Nine revives Magic to replace Macquarie Sports Radio

Former Assistant Editor

Macquarie Sports Radio is officially dead and buried, with Nine Radio announcing the return of the Magic music format today.

Heritage brands 2UE 954AM in Sydney, Magic 1278AM in Melbourne and 4BH 882AM in Brisbane have officially been revived.

Macquarie Sports Perth DAB+ station will rebrand as Magic DAB+ Perth.

All four stations will play a music format featuring the best of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

“We’re very proud to be bringing back great radio brands like 2UE, Magic and 4BH with a music format that we know will resonate with audiences in each city,” said Tom Malone, Nine’s managing director – radio.

Malone was formerly a cadet at 2UE.

“Until recently Magic and 4BH were successful music stations and our research clearly shows there is a gap in the market for this music format, built around the best of the 70s, 80s and 90s,” he said.

After launching in early 2018, Macquarie Sports Radio’s talk programming was pulled in October 2019 following over a year of dismal ratings.

Since then, the four stations have continued to broadcast sports coverage from with news bulletins.

Despite the change in format, the stations will continue to honour their existing sports rights contracts with the AFL, NRL and Cricket Australia.

Macquarie Sport replaced the Talking Lifestyle format, which launched on 2UE in 2016 and was adopted across the Melbourne and Brisbane stations at the start of 2017.

“For our clients we believe this move to a music format is highly complementary to our existing talk-radio formats and gives the brands who work with us a strong audience combination in terms of what we can offer,” said Penny Kaleta, Nine’s director of sales – radio.

2UE, Magic, 4BH and Magic DAB+ will soft launch on February 2.

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mr radio
21 Jan 2020 - 10:04 am

Smart move. Should been this in the first place. 2ch Sydney is going to get hammered.

21 Jan 2020 - 10:05 am

Congratulations to Nine Radio (Macquarie Network) on their action to recognise that there just aren’t “that” many people out there that want/need incessant sport coverage… there’s more than enough delivery “channels” already!
I look forward to enjoying a pleasant music (Sydney) radio station… I’ll even re-programme/re-tune 954AM back into my various radios (car and home)!

21 Jan 2020 - 10:49 am

Best decision ever! Can’t wait to hear 4BH back on air in Brisbane playing music. It will do well too, with no Smooth FM in Brisbane except on DAB+.
As long as they PROMOTE it, including both AM and DAB+ it will do well in Brisbane. Best news I’ve heard in ages.

21 Jan 2020 - 11:00 am

Maybe I’m an idiot, but wouldn’t doing stations catering to older listeners on AM (ala the OLD 4BH/Magic formats with a focus more on 50s/60s/70s) which don’t compete with any other format be a smarter idea than copying and pasting WS/Gold’s playlist and thinking people will prefer to listen to it on crisp AM mono?

21 Jan 2020 - 12:14 pm

Good on them – as long as there’s steady job roles, then best wishes!

Andy Maher
21 Jan 2020 - 12:58 pm

So like ARN’s Pure Gold network but in mono? 😉

21 Jan 2020 - 1:07 pm

Local Jocks?

21 Jan 2020 - 1:23 pm

Inevitable. What else could they have done?
They’ve tried everything else. Can’t have a talk network in opposition to their other stations so music is the only answer.

21 Jan 2020 - 1:55 pm

Nine can’t bring themselves to sell this network
They are running it dead and on the cheap to avoid competing
With their own stations
Surely their behaviour with this network should bring an inquiry from the regulators or trade oractices
The public deserve better

21 Jan 2020 - 2:37 pm

So, how much did that little exercise cost? Why not sell the stations and let real radio people run and programme the stations? What do they think they are going to be, Spotify with ads? And you can’t even pick your own music. So, they run the stations on the smell of an oily rag. Local communities get little or no local meaningful information and, meanwhile, what has ACMA got to say about all this? The silence, as per usual, will be deafening.

