Posts filed under 'TV/Radio/Media'

Mary Jo Randle and other actors and stray television show ideas and thoughts

Of late I have been going through some of the older episodes of The Bill which I was too young to really see or appreciate when they first aired and which I haven’t already watched. I’m currently working my way, slowly, through the mid-90s. I am also working my way through Inspector Morse. I’d like to say that I’m rewatching Inspector Morse as I was of the belief that I had seen just about every episode, but the more I watch, the more I realise I haven’t seen most of them (either that, or they’re secretly filming new episodes and adding them to my DVD collection when I’m not looking), so in many ways I am actually watching most episodes of Inspector Morse for the first time.

The episode I watched most recently on the weekend was the 1990 episode “Driven To Distraction” and I was quite delighted when the familiar name of Mary Jo Randle came up in the opening titles. As I tend to do when a familiar name pops up in the opening titles of a detective show, I try to work out what role they will play before they appear on screen in person. In Mary Jo Randle’s case, I was expecting her to either be the mother or sister of the murder victim. But to my surprise and even greater delight, her first appearance in the episode was in a CID briefing listening to Chief Inspector Morse outlining the case, before effectively taking over the briefing. She was playing a Detective Sergeant on secondment from CID Training School.

This was particularly delightful because in the episodes of The Bill I’m currently working through, Mary Jo Randle plays Detective Sergeant Jo Morgan, and quite frankly her appearance in Inspector Morse could almost have been exactly the same character with the same mannerisms, personality traits, and detecting style. DS Morgan on secondment from Sun Hill to Thames Valley!

Mary Jo Randle as DS Jo Morgan in The Bill (image credit: ITV / Fremantle Media)
Mary Jo Randle as DS Jo Morgan in The Bill (image credit: ITV / Fremantle Media)

Of course the timeline doesn’t quite work. This episode of Morse was in 1990 and Jo Morgan was a character in The Bill from 1993 to 1995 until she (do we need a spoiler alert for something which happened 29 years ago?) took a bullet meant for then-WPC June Ackland. So I suppose she really would have preferred to stay in Thames Valley with Morse and Lewis.

I had a dream once that I was working for Chief Superintendent Foyle from Foyle’s War but was under investigation by my high school librarian and so got banished to Detective Inspector Frost’s office in A Touch Of Frost, and Frost told me not to worry about it because the worst they could do to me was transfer me to Sun Hill who were about due for another station explosion, before he demanded another cup of tea!

On the subject of actors playing almost the same character in various shows (and Richard Belzer actually playing the same character in far too many shows to count, doesn’t count), I recently finished re-watching Stargate Universe where Louis Ferreira played Colonel Young, and I have just started watching Motive, a Canadian murder-mystery show where he played Detective Oscar Vega. I have only watched the first episode so far, but it was almost Colonel Young Helps Solve A Murder. I’m sure Detective Vega will develop as a character, but at least for a moment it’s nice to imagine what else Colonel Young might be doing seeing as Stargate Universe was very unfortunately cut short after two seasons, when it deserved at least one more.

I actually have some thoughts on how a Stargate Universe movie could warp up the series, even after all this time, with a tie-in to Stargate Atlantis (which was also cut a season too short and it’s a pity the proposed direct-to-DVD movie to wrap up the loose ends never came to fruition), but I think I’ve prattled on enough for one post here, and that idea can wait for another day. Just like my idea on how to revive The Bill for a short series (hint: Lord Mayor Bob Cryer!).

Samuel

Add comment February 22nd, 2024 at 04:24pm

Nine gets the Melbourne Cup

Yesterday it became official, Nine is the new free to air rights holder for the Melbourne Cup. They take over from Ten who have been the main free to air broadcaster for the last few years after they defeated Seven for the rights a few years prior.

Unlike previous deals though, this one is a bit different. To the casual viewer it probably won’t be noticeably different as the coverage will probably be very similar to what viewers have seen on Ten and Seven. The difference is more behind the scenes where Sky Racing is actually the main rights holder, not Nine, and Sky gets to dictate terms for some of Nine’s content. Sky actually won the rights for this year’s cup onwards last year on the condition that they on-sell free to air rights, due to the fact the Melbourne Cup is on the anti-siphoning list and free to air television must legally be given the opportunity to air the event, and the Victoria Racing Club wanted to ensure the event remained prominent on free to air television.

Sky Racing is owned by Tabcorp, which in turn owns and operates the TAB brand in all states and territories except Western Australia. Tabcorp’s main incentive in buying the broadcasting rights to the event is in limiting the advertising of their rival betting outlets during Melbourne Cup broadcasts which, year-in-year-out, remain the horse racing broadcast with the largest audience of people who don’t regularly follow horse racing and probably take recommendations from the advertising as to where to place a bet. In the betting industry, obviously it is in Tabcorp’s interest to maintain and grow their market share, as it is for any operator, however they do make some money out of their rivals as many of their rivals offer products based on TAB totaliser pricing and TAB offers those rivals certain discounts to put money into the totaliser pool, which helps TAB maintain liquidity in the betting markets. That’s a whole other topic but the point is that Tabcorp won’t want to completely lock out their rivals from advertising, just limit them a bit.

This was one of the sticking points in Tabcorp’s negotiations with the free to air networks. Tabcorp insisted on some limits on non-Tabcorp betting advertising as well as less focus on “the colour” of the event such as fashions on the field and more focus on the racing itself and the betting markets. This is a problem for the free to air networks because casual Melbourne Cup viewers tend to like to see “the colour” of the event and watch for longer when it is shown, while the TV networks see horse racing as an advertising cash cow due to the fact it is one of the few events where almost all of the gambling advertising restrictions which apply to television cease to apply. Limiting the amount of gambling advertising during the event limits its appeal to the bean-counters who run TV networks these days.

This led to Ten and Seven withdrawing their bids for the event. Ten barely made any money on the last few years (probably due to producing very little else these days, thus increasing the production costs overhead on producing these four days of coverage) and Seven have horse racing from around the country every Saturday with existing betting partners and broadcast style, so changing that for a few days is simply not worth the hassle. Nine became the free to air broadcaster almost by default.

How much Nine are paying is unclear, but undoubtedly with all of the other sports they have at the moment, they see it as an opportunity to promote all of their other sports and other programs to viewers. The wording out of the Nine and VRC press releases is vague, but it seems that the compromise reached on gambling advertising is that TAB will be the only betting outlet mentioned during coverage and the only one whose odds will be displayed on screen, but other betting outlets will be allowed some advertising during commercial breaks…I would hazard a guess that TAB will get at least 50% of the commercial break gambling spots though.

We’ve come a long way since the days when Seven (and before them Ten) had absolute exclusivity over TV broadcasts of the Melbourne Cup. There was even a time there when Sky Racing could only show the race as a replay and nobody was allowed to stream the race live. If you weren’t near a TV, radio was the only option. Choice of where to watch has grown and that continues to be the case with the new deal, while radio continues to be pretty much a free-for-all with most stations running coverage of some sort.

