SEN acquisition ends the music on 4KQ


Sports Entertainment Network has announced it has acquired the commercial AM licence, formerly 4KQ, in Brisbane.

The long held 693AM signal will become Queensland’s new home of sport, rebranded as 693

SENQ – with a sports focused format – aims to start on or around July 1, 2022, subject to completion.

With current commercial stations in place in Melbourne (1116 SEN) and Sydney (1170 SEN), the move is a major achievement in SEN’s eastern seaboard expansion.

It says SENQ will allow Queensland sports fans to experience wall to wall sports coverage like never before as the state’s only 24/7 sports radio station.

The breakfast program, ‘Breakfast with Pat & Heals’ hosted by Pat Welsh and Ian Healy, will be one of many Queensland specific programs earmarked to move onto 693 SENQ.

Queensland legend Cameron Smith’s show alongside former Bronco Denan Kemp, ‘The Captain’s Run’, will also be heard each Thursday from 9am to noon.

And Queensland made drive show ‘Sportsday’, with Gold Coast based Gary Belcher and Scott Sattler, will also find an additional home on SENQ.

SENTrack Brisbane will continue in its current format on the 1053AM frequency, as Queensland’s home of chasing, pacing and racing.

The move also signals the end of the 4KQ music format in Brisbane.

SEN Chief Executive Officer Craig Hutchison says he’s excited to continue SEN’s expansion within the Queensland market.

“We know Queenslanders love their sport. SENQ will provide a unique offering and constant sporting content like never before as Queensland’s only dedicated sports station. We already have great momentum with ‘Breakfast with Pat & Heals’ and I look forward to announcing more Queensland specific content in coming months.”

“We have great respect for the 4KQ brand and would like to acknowledge them in this period of change. While it will not continue in its current formats, we have huge respect to its role in Australian radio history and its legacy.

“Our business model is sport, and parochial sport is at the heart of that. Queenslanders love their state and its teams and we are excited to play our role in amplifying that passion.”

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (33)
Post new comment
Jayme Doran
5 May 2022 - 11:15 am

4KQ could move to a DAB+/Online only station (like what they did to 2CH in Sydney) and continue with it’s own Classic Hits
music log and local programming (No Networking with 2CH please. keep it local).

Once 4KQ switches to Sport it’s over to 4BH (as well as Magic 1278 from Melbourne via Streaming) for Music, I feel for the staff and on-air presenters at 4KQ, they are a great station in it’s current format and it is such a shame that they can’t continue in the current format on the AM Band (You Can Thank ARN for ditching them (they had
no choice due to the 2 station rule and wanting to keep River 94.9 Ipswich/Hot 91 Sunshine Coast) in favor of buying the former Grant Broadcasters Regional Stations).

Many 4KQ listeners In Brisbane will simply turn off 693 & the new format once 4KQ switches to Sport, Expect a huge ratings drop for them, it won’t be good for 693 Brisbane, A sad time in Brisbane Radio.

Bryce donaldson
5 May 2022 - 11:37 am

Sad day for Brisbane listeners! But I’d say Ace radio are rubbing their hands together. If they were smart they would clone 4KQ and put it on 4BH.

Ironic that Australian AM stations are following what happened with US AM music stations, they all mostly ended up traffic or sports stations.

5 May 2022 - 1:17 pm

You beauty!!!!
This will be brilliant for sports fans

5 May 2022 - 2:36 pm

4KQ’s issue, as outlined in press comments by the CEO and Group CD, is that despite the ratings it couldn’t be monetised…..the station’s cost base plus it’s much older cume mean that advertisers are difficult to attract. 50% of its cume are 65+.

Long time observer
5 May 2022 - 2:44 pm

I suspect either advertisers are easily convinced notwithstanding low ratings or SEN is focused on building a network for a takeover rather than ratings or immediate profit.
This story has happened before when ARN leased 5DN (todays Cruise) to SEN, ratings went from respectable to *. 2ch obviously has also tanked in the ratings (off a lower base than 4KQ or 5DN). This is all very strange from a traditional radio perspective.