21 Jan 2020 - 2:48 pm

So who wants to listen to music with ads on an old AM signal?
Isn’t this already covered by Smooth and WS except on much better quality FM that most people access?
Oh well, hope they are happy with their half to one percent they’ll get.
And hang on, don’t 2CH already do this?

21 Jan 2020 - 5:51 pm

isn’t that WSFM’s slogan?

21 Jan 2020 - 9:30 pm

Just wondering where the gap is when 4KQ and Cruise are already doing that?

21 Jan 2020 - 10:39 pm

Wow…good move. So now 2UE will overtake 2Dayfm in Sydney lol

22 Jan 2020 - 8:38 am

Bring back Magic, I mean are you serious? Can’t think of a good name? Why can’t radio stations look for new formats eg toe tapping music, happy songs, album music, Australian only, modern country, reggae, etc. Bring out the same stuff yet again.

Radio listener
22 Jan 2020 - 10:23 am

Sounds interesting! But I’m just going to stay listening to 2CH

22 Jan 2020 - 10:47 am

I’m really curious about some of the commenters talking about how listening to music on AM won’t work – first of all, there’s this new thing called DAB+!!!

Nobody listens to ANYTHING on AM anymore – get with this century folks. DAB+ has been around a decade and is now in most new cars. The trick for the stations is to actually promote it!

I haven’t listened to 4KQ on “AM” for about 5 years!

22 Jan 2020 - 10:54 am

Why not just turn off the transmitters and save the electricity bill. I’m sure that would be more profitable.

22 Jan 2020 - 12:01 pm

BC , have you actually checked how many people in total are listening to DAB ! There are way more on AM even with the digital offerings. Other parts of the world like the UK are different.

Brian Mitchell
22 Jan 2020 - 2:01 pm

You should make magic a country station we have enough of this crap best of 70s 60s and 80s how about putting on country music for all these people love country music it’s about time someone done it

22 Jan 2020 - 4:20 pm

said it ages ago, just play the music the other guys don’t and you may get some ratings

22 Jan 2020 - 7:06 pm

Coles Radio but with even more predictable music items in the bagging area. [yawnies]

22 Jan 2020 - 11:42 pm

I don’t know who’s responsible for the art work in marketing at Nine, but that is a REALLY ridiculous marketing image. An electric guitar together with the crossed / raised fingers hand thingy is associated with hard rock and metal. I really don’t think there were too many waving this hand gesture at an Abba concert.

Neil McKenna
23 Jan 2020 - 12:39 am

Great news especially for Melbourne who don’t have an AM music station. Hopefully they can tweek it over the coming months to sound more like 3MP with 60s & 70s & 80s and have a Saturday Night Jukebox with some 50s as well. As for the mono sound…it’s glorious, deep and rich and loud. Jocks aren’t needed. Just remember only 2 things have ever worked on commercial radio …talkback and music, so please don’t try any other formats again.

23 Jan 2020 - 3:52 am

What about Roy and HG – I LOVED that show. Perhaps bring it to Magic?

Glenn Vance
23 Jan 2020 - 5:53 am

Hope you have a live brekkie and drive show in Melbourne,Ric Ditchburn was great on drive.

23 Jan 2020 - 10:25 am

John the ratings for stations which broadcast on AM and FM also include those listening via DAB+ so it’s not immediately apparent how many are actually listening via DAB+. The DAB+ ratings are for those stations that ONLY broadcast on DAB+ so those figures appear low.

All i know is that every time i hear 4KQ around the place in shops etc. it’s invariably via DAB and not AM.

Nobody in their right mind would be listening via AM. I don’t even own an AM radio and the reception is impossible in the CBD for example.