Nine has the rights on free to air TV and will be able to stream on 9Now. They will broadcast all four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival live and free in HD. It seems they may be required to geoblock the 9Now streams to block viewers from outside Australia.

Sky Racing has the rights on subscription television (Foxtel and Kayo) and through pubs and clubs, as well as exclusive rights to international distribution and exclusive rights to distribute the race (via the Sky coverage) to the streams provided on the websites and apps of the various betting outlets. In previous years, Sky’s coverage has been quite limited, showing the race itself but otherwise mainly showing full-screen graphics of odds in the minutes leading up to the race while a handful of studio hosts pontificate on the outcome (my Melbourne Cup tips don’t give me bragging rights by any means, but I’m sure my strike rate on Cup Day is higher than Sky’s “expert” David Gately!). Presumably Sky will have an expanded presence this year, and possibly even utilise their Sky Thoroughbred Central channel which tends to focus on one or two meetings in more detail, compared to Sky 1 and Sky 2 which rapidly jump from the end of one race to the start of the next race all day and night.

Racing.com’s position in all of this is a mystery. This channel (available free to air and via streaming, and recently upgraded to HD on Foxtel) is a joint venture between Seven and Racing Victoria (not the Victoria Racing Club which owns the four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington). Since inception, Racing.com has had broadcast rights to every race in Victoria (having since added South Australia and Hong Kong, plus occasional other events) so when Seven had Melbourne Cup rights there was no issue with Racing.com continuing its more analytical coverage (compared to Seven’s coverage of “the colour” of the event) in parallel to Seven. When Ten got the rights, they allowed Racing.com to continue coverage on the proviso that none of Seven’s regular horse racing hosts were involved. Nine might not be so charitable considering Seven and Nine being closer rivals than Seven and Ten were, plus Racing.com is effectively a competitor to Sky Racing and has strong ties with a few Tabcorp rivals.

I have generally found Racing.com’s Melbourne Cup coverage to be superior to that of Seven and Ten for someone who actually follows the sport, so it will be a shame if they are unable to continue to cover the Melbourne Cup. That said, Seven have some high grade Sydney racing to compete with the Melbourne Cup carnival and there’s plenty of Victorian and South Australian racing on the same days as the Melbourne Cup carnival so I’m sure Racing.com will find something to cover.

Radio is interesting. There seems to be no real change here with who will cover the race. The racing stations continuing coverage as normal; Nine Radio remain the official distribution partner for the official VRC race call by Matt Hill (the same one you hear on TV); SEN has Gerard Whateley call the race across their national network; ABC Radio has its own call broadcast nationally; and various other stations around the country either buy access from Nine Radio or have their own commentary. The bit that is interesting is that Nine Radio (2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR) now have TV coverage of their own to promote so it will be interesting to see how much extra coverage these stations provide this year compared to previous years where the coverage was limited to a few minutes before and after and a couple crosses throughout the day. Nine Radio tends to heavily promote whatever their TV arm is doing so I’m sure this will be no exception.

In terms of coverage of the race itself, behind the scenes it’s actually the Victoria Racing Club which runs the production, funded by their broadcast partners, so race coverage itself probably won’t look any different to most viewers regardless of where they are watching. Different advertisers and a few more Nine personalities as talking heads, but otherwise the same as every year. And undoubtedly the fact that Seven has racing every other week of the year and shows Sydney races on Melbourne Cup day will lead to a few people watching the wrong channel and complaining that the big race wasn’t shown, as happens every year.

For me, I’ll probably end up watching the Sky Racing coverage and hope they’re actually hosting from the track and not their chromakey studio in Sydney, unless by some miracle Racing.com is allowed to broadcast.

Samuel

Add comment February 21st, 2024 at 08:25am

Shyley on British television

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time would probably recognise my two lovely Jack Russells, Shyley and Pebbles
Shyley and Pebbles

Well, late last year a few days before Christmas, early in the morning, Shyley and I were watching some British greyhound racing via the online stream of British free to air TV station SportyStuff.tv and their Greyhound TV program. For those of you unfamiliar with this station, it is similar to Australia’s Racing.com in a way as it is available free to air and free to stream, and carries a select number of races. GTV usually focuses on two greyhound meetings at a time, just as Racing.com usually focuses on two or three horse racing meetings at a time.

As I do sometimes when watching this, I sent them an email. But given the time of year it wasn’t really about the racing as such, it was more of a Christmas greeting. It was getting late in the program so I didn’t really expect them to get to the email or spend much time on it if they did, but as soon as the next commercial break finished, Julie started talking about how much she enjoys receiving emails from overseas, so I quickly started recording on my phone, and sure enough, Shyley made an appearance on British television!

video
play-sharp-fill

Direct link

I’m sure it was a thrill for her. When Pebbles got out of bed later in the day I showed her the video and she sniffed at it, possibly checking that I hadn’t duplicated Shyley and added to the puppy dog mischief in the household!

Samuel

2 comments February 16th, 2024 at 05:56am

Rush Limbaugh: Behind the Golden EIB Microphone (1996)

Here’s a video worth sharing with you.

This was originally sent out by post to subscribers of Rush Limbaugh’s “The Limbaugh Letter” in 1996. Back then, as was the case until Rush died in early 2021, Rush was the #1 talk radio host in America, syndicated to a radio station in almost every market in the country, and an incredibly influential voice in conservative politics and beyond.

I bought this VHS off eBay in 2015 and intended to digitise it and upload it. I didn’t get around to it until last year. In a way, I’m glad I waited as I was able to access much better quality equipment for the job than I would have been able to use in 2015. Alas with age and use the tape has deteriorated a bit so the playback wasn’t perfect, but now that Rush is no longer with us, it is a great memento of the wonderful years of his broadcasting.

Samuel

Add comment February 15th, 2024 at 05:33pm

Melbourne Cup 2015: Tips and broadcast information

Another year, another Melbourne Cup, although this year there are some interesting changes to the ways you can watch the Melbourne Cup which will be of great benefit to people who can not be near a television.

As usual, after the race I will provide complete results (including the complete finishing order) and the TAB dividends. It should be noted by prospective gamblers, given the number of people who may only bet on Melbourne Cup day and not be aware of all the ins and outs of horse racing, that bookmakers (which includes most of the online betting agencies) may offer different odds to those of the TABs…so the figures you see in the media may not match the odds on offer by your chosen betting outlet, and you should take this in to consideration before placing your bet.

My tips
My tips for the first three horses to pass the finishing post, in no particular order, are:
12. Sky Hunter
17. Almoonqith
23. Excess Knowledge

Scratchings
At the time of publishing there were no scratchings. If this changes during the day, I will update this post, but not until the afternoon.

