Brisbane stations to be left out in the cold?

Brisbane stations to be left out in the cold?

Posted April 18th, 2011 by debritz

In his column in The Australian, Mark Day suggests that John Singleton is on the verge of buying radio assets from Fairfax. Day says Singo wants 3AW, which is blitzing his part-owned MTR in Melbourne, and 2UE, which competes with his top-rating 2GB in Sydney. But apparently he's not interested in the rest of the Fairfax Radio network, which includes 4BH and 4BC in Brisbane. If Day is on the money (and he often is), then will Fairfax hang on to the Brisbane stations, or will it find another buyer? Day doesn't speculate on this, but I will. If the stations are to be sold, who are the potential buyers? All of the existing players in the market have the maximum two stations -- except DMG (Nova 106.9) and ARN (4KQ), which share ownership 97.3FM, and could theoretically buy one of the stations between them. So,who from outside the tightly knit group of radio station owners would be interested? Perhaps Bill Caralis, who has mainly regional radio assets and has recently brought John Laws back to the Sydney and rural airwaves. If so, BH and BC would very quickly become cut-price operations, as Caralis's "Super Network" is not regarded as a big spender. While radio is by no means a sunset industry, it is undergoing a lot of changes, and anybody who takes on the stations would have to have a very clear strategy for them.
Meanwhile, there's news from former 4BC drive announcer Michael Smith. According to this Daily Telegraph report, one of Smith's producers Elizabeth Pearson, considered a rising star in the industry, has quit. The Tele reports that Smith's "chaotic approach to the program ... and blue-language sprays during meetings for his weekday noon to 3pm show left Pearson unimpressed".
Update: Jocks' Journal is reporting that Clive Palmer is said to be "putting out feelers" regarding the purchase of regional Queensland's Smart radio network. Might he be a buyer for 4BC and 4BH. Palmer is an outspoken personality, and it may be that the idea of owning a talk radio station such as BC appeals to him. (April 18, 5.10pm)