23 Jan 2020 - 11:00 pm

The AM critics have obviously never heard what a good AM signal sounds like, with a proper wide band tuner and proper aerial. Instead, they use a cheap nasty superhet with narrow bandwidth and an awful audio stage.
While I welcome the change at 2UE, I fear it will be a very limited playlist like 2CH and 2WS. Hopefully there won’t be the endless funeral/nursing home/getting old and sick ads, plus the religious advertising which detracts from 2CH. And, wouldn’t it be great if there was a music station that never presented the news. Anyway, back to reality, Sydney radio has never been very good with its playlists, which is why for most of my radio listening life I have preferred out of town stations. For those who like 2CH style music but with a much broader less repetitive playlist, no religion, no funeral ads, I recommend 2NUR.

Ron T
24 Jan 2020 - 8:23 am

And I’ll bet they’ll have a limited playlist of about 500 that are already bashed to death on other channels. There are thousands of classic hits that never get air play.

Travis Wilson
24 Jan 2020 - 11:04 am

To be totally honest I prefer that you just transmit talkSPORT UK all the time.
I’m Australian born and bred but absolutely love this station.

Marg Warner
27 Jan 2020 - 11:26 am

Great news. Loved Magic 1278. My 1yo radio picks up AM much better than FM which always sounds not tuned in properly. Hate to say “told you so . . . ” but I knew Lifestyle would never work.

Jono Burggraaf
31 Jan 2020 - 7:45 pm

I’m very happy that Magic 1278 is being relaunched in Melbourne however,I don’t think that the new format of the best music of the 70s,80s and 90s will be any good.I think this because the old Magic 1278 catered for older people and played songs from the 50s,60s,and 70s.There’s not many music radio stations in Melbourne that cater for older people and so I think that the relaunch of magic 1278 should play only easy listening music from the 50s,60s,70s,80s and 90s.This would then be a great radio station that would cater for older australians and it would fill a gap in the market.
I’ve asked the digital radio station in Melbourne called Smooth Relax to please start playing some of the classic easy listening tracks that the old 3MP used to play such as “Morningtown Ride” by The Seekers,”I love little baby ducks” by Tom T hall,”Precious and Few” by Climax and also my favourite song called “High” by Lighthouse Family and other Lighthouse Family songs aswell but unfortunately they currently aren’t playing these.
I’ve also asked the digital station called Chemist Warehouse Remix to play these songs but unfortunately they aren’t doing this either.So,hopefully Magic 1278 will start playing these songs regularly and play lots of great older easy listening songs and this will create an excellent radio station for people who love easy listening music and also a great station for older Australians to listen to.Please reply to this if you have anything to say about this comment.From Jono and Ben

Colin Greenwood
1 Feb 2020 - 9:35 am

Hey Andy Maher, i am listening to gorgeous stereo on my DAB radio. Move with the times

1 Feb 2020 - 6:16 pm

I liked the old 2ue how it was for all those years..

Who wants mono music when they is stereo available

Ric j
2 Feb 2020 - 1:26 am

U.K. Talk sports was the best in variety ever it was a chat station with a difference big big loss. As for your music format,it’s everywhere.good luck in the ratings you will need it.

2 Feb 2020 - 11:23 am

May I suggest CH9 get TV right before you try radio

Clive Danby
3 Feb 2020 - 8:08 am

I stumbled across 4BH playing music this morning, Fantastic to hear. I stopped listening when the sports chat began. Now their back playing music. I belong to the ‘ baby boomer’ generation and crave to hear music from 50’s to 70’s. lets hear some instrumentals again, some crooners and good old 60’s and 70’s top of the charts. Lets learn frolm our mistakes.
Good to have you back 🙂

3 Feb 2020 - 2:42 pm

A bit disappointed with the change. I switched to SEN straight away this morning as it seems I have no choice. Love the UK Talk Sports and the EPL live coverage. Hope if someone can tell me how to listen to these programs now !

3 Feb 2020 - 7:43 pm

I thought it was a great concept with some excellent features for “sports nuts”,but some of their show hosts [quite a few in fact],were completely one eyed about their sport or their state.It was supposed to appeal to all of Australia,right?
Really enjoyed Sports Talk from Britain.That`s how it should be done.