5 May 2022 - 3:34 pm

This does not seem to make sense – KQ was top rating – why not improve the 1053 receptor and promote that better – does SEN track even participate in ratings ?

Agree 1116 will be the best beneficiaries

This sounds like another Macquarie sports radio in my humble opinion

5 May 2022 - 3:51 pm

Bryce – I’d go one step further and offer all current 4KQ talent, including off air staff, jobs on 4BH and transplant the lot.

One of the most successful music stations – never mind the fact it is on AM – is being destroyed for a sport format that will rate less than a quarter of its current number.

An era in radio is about to sadly pass into the annals of history.

Well done to all at 4KQ. You made great radio against the odds. Sorry to see it go.

5 May 2022 - 4:13 pm

This is nuts!

The ratings for SEN in Sydney are as bad as they were for Maquarie Sports Radio.

I understand there is a rationale for nationwide SEN yet the purchase of 4KQ equally alternatively presents a case for leaving it alone and restoring 2CH on the AM band.

A great shame. 4KQ is being lost because of a wrestle over ownership of licences. Nothing to do with performance which has been stellar.

What a shock yet what a big opportunity for Ace Radio’s relaunch of 4BH.

5 May 2022 - 5:54 pm


Andrew Hellewell
5 May 2022 - 6:44 pm

4KQ is an award winning radio station playing songs from an era that other stations don’t provide. Well if you at SEN are doing 24 hour sports, then I certainly won’t be listening to anything on your station. People in their 60’s don’t want a 24 hour sports station. Take this onboard you plonkers.

4KQ Fan
5 May 2022 - 7:36 pm

What a sad day for Brisbane radio. That station is legendary. So much talent on air as well as off air, started their careers there. It was the first station Bruno Bouchet produced before he became the talented man he is today.

Sad day!

Laurel, Gary, Mark, Nick and Brent you guys have always held that place together and made it what is was.

Radio Birdman
5 May 2022 - 7:37 pm

Well, we all saw what happened to 4BH a few years back when they went to sports radio (via a lifestyle format). And like some here have already suggested, we can predict that 693 will simply repeat history, flopping over into a heap. SEN doesn’t need to budget for ratings forecasts and analytics – 693 will simply go down the sinkhole, like Macquarie Sports Radio did.

It’s typical of these people down south, they know nothing of the Brisbane demographic and our tastes. They apply the flawed logic that what works in Melbourne and Sydney will work up here. This logic never works. It failed with 4BH, Hit105 and others (KIIS 97.3 will probably fail too), in what could be best described as a reverse Midas touch.

It’s not like we need any more sports radio anyway. You’d be a glutton for punishment, if you don’t think that Brisbane radio isn’t flush with sports. 4BH broadcast the AFL, Triple M broadcast the NRL & cricket, Radio TAB have their morning sports show and then racing and SEN already have their AM and DAB station in Brisbane!!

75 years of Brisbane history is flushed down the proverbial, thanks to some clueless southern owners. Goodbye Laurel, Gary & Mark. Goodbye Easter Countdown of 1000 Hits. Goodbye Brent James, Nick Michaels, Paul Kennedy, Murray Shoring, Dave D Whitcomb and news crew. Hello SEN693 and a massive ratings crash.

5 May 2022 - 7:41 pm

Your ideas are far from realistic and doomed from the start I for 1 will never switch to 693 ever again and I am sure thousands of others will be the same! I have never heard of SUCH A BAD DECISION. Going Down In Flames

5 May 2022 - 8:44 pm

Whilst SEN’s acquisition might end the music on 693AM, I’m not sure it’s curtains for 4KQ. There’s nothing in Hutchison’s comments that indicate 4KQ is ending, just changing formats. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same as what they did to 2CH – move it to DAB+/online only and retain some of the on air talent. It’ll be a shadow of its current self, but there’s still some merit in keeping it on DAB+/online.

Ian chapman
5 May 2022 - 9:28 pm

Hutches dosnt care bout numbers or music

    6 May 2022 - 8:58 am

    This comment has been edited to remove insulting personal comment.

