Craig Hutchison’s sports network SEN has acquired 2CH Sydney

Former Publisher

Pacific Star Network’s SEN has revealed plans to enter the Sydney market.

The sports broadcaster has purchased 2CH from Oceania Capital Partners and is close to finalising the acquisition of 1539AM for its SENtrack expanding network.

2CH was last sold in 2017 to a consortium of Oceania Capital Partners, in a deal worth about $5.5 million, orchestrated by Glenn Wheatley and John Williams.

In an update to the ASX today, owners Pacific Star said 2CH is expected to deliver an “incrementally positive yet immaterial contribution” to earnings over the next 12 months.

In the update to the market, it was also revealed that ACE Radio Broadcasters has presented a non-binding proposal for the purchase of its 1377AM Melbourne radio license.

The purchase of 2CH and three narrowcast licences will set the company back by around $11.2 million cash, and EON – owners of 2CH – will receive 10 million shares in Pacific Star.

In a statement from SEN chief executive Craig Hutchison today (June 5), the media company says it will be “business as usual on 2CH for the foreseeable future”.

“The opportunity to own and run a commercial licence in Sydney is rare – especially on a station and signal that has built such a loyal audience as 2CH,” Hutchison said.

“Combined with our plans to launch racing service SENTrack into Sydney, we are incredibly excited to expand our footprint into Australia’s biggest city.”

SEN has appointed former Southern Cross Austereo and Australian Radio network executive Simon Dennis group commercial director for NSW, who is “super excited” to be back in radio.

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5 Jun 2020 - 10:52 am

Another music station down the drain.

5 Jun 2020 - 11:15 am

Non stop sport on radio – a ratings disaster waiting to happen.

5 Jun 2020 - 12:58 pm

In an update to the ASX today, owners Pacific Star said 2CH is expected to deliver an “incrementally positive yet immaterial contribution” to earnings over the next 12 months.
Does that mean it’s losing money ?

5 Jun 2020 - 2:39 pm

My question is quite simple – who is funding all this expansion by Pacific Star? They couldn’t be writing huge amounts in advertising, especially since COVID-19, but they continue to announce aquisitions and expansion. As an outsider, it just doesn’t seem to add up.

5 Jun 2020 - 2:54 pm

I cannot see loyal 2CH listeners sticking with 2CH. In its heyday it had the right music for its audience and had Christians ( and people who were for Christian values) listening, as the station had a Christian flavour.

Over time managers started ignoring listeners and moved away from what listeners liked to listen to, making decisions without consultation with listeners.

The end of programs hosted by Kel Richards , an excellent and experienced radio broadcaster who is well known and respected by radio listeners, was disappointing and one piece of evidence that 2CH was not being managed well.

Radio stations cannot survive without listeners.

Is the plan for the station to become a sport station? A reminder that this did not work with 2UE.

This is a sad development in the radio world.

5 Jun 2020 - 4:55 pm

Michael, I’ve been asking that same question for months. In the last few years they’ve bought magazines, a basketball club, who knows how many sporting rights they’ve acquired & all the broadcast licences.

It’s like they have a money tree out the back

Pete T
5 Jun 2020 - 6:56 pm

So, what plans do ACE have for 1377? Gotta be exciting when a country kid hits the big smoke!

5 Jun 2020 - 7:27 pm

Oh great, more sport! Just what many, at least, don’t want.

Because a lot of us don’t see ‘sport’ – true, fair dinkum sport as we knew it; we see drugs & drunks & money & cheats & violence …and some sport, if you’re lucky.

What we DO want is competition in the talk-back radio arena.

Competition, not just one tax-payer funded station endlessly spouting their ideological propaganda – and a commercial station, smug, self-satisfied, reeling in the advertising dollars because there is NO COMPETITION!

Talk-back radio today is a farce!

I’ve worked at home & office for many years with talk-back radio on, in the background.

These days, I’d rather listen to my tinnitus.

For goodness sake, who will bring on some talk-back competition – suggestions, anyone?

6 Jun 2020 - 8:40 am

Pacific Star made about 9 million profit last year. They recently had to cease trading temporarily on the ASX because of poor business, reduced revenues due to COVID19. During that suspension period they raised around 15 million and month later spend most of it on buying a radio station that surely is barely covering its operating costs. Puzzling to say the least. And they say they won’t change format, I smell bullshit on that one. They will change to sport in 2021 mark my words. It’s a bonanza for 2UE’s great new music format. Nine radio will be happy although sport on CH may hurt 2GB somewhat.

radio listener
6 Jun 2020 - 2:21 pm

The first thing Pacific Star Network should do is fix the digital signal. It cuts out constantly when you are listening on a hand-held wireless DAB+ radio. It is unlistenable on a hand-held device.

And why the previous owners didn’t monetise the available digital spectrum it was allocated is beyond me. By having 2 stations broadcasting at 64 kbs (or 3 broadcasting at 48, 40 and 40kbs), a new format could have brought in extra advertising revenue for the previous owners.

radio listener
6 Jun 2020 - 6:11 pm

my previous comment refers to the 2CH 1170 DAB+ signal.