Colin Rix
3 Feb 2020 - 10:57 pm

Ha Ha these radio big wigs always make me laugh when they bring back a previous format that they ditched beforehand its always “we’re proud to be playing music again it’s what people want” if so begs the question why was it ditched in the first place they have truly run out of ideas this mob what’s next channel 9 when this falls flat?

4 Feb 2020 - 5:53 pm

Seriously!! Have deleted C9 from all my devices. Luddites to the end!!!

Nick H
4 Feb 2020 - 11:35 pm

A real disappointment to get rid of Talksport Uk as it had the best coverage of the Premier League. Just look what it done to Foxtel when they lost the rights to the Premier league to Opus. 2UE has just lost another listener.

6 Feb 2020 - 9:06 am

What has happened to Ox and Marko?

6 Feb 2020 - 11:02 pm

how the idiots in the backward city of sydney thinking music will replace the great sports station plus get rid of that waste of space on 3aw midnight show is utter rubbish ppl are turning of 3aw after 12 noon

Peter K
7 Feb 2020 - 6:58 pm

This is a fantastic selection of music that I’ve been listening to for the last hour in my car and not a single ad. Best move for 2UE. I was retuning my car radio and stumbled upon this new format. A returned listener now for sure since dumping it when 24 hour rubbish sport took over.

8 Feb 2020 - 10:00 am

Not happy at all. I’m sure with further promotion sports radio would have worked. A lot of people I spoke to about it had never heard of it and started listening after I told them. Piggy and Levey was the best 3 hours of daily radio each week.
I’ll be going back to Radio Sport NZ on iHeartRadio radio-hang on doesn’t WSFM on that? Well done Nine

9 Feb 2020 - 6:49 pm

I will miss the sport. Especially the EPL games . It could have even been talk sport uk. Sorry but you have lost me

Steve Mcintyre
12 Feb 2020 - 10:33 pm

I am another sports fan letdown,so to the clown at Ch 9 who destroyed what was a great format.You injoy watching those music ratings hover at .05/ life support.And you can give the marketing guys a swift kick up the backside for doing a crap job at selling,what was a fantastic sports channel…1 good thing did come out of the train wreck you left. You introduced me to the UK radio sports channel..Now I listen to them online.And given anything to do with 9 the flick.

Neil McKenna
14 Feb 2020 - 9:59 pm

Great music and no ads ! For the handful of soccer tragics, buy a TV and watch it. Soccer is boring enough without having to listen to it on a radio. And as for cricket…long drawn out …leave it to the ABC.

Ray Platz
16 Feb 2020 - 10:14 am

I recently, accidently, heard that you ‘went back’ and I immediately ‘came back’. Thankyou. Hope it goes well.

19 Feb 2020 - 3:47 pm

How funny, the all music new 2UE will rate higher than the old all sport radio. The one hour evening sport show on 2GB will I think become 2 hours in middle of year. I want to say what a great asset John Stanley is to 2GB. He has a wonderful evening show Mon – Fri – his energy, passion and energy is first class, only bettered by Alan.

19 Feb 2020 - 11:13 pm

Macquarie Sports Radio just sucked sucked sucked, I have been listening to Majic since it started and it was absolutely disgraceful how they sacked all the Dj’s and presenters then brought in Macquarie Sports Radio, I did not listen to 1278 after they did that, but please play some 60’s music as well, anybody misses the old Majic station, when you tune across the AM band its all talk back radio hosted by over opinionated experts and we are all sick of that, the FM band is the same with DJ babble and head banger music

22 Feb 2020 - 7:35 pm

Just have talk sport on all the time was great for night shift work

29 Feb 2020 - 2:24 am

4bh needs to be older- your up against River 94.9 with what I’ve heard tonight (29/2)

You need to head more Neil diamond/bread/America easy listening type music-
Google YouTube for the 4bh / magic 882 TVC

Gary Cooper
5 Mar 2020 - 2:02 pm

Brilliant playing music all the time.sick of the dribble going on morning talk shows.easier driving listening to 4BH.put more 50/60 music on as well.

