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What You Think

User Opinion Story
27 January 2020 - 11:58am
Ray said :'It’ll be a long day doing the morning shift and then coming back on 2UE
Why come back at night? Surely he would just voice track the 2UE shift.
Rumour has it: Ray Hadley to return to roots at 2UE
Anthony The Koala
25 January 2020 - 11:43am
It is indeed sad that a radio station that has served the community of Sunshine and its surrounds should close. Where SBS may not be able to serve all members of a particular LOTE (language other than English) community, community radio has an important role to fill the gap. My opinion is not a criticism of 3WRB, but rather about the limited resources available to sustain a radio station. Note I don't have any knowledge of its financial operations. My opinion is based on the events depicted on the pages of this website.

Following the story at https://radioinfo.com.au/news/cbf-responds-closure-stereo974 and that the CBF has assessment criteria in order to hand limited resources applies to a station that is on air. The kinds of grants to broadcasters is available at https://cbf.org.au/grants/.

From Mr Chow's statement that the relocation costs as a result of the landlord wanting to redevelop the site was the threshold that put the radio station off air.

According to the CBF site, $2,981,314 was granted to 87 stations. That is on average, each station received approximately $34,268. Relocation costs may well have been greater than $34 268. It may have included searching for new premises, de-installation of equipment, moving and re-installing equipment and lease costs. I'm not privy to 3WRB's profit and loss statement.

Based on the kind of grants offered by the CBF, the the most likely grant available comes under the category of "Quick Response Grants" where the third point says that a grant may be granted where there are "unexpected changes at your studio or transmission site such as a sudden need to relocate" at https://cbf.org.au/grants/grants-available/.

However there are strict criteria, labelled under "Eligibility". Was the landlord's wish to redevelop the site unexpected and was there enough time for the board of the station to have been proactive in the process of relocation. In addition was there enough in the station's reserve and was there an ability of the station making a co-contribution with the granting facility such as the CBF and possibly negotiate a loan with repayment method?

I stress that it is based on the information on these surveyed pages. Keep in mind that if the relocation cost is greater than the average grant of $34,268, is there a limit that the CBF can grant.

What now for community broadcasting in the area covered by 3WRB?
Start from scratch. The various interest groups could come together for a meeting, setup a legal structure such as a incorporated association OR company limited by guarantee as suggested by the CBAA, https://www.cbaa.org.au/constitution-structure. The articles or memoranda of the entity could include the board structure, who's responsible for various duties as well as financial management provisions.

However, the ACMA has determined that the vacant frequency is now a temporary frequency. If the successful applicant to the temporary frequency cannot be converted to a permanent frequency, then the applicant has to do serious lobbying to the Federal Members of Parliament to have change/amend the legislation or regulation.

Learning from history, for example the history of 2RDJ, long before the station went to air, the board lobbied to change provision of the then "Broadcasting And Television" (Cth) to include the provision of a category C community radio station. If the legislation was able to be amended then, the legislation and its regulatory instruments can be amended now.

It's no use having Federal MPs lauding and praising the value of a community station then do nothing about it when a station is in distress only such that the successful applicant exists on a temporary licence.

Similarly, if we learn from 2RDJ's experience, for a nascent community radio station needing accommodation for its studios including offices and transmitter site, it was Burwood Council that provided a permanent home at the Woodstock Community Centre. It beckons the question of any support from the local government areas covered by 3WRB to provide permanent accommodation as in the case of 2RDJ.

Reference http://www.radio2rdj.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/The-History-Of-Radio-2RDJ.pdf

If a local government authority grants the station accommodation, the accommodation space may well be smaller than expected, but that's how all community radio stations' space started, small. One look no further than the history of 2WEB on the passing of May Watkins available on this website.

Starting from scratch: when the ACMA invites applications for a community C licence, such an application may involve submitting feasiblity and engineering studies including why the radio station needs to be established.