Broadcast information
The race starts at 3pm Melbourne time (UTC +11).

The usual places on television and radio will be carrying the race, but with an extra television station and extra online viewing options to throw in to the mix. This makes the 2015 Melbourne Cup the most accessible Cup in history.

Television:
The Seven Network (through Channel Seven in capital cities; Seven Queensland in regional Queensland; Prime7 in regional NSW, ACT, and Victoria; GWN7 in regional Western Australia; Southern Cross Television pretty much everywhere else) remains the primary broadcast partner and will be running coverage pretty much all day, however this coverage is likely to be less focussed on racing this year and more focussed on the ancillary stuff such as fashions on the field and various associated social events. Seven will still cover the race and all of today’s other races at Flemington, but is likely to produce a broadcast aimed at more at the casual viewer than the fan of horse racing. This is because Seven has an agreement to air another racing channel.

Racing.com (channel 78 in metropolitan areas and most of regional Queensland, channel 68 in other regional areas, channel 522 of Foxtel, and also online…see below) is Victorian Racing’s own channel, broadcast through an agreement with the Seven Network and regional affiliates. The station offers a more thorough coverage of Victorian horse racing than that of Seven and is probably of more value and interest to people who are actually interested in horse racing, although it will also be a busy day for this channel as it will also be covering racing in Echuca, Wangaratta, Bairnsdale, Mildura, and Mansfield, however this won’t compromise coverage of the Melbourne Cup in any way as all of these other race meetings will take a prolonged break at 2:30pm. It is also worth noting that in most locations the Racing.com broadcast is at least a couple seconds ahead of the Seven broadcast, and in areas served by Prime7 and GWN7, Racing.com can be as much as 20 seconds ahead.

Online:
The big change this year is that live vision of the Melbourne Cup will be available online. Racing.com is undoubtedly the best place to go for this, however to access their stream you will need to register for a Racing+ account. This is free, but not something which you would want to do at the very last moment. Racing.com’s stream will be available worldwide. It is the only live stream of the Melbourne Cup which will be available outside Australia.

Channel Seven will also stream the Melbourne Cup live via 7live.com.au (where a Racing.com stream is available in addition to Seven’s coverage) and also via the Plus7 app. However these streams will only be available within Australia.

Various online bookmakers offer a relay of the Racing.com stream through their own apps and websites to account holders. These streams will only be available within Australia. These betting agencies include: tab.com.au, Sportsbet, Crownbet, Ladbrokes, Betstar.com.au, bookmaker.com.au.

Radio:
Very little has changed in regards to radio coverage this year. Many radio stations across Australia will take coverage of the race and some overseas will as well. I don’t have details for non-Australian radio stations, but the chances are that if you are outside Australia and have a station which regularly covers horse racing, it will probably cover this race too.

Inside Australia, your local racing station will definitely have full coverage of the race. The main racing stations are:
Melbourne: RSN 927AM
Sydney: Sky Sports Radio 1017AM
Canberra: Sky Sports Radio 1008AM. (Note: ACTTAB used to run 88.7 FM, however Tab Corp have bought and dropped the ACTTAB brand, and I can no longer receive a signal on 88.7FM, although it was never good in my part of town so might still be operational).
Brisbane: Radio TAB 1008AM
Adelaide: Radio TAB 1539AM
Darwin: Radio TAB 1242AM
Hobart: Radio TAB 1080AM
Perth: TAB Radio 1206AM

For non-capital cities, the frequency of your local racing station can be found at the following sites:
New South Wales (and some towns on the Victorian side of the border): Sky Sports Radio frequency finder
Victoria: Wikipedia’s list of RSN’s regional frequencies (which have unfortunately disappeared from RSN’s website
Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory: Tattsbet’s Radio TAB frequency list
Western Australia: WA Tab Radio frequency list

Of course you can also listen to the race online. The best station for this is undoubtedly RSN 927 in Melbourne as it is the originating station for the coverage which will be heard on other stations across Australia. They replaced their old Windows Media stream with an MP3 stream this year, which means it should work in pretty much every media player and every mobile device. Click the following link or copy and paste it in to your favourite media player: http://rsnshout.dyn.rsn.net.au:8000/rsn
This stream can also be accessed from RSN’s website rsn.net.au and from Racing.com.

This stream will get very busy, so if you can’t connect to it or have other problems with it, the other racing stations are your next best bet.
Sky Sports Radio: http://www.skyracing.com.au/index.php?component=content&Itemid=215&id=96 (and the old lower-quality stream is still available http://www.skyracing.com.au/index.php?component=content&Itemid=121&id=97). Both require Flash player.
Tattsbet Radio TAB: https://media.tatts.com/Tattsbet/radiotab_http.asx (Windows Media stream)
WA TAB: https://www.tabtouch.com.au/RRLive (to play in a browser with Flash Player) or http://racingradio.rwwa.com.au/live to directly play the MP3 stream. (The stream was silent when I checked it this morning, although given the local time in Perth at the time, it could have just been an overnight technical fault).

2GB in Sydney also usually take the race and have a decent capacity for listeners on their stream, so if none of the above work for you, then http://www.2gb.com/listen-live will probably get you the race.

The above stations are all also available via phone apps such as Tunein Radio.

Replays of the race:
Racing.com will have the replay of the race, however it will only be available within Australia, and requires registration (the same registration as their live stream). Seven will undoubtedly replay the race many times during the day and Racing.com’s TV station and webstream will replay the race many times during the overnight replays over the next few days. The closing stages will be replayed by most television news bulletins in the 24 hours following the race.

Best of luck for the race today. I hope you have a good day and remember to have fun but only gamble what you can afford to lose. As usual I will be back this afternoon around race time with all of the results.

Samuel

1 comment November 3rd, 2015 at 07:30am

Most 4BC presenters sacked, and 2UE starts to see presenter changes

The ramifications of the Fairfax/Macquarie Radio merger continued to unfold today.

Brisbane’s only commercial talk station lost most of its local shows with the breakfast, morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend presenters all sacked along with the staff who worked on their shows. Fairfax/Macquarie (what is their name these days?) Chief Operating Officer Adam Lang said in a press statement that the aim is to send some staff to roles in other radio stations in the network, but it seems clear that this will only happen for a very small number of staff.

At the moment, the new 4BC lineup has not been announced, but the word is that 2GB’s Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and Chris Smith will all have their shows broadcast live on 4BC from Monday. With Alan Jones taking next week off and Chris Smith likely to fill in for him also on holidays apparently, it will probably be a while before 4BC’s audience has the faintest clue who should be on the radio at any given time. There is no word on what will happen to 4BC at night, although it seems clear that programming will emanate from Sydney…either 2UE’s Sports Today and Mike Jeffreys or 2GB’s Money News and Steve Price. Weekends look set to be entirely Sydney-based programming apart from local news bulletins. No word as yet on the future of 4BC’s Sports Today program (Update 5:53pm: Former 4BC presenter Ian Maurice reports 4BC’s Sports Today has been axed. Weekday drive from 3pm is now the only remaining local show. End Update) but I won’t be surprised if it gets replaced by 2UE’s show of the same name.

