Macquarie merger spells bad news for some regional radio stations | radioinfo

Macquarie merger spells bad news for some regional radio stations

Monday 18 July, 2016
2UE's new studios in Pyrmont

One of the first cost efficiencies, following the long anticipated merger between Fairfax and Macquarie, was put into effect in the newsrooms of 2GB and 2UE in Sydney.

Keen listeners would have noticed that suddenly the voices of once rival 2GB personalities, including Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, would now be regularly heard in 2UE news bulletins - an efficient way of sharing high value content such as interviews between sister stations, even though they’re in the same market.

But just over a year down the track an unintended consequence of the merger has become apparent in regional markets that take the networked version of Macquarie Media’s National News. It has emerged that in some cases when an MML personality such as 3AW’s Neil Mitchell is heard in the news on one station, he is unwittingly plugging his daily morning program broadcast on an opposition station in the same market.

A number of regional station managers made statements to radioinfo under the condition of anonymity.

One told us, “We are not happy with the fact that Macquarie National News is now seen as a vehicle for promotion of 2GB’s Alan Jones and Ray Hadley within bulletins  (‘Speaking to Ray Hadley the Minister said…’). This is particularly galling to stations like ours that take the news service but do not take the syndicated Jones and Hadley shows.”

Another said, “We have rid ourselves of syndicated shock jocks … John Laws, Ray Hadley, Alan Jones. We now produce our own local talk program each morning.”

MML Chief Operating Officer, Adam Lang was unaware of the issue when contacted by radioinfo. He told us, “I’m interested in any feedback, because I’ve not received any… certainly no adverse feedback.”

Mr Lang was also under the impression that no announcers were named in the bulletins. “It’s always referred to as ‘someone told Macquarie Media…’ We don’t promote the announcers per se,” he said.

Nonetheless, whether it’s just the easily identifiable voice of a well known talk presenter or the news reader’s introduction “Speaking to Ray Hadley the Minister said…” stations caught up in this situation insist that these news clips are promoting the opposition’s talent. 

Mr Lang reiterated that he is happy to receive feedback on this issue, “We value that (feedback). Honestly, we want to have the best radio news team in the country. That’s our aspiration every day.”

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