The "History-Of-Radio-2RDJ.pdf" does not mention the hard work of how many pages were involved in submitting the licence application, unless I stand corrected, the licence submission was over 80 hand-typed pages. There weren't word processors available.

Finally, a radio station depending on funding cannot exist on grants alone. The radio station may have to rely on more from the particular LOTE community groups it serves. This could include the station charging more per hour of studio air time and charging more for sponsorship announcements and other fund-raising activity by a particular LOTE group especially from LOTE businesses.

As a result, if there is lack of support from a particular LOTE community then that LOTE's group cannot go on air. At the time if a large proportion of the LOTE group's demography is of low income including those with a disibility, the station could put a case to the CBF under the "Development & Operations Grant"'s "building community - engaging the diverse members of your community".

It is indeed sad that 41 years of service to the community goes off air. The station's members may have to reform and start from scratch with the assistance Federal MPs, local government and a greater proportion of financial contribution from the LOTE groups,

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
3WRB Stereo974 closes its doors after 41 years broadcasting in Sunshine
24 January 2020 - 12:28pm
Different world between 1998 and 2020. More radio and TV choices. Lots of different ways to hear music and music formats. Lots of stations on the web from Australia and the world. These AM, FM, DAB, Web, YouTube, Spotify, etc, etc. These days you need a hook and without one l think Nine will find it tough. We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
24 January 2020 - 10:26am
I'm not sure when the broadcast obligation changed, but many years ago there was a requirement imposed by the music industry for stations to make announcements regarding the title and artist for music being broadcast. We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
24 January 2020 - 10:21am
A very thoughtful and suitable tribute to a radio legend. The Super Network will go silent for Goldie this Friday
Anthony The Koala
23 January 2020 - 7:11pm
Referring to "Madman's" comment about no announcers, it is not the first time a radio station was automated and its ratings increased.

When 2SM was known as "Lite & Easy 1269" between 1988 and 1992, its ratings were low. In 1992, when the station went into 'automation' mode for four months with no announcers and an elevator music format, 2SM's ratings increased.

It may be speculation, one wonders if announcers are necessary. But then if you like the song or album being broadcast and would like a personal copy of the song or album, you would not be wiser.

EVEN on DAB, not all stations avail themselves of utilising the scrolling text facility.

Therefore management of 2UE, 3EE and 4BH who don't intend to use announcers should transmit song/album information on the DAB scrolling text facility.

Lesson from 2SM - don't fix something that works. The decision by 2SM management at the time to abandon the 'automated' elevator music format was a foolish decision since its ratings were higher than when it was "Lite & Easy 1269". If the format works without announcers then continue without announcers.

A diversion on signal quality.
Between 1985 and 1998, 2SM broadcast the highest quality signal I have ever heard for a stereo AM signal. 2SM's signal quality rivalled FM stereo. It's a pity that there were not enough wideband AM receivers available in the market at the time. 2SM ceased stereo transmission on the MW band after a major thunderstorm in late 1998 and according to Mr B of 2SM the CQUAM exciter was destroyed.

Well AM stereo is passe. BUT DAB is better provided that the stations transmit at a rate of at least 70kbs. Don't be like the other stations running at 48kbs and less. You can hear that tinny metallic sound especially where pieces of music have fine details in the high frequency timbre, for example the high frequency timbre produced when cymbals are used.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
23 January 2020 - 12:43pm
Malone is quoted as saying " Not only will there be no local breakfast shows at any of the rebadged AM music stations – there will be no announcers at all – in breakfast, drive or any other daypart."

An interesting and very low cost alternative, at least for Brisbane.

The '70,80,90s AM music formats' anchored by well-known local personalities attract around 9% shares in Brisbane on 4KQ and in Adelaide on Cruise (where they are not up against any significant AM competitors).
Nine's 4BH might eventually attain 3%, by stripping perhaps a third of the existing 4KQ audience who might listen for the music content only.

