Macquarie Sports Radio

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And it could be argued SEN is more about being most things to most people in Melbourne and the only way you’d get a similar output at MSR would be cut off the Melbourne station so you centre MSR on NRL (which would be awesome, even for a Melbourne Storm fan tuning in by streaming or app). In other words MSR lack the programming “scope” that is the discipline of SEN programming.

But there’s also another programming fundamental that Talking Lifestyle also lacked as well as MSR and that’s what I call “managing the 15 minute interval”. All work has its compliance requirements. In commercial radio, that seems to be a key requirement. What that means is ensuring your listener remains engaged (to develop time spent listening) and develop a trust in what they can expect to tune into at any given time (to develop relationship and listening habit).

Could be, for example. Talking Lifestyle outside of breakfast should have played four songs per hour. I found David Prior’s overnight show on TL to be a template for how they should have managed the station all day outside of breakfast. Instead thy ran it like a community radio grid (the gardening hour, the stain-removal half hour and the a whole hour on finance and money markets and freakin’ property values…geeez)

Now as MSR a they’ll provide some goof recaps of NRL then 10 minutes in they’ll suddenly say" now turning our attention to the AFL" or “amazing what happened in the hockey overnight” when they could have been discussing something that ought to attract feedback from listeners.


MSR is heading for a awkward time between the football grandfinals and the start of international cricket. Not sure what they will fill their programs with. Hard to comment on the Spring racing carnival when that is really Sky Sports Radio and RSN927’s to own in October and November. English Premier League and A League discussion can only go so far. There really has to be an argument for MSR to start to implement music to its content throughout the late spring/ summer months combined with the cricket broadcasts.


Why don’t MML bring back independent brands and do what 2GB does.

Refer to it as, “On 2UE, 4BH and Magic, it’s now time for …”

And yes, that would easily allow for room to move with a music, light talk & wherever else sport format.


I think pretty much everything on MSR has been an “awkward time” so far :slight_smile:


I’d suggest that’s where an overarching brand comes in handy. For example, my suggestion of “Good Times Oldies”. So assuming a music format at least has local breakfast programs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the rest of day the announcers would simply identify the station as “Good Time Oldies” and the ad breaks would carry the local station name. This is what regional radio has done for years.

I suggest using the word “oldies” because it’s a word no FM station (not even Gold 104 - which did once refer to itself as the oldies station) would use these days. Compare this with Magic 1278’s “songs you know and love” - try taking a word out of that statement that actually differentiates.

If it changes format once more (probably to music and specifically oldies) I think its possible to carry cricket in the summer and footy in the winter. But a format requires clarity - try keeping on all sorts of live sport and the format focus won’t be there. You can never be all things to all people, but if a sufficiently diversified program mix is required to both pull in listeners and make money then that’s the balance you have to strike


Plus the other thing I’ve worked out is that, unfortunately for Brisbane, a switch to oldies would simply place a restored 4BH directly against 4KQ. Not unlike how MSR in Melbourne now goes directly against SEN.

You would think that before either Talking Lifestyle or Macqaurie Sports Radio were conceived, MML would have searched out the history of networking commercial stations as overtly as Triple M briefly tried in 1995 and the CBC network of 2UE and 3AK tried in 1986.

In 2018, there’s heaps of networking. For example, even with a slight change of format, Sydney’s 2Day still networks with the HIT network from 3pm til 6am weekdays. It’s not controversial as it once may have been, but neither does it always pay off (again refer to 2Day FM :slight_smile:

While it might seem a Smooth FM format would fit 882 AM in Brisbane, I suspect the old 4BH now has the least control of its one destiny out of any commercial station in a capital city (with 4BC running a close second). Wherever Sydney 954 and Melbourne’s 1278 go, that’s where Brisbane’s 882 now goes


You are completely right about 4BH. There is no point in launching a classic hits/oldies station on 882 because then you’re directly competing with 4KQ and you’ll lose. That’s actually what happened when 4BH became Magic and adopted the Magic Melbourne playlist - they lost their point of difference with 4KQ.

The only way 4BH could be revived is with a contemporary easy listening format like Smooth. Which is what they had pre-Magic.

They just will never succeed by being a 4KQ clone.


4BH could go the way of 2CH that seems to be dominated by music from the 50s. 60s and 70s (and targeting those ages as well).

If it was a Smooth clone it would be up against Smooth Brisbane on DAB but with significantly more advertising; not sure that would work.

I think there would have to be some point of difference to Smooth especially if as a music station they would want to encourage DAB listening. Perhaps they could take some elements from WAVE FM (KTWV) in LA and include some “smooth jazz” and R&B tracks.


The old 2ue had more listeners, Actually even lifestyle had a better listener base than Macquarie Sports…


Just how low 2UE’s ratings now are (as MSR) causes me to believe if a format change occurs, it will be because MSR is taken off altogether.

So an oldies format in Melbourne (1278) would also result in an oldies format in Sydney (954). What that would mean for Brisbane (882) is problematic, so maybe Macquarie has to do a strategic alliance with 2CH Sydney or Smooth FM just for that station.

The same would be the case if MSR in Melbourne got axed but MSR Syd and Bris (one more NRL-centric than now) got maintained. Macquarie could perhaps seek out either 2CH or Capital Radio (2CA) for a strategic alliance just for that station.

