Game on: The SEN plan for Brisbane


There’s no denying Queenslanders love their sport.

But wall-to-wall sport, 24/7? It’s just not cricket.

That’s been the overwhelming sentiment among loyal 4KQ listeners, hours out from the Brisbane station switching off for good at midnight tomorrow and 693AM beginning its new life as SENQ.

To say the backlash has been heavy would be an understatement.

But respected Queensland sports journalist Robert Craddock believes the new format makes sense.

Craddock – who provides a weekly report for Gerard Whateley’s morning show on SEN in Melbourne – tells Radio Today “I think the SENQ sports station can work in Brisbane because the city has such rich and diverse sporting interests.”

Just how sustainable though is a non-stop sport format in a city with just one AFL club and – for now – one NRL side?

“The challenge for the new station’s announcers is that where Sydney and Melbourne may have 10 or so teams to talk about in football season, the Brisbane market is dominated by the Broncos,” says Craddock.

“But it seems every day there is a fresh league controversy that the punters love chewing over.”

“The one sport which must be nailed down is rugby league. Interest wise, league has all other sports covered by a multiple of three or four, especially the Broncos.”

SEN WA breakfast host Tim Gossage also believes the new format is a goer, sharing his enthusiasm with Radio Today:

“How good? A 24 hour radio station for sport in a sport crazy state like Queensland. Exciting times.”

For the 4KQ audience though, it’s been a bitter pill to swallow.

As the long-standing breakfast team of Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare and Mark Hine signed off for the final time last week, listeners didn’t hold back on the station’s Facebook page:


“Here’s a news flash: Not everyone wants to listen to bloody football all day.”

“I like sport, but do I need to hear it all day? NO.”

“We’ve already got too much sport on radio.”

“Who wants to listen to boring sport commentators going on and on and on?”

“I am not remotely interested in listening to 24/7 sport talkback radio.”

“I like my sport, but 24/7 with strong AFL content is no-go zone for me.”


Non-stop sport clearly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, just as Sports Entertainment Network CEO Craig Hutchison admits he himself isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

But consider the SEN game plan.

In an interview with Media Week just a few months ago, Hutchison highlighted the importance of trying to connect differently with the audience:

“We don’t see ourselves as just radio stations. We see ourselves as a content experience, whether that be linear, radio, app, streaming, podcast, snackable video, longform video or social.”

He notes that in recent times, SEN has been successful in engaging with sporting communities as diverse as Darwin and Hobart.

Hutchison is excited to continue SEN’s expansion within the Queensland market. But not everyone shares his vision or his passion.

“Typical of southerners telling us ‘what we want,’ railed one Queenslander on the SENQ Facebook page. “What we don’t want is for you to destroy our radio station that has been operating for 75 years. You will lose every 4KQ listener who wants music, not sport”

The 4KQ acquisition has even been compared to Alan Bond’s infamous brewery takeover of the 80s.

When the XXXX sign on Brisbane’s Milton brewery was replaced with a Bond Corporation one, it was met with howls of protest from beer loving Queenslanders.

Parochial sport is at the heart of Hutchison’s business model.

“Queenslanders love their state and its teams and we are excited to play our role in amplifying that passion.”

Will that passion translate into listeners? We’re about to find out.

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Recent comments (20)
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29 Jun 2022 - 8:54 am

This is fantastic news for all who enjoy their sport, and let’s not forget, it’s a ‘commercial’ radio licence. Clearly 4KQ was not commercially viable, otherwise ARN would have chose another station to sell in SEQ…..

29 Jun 2022 - 11:28 am

I pity the sales team.

29 Jun 2022 - 1:40 pm

My first meaningful connection with 4KQ dates back to December 1991. On holiday from Victoria, staying at the Hyatt Regency Coolum.

One of 4KQ’s ‘latest hits’ was Live for Loving You by Gloria Estefan – a fitting soundtrack in a subtropical environment.

Every trip to SEQ since has included 4KQ as soundtrack due to the unique depth of its playlist, even as the station evolved into playing pure classic hits. I think only Hot Tomato directs music for a local audience as well as 4KQ has.

A station that stood the test of time in a world of changing programming, technology and strategic alignments. That it remained such a valued constant with a large percentage of audience is something to be very proud of.

When New York’s WPLJ signed off 3 years ago, it simply instructed its listeners to “smile, because it happened”.

There’s nothing left to do other than that. SEN will define success on very different grounds than 4KQ did. So might 4BH.

Yet that does not mean the history of 4KQ has nothing to teach the modern programmer.