10 Jun 2020 - 12:04 pm

If Craig Hutchison decides to turn 2CH 1170 AM into SEN NSW 1170 AM, he MUST get the RIGHT on-air talent for the tough Sydney market of a 24/7 sport talk and LIVE Sport radio. Naturally a SEN Sydney radio station needs to focus on the NRL 1st and foremost as the key to getting the interest of Sydney radio listeners just like SEN 1116 AM in Melbourne and SEN SA in Adelaide focus on the AFL. Just as important is to have primarily known Sydney and NSW sports journalists, ex-players and radio announcers who have a passion for sport as part of their lineup. Hutchy should go all out to sign up Matty Johns to do a morning, afternoon or drive radio show (Johns is unlikely to do breakfast radio again seeing he already did that for around 6-7 on Triple M in Sydney). SEN should also look at hiring sport journalists who have been made redundant at other radio or TV media organisations such as Fox Sports/News Corp, Nine Entertainment, The ABC, etc. Matty White who worked for the Aeven and Ten Networks in multiple roles as well as Bill Woods (ex-Ten Network), Grahame Hughes (currently on air at 2SM and was doing an NRL talk panel show on Fox League channel on Foxtel), Emma Freedman who is based on Sydney (I think) but hosts and/or contributes to Triple M radio shows in Sydney and x Melbourne and is seen on Fox League channel/Fox Sports, ex-Sydney Swans Player Tadgh Kennelly, former Wallabies coach Michael Chieka and many other identities are who I would be talking too RIGHT NOW if Hutchy plans to re-launch 2CH as SEN Sydney/NSW in the not too distant future.

…otherwise another 24/7 sports radio station after Macquarie Sports Radio will NOT work in Sydney if he doesn’t get the right on-air talent that can both inform and entertain the majority of Sydney sports fan. It takes time and you really need to give the audience a reason to tune in if they are going to change stations and listening habits.

11 Jun 2020 - 12:07 pm

2CH is losing millions he must be very ambitious paying that much for a loss maker.

13 Jun 2020 - 12:06 pm

TheWilfer makes some very astute points. Key to Hutchy making both 1179 and 1539 Sydney, plus the entire network work, is cost effective generic programming, interlaced with specific bespoken content in peak times to satisfy local taste. Survival of SEN track will depend on him accessing more live race calls and gaining more revenue from corporates/betfair. This is their only opportunity to have access to racing radio. For his main stations, live sport broadcasts, (AFL/NRL/Cricket, A league, Basketball- calls these already and has a very economical calling structure) a strong local breakfast in Melb, Syd, Bris, Adel and Perth, into a national Whateley program then state based Sports day programs in drive the key programs. The rest can be networked smartly. 9 are doing it with their radio, example; when Jones recently retired, Breen established as Breakfast host in Brisbane, rest 2GB. 9 have also wound back significantly their relationship with Hutchy, hence his recent buying spree. Hutchy is unstoppable at present, if anyone can pull it off, he can. That being said, it will either succeed or crash and burn and cause PNW to implode. There is no in between outcome.

14 Jun 2020 - 6:33 pm

Will bob Rogers stay on the “new” 2ch

if hes still on there now?

Greg Fox *3FX Radio
17 Jun 2020 - 6:17 pm

2 CH is a fine radio station that has survived through the years the fact now that a so called sports station with no talent except for Humphrey B Bear is going to take it over sends shudders SEN has ruined many a good station for example 5 dn now cruise 1323 and also 3ak in melbourne. There is more to life than listening to sport there is enough of it.

Anna Smith
24 Jun 2020 - 1:07 pm

I am so very sorry to hear of this situation.
“for the foreseeable future”
Sounds ominous ~!

What chance does music and comment have – (rhetorical)

A sad, sad development indeed.

I hope that the valuable contribution made by experienced presenters is not forgotten


the enjoyment of many thousands of loyal listeners.

vr melbourne
10 Jul 2020 - 7:05 am

I think this is very cool and has a place to be in our country. If it brings good consequences. That is a huge breakthrough that you can share with the whole world or be constantly on horseback. Although this has a flip side, as for the radio itself as an object, this is a very incomprehensible and unnecessary structure now. I don’t even listen to the radio in the car. That would be cool in the 2000s.

4 Sep 2020 - 6:44 am

What a huge disappointment you say that 2CH will be on digital networks. I don’t believe that I am the only one with a digital radio in my car that continues to break up all the time as I’m driving , it’s useless most cars don’t have digital radios or Bluetooth facilities so it’s goodbye to 2CH in cars.

Katrina Woods
4 Oct 2020 - 10:32 am

So we will not be hearing the great music any longer on 2CH ?

Greg Williams, Long Time 2CH Loyalist
30 Oct 2020 - 2:48 pm

Thank you Craig Hutchison for wrecking 2CH. Along with three generations of our family I have been a loyal listener since I was a child. No more!
Why did you not go and start from new and build your own miserable sports station somewhere else down the radio band. I dearly hope that someone will have the passion, time and the effort to build another great CLASSIC HITS radio station that you took only weeks to destroy.
Sincerely Not Impressed

Anthony Dowd
6 Nov 2020 - 11:21 pm

Thank you new owners of 2CH for nothing. I have been a loyal and avid listener of 11702CU for 50yrs and without any warning except that the station was shifting to DAB.But instesd it switched to ANOTHER sports programme (which we the listeners needed like a hole in the head). Now we no longer have an “easy listening musiic” station. Well you have cured me of my habit of listening to 2CH

27 Nov 2020 - 8:14 am

I switched on the radio the first time in a month and a half and heard all this sport rubbish! Absolutely wonderful. ugh.
So the only station on the AM band that I enjoyed has been completely decimated. This is a real hole in the head for someone who only listens to radio when restoring old 1930-1950’s valve units.
They certainly won’t work on DAB.

I felt the writing was on the wall when they stopped advertising 2CH 1170 on the air, and taking it back to 2CH, and really pushing the DAB+ advertisements.
What a disappointment to say the least


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