Robyn Simpson
6 May 2022 - 7:41 am

Pretty sure they will lose more listeners than they gain.

6 May 2022 - 8:46 am

Some background. SEN currently has a deal with nine radio (3AW/2GB/4BC/6PR) where it purchased airtime (mainly sports shows) and have rights to sell advertising on those stations.

So before that deal was done when SEN would go to a big agency client and say advertise with us , the client could say you have no listeners and no national reach so the answer is NO.

When the deal with nine was done they could say but we will also give you ads on GB and AW, so basically riding on the coat tails of nine – that deal is ending in October.

SEN has purchased 4KQ so it has national network to sell. There is one major problem, outside a small (and shrinking) niche in Melbourne SEN has no audience, SEN Sydney has been a failure and I’m sure Brisbane will be the same.

So why would a national client advertise with SEN when there are no listeners to reach ?

Ratings watcher
6 May 2022 - 8:55 am


You forgot one thing. Formats like sport do not sell on overall ratings figures, which are driven by audience share figures that rely on long time spent listening and large audience numbers (cume). Sport formats don’t work like that – they try to get a big audience in breakfast but then get lots of small but loyal audiences for each game they cover at different times of the week, so sport stations will never get big audience share ratings…
BUT, what they do get are devoted sport audiences that buy sport and related products across a (almost) national network, so SEN can sell to those brands successfully without having to get big mainstream ratings results. That is their business model. Whether it will work or not in the long term will depend on how much they spend and how much revenue they earn from their business model.

6 May 2022 - 9:41 am

@ratings watcher

I agree they don’t need a big audience but they do need a loyal niche in Syd and Brisbane like they have in Melbourne. They basically have no audience in Sydney, last survey they rated 0.7. and if the same happens in Brisbane it is not sustainable as a national network.

6 May 2022 - 10:05 am

SEN are delighted with their ratings in Sydney and are the number one AM station with males 25-64 that like listening to sport and talk during the week in their shed

6 May 2022 - 10:12 am

Has SEN only bought the licence or bought the licence, plus the 4KQ name? Methinks there is more to come with this story. ARN has received $12m for a Brisbane AM licence. They already have an under-performing FM licence in the area. The 4KQ format was rating extremely well even though it was hamstrung by being on the AM band. How much better could it rate on FM? Maybe, just maybe, we might find out.

D- D
6 May 2022 - 10:25 am

@ Jaymee
100% agree with you.

Must have been put in the ” to hard ” basket

6 May 2022 - 10:56 am

This is a joke. The ACMA needs to take a good hard look at themselves. It is the 2-station rule that has caused this. The 2-station rule needs to be amended so that stations with some overlap (in this case River 94.9 and Hot 91) don’t count in the 2 station rule. ARN should have been allowed to keep 4KQ and KIIS in Brisbane. So because of the 2-station rule, a No. 2 rating music station in Brisbane gets blown up for a nil-rating niche sports station. What a complete disgrace.

Brisbane is a city of 2.5 million people but is woefully allocated only 4 commercial FM licences – the same number as Townsville with 200,000 people.

ACMA is a joke.

6 May 2022 - 2:12 pm

Shocks don’t get bigger than the demise of an icon like 4KQ. Especially as it’s most often the #1 Brisbane AM station. It says something about the advertising market & ownership structures that success by on many measure measures can still be rendered unviable in a matter of months.

It reminds me of the more common format flipping that goes on in the USA. Only 2 years ago a mass sell-off of licences took out iconic New York music station WPLJ (which got swallowed up by Christian K-Love network)

Getting beyond this shock, attention quickly turns to 4BH. For at least a decade misdirected by faultering network affiliation south of the border, with the latest iteration already in need of a pivot.

For starters, the need to pivot from “easy music” to the more subtle “greatest hits” that would vary the music tempo in favour of the misplaced 10 per cent of Brisbane listeners losing their 4KQ.

3MP, circa 1986, presents the case for Laurel, Gary & Mark to sign-off from 4KQ one Friday and sign-on to 4BH the following Monday morning.