For 4BC, this puts them in what I would consider an embarrassing position for a capital city talk station where they have less local content than some regional stations. 2CC Canberra, for example, will have roughly double the amount of local content of 4BC, and probably more once weekends are added to the equation. In a market where there are multiple commercial talk stations this might not matter too much (most US markets for example have multiple commercial talk stations, and even if they individually don’t have much local programming, you can almost always find something local on at least one of them during daylight hours), but when it is the only commercial talk station in the market it is a very sad situation indeed.

I will add one caveat to this…4BC has been performing very poorly in the ratings of late and this move might just be a way of buying Fairfax/Macquarie time to figure out how to rebuild 4BC with some local content in the future, without burning cash on shows which nobody is listening to at the moment. If that is the plan, then it might be fair enough even if it is a shame in the short term. If not, then I expect somebody in the next couple of years to flip an existing music station in to a local talk station to fill a void in the market.

4BC’s sister station, Magic 882, was not spared from the cuts and lost evening presenter Jo Henderson.

Meanwhile at 2UE, afternoon presenter Angela Catterns is the first show host to be shown the door under the new regime. It seems that she was told about her fate after her show had ended and was not given an opportunity to say goodbye to her audience. The sacked 4BC presenters were at least aware they were having a meeting about their fate after their respective shows today and had a chance to say something to their audiences. There is no information whatsoever on who or what will fill her timeslot, but given the cost-cutting going on around the network, I’d be surprised if somebody is just put in to her timeslot. Instead I’m tipping existing daytime shows to be extended and/or some daytime programming to come from 3AW in Melbourne.
Update 11:20pm: With thanks to kj who left a tipoff in the comments below, 2UE have confirmed that existing daytime shows will be extended to cover Angela Catterns’ timeslot. Stuart Bocking’s show has been extended by two hours and will now run from 9am until 2pm, and Justin Smith’s show has been extended by one hour and will now run from 2pm until 6pm.

I will simply say this. Stuart Bocking is more than capable of hosting an interesting five hours of radio day in and day out, but I worry about the quality of that timeslot when Stuart is away and a fill-in host has to fill that much time over multiple days or weeks. End Update

Also at 2UE, weekend powerhouse duo George Moore and Paul B. Kidd have picked an interesting weekend to have some time off. They announced at the end of their show on Sunday that they would be having this weekend off and will return next weekend. Although they are undoubtedly the most popular presenters on the station, I do have to wonder if they were a tad strategic with their timing…with all the changes going on, it is inevitable that people will hear their absence tomorrow, fear the worst, and voice their displeasure to 2UE…proving their value to Management at this point in time might actually be a very clever decision, even if it does turn out to be a purely coincidental absence.

Update 8:30pm: I have received an email asking about the fate of 4BC afternoon (12pm – 3pm) presenter Clare Blake. As far as I know, Clare has survived but her show probably won’t continue in its current form for very long as Chris Smith’s 2GB afternoon show is likely to be broadcast in to Brisbane. I can’t confirm anything about Clare at the moment but I am confident that she is continuing at 4BC as, apart from the bit of information I’ve received, her profile is still on 4BC’s website whereas almost all the sacked people have been removed from 4BC and 2UE’s websites. End Update

Samuel

3 comments April 10th, 2015 at 05:27pm

2UE produces its last news bulletin

The first major change in the merger of Fairfax and Macquarie Radio Networks has occurred this hour with Sydney’s 6pm news bulletin being the last one produced by the station’s own newsroom in Greenwich. The next news bulletin at 7pm will be produced at 2GB’s studios in Pyrmont and will be the same Macquarie National News heard on 2GB.

The 2UE news bulletin, read by Matt McDonald and Glen Lauder, included a report from 2UE’s Robert Spicer about the closure of the newsroom. Matt McDonald, 2UE’s news director, also had his own personal message at the end of the weather, as did John Gibbs at the start of the 6pm show Sports Today. I also note 2GB’s Ben Fordham had some nice words for staff at 2GB and 2UE at the end of his show as well.

2UE’s 6pm news and start of Sports Today:
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/Final2UENews-6pm-20150409.mp3]
Download MP3

A number of journalists at 2UE and 2GB have lost their jobs today as the newsrooms more-or-less merge. To those staying and those going, I wish you all the best of luck. I will be interested to see what happens to veteran 2UE morning newsreader Steve Blanda who went on leave at the end of last week, stating that he would be on leave for four weeks and didn’t know if he will be back. I hope he is.

It’s possible that this might not be the last thing produced in the 2UE newsroom in Greenwich as they have also been producing a three minute pre-feed news at ten minutes to the hour for a lot of regional stations. Production of that will shift to Pyrmont, but I’ll be interested to see if it goes tonight or tomorrow or at some stage in the future. I will keep you posted.

update 6:40pm: 2GB’s Pyrmont newsroom has been producing a pre-recorded news bulletin for sister station 2CH. This news bulletin has been shorter than 2UE’s prefed news (two minutes rather than three minutes) and has started with the line “With the latest Macquarie National News, I’m (name)”. I can confirm that the 6pm news on 2CH started simply with the presenter introducing himself “I’m Beau Mitchem” which is the format currently used for 2UE’s prefed news. It also ended with the line used on 2UE’s prefed news “that’s the latest news and sport” which is a change from the old ending line “that’s the latest Macquarie National News”. It did, however, run for just two minutes as has been the standard for 2CH’s pre-recorded news, but clearly changes are in the works. end update

Update 6:58pm The 3min 2UE prefeed is now being produced by 2GB. The first one has been read by Beau Mitchem. end update

Update 7:05pm 2GB has taken over production of the Fairfax 3 minute prefeed, and it has replaced the 2CH prefeed. The 3 minute prefeed bulletin just aired on 2CH and it was exactly the same bulletin as was available on the Fairfax Radio News app. 2UE and 2GB just aired their first joint bulletin, also read by Beau Mitchem. Audio of these bulletins will be forthcoming in a few minutes once I organise the recordings. End Update

Update 7:44pm
For the purposes of preserving the last moments of the 2UE newsroom, the standalone 2GB newsroom, and the first moments of the newly-networked 2GB newsroom, here is some more audio from 6pm and 7pm.

