Chrissie Swan slid 0.6 points to hold just 2.1% of Melbourne listeners.

But Dickson says it takes time to lure listeners away from other stations.

"It's my first survey day and I've never been more nervous," Dickson admits. "I still think our show sounds much better than we rate. Bit by bit, we have to make Melbourne fall in love with us."

Mix FM's boss Steve Rowe is also philosophical about his breakfast show's poor start.

"They haven't been on air long enough to win over listeners," Rowe says. "And Mix has done well getting more female listeners … that's what we're aiming for."

For Austereo general manager Ben Amarfio, the Triple M result could have been worse.

"There's some hot competition out there and brand-new shows usually take a bit of backlash," Amarfio says. "We were expecting a bit more backlash from Cage listeners, but Pete and Myf held steady and Triple M was up by half a point overall."

While new breakfast shows struggle to get a foothold, there were more listeners tuning into the city's longest-serving FM breakfast shows, Gold FM's Peter "Grubby" Stubbs and Diane "Dee Dee " Dunleavy and Nova's Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek.

Fox FM stays on top of the FM dial, despite a 0.1 point drop overall. Breakfast hosts Matt Tilley, Jo Stanley and Adam Richard are still number one, while drive duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee are 10 points clear of their nearest rivals, Nova's Akmal Saleh, Cal Wilson and ex-Triple M recruit Ed Kavalee.

Blake and Lee recently signed a three-year deal with Austereo, committing them to Fox FM until the end of 2010.

Austereo is also pleased to report that Triple M's afternoon ratings lifted slightly after the controversial axing of Get This, a cult comedy show hosted by Tony Martin, Richard Marsland and the aforementioned Kavalee.

On the AM dial, 3AW's unstoppable breakfast duo Ross Stevenson and John Burns continue leading the pack, jumping 1.2 points to carve a massive 21.2% share of the market. Morning host Neil Mitchell retained his long-held lead, up 0.7 to 16.4. (Fairfax Media, publisher of The Age, also owns 3AW.)

Sports station SEN almost halved its listener share, dropping a whopping 2.1 points to 2.6% — a figure the station will hope to boost with the start of the AFL season. Every shift lost listeners, but the evening shows were hardest hit (down 4.5 points to 1.8).

The ratings delivered bad news to ABC Classic FM, dropping 0.4 to just 1.4% of the market. Only ABC News Radio gets fewer listeners in Melbourne.

The result was better for Triple J's new breakfast team, Robbie Buck, Marieke Hardy and Lindsay (the doctor) McDougall, who recorded a one point increase.

It was also party time for Nova's afternoon host Dylan Lewis, who celebrated his birthday on ratings day and upped his audience by 0.7 to 10.6 points.