Nikole Gunn

Talking Sport? Looking ahead to Macquarie Media’s format switch

In just a matter of weeks, Macquarie Media will pull the pin on the ‘Talking Lifestyle’ formats in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

They’ll cease to exist after March 31st and will be replaced by a sports format in all three cities. But there is still much to be locked down before the switch is flipped.

No staffing or programming decisions have been announced, but with Macquarie Media holding existing sports rights agreements, there is a possibility of live sport being broadcast.

But executive chairman Russell Tate has made it clear that it will not impact on either 2GB or 3AW.  That would suggest the ‘Continuous Call Team’ will not ‘station hop’ nor would AFL games be shifted from AW to the yet to be named Melbourne operation.

Tate has also ruled out a ‘partnership’ with another broadcaster. That may or may not rule out a closer relationship with Crocmedia.  Macquarie recently entered into a NRL sub-license partnership with Crocmedia and the ARLC.

But the question remains: will the yet-to-be named stations get any ‘cut through’ especially in a crowded market like Melbourne, where it will be pitted against the Crocmedia run 1116 SEN, RSN, Triple M and, to a degree, its sister station 3AW.

With only a few short weeks before the new sports format goes ‘live’, Macquarie Media still has a lot of decisions to make and execute.

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Recent comments (3)
Joey
8 Mar 2018 - 6:36 am

This must be the most bereft-of-news article I’ve ever read and sadly concerns the most boring announcement about a new radio station I can remember. In particular, still no word about whether the new format retains John and Garry as breakfast co-hosts, an obvious consolation for incumbent listeners affected by the format change.

Mike
8 Mar 2018 - 12:41 pm

I would have thought launching 2 digital only music stations on 64 kbs each (bring back Magic and a rock music format) and moving NTS (with more sports), to AM, would work well. This means they would have news, sports and 2 music formats in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne + 1 music station in Perth on Digital.

Joey
10 Mar 2018 - 1:34 pm

If there’s any truth to speculation posted elsewhere, it will be called Macquarie Sports Radio, borrowing from the rather generic style of branding the ABC applies to most of their networks. We know it will have a national profile (to be confirmed as a potential advantage over Melbourne rival SEN) and it won’t ‘impact’ the major sports coverage of 3AW or 2GB. It will therefore be promoted as ‘an arm’ of what Macquarie do, with cross promotion on the Macquarie Talk stations. Unfortunately, this new station inherits the biggest disadvantage imposed on Talking Lifestyle: not being permitted to provide ‘internal competition’ to the Macquarie Talk stations. A consequence of that potentially being that it lacks empowerment to compete more generally against the rest of the pack in the radio market, including the ABC (in my opinion, you either have or you don’t have a competitive capability – which can’t be strictly defined by what other station exists down the corridor of the same studio complex). In summary, you are going to need to be ‘both’ a major and minor sports nut to ‘love’ this new radio station. In the case of Melbourne’s 1278, where Macquarie Sports will be an also-ran to SEN, you’re going to have to be such a sports nut to be disaffected enough with SEN that you’ll be relieved that finally you have an exciting alternative causing you to spread words of excitement on your socials to all your mates (yes, I’m stereotyping here – our sports nut is not just a man, he’s a bloke!). By the way, CrocMedia are leveraging 1377 AM on weekend afternoons again this weekend, demonstrating additional airtime for racing and footy. In 2018, our spoilt bloke gets sport every Saturday afternoon on Melbourne’s AM 693, 774, 927, 1116, 1278 and 1377. And if hearing the cheering crowds in stereo is required to finally satisfy our sports nut, there’s always Triple M Footy!