2GB’s 6pm news, read by Amie Meehan. This was 2GB’s last production of Macquarie National News as a standalone entity.
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1800-2GB.mp3]
Download MP3

2CH’s 6pm news, read by Beau Mitchem. Recorded shortly before 6pm, this was Macquarie’s last pre-recorded news produced solely for 2CH.
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1800-2CH.mp3]
Download MP3

Fairfax Radio’s 6pm national prefeed news, read by Lucy Brennan. This was recorded at 5:50pm and would have aired on a number of stations around the country. It was the last prefed news bulletin to emanate from 2UE’s Greenwich studios. (bulletin only with no opener as it was downloaded from Fairfax Radio’s website).
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1750-2UEprefeed.mp3]
Download MP3

From 7pm, 2GB’s Pyrmont studios took over production of these news services. Here is the live 2UE/2GB news as read by Beau Mitchem:
2GB 7pm
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1900-2GB.mp3]
Download MP3

2UE 7pm
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1900-2UE.mp3]
Download MP3

To my ear it sounds slightly clearer on 2GB, which would only be because it can be pumped directly in to the on-air equipment at Pyrmont, and for 2UE it would have to go over a network link and go to air via the on-air equipment at Greenwich, a situation which will probably change in coming months assuming 2UE gets moved to the Pyrmont studios.

7pm Fairfax National News prefeed read by Beau Mitchem, recorded at 6:50pm. This news runs for 3 minutes, whereas the old 2CH pre-record ran for two minutes.
This is audio of it airing on 2CH at 7pm. As 2CH is going to be sold in the coming months for legal reasons, I have included the weather and start of the show after the news as I expect the station’s imaging will probably change once a new owner takes charge.
[audio:https://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/FairfaxMacquarieNewsMerger/1850prefeed-2CH1900.mp3]
Download MP3

I should also note that Frankster over at Frankster’s Archive was recording 2UE’s 6pm news from DAB+ digital radio. The difference in audio quality between that and 2UE’s webstream is noticeable. If you want to take a listen he has the audio on his website.

End Update

Samuel

Audio credit: Macquarie Radio Network/Fairfax Radio Network

1 comment April 9th, 2015 at 06:21pm

Andrew Moore leaving 2GB to go to ABC Grandstand

The best rugby league commentator in the business is calling it a day at 2GB and The Continuous Call Team, and is off to the ABC. Andrew’s last day at 2GB will be Friday of this week when he finishes up his final show filling in for breakfast presenter Alan Jones.

Andrew Moore in the 2GB Studios during a live cross to Seven's Sunrise program, as seen on the 2GB webcam. 13 July, 2012. Image credit: Macquarie Radio Network
Andrew Moore in the 2GB Studios during a live cross to Seven’s Sunrise program, as seen on the 2GB webcam. 13 July, 2012. Image credit: Macquarie Radio Network

An announcement was made today about Andrew’s departure although at this stage there has not been an official announcement about Andrew joining ABC Grandstand, however I have had it confirmed that Andrew has signed a contract with the ABC and it has been common knowledge at 2GB for a number of weeks.

Andrew’s departure leaves quite a hole in 2GB’s top rating rugby league coverage. Andrew was chief commentator for a few years when Ray Hadley reduced his radio commentary commitments and expanded to television commentary, however Ray resumed his role as chief commentator of The Continuous Call Team last year, taking over some of Andrew’s games. This is the third high-profile departure from 2GB’s Continuous Call Team in the space of a year, as they lost commentator Joel Caine last year in a dispute with rival NRL broadcaster Triple M over Joel’s role as a betting odds spruiker on both stations, and expert comments man Steve “Blocker” Roach late last year in a bullying complaint.

It was rumoured late in last year’s NRL season, a while before Andrew apparently signed with ABC Grandstand, that Andrew would go to the ABC, and former ABC commentator David Morrow, a friend of Ray Hadley, would move to 2GB. This is starting to look likely, although there is still the prospect of 2UE’s John Gibbs returning to 2GB’s Continuous Call Team later this year after the merger of the two stations’ respective parent companies is finalised. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile it looks like Steve “Blocker” Roach may become a regular fixture on Triple M’s commentary team after doing some off-season work there.

Andrew’s departure from 2GB leaves more than just a hole in their rugby league ranks, as Andrew was a regular fill-in host for a number of the “big name” hosts such as Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and Ben Fordham, and hosted his own show “Wake Up Australia” at 4am on weekdays as a lead-in to Alan Jones’ breakfast show. I’m sure the hours were dreadful for Andrew given that he has a family to look after, but I thought Wake Up Australia was a perfect timeslot for him as he was very good at providing some early morning news and commentary while keeping a cheerful persona which works very well at that hour, and is a welcome change from overnight shows dragging their traditionally slower format all the way through to breakfast. I really enjoyed hearing Andrew at that hour, as I was often either finishing work or getting ready to start work…and I will especially miss my occasional chats with Andrew when I would call in at about 4:15am.

Michael McLaren will be taking over Wake Up Australia next week when the show returns from its summer hiatus, however as Michael has his own weekend overnight show, it is unclear if this is a permanent move.

One thing which may work in Andrew’s favour at the ABC is his television experience. For a few years he hosted an NRL panel discussion program for the Ten Network called “The Game Plan”. The show was probably part of Ten’s (sadly) unsuccessful efforts to secure some NRL rights and probably would have resulted in Andrew calling some games for Ten if they had been successful in gaining NRL rights. Alas once Ten’s bid for rights was unsuccessful, The Game Plan’s budget was reduced and it was shifted off to a multi-channel before eventually being cancelled.

Samuel with Andrew Moore in Ten's Pyrmont studios after the live broadcast of The Game Plan on September 15, 2011.
Samuel with Andrew Moore in Ten’s Pyrmont studios after the live broadcast of The Game Plan on September 15, 2011.

Unfortunately, unlike 2GB, ABC Grandstand do not usually post their commentator lineup online, so it could be a little difficult to know in advance which games he will be calling. I will certainly be listening to Andrew’s commentary as much as I can, but as I also like various other commentators at 2GB (Ray Hadley and Mark Levy in particular) and Triple M (Dan Ginnane and Anthony Maroon are both great callers, but I think they each work best with certain co-commentators) and so I expect I’m going to have an interesting year trying to figure out which commentary to listen to for any given match.

My very best wishes to Andrew. I hope he has oodles of success at the ABC, and maybe at long last will get to commentate on the Olympics! Good luck buddy!

Samuel

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article claimed that David Morrow had been sacked by the ABC. This information was incorrect. Mr. Morrow in fact resigned from the ABC after providing a large amount of notice. As this information has been brought to my attention, the article has been updated to correct this information. I sincerely apologise to Mr. Morrow for this error and any undue harm and/or distress it caused.

12 comments January 13th, 2015 at 06:57pm

Alan Jones live on 4BC Brisbane from next week

But for two weeks only, and surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming merger of Fairfax Radio (owner of 4BC) and Macquarie Radio (owner of 2GB).

