Are SA Internet Radio Stations Fluffing Their Listenership Figures?

detectivejpgAs a blogger I often find myself reading stats from other sites and wondering how, in the name of all that is holy, they manage to get numbers like that.

It’s a subjective topic at the best of times because if I look at this site, the figures WordPress gives me vs Google Analytics vs Afrigator are all different.

This creates a grey area that I think some bloggers exploit to secure advertising for their blogs, but that’s just my opinion backed up by casual observations and my gut feeling. When it comes to internet radio stations in SA however, the evidence that they’re fluffing their figures is far more compelling…

Enter 32 year old IT Specialist Shaun Dewberry who decided to do some digging when it comes to the listenership figures the stations 2OceansVibe Radio, Ballz Internet Radio and KingfisherFM are publishing (read his report here before you read the rest of this post).

All I can say is what he uncovered was very interesting to say the least.

Among other things, Shaun discovered that the Shoutcast servers that are hosting all three of those stations each have set a maximum limit of listeners that would seem to be substantially  lower than the number of listeners they claim to get.

Here’s a table to illustrate this point:




Ballz Visual Radio 8 500 (calculated from 51 000 between 12 and 6pm)

3 000

Kingfisher FM 26 (calculated from 20 000 in the month of March)


2OceansVibe Radio 60 000 (calculated from nothing. This is the figure 2OceansVibe claims)



In the case of Kingfisher FM, their figures are plausible so from here on in I’ll stop picking on them. Shame.

As for Ballz, sure their hourly figures are higher than their maximum set number of listeners, but we need to account for the fact that listeners tune in and out.

In other words, for them to get 8 500 listeners in an hour that means that every 20 minutes 2 833 listeners need to tune in and out which, though it might sound like a high number, is believable considering that they have some big names like Sasha Martinengo, Darren Scott and a host of scantily clad “Weather Girls” (thanks for the idea 2OceansVibe!) driving listenership.

HOWEVER, for 2Oceansvibe Radio to do the numbers they have published according to their 150 listener limit, it would mean that roughly 16 people would have to tune out and 16 new ones tune in every second for the full hour.

That’s if you listen for one second. If the average listener tunes in for 5 minutes, that figure rockets to 5 000 people tuning in and 5 000 tuning out every 5 minutes or 20 000 people tuning in and out every 20 minutes if you want to compare this figure with Ballz Radio’s modest 2 833 during the same time frame.

Is that fish I smell…?



Of course, all of this is based on the assumption that the maximum possible number of people are listening to these stations all the time. So yeah, in layman’s terms, they are based on your Tiger pal giving these stations the benefit of the doubt.

When Shaun actually tracked the listenership numbers that Shoutcast was reporting over the course of the past week he found that on average, Ballz Radio peaks at about 210 listeners per day and 2OceansVibe peaks at just under 40!


Now before you go grabbing your torches and pitchforks, I’d like to conclude by pointing out two simple facts before I bow out – firstly I am not passing judgement on either of these internet radio stations until they are offered an opportunity to properly address Shaun’s report and provide substantial evidence to support how they got to the numbers they did.

And secondly, phoning Shaun up and bullying him on your show is NOT the way to properly address this issue and to be perfectly honest, just makes you look more guilty.



So yeah, Ballz and 2Oceansvibe, over to you guys.


16 Responses to “Are SA Internet Radio Stations Fluffing Their Listenership Figures?”

  1. 1 Sean
    June 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I also look at web stats and wonder what advertisers are thinking sometimes. There is a massive difference between huge numbers and actual influence these people have. There are a small number of people I follow online who I trust and believe, and will base purchasing decisions based on them because I believe they are experts in a certain field.

    Mostly though on websites, I completely ignore advertising, yet it continues to get sold on impressions. Sure it drives brand awareness as they say, but in my mind it doesn’t really. If I were an advertiser I would rather have my brand actively targeted at a niche, rather than throwing it out to the masses in the hope they like it/buy it.

    I also find blogging to be a bit tedious these days as there isn’t much original content available locally. Great content doesn’t necessarily drive the numbers, so no one advertises, so writers lose inspiration and stop writing. To get the big numbers, you need to push content out all day and this dilutes the quality, and generally means you become a content aggregator as opposed to anything original.

    I’m not hating on the way websites work, and each to their own, but I miss the days of really great content that had me laughing for hours and talking about the stories for days.

    To me blogging as it used to be is dead. I do love it though when great ideas that actively involve people come about. Put Foot Rally for example, anything that actively and socially involves people online is great, and I believe a great place for companies to put money.

    I am off topic however!

    • June 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

      You fucking crack me up Llyod! Dud you and Slick need to keep blogging and your points in here are 100% correct!

      Slick, well written my friend, and to Shaun too. Seems some psuedo names are appearing in the comments section there.

      Wonder where there ip would track back too… hmmmmm 😉

      All i can say is that i have tracked some of mine and be rather dissapointed to see that they have come from so called ‘good blogging mates’ and the ‘opposition’. Think Mr Dewberry has that issue now.

      Well done again though. Great read!

    • June 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

      No dude, you couldn’t be more ON topic if you tried!

      I hear you on blogging getting tedius because I’m guilty in that regard. I used to dedicate a good 2 or 3 hours to posts, I prided myself on creating original content and to be honest, it’s how I made a name for myself back in the early days.

      But people very quickly get bored and move on. My readership on those posts I was putting so much time and effort into started dwindling so I did what a lot of other bloggers do and dived into the rat race of finding cool shit on the interwebs and trying to post it before everyone else.

      Half the effort for the same number of figures (and in some cases more). Sure, whenever I have the time I try to write something original, but that’s probably once or twice a week as opposed to every day.

