Not 2UE's finest hour | radioinfo

Not 2UE's finest hour

Thursday 06 February, 2020

2UE dropped its Macquarie Sports Radio format at the beginning of this week and is transitioning to a new music format through a 'soft launch,' as explained to radioinfo a couple of weeks ago.

radioinfo readers who have been listening to the station report that this first week has not been smooth. As the station dropped its live announcers and switched to automation it has been beset with technical glitches.

No one expects that this will be the final format for the station, which is likely to evolve over the next 12 months as its sport rights agreements expire, but listeners who want the iconic brand back would have been disappointed this week to hear a mish mash of music from a range of eras that do not position the station well against its main AM music rival 2CH. One of our readers, experienced in music programming, says it sounds like the automation system has been loaded with a few compilation CDs and set to random play.

Then there are the automation system failures. It is not known whether these are the result of human error or playout malfunction.

In 2UE's 1100 hour today, there was a long gap of silence at about 1120, followed by a song that was force faded less then a minute into it.

Following the fade, a range of stings and jingles played, including the traffic bed, Nine news theme and some advertisements. All were force faded and eventually went into a song from Queen, which was played in its entirety.

The song was Queen's Radio Ga Ga, a tribute to the influence of professional music radio. Ironically, it was not 2UE's finest hour.

...Everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio

You gave them all those old time stars
Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars
You made 'em laugh, you made 'em cry
You made us feel like we could fly (radio)

So don't become some background noise
A backdrop for the girls and boys
Who just don't know or just don't care
And just complain when you're not there

You had your time, you had the power
You've yet to have your finest hour
Radio (radio)...

All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio goo goo
Radio ga ga
All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio goo goo
Radio ga ga
All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio blah blah
Radio, what's new?
Someone still loves you


At other times during the day, when we monitored the station, we heard bad timeouts to the news bulletins and early forced fades of music that was presumably being timed out to a next event.

As 2UE evolves, we are sure it will some time soon have its finest hour again. But that was not today.


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Tim Williams
7 February 2020 - 10:12am
Listening regularly during their first week back as 2UE 954, there are several comments I would make.

Firstly, the format they seem to be adopting is one known in the United States as "Adult Hits". Stations with an "Adult Hits" format (which has been described recently on an industry news item on radioinfo as "the new hot format") often use a positioning statement of "we play everything"), so the statement that "their automation system has been loaded with a few compilation CD's and set to random play" fails to understand that format.

The other statement, that the format does not position 2UE well against its main AM opposition station 2CH, presumes that that would be who they are attempting to position themselves against. In this day and age, where so much listening is not by conventional radio but rather by streaming, listening choices are not necessarily determined by whether a station is on AM or FM. If 2UE can attract enough listeners from each of WSFM, Smooth, Triple M and 2CH, they could have a very worthwhile audience.

In relation to them seeing out their commitments as Macquarie Sports Radio, would it not be a better idea to simply terminate those agreements and launch properly as a dedicated music station? The cut across to various sports coverages over the past week has been extremely annoying.

Now, the automation problems. I could name community radio stations where automation is being handled on a much more professional basis than the current 2UE system. The time-outs to news would be much better handled by taking their bulletins on FTP rather than live exactly on the hour. People listening would, I believe, much prefer to hear their song completed and the news bulletin be 15/30 seconds late (or early) than what is happening at present.

I mentioned earlier the "Adult Hits" format. Many stations in the U.S. with this format have either no announcers (relying totally on branding pointers and positioning statements) or perhaps an announcer at Breakfast, and less frequently on Drive. The cost savings would be an obvious attraction to 2UE, but they would perhaps need to highlight song titles/artists on their website to compensate.

Clunky so far, yes. But the format of "we play everything" could be an attraction in the Sydney market if they ditch any remnant of the "Macquarie Sports Radio" branding.

And ditto with 4BH in Brisbane. A real heritage call sign in Melbourne would be nice though.
Anthony The Koala
7 February 2020 - 8:36pm
Two points, one on song title/artist and the other is audience metrics.

First, in another posting, I raised the issue of lack of song title/artist on the scrolling DAB text display. It appears that as of 07-02-2020, the song title/artist information is on display.

Second, while DAB+ like AM and FM a one-way communication, it may well be be difficult to implement an instantaneous feedback on the song information.

However, may I suggest that with IP streaming apps, it would not be difficult to provide feedback to the streaming provider such as 2UE in regards the information on the song title/artist, the time, date and location of the listener. You may include other demographic information such as age group and gender.

During the song, a simple like/"thumbs up" dislike/"thumbs down" could be displayed on the user's app interface such as a mobile phone. For example, "Ace of Base's" The Sign may be played in the morning, afternoon and evening. A user may well like the song in the evening, but not in the afternoon or morning. Another user may not like the song at all.

