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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Kuttsy's Radio Pitch

The social media hashtag for this post is #kRpitch.
Kuttsy’s Pitch. A series so enigmatic that it has lasted nearly a decade. Nine editions on television, and a surprisingly popular variant in late 2014: on the broken QLD public transport fare system. But to come back for spin-off #2, it took one decision by a newly merged Macquarie/Fairfax radio network to gut 4BC from almost every shift being done in BNE, to just one/two in April 2015 (along with the afternoon shift moving to Sydney recently, as well as a constant fear that drive may be networked next, leaving no local content outside hourly news for 4BC) and the move to entirely source Magic882 (the old 4BH) playlist and all, from Melbourne in early November 2015 (which flopped hard, even after utilizing 2CH in Sydney: which was waiting to be sold off), eventually leading to the highly tipped conversion of 4BH/3EE to the Talking Lifestyle format (relayed in full from 2UE) in early 2017. The 4BC move however, was the impetus for what you see before you. This is Kuttsy’s Radio Pitch.



1985 4BC commercial, from FlemishDog on Youtube.

“The night cleaner at 4BC eyes the microphone, a fantasy forms”. 4BC commercial 1985, running joke on Twitter by moi, in 2015, in the wake of the changes at 4BC.

4BC as we entered 2016, approached it with baited breath, after the first real test of running the station out of Sydney: daylight saving, proved stagnant in last year’s final survey: 4.9% Mon-Fri, even worse 3.9% on weekends). One oddity out of it however was a shortlived spike in 25-39 demographic listeners (from 1.2% at survey 1 2015 to 4% in survey 7 2015, before crashing in Survey 8 2015 to 1.5%): the last time 4BC rated above 2% in that demo was in the last survey of 2011, four years earlier), since the quiet arrival (compared to the mass publicity for Hadley/Jones) of one networked program: Steve Price’s night program from 2GB in late August 2015. Price may be of similar age to Ray Hadley, and younger than Alan Jones, but has one key quality that both Jones/Hadley lack: a connection to younger listeners, through a regular slot on Network Ten’s Project program, and realizing that times were a-changing for talk. Another factor was the untried Chris Smith in the afternoon, who unlike Jones/Hadley (dating back to the 1990s) has never had a presence in the Brisbane market, that doesn’t involve a internet stream.
4BC needs to be at the forefront of any change in talk radio. That change is simply evolving with a new audience, not hanging on to a 55+ demo with one foot in the grave, the other foot clinging to a degrading AM signal. Another station, 30yrs ago faced a similar predicament. Melbourne’s 3AK changed formats twice in 1986: first was the move to a baby-boomer format (roughly what the 25-39 demo was back in 1986) after years of “Beautiful Music” (easy listening), which tanked when 3MP switched to easy listening in response to 3AK’s move, and then networked talk with 2UE in Sydney, which tanked due to the exact same issues 4BC is facing with Jones/Hadley/Smith, that many Sydney-specific stories (especially ones opening the day, e.g. what’s on in Macquarie St, or are happening live throughout it e.g. truck spilling dirt on the Harbour Bridge etc.) just don’t transfer well in other cities.
This is where a major change to 4BC has to be made. Everything needs to be on the line for this major change.  And it all starts with the greatest promotional campaign in the history of Brisbane radio.

THE PROMO PUSH: 4BC’S INDEPENDENCE DAY
The day 4BC goes 25-54 will be a major event in more than one way. It would be promoted with billboard and transport advertising en-masse along with a viral television campaign simply stating “4BC’s Independence Day is coming”, while not mentioning the frequency on the AM dial. Trademarks would be registered for “TalkBC”, “TalkBC1116” “TalkBC882” and “Brisbane's Heartbeat 1116” (to stoke rumors of an frequency switch and a new format for 4BH). The new name for the station would simply be “Talk BC” with the dual slogan, “Brisbane’s Calling/Chatting/(online)Commenting/(sports coverage)Cheering” and “You+Me=TalkBC” (modern twist on early eighties promotion when 4BC was mainly music: with Haydn Sargent being the station’s flagship). This wouldn’t be leaked to the media, with only few in the know, with the actual media launch happening the same day as the new format launches: they would only find out just as the listeners are.