As I see it, the opportunity for sports-talk is limited to Sydney and Brisbane at best (and involving Melbourne dilutes how you’d optimally program MSR). Why? SEN, simple.

While the opportunity to program live sport is (a) potentially limited by sports-talk - sport can and has been included in all kinds of talk and music formats before and (b) adversely affected by Macquarie’s thinking that second network shall only get the scraps of live sports and have no material impact on the footy at 3AW or 2GB. That deprives the second network of even a game or two of regular seasons, while also forcing potential lifestyle or current affairs listeners to choose either between footy on 3AW/2GB, two blokes merely talking about the footy (with some hockey and soccer talk thrown in) on MSR or to read a book or watch Netflix (because there’s nothing on the radio)


I’ve said it before, but it seems pretty obvious what the company should do with the current Macquarie Sports Radio stations.

*Sell 954AM Sydney off to Pacific Star, Crocmedia or whoever owns SEN in Melbourne these days.
*Sell 1278AM Melbourne off to the consortium that owns 2CH Sydney.
*Sell 882AM Brisbane off to either the owners of SEN or 2CH.
*Focus solely on the output of 2GB, 3AW, 4BC & 6PR.

Probably won’t happen though!


One problem though for 882 (4BH) if it’s to be sold to the company that owns 2CH, EON Broadcasting. EON owns two Sunshine Coast radio stations and has a 30%+ overlap between Brisbane & Sunshine Coast (Nambour) licence areas. That’s why SCA had to sell off Sea & Mix, and why DMG had to sell off 4BH when it acquired Hot 91, which in turn they had to sell it off when they bought the Nova licence.


The point of difference would be they are on AM and DAB, rather than digital only so people would be more likely to know they exist. They’d also presumably have at least a local live breakfast show.

I do agree about including elements of The Wave Los Angeles - love that station.


This is the exact problem. No station has pulled their finger out on marketing digital for their station as an improvement to AM. They should and they’re missing the opportunity.

KQ misses this opportunity year after year. Yes, they’re doing well, but they could be doing so much better with marketing digital.

Now that cheap radios are available for retail at $20 or so, a station could buy a large quantity of a receiver and sell for a nominal cost, say $5 or $10.

Add an edge to and divert a portion to a cause of the moment, drought would resonate well.

Sadly, there’s no vision for this.

And there’s the in for SEN, however, their Melbourne/AFL programming would not rate any better than MSR in Brisbane.

As @TV-Expert has written, the Brisbane/Nambour overlap doesn’t allow EON to buy BH without divesting a Sunshine Coast station, both of which perform the best out of the portfolio.

The revolving ownership of BH since ARN’s days are some of the reason (far from all) that BH has suffered from a lack of consistency.

Concentrate on the pre Magic, Smooth style, out - Smooth Smooth in Brisbane and you have a winner. Broader demo, broader format to reflect the smaller number of choices.

Do the surveys continue to show KQ is still skewing to males? Natural then that BH needs to skew to females without alienating lots of the potential male audience.

Agree, it will attract the dial twiddlers. Local bfast show from 5am is essential. BH’s best figures were often dayshifts, tapering off at drive. Either workday audience or retired switching off to make an early dinner, so I would pursue drive to better retain audience.

Consider the cost of three announcers on five hour shifts, you’ve now covered 15 hours of the day for minimal cost, the numbers do work. Even five announcers for 20 hours of the day would not be a huge drain on costs.


However, once AM listeners move to DAB they also have the ability to listen to every other DAB station, giving them around 3 times as many stations to choose from. As most of these play music was relatively few interruptions, they’ll probably appeal more to those listeners who care about the music enough to want better quality audio. This would be one of the main reasons why the commercial stations aren’t doing much to encourage their listeners to move from AM/FM to DAB+


IF they believed in their main product, they wouldn’t be concerned of the pared back effort for what are mostly music streams, some with commercials. There’s not much investment in digital stations to rival AM/FM choices.


Reading through the posts of the last couple of months (or even years) in this thread, it seems there is one big problem for MRN here. The problem is that there is no untaken format that works well on AM in all of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which makes it very difficult to create a network between 954, 1278 and 882.

All the points individually made here are very correct. An older-skewing Smooth-style station would work great in Brisbane, but is already taken in Sydney and Melbourne by 2CH/Smooth. An older ‘classic hits’ type format somewhere between the old Magic and Gold 104 would probably work in Melbourne, but Brisbane already has 4KQ playing in this space. And an alternative talk station a bit different to 2GB or ABC might work in Sydney, but neither Melbourne nor Brisbane has any appetite for more talk.

The one thing I think we can all agree is that there’s no need for sport 24-7, except for in Melbourne where SEN already has that covered. But the solutions have to be individualised for each market. Unfortunately it appears that the management at MRN are dead against anything of that sort as it costs money. There are however gaps in each market that a station could fill, it just requires a bit of careful analysis and planning, and the ability to tailor your product to meet the local needs


The value of the MSR frequencies as a competition blocker/tax write off shouldn’t be underestimated.

On that note, perhaps the 2UE of the 60s could reemerge on 954 kHz; an all classic aircheck station should be cheaper to run than the current sports assay.


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