Number one only last year, what other station do you know that finished while on top?

A fond farewell to Brisbane 4KQ.

29 Jun 2022 - 4:15 pm


29 Jun 2022 - 4:17 pm

Make certain you cover ALL sports.

29 Jun 2022 - 4:17 pm

Make certain you cover ALL sports.

29 Jun 2022 - 4:39 pm

you stated “But it seems every day there is a fresh league controversy that the punters love chewing over.”
It doesn’t take 24hrs to talk about that.. be realistic 24/7 is ridiculous you even said that we only have the Brisbane Lions and Brisbane Broncos while the other states have a hell of a lot more, be happy you have those states who are obsessed with their sport we aren’t, you wasted a lot of $$$ here in Queensland.

Andy Davidson
29 Jun 2022 - 6:42 pm

Yes yes yes. Its about time. Thanks sen sports. Cant wait. KQ listeners will find 4BH…..1116. Great tunes. 24/7 sport,unreal

29 Jun 2022 - 6:47 pm

Tony – commercially viable businesses are sold every day. 4KQ may not have been ARN’s most profitable radio station but it was definitely commercially viable. With a 10 share it was making money. More than SEN will with it upcoming 0.3% share.

Radio Birdman
29 Jun 2022 - 11:29 pm

As Crash Craddock himself said, we only have one (soon to be two) NRL clubs & one AFL club. I’ll also add that we only have one A-League club and one BBL club. Even if you add the Gold Coast NRL/AFL clubs & Sheffield Shield to that list, a 24/7 sports talk channel would knock off that discussion in about an hour.

And if SEN thinks that they will capture anything near 4KQ’s 10-11%, then they are living in a fantasy world.

Goodbye 4KQ. You will be missed.


Radio Birdman
29 Jun 2022 - 11:39 pm


Yep, we definitely need more sports talk radio….not!

Obviously Radio TAB’s Breakfast Sports Show & racing coverage, Triple M’s NRL/AFL live broadcasts and associated rugby league/Aussie Rules shows, 4BC’s Continuous Call Team and the SEN Qld DAB channel are not enough for you?

They are more than enough for loyal 4KQ listeners like me, thanks.

30 Jun 2022 - 7:39 am


30 Jun 2022 - 8:15 am

SEN does cover a very wide range of sports including motor racing as mentioned elsewhere in comments.
People comment that there is enough sport on radio but for a true sports lover that is simply not true. The rubbish Triple M serves up as sport is often not worth listening to.
I have been an on line listener to SEN regularly for the last 12 months and I find it a good mix of sports.
The only show I switch off is Joel and Fletch on drive who don’t seem to know whether they are comedians or covering sport. I hope SENQ does not have that drivel on.
Having said all that, I was also an avid KQ listener when in Brisbane and will miss them. I hope 4BH steps up to the party properly and employs some local on air talent.

Matt Bone
30 Jun 2022 - 8:56 am

Kq has had ads from 4bh directing listeners to move up the dial, a rare occurrence any way you look at it.

I remember turning up at Goodna train station with 4kq doing brekkie on the platform – mid 1990’s

John Ruthenberg
30 Jun 2022 - 8:57 am

Are you going to be broadcasting Wimbledon and other events such as the Sri Lanka test matches…

30 Jun 2022 - 2:38 pm

“You’ll lose all 4kq listeners” ~ 4KQ listener.

I think their game plan (pun intended) is to attract other listeners, not keep 4kq listeners.

1 Jul 2022 - 1:37 pm

ARN should have made KIIS97.3 like the other 2 formats. And made river 94.9 more like 97.3 is atm. I’m sure that will happen in time when both stations have similar playlists. ARN could have put the 4KQ brand on DAB and have moved the breakfast show to. Then had automation the rest of the day. Could have put the 3pm pick up on 4kq brand also. It’s a shame nova couldn’t have bought the rest of KIIS 97.3 then they could have held 4kq and river but that wouldn’t make sense. Having 2 fm stations is the way to go. But ARN now should be saying they want river to be more brisbane than Ipswich.

1 Jul 2022 - 9:33 pm

4KQ SEN can belt your new radio station format right up your *rse, thanks for nothing……

2 Jul 2022 - 11:47 am

693 AM already deleted from my presets. Couldn’t care less about SEN.

Radio Birdman
2 Jul 2022 - 9:28 pm


When 4BH was Macquarie Sports Radio a few years back, with a 24/7 sport talk format, they yielded something like a 1% share for most surveys.

So, yes, SEN693 might want to attract other listeners…but there won’t be too many of them.


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