The information collected by the IP stream provider such as 2UE could be analysed along with the metrics of the previous and next song.

In addition, the 'key' signature and 'rhythm' of a particular song can be computed with software. Despite music coming from a particular decade, the theme and variations may vary significantly. Through research using the existing data, the playlist may well be more harmonious rather than a clash of juxtaposed songs. Muzak may well have had a 'manual' system of 'key signature' and 'rhythm'.

But it does not have to apply to 'elevator music'. In this application, the data is dictated by IP streaming service's or radio station's source of music and the results are instantaneous.

However, this system of metrics could only come from an app that sends information back to the IP streaming service or radio station. Unfortunately it may not apply to DAB+ receivers which are a one way communication.

Thank you,
Anthony of innovative Belfield
Anthony The Koala
8 February 2020 - 6:58pm
I wish add to the comments based on those of Mr Williams. These are the positioning of a slogan, terminating agreements before being fulfilled, automation and identifying the station by its heritage-listed callsign other than "Magic".

Positioning slogan.
Slogans should be as simple and sharp. Radio 2CH serves an example. When it was known as "The Snob Mob" the slogan 'eked' of being "up themselves" and flopped. 2CH was successfully known as either "Good Music", "Beautiful Music". Simple two words.

The description of the "Adult Hits format's" slogan as "We play everything" is too long. A suitable and simple two word slogan is "great music". It's better than complicated slogans "all time hits all the time" or "the music of your life". "Great music" is a reflection of the music from any era.

Terminating current agreements on broadcasting of sports:
Clearly this is not about a breach of contractual terms such that damages/restitution is awarded for breach. Nor is it about factors beyond the parties' control frustrating the performance of a contract.

Rather, instead of the contract running to completion can sporting coverage be terminated early? I'm not privy to the contractual terms between Nine Media and the particular cricketing body administering the particular cricket code that is being broadcast.

An agreement between the parties must be reached for early termination of the contract. A very cursory look at different kinds of termination of contract may assist,, BUT proper legal advice is needed if Nine Media wishes to 'remove' cricket broadcasting on the Magic, 2UE and 4BH stations. Unless the terms specify that cricket be broadcast on Magic, 2UE and 4BH, why not move the coverage to 2GB and/or DAB station NTS?

Automation not running smoothly on 2UE (for example).
Rather than playing out a song to its completion delaying the news, there may well be the case that people want to hear the news "on the hour, every hour".

Common sense would dictate that every song is on a file with duration information. The computer would pick say 15 to 20 tracks. Add the total duration of the selected tracks, then factor in the durations for advertisements, news, weather, traffic reports and station ID/stings. If duration is more than an hour, drop the music tracks until the final duration is under 60 minutes. Add a sting or ID for a 'snug' fit.

Identifying the "Magic" station by its original callsign 3EE or 3XY?

Restoring the original callsign of "Magic" 1278. According to the ACMA's Excel spreadsheet of AM, FM, DRB, DTV transmitter sites at click on the "AM" tab and move the cursor to between lines 189 and 208. You will find the 'heritage' listed call signs associated with the radio station.

The "Magic" branded station’s callsign is 3EE. Its original callsign was 3XY until AWA changed it to 3EE in 1991. 3EE swapped its 1278kHz frequency with 3AW’s 693kHz frequency. At the same time, the 1422kHz frequency was available and subsequently occupied in 1994 by "Radio Hellas" a LOTE (language other than English) group adopted the 3XY callsign

An aside: the 1278kHz was 3AW's frequency from November 1978. In 2006, 3EE's frequency of 693kHz was swapped with 3AW's 1278kHz.

Another aside: the 1422kHz LOTE station can be picked up in Sydney during the evenings and overnight.

Anyway the issue becomes whether Magic can use its heritage callsigns 3XY or 3EE.

According to the ACMA's spreadsheet at line 206 as at February 2020, there is NO callsign associated with the 1422kHz LOTE station.
Nevertheless, the 3XY callsign has been adopted by "Radio Hellas". Despite the absence of a callsign on the ACMA spreadsheet, does "Radio Hellas" continually use the callsign 3XY as a 'common law trademark' rather than a callsign.

According to IP Australia, 3XY's trademarks have lapsed when it was an English Language station. Under TM application 637965, "3XY Radio Hellas Media" was unable to be officially registered.

BUT "3XY" may well be used as a common law trademark provided that the entity has evidence of common law usage on a continuing basis not only on air but in other aspects of running the business.

If the owners of "Magic" can use the name "3XY" it will have to apply to the ACMA to have the callsign identified with the frequency 1278kHz changed to "3XY".

Otherwise, the owners can use 3EE. Blame that on AWA the owners of 3XY who relinquished the name "3XY" in 1991!

Thank you,
Anthony of researching Belfield
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