I imagine there’s a big sponsorship deal attached to the program and it’s in a time slot that doesn’t rate. That’s why.
Yeah I’m not sure the old Sydney/Melbourne axis is quite what it used to be to be honest. Most economists for example say Australia is now increasingly dominated by the 4 largest cities and not just the 2 largest anymore. Adelaide is dropping in influence but Perth and Brisbane (in particular the SEQ region which is now home to 3M+) are increasing as a % of population. Anyway I really don’t think they can claim any sort of national success unless they have success in at least the big 4 cities. Maybe in the 80s they could have gotten away with it.
I take your point… but Seven still claims to be Australia’s number news without winning Sydney or Melbourne and only recently having some success in Brisbane.
I know how and why they make the claim and it is true in terms of numbers but it’s a bit of a cheek none the less, particularly when they air the promo line in the 2 markers they lose.
If Seven can do it… so can Macquarie by going the opposite way, particularly since there’s no commercial news talk rival.
In The Australian media commentator Steve Allen is quoted as saying that he thinks the FIVEaa-Nine News deal is a forerunner of what will happen after the Nine-Fairfax merger is completed. He said: “I think it’s logical that Macquarie Sports Radio uses content from Nine to broaden into a news and sports network.”
The other point mentioned in The Australian media section is that Nine has nearly five times the staff of Macquarie and much more content to leverage with those additional resources.
So yeah, maybe you could have a format along the theme of ‘Nine News Radio’ incorporating sport. The ABC already has News Radio and that has no material impact on ABC Local radio ratings.
But that could mean a third new trial format in just three years. Give it another year of trial formats and listeners may just lose all memory of or care for these abandoned AM frequencies.
I’m all for Nine news bulletins and live sport (in particular, it’s a good move to take the cricket commitment off 3AW as covering cricket compromises regular programs more than AFL footy commitments do).
I also don’t mind Nine content filling airtime in other ways yet to be conceived. However, if you want a station people are going to spend time with, that isn’t broad-topic talkback radio, surely it’s easier to glue together Nine-driven content with a music format.
Surely any broadening of the format also reflects on the stupidness of axing Talking Lifestyle instead of morphing it into something else. Macquarie seem to be on a Mission Impossible by imposing three criteria that set the bar too high for success:
- The station must not have any impact on the ratings of 3AW and 2GB whatsoever (note how they never agonised over this criterion when the second station was a music station)
- The station must be national…like totally national. Even when they open up a local window the announcer will say something like…“and now we take our Melbourne and Perth listeners off to do this while our Sydney and Brisbane listeners do that”. The station never lets itself be in one place. Much as networking is much more the norm these days than in the past, this network has limited its tactical toolbox to the extent it can’t compete (so that being a complementary station to 3AW and 2GB becomes a problem and a drag, not a solution)
- Because it can’t be local, the name must be a corporate identity, not a call-sign (even though call-sign branding obviously still works for 3AW/2GB/4BC/6PR). Naming 3EE/2UE/4BH ‘Macquarie Sports Radio’ makes only as much sense as scrapping heritage altogether and renaming 3AW ‘Macquarie Talk Radio 693’ (or MTR for short!!!)
So what’s the excuse for ratings at 3EE halved to a record-low 0.2% with the highest-rating shift halved you 0.5% share? Can we at least rely on the excuse that the footy season is over? The problem with that explanation is that you’d expect SEN to also fall, which it did not.
This station simply has no listener base in Melbourne. That’s because the station doesn’t fill a need not already catered for.
Little wonder then they cross promote the ‘Summer of cricket’ on 3AW with such regularity it’s as if they are ordering their listeners to tune in. They really do have the listener relationship the wrong way around. After one short-term hypothesis tested after another, the cricket has become either the latest hope at best or the last hope at worst. You don’t need to guess which is the more likely.
This comes on the 30th anniversary of one of Melbourne Radio’s rare examples of radical listener movement. It was the Summer of 1988/89 when a relatively unknown brand 3TT (replacing 3DB) was attempting to provide fresh competition to Fox, Triple M (which also turns 30 this month in Melbourne after replacing EON FM). Their “classic hits of summer” campaign almost doubled ratings (from 4.9% pre-summer to 8.6% post-summer) with a formula of music then targeting over-25 “baby boomers” and older Gen-X. In B&T magazine, 3TT took out a full-page ad for industry boasting that “3TT HITS 13.4” (of 25-39). It was understood that in the last year of pre-FM conversion (of 3TT and 3KZ), TT had the highest number of FOX and MMM listeners sampling an AM station. Not bad for a bold move to replace the ageing 3DB, with its old ways and tradition, with a total facelift (in the same year, 3XY also boldly attempted a format change and it’s fortunes went the other way - and that happens to be the same AM licence now occupied by the failing 3EE).
