The rebranded 2UE launched as Talking Lifestyle radio late in 2016, with rebranded Magic stations in Melbourne and Brisbane going online in February 2017.
It is one of the biggest radio brand changes in Australia since ARN launched its KIIS network and Nova Entertainment rebranded Classic Rock as smoothfm.
Key to the decision to choose Talking Lifestyle was Macquarie Media CEO Russell Tate, while implementation is under the watchful eye of former Ray Hadley show executive producer Michael Thompson.
As Tate told Mediaweek’s Kruti Joshi earlier this year, they were initially thinking maybe a sports station or perhaps a 24/7 news station before they went with Lifestyle.
Macquarie Media chief operating officer Adam Lang updated Mediaweek on progress this week noting that the three-station proposition was still very new.
Lang confirmed that Macquarie Media had looked at a number of format options. “Having two commercial news/talk stations in Sydney was ambitious. Only one of them has ever worked at the one time.” Lang was referring to how 2UE used to dominate with Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and John Laws. However, when Jones and Hadley swapped stations it was 2GB that gained the ascendancy.
“The second point we had to consider was that the medium- to long-term prospects for music on a commercial AM station were getting progressively difficult. It is a challenge to attract audiences and advertisers.” The growth of the smooth brand didn’t help the remaining AM music outfits in Sydney and Melbourne.
“We looked at options that could be complementary to our news/talk stations across the network. We considered our best option was for Talking Lifestyle.”
The options for clients at the new stations are spot packages or program partnerships. “We are able to offer clients of Talking Lifestyle something that we don’t offer a lot at our news/talk stations. We can give them input into the content in a longer form offering them a longer conversation with the audience regarding relevant subjects which can include engaging with the audience via phone calls.
“The talkback at the news/talk stations is much more about discussing the news and opinion.”
The new radio brand features a networked breakfast show with John Stanley and Garry Linnell. It was always thought that a networked breakfast show would be a challenge for commercial broadcasters. It seems to work OK for triple j and to a lesser extent for Radio National. Breakfast with John and Garry is the highest-rating program at all three of the Talking Lifesyle stations.
This is an excerpt of the full article, which appears in the latest issue of Mediaweek magazine.
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