Radio Today is reporting on the interesting move which will see Alan Jones broadcasting for an extra hour each day. He will present his normal 5:30am – 9am show on 2GB Sydney, and then broadcast for an hour on 4BC from 8am to 9am Queensland time (9am to 10am Sydney time) with a show dealing primarily with the upcoming Queensland election.

According to Radio Today, the show will air on weekdays for two weeks only, starting on Monday January 19, and wrapping up on Friday January 30, the day before the election. No word as yet on whether it will air on Australia Day. The report indicates that this show will only be for 4BC, but I won’t be surprised if it ends up on Macquarie Radio’s regional Queensland stations as well.

I dare say that executives across Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio will be keeping an eye on how this show performs, as if it goes well, there is every chance that Alan’s daily hour of highlights show will be fast-tracked in to the 4BC schedule ahead of the merger.

In related news, Alan isn’t the only 2GB presenter returning from holidays next week. I’ve heard promos today for Ben Fordham returning next week. 2GB were originally not going to return to their normal schedule until January 27, but it looks like that has changed and next week’s schedule might be very close to normal, even if one or two people are still away.

Samuel

1 comment January 12th, 2015 at 06:35pm

The 2015 2UE, 3AW, and 4BC presenter shake shuffle and confuse

It’s that time of year again where 2UE announce a bunch of changes to their presenter lineup. This year it involves the other east coast Fairfax stations in a bit of a shuffle.

The big change at 2UE is that Clive Robertson, the standout weekday ratings performer for the station (I shudder to think how low 2UE’s full-day ratings figures would be without Clive), is out. He is being replaced by Walter Williams whose show will be networked out of 4BC Brisbane. This show will be extended by an hour to run 7pm – Midnight instead of Clive’s timeslot of 8pm-Midnight. Fairfax Radio is saying Clive “decided not to return”, although the impression I’m getting from a few sources is that this is not entirely accurate. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything contradictory to it publicly though, given the contractual obligations on Fairfax and Clive.
This almost certainly means we will hear less of Mike Jeffreys who has been regularly filling-in for Clive.

As part of the Walter Williams move, 2UE’s Sports Today show with John Gibbs will be reduced to one hour, running from 6pm-7pm. Co-Host Greg “Brandy” Alexander left the show at the end of last year to focus on his Fox Sports duties.

2UE and 4BC will continue to run Luke Bona’s overnight show, however in a very unexpected move, 3AW will also take this show, replacing Andrew McLaren (no relation to 2GB’s weekend overnight host Michael McLaren) and Mark Petkovic who were apparently made aware of the decision yesterday. This is a peculiar move for Fairfax Radio in that Andrew and Mark work well in the Melbourne market but when Fairfax tried to network their show in to Sydney, Brisbane and regional markets in recent years it caused a massive listener backlash outside of Melbourne. Sydney presenters also rarely go down well with the Melbourne audience, so if this goes as well as the last overnight networking attempt, Andrew and Mark could be back after a couple months of holidays.

Even more odd for the overnights is that weekend overnights will be networked out of 3AW Melbourne (presumably presented by existing 3AW weekend overnight host Alan Pearsall, unless Andrew and Mark are moved to weekends). Back when the 3AW weekday overnight show was networked, weekends remained separate so that the 3AW show could focus on AFL and the 2UE/4BC show could focus on NRL. It will be interesting to see how 3AW’s show handles NRL discussion. This change also means that 2UE & 4BC’s weekend overnight host John Cadogan is out. He will fill-in for Tim Webster on weekend afternoons this weekend and then will be relegated to the subs bench, awaiting a fill-in job.

Update 6:36pm: A strange thing pops up when one does a Google Image search for “Alan Pearsall Radio”
Alan Pearsall on 2UE

To the best of my knowledge, Alan Pearsall has only ever hosted a show on 2UE briefly. This was when Tim Shaw in Sydney went on holidays while the Melbourne weekday overnight show was being networked in 2012, and so Alan’s 3AW show was extended to 2UE for two weekends. I’d be surprised if that was a long enough period of time for that image to have been produced, which makes me think it has been produced for the expansion of his 3AW show to the network.
Unfortunately I can’t confirm where or when that image was made as the page Google alleges it is on, shows no sign of it.
End Update

Of course, we still have the finalisation of the Fairfax/Macquarie merger to come in a few months, so this could all change again before winter arrives.

For the information in this post, thanks go to a few people who can be named publicly: Jason Morrison, John Cadogan, Ash Long, and Radio Today. Thanks also go to some people who can’t be named…you know who you are.

Samuel

1 comment January 9th, 2015 at 06:12pm

Shortland Street on a 7two hiatus until February

One of my guilty pleasures is the often comical New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Of late, 7two has been airing it roughly 31 months behind New Zealand television (and catching up slowly, I think) with episodes from May 2012 airing in the last few weeks.

Unfortunately as 7two will be filled with tennis for most of the day for the next four weeks, Shortland Street will not be on. The tennis tends not to clash with Shorty’s 9:30am airing in the AEDT timezone, but does in other timezones and so will not be airing, as this would cause some states to either be out-of-sync or miss out on episodes completely, and the overnight 4:30am-ish replay often clashes with 7two replaying old tennis matches.

For poor Dr. Chris Warner this means another month in prison while he waits to see if anyone can prove that he didn’t kill Hayley, and for me it means a month without such amusing low-budget shenanigans as the helicopter crash from the show’s 20th anniversary episodes which aired over the last few weeks on 7two.

Oh well, I suppose a month without Shortland Street gives me some extra time in my day to devote to other things, such as my dogs and this blog.

Update January 8: It looks like Shortland Street will be back a week earlier than I thought. January 26, Australia Day. I can’t thoroughly confirm this yet, but I’ll keep you posted. End Update
Update January 15: It is now confirmed by Seven’s advance schedules that Shortland Street returns on January 26 at 9:30am. The late night replay does not return in that week due to continued late night tennis replays. End Update

Samuel

3 comments January 5th, 2015 at 05:31am

A few interesting new year radio changes in the US

There are a few interesting changes happening in talk radio in the US to coincide with the start of the new year (or thereabouts).

Wall Street Journal Radio Network closes, but one show continues
The one which probably affects the most stations is that The Wall Street Journal Radio Network has closed down. This network provided a large number of stations with programming, including short-form business reports multiple times per day. Many affiliates of these business reports have switched over to taking reports from Fox Business Network which provides similar but shorter reports, although it probably leaves a number of stations without business and finance reports, especially if they were using Wall Street Journal reports while another station in the market took Fox reports.