Thomas Nehrmann
5 Mar 2020 - 8:04 pm

Great music! If I may, why not play
entire classic albums( or 5-6 songs from an album)! Thanks again!

Sharon Austin
5 Mar 2020 - 10:51 pm

Great to have the music back. Would be good if 50s 60s music was included as well like the old days

7 Mar 2020 - 3:27 pm

Love this station Best music !!

Tom Crothers
9 Mar 2020 - 12:58 pm

Great to have music back on Melbourne AM radio, it is so peaceful to listen to without all the crapp.

Geoff Franklyn
31 Mar 2020 - 12:50 pm

Fantastic to have Magic back Igo way back to the days of Andy Mac and Jilly Pag. music made and played for easy listening. Great also the the dulcet tones of David Armstrong at the news desk,(what happen to Tony T.?
Ignore comments from the younger mob as the have no concept of music unless you can bang tour head off, roll on AM MUSIC!!!!
Many Thanks Geoff

L. Thompson
5 Apr 2020 - 3:07 pm

I’ve always enjoyed 4BH and happy to see it coming back with 70,80 and 90s but I would like to hear 60s also and some soothing music also.
Thanks again for your efforts. L

Country Fan
10 Apr 2020 - 6:58 pm

If this doesn’t work, why not try a mix of today’s country [not country rock] blended with classic country?

mike baigent
15 Apr 2020 - 5:54 pm

Discovered by mistake yesterday that music was on Magic, best move ever made, Im back

29 Apr 2020 - 5:08 pm

I was thrilled when I recently discovered that Magic 1278 returned to the airways in Melbourne but I do concur with many other people on this feedback site. The new revamped 1278 version is really only a carbon copy of Gold FM and Smooth. I believe it needs to go back to playing the lost classics of the 50,s 60,s 70’s and some 80’s to recapture the original older demographics and newer audiences who appreciate the beautiful and meaningful songs that have been forgotten over the decades. The old magic had a point of difference to Gold and Smooth but now is not really any different at all. We don’t need to include the 90’s. People can listen to that decade of music on any current FM station.

Please bring back the old Magic 1278 music!

greg coller
8 May 2020 - 5:42 pm

still low raitings needs local time calls and live anouncers !

David Thomas
9 May 2020 - 12:24 am

My dreams have come true. I almost changed the channel, then I thought this is a strange song on the radio, I haven’t heard this for four or five years years. My beloved Magic had returned. I just sat there listening for a while. I’m a bit confused about the 3mp / Magic thing but I jope the station will become like the old 3mp.

I then took a picture of their web page and whatsapped it to my family. No one replied.

Some things sound strange; different versions of some songs and no DJs. Are we going to get DJs?

Kay and Tony
11 May 2020 - 9:47 am

Thank you 4BH. We have now come back to you….we sadly missed you…please NEVER change again!

Michael Barbara
20 May 2020 - 11:06 am

Hi,I fluked it 2 days ago at about 11.57 am just put the station to 1278 AM and Elvis was on.
Used to listen to the station for years till it changed to sports i knew it wouldn’t last long,
The music now is not bad put i like the old Listeners i like to listen to the music they played back in the day like the 50s/60s/70s plus any good old song to date.
You have a lot of what i call banging music now which is more of a sound then words like the old songs.
Try a long weekend of the old songs like some stations play like 500 top songs of the 50/60/70 plus some good songs after that era and see what happens if you you want the old listeners back,good to see the station back.

