Macquarie Sports Radio axes talkback and reviews all programs | radioinfo

Macquarie Sports Radio axes talkback and reviews all programs

Tuesday 29 October, 2019
Kevin Bartlett who was announced as a signing just this week

The Daily Telegraph is reporting (subscription required) that Macquarie Sports Radio is pulling the plug.
The Telegraph says poor ratings at the stations, which broadcast in Sydney on 954AM, Melbourne’s 1278AM and Brisbane’s 882AM, are being blamed for the closure, with the stations expected to finish broadcasting as early as Friday, leaving dozens out of work.
On air for just on 18 months, Macquarie Sports Radio has broadcast a range of sports as it has struggled to gain an audience, and has engaged a string of high profile presenters, including Roy & HG, Mark Levy, Mark Riddell, Jimmy Bartel, Ian Chappell and announcing just yesterday that Kevin Bartlett would be joining the station.

Responding to the story, the Chairman of Macquarie Media, Russell Tate, says the stations will continue to broadcast live sports, including all scheduled Test Match, BBL, One-Day Internationals, but that the live talkback programs will come to an end this week, and programs will be reviewed over the summer months.

Russell Tate's statement

Macquarie Media Limited today announced that development of its Macquarie Sports Radio stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will be paused and reviewed over the summer months and that the current schedule of sport talk programs will cease as of 11pm, Friday 1 November.


Over the coming months, Macquarie Sports Radio will continue live sport broadcasts including all scheduled Test Match, BBL, One-Day Internationals & International T20 Cricket matches as well as its English Premier League coverage.


The stations will draw an increased amount of content from local and international partners, including Macquarie Media’s News Talk stations and Nine, and will continue to access Macquarie National News services for constantly updated sporting news.



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29 October 2019 - 3:06pm
So.. back to music for 4BH 882 in Brisbane and Magic 693 in Melbourne.. and perhaps back to Talking Lifestyle for 2UE?
I worked for 4BH in Ipswich in the 90s and noughties, when it was recovering from a brief flirtation with talk, and it climbed the ratings with the right mix of music and hosts. Music could lift it again, I reckon.
Anthony The Koala
30 October 2019 - 12:20am
Management live or die by the decisions they make. Unfortunately a labour-intensive format such as sports talk did not work. When MSR's ratings was rating below 1.1% in the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne markets, I said that give it time after at most two ratings surveys. The ratings did not budge up even when it was cross promoted by its higher rating "sibling" stations. At the beginning of the year I said that with low ratings it is no way that MSR would sustain itself.

One cannot make the assumption that because we are a sporting nation that somehow we'll listen in droves to a sporting station. That is in the same way that because we are a gambling nation that we'll flock in droves to listen to racing radio such as 2KY. Neither sporting or racing attracted listeners.

Radical changes to a radio format is may be successful or unsuccessful.

When radio stations in the 1960s dropped all remnants of its radio dramas and quiz shows for "Top 40" and talks to great success; 2UE, 2SM 'Good Guys' and 2UW.

When 2GB in the mid 1970s gave up 'talking' for a 'mellow-rock' format, its ratings tumbled until resuming 'news talk'. 2GB's ratings during the the 1990s is another discussion as I mentioned in my review of the book "On Air" by Mike Carlton on this site.

John Laws OBE, CBE in his 2017 book "Lawsie, wanted to know", ISBN 9781742579870, page 222, last paragraph, summed 2UE 'unfavourably' when it was a "Talking Lifestyle" station in three words. I won't replicate them here. Nevertheless those three words may well apply today.

The people who suffer for management's decisions are the workers at MSR for a format that the market could not support.

Yet with Australia's population growing the potential for a larger radio audience is there, notwithstanding competing audio sources such as audio-on-demand whether Spotify, podcasts or music.

What is the fate of 4BH, 2UE, 3EE (formerly 3XY) after the gradual winding down of the sport talkback. Something has to fill the void apart from the purported continuation of live sporting matches. Four possible scenarios: (i) continue as a sport talk format, (ii) run as a complementary news-talk format, (iii) music format - AM music can rate BUT please no hackneyed "classic hits"/"golden oldies"/"hits and memories". In recent weeks the DAB+ band has increased the number of these formats with further offerings from 2DAY-old, 2Day-easy (Austereo), Smooth,Relax,Coles (DMG), 2WS-80s, KIIS-90s (ARN). That is apart from 2CH and BOG's offering of Zoo and Fun.

For the fourth scenario, would be to divest 4BH, 2UE and 3EE (formerly 3XY) to other interests who can see value in the frequency.

Thank you,
Anthony of Belfield which is exciting to be in.
30 October 2019 - 9:53am
Newstalk that's as deeply left-wing as 2GB is right-wing?
hey ... just a thought.
30 October 2019 - 11:28am
Having lost count of the number of times ownership has changed at 4BH, my bet is on MM divesting that station and possibly the other two; the cash injection would be more welcome than continued high costs and low ratings.
30 October 2019 - 9:55pm
As Melbourne already has two sports radio stations RSN 927 and SEN 1116 but SEN is a little confusing as they have former music station 3MP 1377 and 2 other DAB+ stations broadcasting the same content.
At the moment, Melbourne doesn't have a am music station any more.
As most stations are playing the same music content on FM and dab+, I would to suggest that Macquarie could bring back Magic 1278 as it was and on the Digital format why not try a beautiful music format simular to the old 3AK days of the 80s with a instrumental format including a beautiful music vocal format as well and the ratings will sky rocket for both the am format and the DAB+ format.
Remember when Channel 9 last had a radio station, it was 3AK beautiful music and that format made it to No.
Macquarie media and Nine entertainment, please consider.
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