More Big Names for Radio 2 | radioinfo

More Big Names for Radio 2

Thursday 21 April, 2005
WorldAudio chief, Andrew Thompson

WorldAudio has made two more key signings for its national launch mid next month.

Joining Radio 2 breakfast co-hosts, Mikey Robins and Ian Rogerson, will be veteran tv newsreader, Ross Symonds and former Triple M drive presenter, Nick Bennett.

Symonds will present a weekend business show, while Bennett will front the weekday drive program on Radio 2.

Robins and Rogerson are both veterans of Triple M and Triple J, with Robins well known to viewers of 'Good News Week' and 'The Fat'.

The network is also promoting national and international news from next month, plus a daily sports' round up.

Ian Rogerson has told Sheena MacLean in The Australian that the attraction for him and Robins was to broadcast on a national platform and to be at the forefront of change.

"The beauty of digital delivery is, suddenly you are able to broadcast to a much wider area than you ever were."

Robins says: "We are going to do a show that we'd like to listen to. The whole nature now of the digital global entertainment structure is that if you do a show that people want to listen to, they'll come to you... I intend to have a cult following in New Delhi by the end of the year.

"The great thing about being on the ground level with a project like this is that the show will grow and evolve as the network does."

WorldAudio has created a national radio network, buying cheaper narrowcast licences outside of the official broadcasting services band. It can be heard on 1611, 1620 and 1629 at the top of the AM radio dials.

The AM network has spent up to $25 million in three years, buying the licences and infrastructure to operate its digital network at a fraction of the cost for other networks.

The Radio 2 announcements come as submissions to the Federal Government close on the development of policy and regulatory framework for the introduction of digital radio.

Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, is expected to decide how the Government will regulate the transition to digital radio within months, perhaps by mid year.

Commercial Radio Australia is strongly opposed to WorldAudio's digital broadcast plan, while Senator Coonan has indicated only incumbent commercial radio broadcasters will receive digital licences.

WorldAudio Chief Executive, Andrew Thompson, says the company is an incumbent player and should be awarded a licence.

"We have 50 transmission sites around the country and can be picked up by 93% of all radio receivers.

"WorldAudio was the first commercial radio network in Australia to broadcast free to air terrestrial digital radio and is continuing its digital trials in Melbourne."

Early last month, WorldAudio announced its half yearly figures to the Stock Exchange, recording a disappointing 10.8% decline in revenue in the reporting period.

While shareholders would naturally expect negative profit during the company’s expansionary period, most shareholders would by now be looking for at least some positive signs in revenue growth, not a backward trend.

Revenue to December was $261 000, compared with $293 000 in the previous 12 months period.

In the directors' report, Chairman, Peter Solomon, explained the revenue decline, saying sales' staff numbers had fallen from seven to two during the reporting period. WorldAudio recently beefed up its sales' and marketing team again with the appointment of Steve Hinch and Graham Prentice in executive positions and a number of other new staff members.

The company recorded a $2.69 million overall loss. Big ticket expense items were: staff costs of $859 000, plus additional expenses associated with the company’s expansion of sites including rent costing $360 000; site fees of $179 000 and depreciation of $399 000.

Solomon says the company has seen 'major progress' in the past six months, with the expansion of its transmission sites and its rebroadcast agreements with satellite broadcasters and on the digital radio test site in Melbourne.

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