I wonder what Nine's research has indicated .
We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
22 January 2020 - 10:40am
Can't afford announcers.... Sorry We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
Anthony The Koala
22 January 2020 - 12:34am
One need not be a "Nostradamus" to say that MSR will not continue in its current format. I "predicted" one of four scenarios would be a return to a music format. I also mentioned the other scenarios being a continuing of a sports format, a talk format or stations 2UE, 4BH and 3EE being sold off. Reference https://radioinfo.com.au/news/macquarie-sports-radio-axes-talkback-and-reviews-all-programs.

The former of a continuing sports format was a fizzer. It seemed to be an irrelevant mish-mash of a sports-oriented programming from the UK with local commercials.

It may well be that the return to established heritage-branded callsigns will be in the right direction, A music format may well be a very economic and return positive returns compared to a labour-intensive talk format especially a sports-talk format such as MSR. It may well rate several magnitudes higher than 0.8% in Sydney alone.

I also said in that post and other posts on this site that the marketplace is supersaturated with a golden-oldies, hits-and-memories and classic hits formats: WS-FM, Smooth, Smooth Relax, 2CH, Fun and Zoo. Even refinements to the 'golden oldies' could extended to MMM's 'classic' DAB station and 2DAY's 'Old School'.

While there may be some differentiation between the abovementioned radio stations' formats there is overlap particularly in the 70s, 80s and 90s. AM music stations despite the presence of FM stations can achieve high ratings as demonstrated by 2CH in the 1980s and 4KQ recently.

What will 2UE, 4BH and 3EE differentiate itself against other classic hits formats? 2CH's selling point is not its AM frequency. Listen to 2CH and you will hear frequent announcements of "2CH in stereo on DAB". Similarly 2UE could frequently announce "2UE in stereo on DAB".

A remark is that 2CH's DAB signal has the best signal quality (I have always said this) at 128kbs while 2UE's DAB bit rate is 70kbs; so too are the RN, ABC-FM and ABC metropolitan. A 70kbs bit rate would have to be the minimum. I perceive a tinge of metallic sound on stations at 48kbs such as those of the ARN and Nova networks.

But the question beckons, given the overlap across all classic-hits type formats particularly in the 1970s and 1980s era, is why would one listen to a classic-hits format when there are already so many classic-hits stations in the market place? That is why listen to 2UE, 4BH and 3EE?

9 Radio's implementation may well be profitable even if it rated 3% compared to a talk format.

I am not suggesting a return to an elevator music format as the old 2CH nor the now defunct SCA's DAB station "Stardust", or even Latin-American covers of contemporary hits.

Going into a classic-hits type format may well exclude newer contemporary talent which is not given any airplay. The success of the music that was released in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s were the contemporary hits of their day. But going into a format replaying music of that era will lock out artists of today.

One has to question whether management has put any effort to consider to include contemporary music. For example, Ray Hadley's country music program rates quite highly and includes a heavy emphasis on contemporary artists.

By "any effort" means considering a music format backed by research and no pre-conceived confirmation bias.

The classic-hits format about to be launched on the established brands is a step in the right direction. It's economical and may well generate positive returns even if the stations rate 3% in the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane markets compared to the labour-intensive talk formats such as MSR and Talking Lifestyle.

But then even if the stations adopt the classic-hits approach, there well may be variation within each of the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne markets. That is something to keep in mind since one size does not fit all.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH
Tim Williams
22 January 2020 - 12:06am
If Rob Duckworth's recent stint filling in on 2CH Breakfast is a guide, 2UE could do better.
And I also agree that Melbourne needs to do better than "Magic". Perhaps a call sign would be a better branding. Is a return to 3XY rather than 3EE a possibility? It would certainly fit the heritage rebranding that 2UE in Sydney and 4BH in Brisbane give them.
We're back...Nine resurrects 2UE, Magic and 4BH


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