THE FREQUENCY SWITCH.
This move to a new demographic should go hand-in-hand with a concept that has been theoretical since Old Southern Cross (pre-2007, when Fairfax bought Southern Cross’s original metro assets) bought 4BH, in Feburary 2003 to add to it’s ownership of 4BC. That move is simply to shift 4BC up the dial from 1116, to 882, with 4BH moving to 1116. A similar move was already completed by 3AW/3EE in May 2006, when the talk station moved to 693, to alleviate problems with the 1278 frequency not being received in some Melbourne locations. It is unknown whether 4BC has had major AM reception issues as Brisbane’s grown in the last decade, that could potentially impact on ratings. But the potential for 4BC to get a new lease on life away from the bottom of the dial (only three community stations are beyond 1116 in Brisbane) and possibly be between two ABC stations, that currently rate less combined than 4BC, may need to be the way to go. This would also see Brisbane align with Sydney/Melbourne, with MRN secondary format/EON's new 2CH AM music format mainly above 1000kHz (2CH at 1170kHz, 2UE at 954kHz and 3EE at 1278kHz) and MRN mainline AM talk formats all below 1000kHz (3AW at 693kHz and 2GB at 873kHz, as well as 6PR on 882kHz in Perth)
The frequency change can happen with the demographic change, as it’s the easiest way to simply say, this is a “new 4BC”.

“THE NEW 4BC”: RADIO FOR THE BOOGIECHECK GENERATION.
Talk radio in the 21st century, is a male-dominated field when it comes to breakfast. In fact, we counted the capital cities using a talk format on at least one commercial station, none had a female in lead. The first task is to change that perception. And it will only require one woman to achieve it.

BREAKFAST: Kay McGrath.
“Breakfast that doesn’t rely on second bananas: only the facts. Kay McGrath at Breakfast on TalkBC: Brisbane’s Calling”.
The recruitment of Kay McGrath, and potentially the elevation of a journalist from the 4BC newsroom (as a dedicated breakfast show newsreader) especially with Kay coming from outside the 4BC common sphere (i.e. never working on 4BC before) would be a clear sign that 4BC is ready to change. A Kay McGrath breakfast product would be more hard hitting than anything on radio today, and would be backed up by it’s own investigative reporters, consumer reporters and political reporters both in George St and City Hall to chase down a story, that doesn’t just start the day, but sets the focus for the day’s news by the time 6pm arrives. Kay’s longterm popularity over all the age groups is the reason why Seven’s 6pm news dramatically slumped on weeknights when Bill McDonald/Sharyn Ghidella were paired up in 2013.

MORNINGS: Paul Murray.
“It took 20 years, for Paul Murray to become a overnight success: Murray in The Morning, on TalkBC, Brisbane’s Calling”(based on early Hinch TV advertising)
The concept of bringing Paul Murray to Brisbane: even if done in the current 2CH studio in Sydney, once vacated: would indeed be a major gamble. The new mornings product would be as interactive as Paul Murray Live on television, including FB/Twitter feeds read, and would be the stepping stone for Murray to eventually replace Jones or Hadley at 2GB, five years or so down the road, when that station needs generational change: just like 2UE did when John Laws left in 2008.

AFTERNOONS: either a upstart journo given time to bed in, or a developing a daily radio version of the Courier-Mail’s paywall-exclusive “Cage Fight” feature.
-Journo-based: This would be a straight program, with regular guests and features, that make the show appointment listening.
OR.
-“Cage Fight” radio: Rotating panel of presenters, on both sides of the political spectrum, dealing out wholesome scoops over the news of the day both locally and internationally, along with taking listeners calls. This program is also designed to also have occasional interstate and overseas guests, taking the strain.

DRIVE: Ben Davis.
“When you hear “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, you know it’s time for the long drive home. Ben Davis: 3-7pm on TalkBC, Brisbane’s Calling.”
The good. The bad. The ugly. The refined Drive format, with Ben Davis (complete with “The Good The Bad and The Ugly” movie theme as his intro) is more designed to be a reflection of the day’s news, reported through a drive program that doesn’t just end at 6. With the new look program running a hour later than anyone else, along with more resources, including a dedicated financial analyst, and sports wrap.
TALKBC AT 7.
“Name me any local radio station that offers a truly local news wrap of the nation and the world? TalkBC at 7, is that wrap, where Brisbane’s Calling”.
TalkBC at 7 is a hourlong news wrap, of local, national and world stories, sourced from not just MRN’s news resources, but from major radio news suppliers overseas, such as CNN Radio, ABC News from the US, and Sky News Radio in the United Kingdom.