Fast forward 30 years and almost the same range of 60s to 80s classic hits has 4KQ still capturing about the same audience, now Over 55 instead of Over 25. Today’s figures have 4KQ on top of all talk stations (ABC or 4BC), while 4BH rots away on a 0.4% share (sorry but that’s just shameful)
The point is that NOW, right now, is the time to change format back to music if you’re going to do it. I’m sure it will actually increase the chances of the cricket rating.
There’s no angry internet trolling going on when I appear with these ratings observations. What I do is provide a prognosis that’s all to easy to provide. This format was a mistake and given the change of ownership with Nine coming in, it was also a rush judgment to axe Talking Lifestyle and put so many talented presenters out of work (which is exactly what they will soon have to do yet again as cures are put in place where prevention and caution would have been better)
One final observation I make relates to a short trip I took to Coffs Harbour last week. I couldn’t help noticing how ironic it is that Melbourne has one commercial talkback offering in the morning (3AW’s Neil Mitchell) while Coffs, with an urban population of 70,000) has two (John Laws on 2HC and Ray Hadley on Triple M - a station that then also features two other talkback shows at night).
Consequently, the sky doesn’t fall in over Coffs and neither would a more competitive 1278AM in Melbourne if the format flipped to music with a dose of morning personality (definition: popular person who talks on the radio about stuff going on).
The material impact on 3AW’s ratings might well be that 3AW rates number one with a 13 share instead of a 14 share (definition: the sky doesn’t fall in on Macquarie). But if that happens, it might also be the same reason Gold rates an 8 and not a 9 or Smooth rates a 10 instead of a 9.
“Nipping at the heels” of the big stations is about the most realistic KPI that 1278 (as Magic) could achieve anyhow. If that wasn’t profitable, perhaps that KPI needs to be reviewed now that station has the resources backing of Nine.
I also noticed that 2HC opened up limited local windows exclusively for Coffs Harbour (which not even Macquarie Sports Radio does for any one location). The afternoon presenter Denise Anderson played music skewed just a little older than Triple M (but with more variety in tempo than easy listening would offer) while also overlaying the Sydney-syndicated breakfast show from 2SM with local news reads.
Supernetwork radio doesn’t have the greatest reputation but they can at least be credited with giving their more populated centres (like 2HC Coffs, Radio 97 Tweed/Gold Coast, and 2HD Newcastle) some exclusive local windows of programming).
I would suggest moving back to music would justify the economics of re opening local windows just for Brisbane, Sydney or or Melbourne at Macquarie’s second network
Macquarie Radio management is totally deluded.
One can only hope its new partner / owner NEG puts in some people that know how radio works!
I completely agree. Now is the time to change MSR Brisbane and Melbourne back to music - albeit with a different focus for each. Easy listening for Brisbane, Classic Hits for Melbourne. Not sure about Sydney, perhaps resurrect a couple of the TL shows and become a hybrid music/entertainment station called, I dunno, 2UE.
Because they have to. 2HC have the bear minimum amount of local content legally permitted, off something around 3 staff, and management from another market. They’re really not trying at all in Coffs.
Super Radio Network
Same story in Port Macquarie - only 3 staff there.
Radio Live (Talk) in NZ is going to merge with Magic radio to become Magic Talk. It will be a hybrid of some talk and music shifts.
Hello! Macquarie Radio, here’s an idea that might lift you off ** ratings!
Anything has to be better than what they are doing now.
Its telling that even SKY Sports Radio in Sydney is outrating them.
Shame that RSN and 4TAB aren’t in the Melb / Bris ratings, that would have been interesting,
Kinda spin they spewed out when it was Talking Lifestyle talking about it…lol
Yes, would be interesting to know what those legalities are and how they differ between markets. 2GF Grafton, a nearby signal that can be heard on 1206 AM in Coffs Harbour, takes the 2SM feed early afternoon while 2HC is local program. Perhaps the minimum local requirements apply differently between markets?
2GF has a local breakfast shift, while 2HC only has a local afternoon shift. The latter takes the full Grant Goldman show (5-9am) from 2SM
Same with 2EL. They’re only “local” 12-3pm weekdays.
Thank you for going to such effort with the table.
As they’re a niche format, the recall required for ticks in diaries of broad based research isn’t there. Specific research among their audience is more useful.
You could probably also make the same niche argument about MSR.