May 1st, 2006 at 07:15am
It is 7:15AM, which means Melbourne is in the midst of radio history. Melbourne’s two Southern Cross Broadcasting radio stations, 3AW and Magic (3EE), are swapping frequencies.
(Update 9/May/2006: Google seems to be directing people to this page, so I should probably inform you that you can find audio of the changeovers on 1278 and 693 on this page)
Right now at 7:15AM, Melbourne’s top rating radio station, 3AW, is operating on two frequencies, its old 1278kHz and its new 693kHz, whilst Magic (3EE) has temporarily disappeared. At 10AM, Magic (formerly of 693kHz) will take over the 1278kHz frequency, leaving 3AW on 693kHz, effectively completing the changeover.
So, 3AW was:
And is now:
Whilst Magic was:
And is now:
(Thanks to Chuck A. Spear for his assistance with the new 3AW logo, but they came good on their website so I used their larger version).
This probably has everybody outside Melbourne thoroughly confused, why on earth would Southern Cross Broadcasting want to fiddle with frequencies? Well allow me to explain.
The higher end of the AM spectrum is, for one reason or another (perhaps John B1_B5 can enlighten us here), more susceptible to electromagnetic interference, and as such, 1278kHz is virtually inaudible in areas of Melbourne’s CBD, and at various locations where reception is extremely important, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for their AFL coverage, whilst 693kHz is easy to receive everywhere. As such, it makes much more sense to move Melbourne’s top rating radio station to a frequency where it can be heard everywhere, and move a dwindling station to the less useful frequency.
Thankfully this isn’t a surprise to anybody who has paid any attention to Melbourne media in the last month or two, as it has been advertised and promoted quite heavily, with 3AW being given prominence (probably due to its popularity). One such example would be this press advertisement.
At midnight, both 3AW and Magic updated their websites. 3AW updated their logo and changed their flashing “we’re moving” graphic to a flashing “we’ve moved” graphic. Magic also updated their logo, and performed an update to the text on the front page of their site for the first time in a long time, making reference to a format change.
Magic 693 has entered a new and exciting phase in its history, shifting to 1278 on the AM dial.
From 10am Monday May 1st Magic 693 has become 1278 – The New Magic, playing The Best Songs of All Time.
This is our most significant change since the station launched on March 26th 1994, and we’re sure you will enjoy 1278 – The New Magic every bit as much as Magic 693.
Our new website is currently under construction with a host of new pages and features, and will be up and running in the very near future.
You can always tell that a station is having a format change when they use the word “New” to describe themselves.
3AW and Magic have also swapped open line numbers, with 3AW starting to use their new number during the AFL yesterday as a marketing tool to help advertise the frequency swap.
3AW talkback can now be reached on 96 900 693
Magic competitions can now be reached on 9696 1278
The frequency swap has the interesting effect of segmenting the Melbourne AM dial in a similar manner to the Sydney AM dial, with talk at the lower end and music at the higher end. This is the new AM lineup in Melbourne.
- ABC Radio National 621 (Talk)
- 3AW 693 (Talk)
- ABC Local Radio 774 (Talk)
- Sport 927 (Talk)
- ABC NewsRadio 1026 AM (Talk)
- SEN 1116 (Talk)
- Magic 1278 (Music)
- 3MP 1377 (Music)
I will offer some free advertising advice here, hopefully 3AW will consider it. The number “3” is perfect for this situation as it rhymes with the end a number of things related to the frequency swap, as such I am thinking that 3AW could have simplistic advertising along the lines of:
News and Entertainment on 3AW
Now in the CBD on 693
This would work very well on voiceovers, especially the latter one if they were to set up a stand outside the MCG. I can just imagine them now, standing outside the MCG running a loop of promos before the game featuring highlights of their previous AFL coverage, each promo ending in “3AW Football…MCG 693”. They could even hand out frequency locked radios if they wanted to. I think I’ve just stumbled on the best way to promote their AFL coverage now that it can be heard at the MCG, I’ll be sure to send them an email suggesting it.
A slightly different phrase “3AW Football, at the G on 693” could be used during the commentary of AFL matches for the first weekend. Rex, Clinton & Tony would have no trouble slipping that one in.
This is history in the making, I am looking forward to hearing the recordings to see how the 7:15 changeover was handled by both stations, and how Magic resume at 10AM.