I would also rescue 4KQ’s Saturday Night Jukebox and syndicate it to Sydney’s 2UE and Melbourne’s Magic (with Magic returning favour by syndicating Gavin Miller’s new Lunch Box program)

John Aitken
6 May 2022 - 2:46 pm

I couldn’t think of anything more boring, radio wise, continuous updates and repeats of ‘who left or joined the Broncos this week’, the music station hourly news or pre game wrap which you can read puts it all up with relatively little bias. Anyway, here’s the thing: This will be a super big FLOG to promote an online SportsBetting Company..BIG DEAL!

John Aitken
6 May 2022 - 3:03 pm

It was a strategic move by 4KQ to accept whatever the offer was to buy them out, they depart at the top and would have been paid good money for it, as well as attractive benefits to all staff involved. 4KQ didn’t have to sell, but was a good time to do it and good luck. $

70’s and 80’s fan
6 May 2022 - 5:37 pm

I would have liked 4KQ to move to the FM network and followed what 4KZ did in Melbourne and became Gold FM 104.3 where it has the number 1 breakfast show and does well though the day by playing Classic hits/Adult contemporary music.

6 May 2022 - 7:28 pm


Reality Check
7 May 2022 - 9:46 am

As a person who left radio 7 years ago, I’m now fully listening to the media as a true listener rather than a professional analysing a product. The problem is music radio particularly in cap cities is truly a dying medium and the gambling sector is truly profitable.

Sport is a growing sector (even if listening to it on AM radio isn’t) I firmly believe people absorb music radio much differently and much less than 10 years ago. Radio people who put posts up in disbelief and making statements like “well I’m off to 4BH” thinking it will have some impact are missing the point of what the industry is facing. 2day lost it audience when K&J hit the road and they have never got out of the rebuilding phase…. Triple M lost it’s audience when Mulray left but after rebuilds picked up after a few years with show like Denton attracting A younger audience… maybe there is just no younger audience left to come through.

I have a 16 year old the I did an allowance budget with last year who’s most important month spend was Spotify premium. My point is experts, (and armchair experts) stop analysing the product and start analysing what the (non) audience are doing. BTW personal opinion is they are not listing to podcasts.

Angus Moody
8 May 2022 - 6:21 pm

Being from Sydney, (please don’t hold this against me Queenslanders), I was one who during the PPCA dispute was forced to find new music channels and thank goodness for 4KQ!

The music play list is something that I could not have dream of and the ‘sizzling 70’s weekends’ are dreams for those in their late 50’s are simply made of.

Keep rocking hard 4KQ, you I am sure have many other 50 plus fans and you are going to be missed.

John Hayes
9 May 2022 - 12:49 pm

This is what’s wrong with the Corporates taking over what broadcasting is about. When 4BH kicked off with Steve Jacobs at the helm I knew their was something on the board for 4KQ, and yes here we go. An AM supposed ‘sports’ gambling station with all the odds boys. All the big business and the corporate dollars they can rake in ‘Brokelads’ come to mind. None of the Brisbane AM stations offer traditional essential formats and the staff are always looking over their shoulders, I have seen this first hand. The psychology experts advising around the formating and target audiences always get it it wrong when targeting the over 50s, very wrong. RIP 4KQ, it was a nice time and great ride . 4BH are now spruking “classic hits” of 60s~80s, if they could only remove those ‘funeral’ adds I may listen, perhaps. :l

15 May 2022 - 12:13 pm

I feel betrayed. I love the 4KQ format and all the personalities. I will miss them greatly and have no idea where to go to get the type of music I love to listen to, and the interesting commentaries that entertain me everyday.
I will continue to listen while the station still presents the current format, after that finishes I will never list to 4KQ or 693 as it will be called, again.
If I wanted a sports format I would pick Fox Sports thank you very much.

I hope, as suggested elsewhere in these comments, Laurel, Gary & Mark will get the chance to air on another station. If that doesn’t happen it’s probably not worht the electicity to turn my radio on again.


See all