It's been a bad couple of months for 3AW drive host Tom Elliott - embarrassed by recent on-air slip-ups with dodgy interviewees, he's now taken a hit in the latest ratings, falling to third place in the timeslot behind two FM music stations.
The result will cause frowns at 3AW*, with Elliott slumping from a winning share in the previous survey.
On the official numbers released by ratings company GfK, Elliott actually came fourth in the slot - losing almost 2 per cent to be on 9.1 per cent, behind ABC 774's Rafael Epstein on 10.3 per cent, up from 9.7 per cent, with Fox FM on 10.1 per cent, up one full point, and Nova on 9.5 per cent. But adjusted for the direct on-air time clash, Elliott was third, with Fox way out in front on 11.3 per cent, ahead of Nova on 9.9 per cent, Elliott on 9.4 per cent and Epstein on 9.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Fox result in drive comes at a peculiar time for the FM market, in a state of fresh upheaval - and with the Fox Drive team of Dan Debuf and Maz Compton having just been booted from their show in favour of Hamish Blake and Andy Lee next year.
In other results, survey seven was almost a carbon copy of survey six, with the leaderboard mostly unchanged even if the winning margins were smaller. In the overall battle for AM supremacy, 3AW held on to top spot, but was down from 13.6 per cent to 12.2 per cent - just ahead of ABC 774, up from 11 per cent to 11.6 per cent.
In the breakfast contest between 3AW's long-time winners Ross Stevenson and John Burns and the ABC's Red Symons, there was a significant tightening - the 3AW team losing a sizeable slice of their audience but retaining their No.1 ranking in the official results - 16.7 per cent (down from 18.3 per cent) to Symons' 15.4 per cent (up from 13.4 per cent). In their matching on-air hours, the result was slightly better for the 3AW team - with a 17.4 per cent share.
And the tug-of-war between 3AW's Neil Mitchell and 774's Jon Faine remained as fierce as it has been for the past two years - Mitchell on top on 13.5 per cent (down from 14.3 per cent), ahead of Faine on 13 per cent (up from 12.6 per cent).
In the FM war, Fox FM retained its overall lead on 8.5 per cent, ahead of Nova (up half a point to 7.8 per cent), smooth.fm surging into equal third with Gold FM on 7.2 per cent, Triple M back in fourth on 6.7 per cent (down from 7.1 per cent) and Mix 101.1 up slightly but bringing up the field on 6 per cent.
In FM breakfast, the ladder is virtually unchanged - with a mere 1.5 per cent separating the top five. Triple M's Eddie McGuire-led show is on top, ahead of Fox FM's Fifi Box and Dave Thornton and Nova's Tommy Little and Meshel Laurie. Gold FM's Brigitte Duclos and Anthony Lehmann came in fourth, just head of Mix 101.1's Chrissie Swan and Jane Hall.
*3AW is owned by Fairfax Media, which also publishes this website.