NIGHTS: Existing Steve Price product from 2GB (Mon-Thurs NRL season, Mon-Fri outside NRL season)/Continuous Call Team Friday Night.
Basically, the existing format running on 4BC now: the only program to have even encouraged success since the night program was networked in to Brisbane. Continuous Call Team expanded to include a proper CCT-branded team in Queensland, to tackle local NRL games and the occasional cricket match.

WEEKENDS:
-Sports Saturday/Sunday: New weekend breakfast program devoted to sport.
-CCT QLD: New QLD CCT team with a Sat/Sun pre-game show.
-CCT: Existing  lineup with Ray Hadley etc. If a QLD home game is played, QLD CCT team will call.

OVERNIGHTS:
Completely Brisbane-based. A presenter would be appointed to do the midnight-dawn shift, Mon-Fri. Sat/Sun presenter would also be appointed.

NEWS:
The young blood in 4BC’s newsroom should stand up and take charge, especially after the disaster that previous managements have left at Cannon Hill. Alongside this, there would be the hiring of some experienced journalists to mentor this newsroom, that is currently struggling to come across, a radio newsroom like 4BC/4BH needs to be run like a modern television newsroom. That doesn’t mean hiring endless ex-athletes as sports presenters, journos hired because of their surname or their accent may make the news sound better: it means bringing up better sports journalists with credentials, that are worth talking about, bringing up better radio journalists that don’t have the name recognition now, but will be able to earn it and most importantly, bringing up a new breed of radio newsreader, that can seamlessly go to television and ply their trade: after all, the current set of television newsreaders will eventually retire: and there will be no digital puppet or robot replacing them, it will have to be people themselves.

As I said in early January, 2016 (a expanded version of a FB comment, for you lucky ducks reading Kuttsy’s Radio Pitch): in response to the people who think bringing Greg Cary back, or Gary Hardgrave back, or even Peter Dick back, will turn the tide better than Jones… or with someone fresh to talkback, while the station blew a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean, and start anew with Brisbane listeners.

If only 4BC used 1/1/16 to relaunch a fully local lineup. Until that happens, people will simply listen to stations like 4CA in Cairns online (just like they listened to 2GB online when the NRL was off 4BC in 2013) that provide more local content than what 4BC currently does just to get Queensland issues from a Queensland voice.
A revitalized 4BC can happen by recapturing the past while also looking forward to the future: including possibly targeting a audience that is more attached to their phones than ever before (yes, a younger demographic), along with recruiting fresh faces to build brand loyalty. A 4BC stuck trying to recapture the past with the past will fail. That is why Dunn and Skippen failed at breakfast: Both presenters had a combination of 50+ years experience with music-predominant radio, including nearly 15yrs together doing CHR Top 40 at 4BK/B105. This is the exact reason why Jones/Hadley are getting 6% ratings with their respective shifts networked into Brisbane instead of anything higher (purely because they were networked in highlight packages into Brisbane in the pre-97.3 past, when Jones was on 2UE), while Spencer Howson: who has been at Aunty through the hard times of the Toowong closure/relocation to South Bank, is hitting figures at breakfast now that are the highest any radio station, FM or AM, commercial or ABC/SBS, in Brisbane have received for that shift since the introduction of a fourth commercial FM station 10 years ago, let alone third commercial FM station to Brisbane in 2001. All because 4BC abandoned Brisbane (the same “B” in 4BC, 4BH’s “B” refers to Bald (Hills), instead of a fresh approach to the medium to take the Howson challenge on.

Which leads us to other options:
ACMA INTERVENTION.
What the “intervention” model is, simply ACMA stinging MRN over the decisions made at 4BC and 4BH concerning local content, with the addition of additional conditions to both licences, that at minimum, local content (that is, Brisbane produced content, not rebadged programming from Sydney/Melbourne), must air weekdays from 5am-7pm and from 5am-12pm on weekends, in much the same fashion 3MP was made to separate formats by the ABA twenty years ago, after acquiring 3EE in Melbourne, only to simulcast 3MP on 3EE’s higher frequency: the result being the creation of the original Magic Melbourne format, a station focused on the music of the 1940s-1960’s: a higher tempo “Beautiful Music”, if you will. This can be done quite efficiently, and with a great deal of speed, compared to most investigations concerning radio, along with some public inquiry sessions, and possibly the risk 4BC’s licence may not be renewed, if the local content restrictions weren’t met.

