Damon Reilly on the importance of localism and why SCA isn’t about to rebrand GOLD FM

Former Assistant Editor

“We understand what the natural DNA of radio is. Radio gets ingrained in the community and is part of the community, and that includes creating local content and obviously doing local initiatives that really engage with the community,” says Southern Cross Austereo GM for Queensland Damon Reilly.

Speaking with Radio Today following the announcement that The Rush Hour with Luke, Dobbo & Margaux Parker will wrap up at the end of the year, Reilly explains that the decision to move to one Drive show was business one.

“We’ve been running two shows, so, the national show with Kennedy Molloy, and the local show with Rush Hour, and, at the end of the day, running two drive shows, it was probably not the right outcome for the business moving forward.

“At the end of the day, we’re a commercial radio station, we need to make decisions based on what’s the best commercial outcome for the business.”

Reilly also admits that the decision was made easier by the strength of Kennedy Molloy’s offering, which has been broadcast as well as The Rush Hour this year on Triple M Brisbane and 92.5 GOLD FM.

“Kennedy Molloy nationally… has been a really strong proposition and not just from a ratings perspective, but also for the revenue that it’s driving as well.

“More and more advertisers are looking for national solutions where they can put their brand within one unique brand, which they can do with Kennedy Molloy, and in a program that’s rating very well.”

Losing The Rush Hour is not a sign that SCA is moving away from local content, Reilly says. In fact, that suggestion couldn’t be “further from the truth.

“One of the things that we very much pride ourselves on at Southern Cross Austereo is what we call our localism.

“That means that we understand what the natural DNA of radio is. Radio gets ingrained in the community and is part of the community, and that includes creating local content and obviously doing local initiatives that really engage with the community.

“So we’re very much focused on that. SCA have 60 different offices around Australia, and if anything, we’re investing more in localism and in local markets,” Reilly continues.

“If I’ve talked specifically about Gold Coast, right now, we are upping our investment into the Gold Coast market to ensure that we are more and more local and connecting with people in the Gold Coast.

SCA recently announced the rebranding of Newcastle’s KOFM and Townsville’s 4TOFM to Triple M, leaving 92.5 GOLD FM one of the last heritage brands in the Triple M Network.

Reilly says there are no immediate plans for the Gold Coast-based station to follow suit, and points to the strength of GOLD as a heritage brand as well as a distinct characteristic of the radio signal in the area.

“The unique thing about Brisbane and the Gold Coast is the signals blend, and what we don’t wanna have is confusion between a Triple M in Brisbane and a Gold on the Gold Coast,” explains Reilly.

“So, there’s no plans by the company, at this point in time, to rebrand GOLD at all. GOLD FM is very strong heritage brand and will remain so.”

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21 Sep 2018 - 12:09 pm

But aren’t SCA brisbane running networked Drive and Night shows ?

21 Sep 2018 - 3:39 pm

Bring back K-ROQ !!!

Greg Marks
21 Sep 2018 - 4:50 pm

Localism?? Triple M Brisbane is only local until midday. 12-3 is beamed out of Sydney, the rush hour comes out of 92.5 and kennedy molloy beam out of melbs.
Footy shows take up most the weekend. Not much local Brisbane stuff anymore.

21 Sep 2018 - 9:42 pm

4TO and KO are also both strong heritage brands. The problem for SCA is have two Triple M stations so close together would confuse an audience that regularly checks in to Brisbane radio.

21 Sep 2018 - 10:02 pm

Makes perfect sense to me. GoldFM won’t change its name because of its “strong heritage”. So the other 50 odd stations, some on air even longer than GoldFM had no heritage. KOFM no heritage? Get your story straight SCA. You’ve ruined regional radio with your cookie cutter stickers.

nick bartlett
22 Sep 2018 - 5:28 pm

Gold is not local like 4GG was local

24 Sep 2018 - 9:30 am

This story is annoying. So Gold FM has strong heritage value after only being on air as “Gold” for 20 years or so (?) prior to that 4GGG, K-Rock, 4GG. Yet 4TO which is an 80 year old brand isn’t valuable enough to keep?
SCA is just a spin factory.
Also I’d challenge the notion that having Triple M Brisbane so close is a reason to keep Gold a separate brand. There is so much traffic/commuters between Gold Coast and Brisbane surely there’s a case to make it more seamless as people drive up the M1 every day to switch between Triple M Gold Coast and Triple M Brisbane. Like they do in the UK where a station automatically finds the next frequency as you drive from one area to another..

Geoff J
24 Sep 2018 - 3:12 pm

Where’s the “old man yells at cloud” meme when you need it. Damon comes out pretty clean that SCA makes commercially viable decisions first and foremost, it’s almost like commercial radio doesn’t exist to replicate the good old days… but as a business to make money for its shareholders.

This idea that a local 24 hour schedule would somehow save radio is a joke, podcast listening keeps increasing with the highest ranking podcasts national, or dare I say international, the mere concept that people aren’t choosing the most entertaining content is laughable. Radio’s immeadiacy and localism have such an important role to play in the field, but not the only role to play, and certainly not some golden saviour of the industry.

Soft Launch ?
24 Sep 2018 - 11:26 pm

Speaking of market connectivity, localism and investing in it. We are a year on with a survey looming and I’m still amazed that Mickey allowed Sarah King to be killed off cold after 27 years of service at 2GO. He should know more than most, this really required a careful and considered transition which sought to; protect a heritage brand, show respect for a valuable employee and therefore enhance staff, listeners and client morale and support, retain the good will of an influential local future advocate. Rather than the ripping off of a bandaid approach witnessed. How will it play out in survey, what will the excuses be?? Particularly and memorably unceremonious. Sadly though, perhaps its one example of leadership that directly counters the righteous “community strategy” gospel this article seeks to critically declare from the modern day SCA salesmen songbook.

25 Sep 2018 - 6:40 am

Doesn’t his breakfast star on Triple M Lawrence Mooney broadcast out of Melbourne though ? And Kennedy Molloy from Melbourne ? And Nights ?
And Weekends ? Football ? What’s next ?

Radio nerd
25 Sep 2018 - 7:23 am

Ha! Localism? You only have to listen to a regional station… or any station other than Sydney or Melbourne of theirs to know localism died at SCA in 2009. Regional is their profit centre, cut costs and prop up the metros.


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