Gordon Deal and Gina CervettiOf interest internationally is that morning news program The Wall Street Journal This Morning (and associated program The Wall Street Journal This Weekend) did not shut down when the network closed on December 31. In what I can only describe as a surprising but pleasing move, the program simply changed name (to “This Morning, America’s First News” and “This Weekend”) and distributor, and was able to keep most of its staff, and was even allowed to retain ownership of its existing podcast distribution process (hence the international interest). The show, which is hosted by Gordon Deal, did however lose newsreader Gina Cervetti, replacing her with a former colleague of Gordon Deal, Jennifer Kushinka. Gina’s last day was Wednesday, but was heard on Thursday’s New Year’s Day show in her normal role as that day’s show seemed to be pre-recorded and still had the old Wall Street Journal branding.

Making the transition even easier is that the new distributor of the show, Compass Media Networks, was able to retain the same satellite distribution channel and did not change the format for commercial breaks, which was probably a benefit to many of the broadcast affiliates given that the change happened over a period which traditionally has fewer staff on-deck to handle network programming changes.

Unfortunately not all affiliates are taking the renamed program. WCBM in Baltimore, for example, replaced it with a replay of the first hour of Coast To Coast AM for the Thursday and Friday of this week, and is extending the local morning show by an hour so that it starts at 5am as of Monday. Kansas City is an interesting one as well, as the show changes affiliate on Monday when it effectively “comes home”, moving from KCMO to KMBZ. KMBZ used to run The Wall Street Journal This Morning from 2008 until 2011 when it moved to KCMO.

KMBZ Kansas City splits AM and FM programming
Speaking of Kansas City and KMBZ, they have their own interesting change starting on Monday.
KMBZ's AM and FM signals splitting on January 5, 2015

KMBZ did what a bunch of AM talk radio stations did in the US in the early stages of this decade in that they added an FM simulcast of their AM station. This year, they’re splitting the signals and placing different talk programming on each one, with a little bit of overlap. This could be a growing trend in talk radio as I’m aware of at least one other station which has recently done the same thing…WTRC-FM (News/Talk 95.3 MNC in South Bend, Indiana) had been running its programming on WTRC-AM (1340 AM, Elkhart, Indiana) and last year split the AM station so that it has its own local morning show and does not take the FM station’s afternoon drive show, but seems to run the same programming the rest of the time.

KMBZ’s split is a bit more thorough than WTRC’s split. KMBZ has been running live and local programming through all of the daylight hours except for 11am-2pm when Rush Limbaugh’s national show is on (although Rush has strong ties to Kansas City so his show isn’t quite as non-local as other syndicated shows), and stayed live and local until 9pm when it ran Glenn Beck on a 13-hour delay, followed by Coast To Coast AM. The new format keeps live and local programming on the FM station through all of the daylight hours and through to 9pm, with only the overnight hours being non-local, but interestingly makes them all live as well, with nationally syndicated shows Ground Zero 9pm-Midnight, Coast To Coast AM Midnight-4am, and This Morning with Gordon Deal 4am-5am.

The AM station becomes primarily nationally syndicated shows with Darla Jaye as the only local host. Glenn Beck fans should be pleased to now receive his show live (albeit only two hours of it rather than the three they used to get), while Rush Limbaugh fans will continue to receive his show, and Sean Hannity returns to the Kansas City market after a year’s absence since KCMO dumped him when Sean split from KCMO’s parent company Cumulus Media in favour of exclusive distribution by Premiere Networks. America Now (currently without a regular host and being guest hosted by increasingly prolific Texas personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo) also airs live from 5pm-8pm, as does Coast To Coast AM Midnight-4am with a replayed first hour 4am-5am. Delayed airings of Herman Cain (8pm-10pm) and Laura Ingraham (10pm-Midnight) round out the schedule.

KMBZ is the market leader for talk station in Kansas City by a few dozen country miles and has been consistently gaining listeners for some time now. There is some serious strength in the new AM lineup from a national political talk perspective, while the FM station retains the local strength which has pushed KMBZ up the ratings board for some time, so it should be interesting to see how the split stations perform. I expect good results and wish the KMBZ team lots of luck with it all.

I regret that when I visited Kansas City I did not get in to town until late on Friday and thus heard very little of their local programming. Next time will be different.

America’s Morning News extends by an hour, competing directly with all hours of “This Morning with Gordon Deal”
Elsewhere, Talk Radio Network’s America’s Morning News (the morning block of their most-of-the-day syndicated all-news format) is taking advantage of the closure of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network and what, for a while there, looked like the closure of The Wall Street Journal This Morning, by expanding their show by an hour and running 5am-9am Eastern instead of 6am-9am Eastern (This Morning with Gordon Deal runs in hour blocks, live 5am-7am Eastern and repeated 7am-9am Eastern). They have also added a number of affiliates including KDWN 720 AM Las Vegas, boosting the number of affiliates to 160. The show seems to be especially popular among stations outside of the Eastern timezone where it can easily run as a precursor to local morning news/talk programs, and the addition of a 5am Eastern hour makes good sense as it makes it easier for Eastern timezone stations to take the show.

Buckley Radio no longer in radio
Also of some interest to me is that family-owned Buckley Radio has sold its remaining radio assets to Alpha Media. One of the affected stations is KNZR in Bakersfield, California, which is home to Inga Barks among others, and has an interesting and successful format in that the entire morning schedule (except the 5am hour Correction: The 5am hour “First Light with Dirk Van” is a nationally syndicated show after all and runs on KNZR on a three hour delay…it’s amazing how many radio shows can be sustained in the US as it means I’m constantly learning about them) is nationally syndicated programming (Coast To Coast AM, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh) and live and local programming fills all of the afternoon hours. Inga is a great host and often fills in for Mark Levin on his nationally syndicated show. I hope Alpha is kind to Inga and the rest of the Buckley stations…I don’t know about the rest of them but I do know the Bakersfield stations are successful and thus are in good shape to be treated well by the new owners.

2015 is certainly off to a busy start in talk radio in the US. I’m sure there are more changes than I’ve noted, and as is generally the case with this industry, I’m sure there will be many more changes throughout 2015.

Samuel

January 3rd, 2015 at 01:06pm

Fairfax and Macquarie Radio merger officially announced

After a number of failed attempts in recent years, and a heap of speculation over the weekend, the official announcement was made to the stock exchange a short time ago: Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio are merging.

The business mechanics of it are a tad complicated, but effectively what is happening is that Macquarie Radio is buying out Fairfax Radio, and paying them with Macquarie shares so that, at the end of the transaction, existing Macquarie shareholders will own 45.5% and existing Fairfax shareholders will own 54.5%. Five directors will be appointed to the board, two each from the existing Macquarie and Fairfax, and one independent.

To deal with the regulatory problem of being able to own only two stations per market, Sydney music station 2CH will be sold. While this sounds simple enough it will pose a few problems with staff at 2CH currently overlapping with staff at 2GB, especially 2CH breakfast presenter Glenn Wheeler who hosts Saturday nights on 2GB and occasionally fills-in on other 2GB shows, and 2CH presenter Kel Richards who is a regular night time fill-in on 2GB. 2GB’s Macquarie Radio News also provides news for 2CH, often in the form of a two-and-a-half minute pre-recorded bulletin. With a merger of the 2GB and 2UE newsrooms, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Macquarie pre-record is dumped in favour of Fairfax’s own three minute pre-recorded national news. Behind the scenes operations could also be adjusted in some way.

