According to the 2021 Census, the population of the Macarthur region is around 350k, which is bigger than the Illawarra with around 315k (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama LGAs), and about the same size as the Central Coast, where it has 3 commercial radio stations in the case of the latter, in which the 3rd (Star 104.5) went to air in March 2004.
Whilst on that, at the time when it was issued a 3rd commercial licence, the population of the Central Coast in the 2001 Census was around 285k. The story of the region getting a new commercial station was quite complex.
Here are some media releases from the old ABA via archive dot org:
I do seem to remember a time back in 2006 when SEN Melbourne took the 2GB Continuous Call Team on a Sunday afternoon. It was strange hearing Ray Hadley calling NRL whilst I was on a team heading into the Melbourne CBD one Sunday afternoon. I must have been the only one in Melbourne listening, lol.
An interesting upload from Frankster on among this week’s first uploads for the new year.
This particular one is that of Bay FM Geelong from June 1998 (which was verified by listening to the aircheck). At that time, the station positioned themselves as a “Classic Hits” station, providing the city & its surrounding region a local version of what Gold 104.3 was providing at that time. With sister station K-Rock being pretty much a rock station back then, the two Geelong stations provided a decent alternative to the Melbourne stations, unlike what it has become today, with localism being their only strengths.
By comparison, Bay’s then-sister station in Wollongong, Wave FM, positioned themselves as “The Best Songs Of All Time” at around that same time, in which they played 60s-80s as well as newer AC music thrown in.
At some point in the late 1990s/turn of the millennium Bay FM conducted a two-week long ‘Great Radio Experiment’ where they trialled a bunch of different formats for a day over that period. That preceded a format change to their later format of slightly easier music from all eras - from memory the tagline was ‘More Music and More Variety’.
I believe they implemented this change prior to TTFM becoming Mix 101.1 (which as the latter had a similar format to the ‘new’ Bay FM), as I can’t imagine why they’d opt to shift to a format so similar to one a Melbourne competitor had just adopted.
What programming did Talking Lifestyle actually have? I remember when it had that slogan but I have little recall of what programming it had? ISTR Annette Allison and (maybe) Robert Hicks in the mornings? And they did have Bruce Mansfield while he was serving his “punishment” from 3AW’s cash for comment, until 3AW forgave him.
I listened often to Talk 1116 though I am surprised it even got as “high” as 2.6! As much as I often tuned in, it was frustrating even as a listener as they’d keep chop and changing presenters constantly. It certainly seemed to be a bit of a circus behind the scenes.
I wouldn’t quite draw the same parallel between Talk 1116 and MTR. 1116 was fairly MOR, sort of somewhere between 3AW and 774 and, apart from Derryn, not all that aggressive. Even Jeff Kennett was fairly lightweight talk.
Maybe that was its problem. It wasn’t tough enough for the masses to tune in? But I preferred it to AW.
Whereas MTR was purely made in the 2GB formula with Steve Price, Alan Jones, and Bolt, etc. It was meant to give the RWNJs a safe space, though I don’t think even they bothered to tune in.
I didn’t really listen much to Talking Lifestyle, but whenever I came across it, I always seemed to get travel shows. And that sat with my preconception of a “Lifestyle” format. Almost the soft talk I expect on a weekend talk station (outside of footy).
In terms of 1116 ratings, have the peak at 3.4 for Survey 1 in 2002 (S#1: 3.4 S#2: 2.9, S#3: 3.2, S#4: 2.6). I could have transcribed incorrectly at the time though. The ratings really dropped off in 2003 (dropping as low as 0.7 in Surveys 6 and 7) - which I suspect is the flow through impact of the chopping and changing. There is a certain point, when listeners will say enough is enough.
Understand your point about Talk 1116 being MOR and MTR1377 being more right wing. I more looked it as to whether Melbourne had the capacity for three viable talk stations, rather than where on the political spectrum the stations targeted.
Your approach is an equally valid way of assessing it. BTW, the highest rating I have for MTR was 2.2 in Survey 4 of 2011 with an average of 1.7 during its brief time on air. From a ratings viewpoint MOR wins over right wing shock jocks. I was probably listening to the Fox at the time…
Apparently a number of on-air personnel, including Hinch, were dismissed at the end of 2002. And Hinch had been sacked from the station already once before then! So I think you’re right, what few listeners were there were getting weary of so many changes.
I think Talking Lifestyle might have worked, but the execution was very poor, and focus seemed primarily on how they’d wedge in the sponsored segments rather than making good radio.
Basically, it should have been original Smooth style light music, with soft talk. Sure every ad would be for funeral homes and pre-purchased caskets, but that’s I think where the market for that station is - retirees trying to work out what to do each day.
MSR just had the problem that sport was too core of an element of the 3AW/2GB formula. If you shifted all sport outside the news to MSR, then they’d probably be on air still, just it’d have taken a huge amount of the share from cannibalising their own listeners.
Comparing the ratings between the pair (based on number surveys since establishment), they were not actually as different as expected. The collapse of Talk1116 ratings in 2003 is well pretty dire and obvious and ties in to the December 2002 sackings.