Joe Bassett
27 May 2020 - 12:47 pm

Thank God you have gone a music station when I had bad sleep apnea I listened to 1278 thanks again

Lyn Harris
30 May 2020 - 1:19 pm

I live in Bentleigh Melbourne, but the reception is shocking, have tried different rooms/ power points, but nothing helps, can get other AM stations but not 1278

31 May 2020 - 6:42 pm

About fucking time it should never have been changed ,,,,,if it works leave it alo nne we’re not i terested in talk back radio from Sydney… its bad enough having it from melb on 693

Glenys Allcock
1 Jun 2020 - 8:59 am

I did make a comment when you came back on air ,( hooray ) as I missed 882 so much my brother came over from the UK on Holiday and said what a good station it was ,( I said I know) BUT you are playing more music like 4 KQ not Happy ,

17 Jun 2020 - 9:09 pm

Brave move launching music stations on muddy old AM mono in this day and age. However, I wish them luck

23 Jun 2020 - 7:48 am

Thank the Lord 4BH as brought the Beautiful Music Back Magic , I don’t understand why not at weekends ,I have mentioned before when my brother came over for a Holiday way back in 2001 I think it was ,made a comment what a great station it was , ( WHY NOT WEEKENDS )

5 Jul 2020 - 1:09 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing back Magic. I was devastated when it was removed. I love this station.

Tony Bennett
13 Jul 2020 - 5:19 pm

What listeners seem to forget is that they have no skin in the game only the sponsors pay for a commercial radio station.
And that my friends is what it’s all about, all you have to do is listen, you don’t have to like the presenter or the radio station and if your listening just to hate them it doesn’t matter either, because hopefully, you will hear a product or service you want or need, and purchase it.
To all the baby boomers out there complaining let me tell you with many years experience in sales and radio the sponsors are not interested in the 70 plus market place it is far too small to be viable 10.7% of the population with limited discretionary spending

29 Jul 2020 - 11:23 pm

Can somebody explain how a station like Magic 1278 make money when they have so few advertisements.

1 Aug 2020 - 11:52 am

My guess is that because it’s run on the smell of an oily rag by not having to pay DJs and other staff it is subsidised by parent stations 2GB/3AW/4BC just so they can hang on to the licence therefore avoiding competition. The offshoot DAB stations of FM majors don’t seem to have ads so they must be subsidised as well.

Mark Chapman Smith
18 Aug 2020 - 9:18 am

Tripping along from one disaster to another, surely you would be applying for an FM frequency at least to replace poor old AM, talk is not cheap, music is on Spotify but a good locally focused outlet dealing with issues of interest might give Facebook a tiny nudge, better still de-regulate the FTA Broadcasting sector into standard broadcast licenses so young eager creative people can find ownership and a niche that actually might kick some ass instead the CRA bog you are stuck in.

Alison Beckett
31 Aug 2020 - 2:25 pm

Silly move in the first place. Same as 3MP closing in Victoria and now back with a vengeance.

29 Sep 2020 - 7:30 pm

DAB reception is hopeless And FM not much better where I live, (outer Melbourne). In fact cannot get some DAB stations at all thank goodness for AM .

Jimmy Pelekanos
9 May 2021 - 4:16 pm

Thank you to nine network for bringing back 4bh the music station that I grew up listening to,as I am not a fan of talkback ,hate sport talk,I love ❤️ only a few radio announcers,less ads ,but most importantly news every hour,and music,music,music ,keep up the good work

Roddie Mac
27 Dec 2021 - 12:24 pm

i like others enjoy the rich golden sound of AM radio on a valve radio. Many antique radios are still in operation with no fm option of course. Playing guitar on a valve amp is also an enjoyment that should be experienced.

15 Jan 2022 - 7:01 pm


8 Jan 2023 - 5:39 pm


6 Mar 2024 - 1:38 pm

I listened to this station when Rick Ditchburn was there, & when the station went to SPORTS only ,years ago, I went to Gold 104,… that this station has gone back to great 60/70/80’s music ,I’m back,,,,,, BUT, could you PLEASE include “Midnight Bus ” by Betty McQuade (1961 ) in your 60’s repertoire selections..It was a HUGE hit in Melbourne when released .. Rick used to play it for me, when I phoned the station with answers on some of Ricks questions etc…..THANK YOU in anticipation.


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