      Quantity has definitely trumped quality when it comes to blogging in SA, maybe it’s time we did something about that 😉


      • 4 Sean
        June 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        Yeah I just think this whole content aggregating thing has become too much, I don’t really blog anymore but rather just keep up to date and share on Twitter. Purely because if I’m not getting paid to write, I don’t want to do it. It’s all good and well making people laugh, but when I’m broke at the end of the month sniffing glue under a bridge, then I won’t be laughing. It’s a great tragedy for SA blogging because in the early days the content was unique and funny. Now it’s just all the same.

        I know for a fact that we can come up with better content, obviously money comes into it though. I don’t want to spend 4 or 5 hours writing a post and editing photos because someone gave me a free t shirt or a bottle of booze, or even R500. If we collectively came up with great ideas for brands, we could work magic. Not necessarily creating content just to be shared on our blogs, but creating great content that brands themselves can use. If the guys came together every few weeks to discuss ideas, it would help. It’s impossible to do everything on your own and I think getting a like minded group of local bloggers together would create insane ideas. Because I know how crazy everyone is. And if the money is right, the ideas will have no boundaries. And also not being selfish, working together at something is far better than trying to work on our own.

        The motivation behind everything should be to produce amazing content. Doing it for any other reason such as fame is a waste of everyones time. Let the content speak for itself, don’t let the content be a vehicle to drive an individuals fame or ego.

        There are great minds online locally, unfortunately by not putting money behind these minds, we are throwing talent away. Give the guys creative freedom, give them money as they rightly deserve, and see what can be delivered. I think it’ll far outweigh what some agencies are currently producing, or what some social media managers charge just to write Facebook and Twitter updates.

    • 5 Jems
      June 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Oh wow, couldn’t agree more. Most so-called VIBs are not bloggers at all, but as you rightly say – content aggregators. I can go to reddit for that, thanks. And yet they still seem to get a lot of advertising income, freebies and social clout… its beyond me how/why. Creatives writing insightful, original or humorous or productive pieces are lost amongst the aggregrators of aggregator sites. Boring.

  2. 6 Advocate of the devil
    June 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I am following this story quite intensely. One thing I have realised from following various twitter account and the conclusion published on lifeissavage (from original report), is that the blame is squarely on netdynamix who appear to be the industry leader. they also handle the online streams for the likes of KFM and 5FM, so these accusations are massive. The industry is new and no-one knows how to do their job except people who handles streams. According to 2oceansvibe twitter account, Netdynamix are releasing a statement after lunch today. They are actually the ones that stand accused. Not 2oceansvibe radio or ballz (even though ballz response on air was childish).

    • June 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

      I buy that argument if, AND ONLY IF, both 2OceansVibe and Ballz Internet Radio state categorically that they have never double-checked the stats that NetDynamix serves them.

      If that’s true, I will ammend this post to point the finger of blame squarely at NetDynamix for duping poor old Ballz Internet Radio and 2OceansVibe (FOR OVER TWO YEARS!).

      But until either of those stations admits that they have never double-checked their stats, the blame rests squarely on thie shoulders. If they were aware of this discrepency in any way they should have investigated it further rather than just running with what looks like some heavily inflated figures sent to them by NetDynamix.


  3. June 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I hope Shaun Dewberry’s claims withstand all the scrutiny that will now occur, if only to wipe the smug look off Darren Scott’s face.

    The arrogant, dismissive way Darren conducted that interview yesterday gave me indigestion, and offended me.

    • June 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Amen brother, I would love to see that smug look wiped off Darren Scott’s face as well. Good on Shaun (other Shaun) for sticking to his guns and fighting back. The numbers don’t add up and until Ballz and 2OVR produce numbers that do this looks more than a little suspect.

  4. 12 Seerower
    June 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I would not be surprised if the radio stations don’t check the figures that Netdynamix give them.

    I work for a company that relies on the internet for our business and my experience has been that you accept the statistics in good faith. You either don’t have the know-how or the tools to check their figures (which is probably why you outsourced the service to them in the first place) or alternatively the stats are based on their IP which they won’t easily let glimpse.

    In our highly regulated industry we rely on service level agreements to provide (legally defined) levels of transparency/auditability or audit certificates from the service provider’s side. I would bet my left… nuthing that there are big holes in Netdynamix’s SLA with regard to statistics accountability.

    Does this excuse Ballz? Hell no, you can hear from the start that Darren Scott knew what he wanted to do when he called Shaun Dewberry and it was not to get the truth or clarity.

    Why would Netdynamix fudge the figures you may ask? Because nobody likes being the bearer of bad news. As Enron, Lehman Brothers and more recently Olympus has shown: Lie as long as you can to keep your customers happy and while they are happy you get more money. It makes Netdynamix’s infrastructure look better than it possibly is which keeps current customers happy and draws new customers.

    Who knows, maybe it turns out to be a simple arithmetic error…

    On a side note: How awesome would a collaborative blog be with some of you most awesomest of local bloggers? Eleven awesomes, I tell you! Just think, somewhere that you post things that you work on together: Bouncing ideas back and forth, building posts together over days (and not hours), feeding off of each other’s energy, a place to get the creative juices flowing… I’ll bet good money that Usain Bolt runs faster with competitors at his sides.

  5. June 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Nice summary of the events bud, have bookmarked your blog for future visits..

  6. 15 Jeremy
    June 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I worked for a company that paid for advertising on 2OV FM we paid decent money for the exercise and initially when we enquired about advertising on their station we were fed huge stats like the above. What I’m trying to say is that if your selling something with specific claims attached to it you need to make sure it lives up to those claims, otherwise your selling a product under false pretences.

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