Meanwhile 2UE and 2GB face an interesting future for presenters as it seems unlikely from a business standpoint that they will run competing talk formats, and will either further soften 2UE’s format or change it completely. Update 15:21: A leaked email from Fairfax management to Fairfax Radio staff has been posted by Mumbrella, and it notes that 2UE will remain as a News/Talk station. They seem confident that they can grow the audiences of breakfast hosts John Stanley and Garry Linnell, morning host Stuart Bocking, and weekend morning power duo George Moore and Paul B. Kidd, which tells me they do plan on further softening the talk format on 2UE to appeal to a different demographic to 2GB. End Update. If talk is to be removed from 2UE (and that is a big “if”) then it is likely to take up a music format similar to Fairfax’s Magic format in Melbourne and Sydney, which targets similar demographics to 2CH (removed as part of update as this statement is now redundant).

I expect a lot of 2UE personalities will be brought across to 2GB in various degrees, probably as fill-in hosts at first. One which I do wonder about is John Gibbs, host of Sports Today on 2UE, who used to commentate on rugby league matches with Ray Hadley’s Continuous Call Team when it was on 2UE…as I understand it, Ray and John don’t get on as well as they once did, but with a vacancy on the Continuous Call Team caused by the (entirely unnecessary overreaction in my view) sacking of Steve “Blocker” Roach earlier in the year and a need to find efficiencies in the merged entity, it might be inevitable that Ray and John could end up working together again. It is also possible that, when AFL isn’t in the way, 3AW might take Melbourne Storm matches from 2GB, and when NRL isn’t in the way, 2GB might take Sydney Swans matches from 3AW, or perhaps 2UE will just start taking most or all AFL matches from 3AW rather than just Swans finals (although 2UE managed to get out of that contract this year somehow…so who knows).

Elsewhere, Fairfax’s 96FM in Perth is being sold to ARN (reportedly for $78 million). In the merged entity it is the “odd one out” as the only FM music station, so selling it makes sense even though it is not required legally as it does not take the merged entity’s number of stations in Perth over two.

Macquarie’s Queensland regional network (MRRN) will be sold, indicating that the merged entity if interested only in running stations in metropolitan markets. This seems like a shame, but probably makes sense given that Fairfax’s history of running regional stations is abysmal.

What this means for the possibility of the expansion of Ray Hadley and Alan Jones’ shows in to other markets is unclear. My tip is that Ray Hadley’s show will probably air live in to Brisbane on 4BC, especially given a large exodus of talent from 4BC over the last few years amid struggling ratings, and Alan Jones’ one hour highlights program will probably air on the entire network. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ray Hadley’s show is packaged as a highlights show for 3AW Melbourne and 6PR Perth. Whether the new entity will treat sacked 6PR presenter Howard Sattler or sacked 4BC/2UE/2GB presenter Michael Smith any better is a mystery, but one can hope.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Price is moved back to Melbourne and given a show on 3AW. Currently Steve Price has a show on weeknights on 2GB which he sometimes presents from Melbourne and sometimes from Sydney, with the Melbourne broadcast coming from the studios of RSN 927. His co-host for the first hour, Andrew Bolt, also uses those studios, with the lack of visual cues between the two combined with a slightly delay over the interstudio link causing occasionally clunky interactions. I’d expect them to both broadcast from 3AW’s studios from now on, and it wouldn’t surprise me if their show was to broadcast on 2GB and 3AW simultaneously, with possibly 4BC as well. That said, I don’t expect much of 3AW’s lineup to change.

This all hinges on the approval of existing shareholders (a vote will be held in March) and regulatory approval which shouldn’t be difficult given the sales of 96FM, 2CH and MRRN.

Interesting times in talk radio in Australia are certain in 2015.

Samuel

December 22nd, 2014 at 09:44am

An interesting radio interview coming up in about an hour

I have noted on a few occasions that Coast To Coast AM tends to have roughly one interview per month which interests me; today happens to be one of those days with the second half of today’s show.

From 5pm Canberra time / 3am US Eastern / Midnight US Pacific:

With over 20 years of experience in the field of sleep medicine, Dr. Robert Rosenberg, will discuss the science of sleep, and how technology, binge TV watching, and chemicals like energy drinks are changing how our brains function. He’ll address many of the bizarre disorders people experience while they are sound asleep– not only sleepwalking but eating and driving.

A few stations to choose from if, like me, you plan on tuning in:
KMBZ, Kansas City
News/Talk 95.3 MNC, South Bend, Indiana
WCBM, Baltimore

Samuel

July 31st, 2014 at 04:02pm

Friday Funnies: Sandy Roberts goes to Commentator Heaven

Fox Footy released a promo this week for Sandy Roberts’ return to television AFL commentary later this year, and it amused me quite a bit. I really enjoy Sandy commentating and have enjoyed having him on the radio over the last few years…I’m happy that his commentary will once again reach a wider audience on television though.

The fact that heaven in this case has AFL goal posts, and Sandy even lets out an “Oh my hat!” is brilliant. The apparent implication from the promo that Kevin Bartlett has also joined Fox as a commentator is also great news (but I hope he can still call games for SEN).

Incidentally, when Sandy left Seven last year, I wrote him a letter to express my gratitude for all he has done for sport on television and radio over the years and to wish him all the best for his next career stage at Fox Footy (I also said that I hope this doesn’t prevent him from doing some radio commentary still, as I think he works really well with both Rex Hunt and Peter Donegan). In the letter, I sent Sandy the lyrics for a song…back in the 1990s, John Laws had a jingle produced which started with the lines “Life ain’t so tough when there’s Lawsie / He’s good news to me” and he still uses it to this day. Alas I don’t have the audio on me to demonstrate the concept, but I adapted the song for Sandy.

Golf isn’t golf without Sandy
He’s on-par to me!
He can take a bogey
And turn it in to a birdie
And at the Aussie Rules
He sits next to the fat lady
She can start to croon
And “oh my hat” comes out of Sandy

He’s the voice of the golf you can trust
He’ll keep you going when you’re in the rough

I’ve got Sandy commentating
(trumpets sound)
Sandy commentating
(trumpets sound)
He’s a putter
He’s a driver
He’ll keep you out of the bunker
Ooon the front nine
(trumpets sound)
Aaand the back nine
(trumpets sound)
Sandy’s commentating!

I kind of hope that Sandy quietly let out an “oh my hat” when he read that.

Samuel

(h/t David Knox, TV Tonight for bringing my attention to the promo)

February 15th, 2014 at 04:44am

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