SELLING 4BC/4BH.
This can either be mandated by MRN due to falling revenue from the advertisers that remain, or by ACMA after a investigation: simply, the act of selling the station could also be the trigger for a full return of local content to 4BC, after all, there are many shrewd businesspeople that would really love a AM station in Australia’s third largest market. There is the Grant Broadcasting operation, owners of River 94.9: (which would require one station to be off-loaded: but, there is history with a Ipswich/Brisbane operation: 4IP reached out to Brisbane from Ipswich in the 1960’s, before eventually relocating to Brisbane proper, and River 94.9’s predecessor (Star 106.9) briefly owned 4BH, operating both stations out of Ipswich, restoring 4BH’s honour (after a slew of formats, including talk, during the mid 1990s) in the process) and of course, there is Bill Caralis’s Super Radio Network: led by 2SM in Sydney: which could see the return of John Laws to his former Brisbane station (whose 2SM program is currently carried by Redlands community station 100.3 Bay-FM) along with the possibility of a stronger music format for 4BH, a adaptation of the “Fun Super Digi” digital radio station format.
And then there is Capital Radio: who have a long standing partnership with Grant Broadcasting: which could give a major revitalization to 4BH’s playlist, while allowing for a fully Grant owned 4BC/94.9 partnership with a critical tap into Brisbane’s ad market (possibly even seeing 94.9 carried as a digital station on 4BC’s digital radio multiplex), to reach for the sky.

And with the mention of 4BH: we now look at what our vision for an potential updated format for 4BH could look and sound like.
BRISBANE'S HEARTBEAT

Talking Lifestyle has been a massive failure, networked out to Brisbane and Melbourne. The former Magic stations are now getting ratings sub 1%, and are now options worth avoiding on the radio dial. The next move is whether or not an new format is viable, especially as it would be starting from the ratings basement. Our vision for a future 4BH format is as follows:
-A return to music, and local presentation: with the former Melb/BNE Talking Lifestyle stations once again being run locally by program directors based in each city with different formats and brands, instead of being plugged into a satellite dish coming out of 2UE in Sydney. A reminder: 4BH had it's highest ratings in the 21st century, when it wasn't attached to it's Melbourne sister station by brand or content.

-A return of the 4BH brand, which was tossed away for Magic in 2014. The emphasis on the heritage brand, would be strengthened, by on air branding as "4BH 882: Brisbane's Heartbeat".
-The new music format, would be similar to the format that SmoothFM has made successful in Sydney and Melbourne: a combination of easy listening and adult contemporary.
-The rebooted 4BH would launch with a countdown similar to 4KQ's annual Easter Top 1000 Countdown: albeit with the top 882 easy listening/AC tracks of all time, the countdown ending with the beginning of the new 4BH weekday breakfast product (potentially looking at a big name in EL/AC music, (like Michael Buble) doing the intro for the new format).
-Commit to nurturing the new 4BH format for a five year run. A ratings goal should be that 4BH would be rating what 4BC is rating now, within two years of launch. 


MTR AND 4BC: COMPARABLE BEASTS?
At this time, we ask: Is the 4BC gutting in 2015 comparable with the disaster that was the conversion of 3MP (the very station that benefited from 3AK going babyboomer, then talk in 1986) to "Melbourne Talk Radio" in April 2010 (a partnership between the pre-Fairfax MRN and Pacific Star Network (which incidently, turned the old 3AK into a mid-range success with the SEN sports-based format in 2004): Despite it having two big names, Steve Price (yes, the same Steve Price doing evenings for 4BC, 2GB and 3AW today) at Breakfast and Steve Vizard at Mornings, the station shut down abruptly, after millions of dollars of losses and ratings below 2% of Melbourne's listening audience, in March 2012, six weeks short of it's second birthday.

And that was with a schedule with more content produced locally by MTR, than 4BC is running today.

Unfortunately for MRN: they now risk a similar disaster to MTR in Brisbane, all due to demographics: the real ratings problem for 4BC is the 55-64 demographic, that is now switching to other stations as alternatives: just ask ARN: who now constantly have 2/5th's of the 55-64 demo (i.e. nearly 40%, doubling KIIS/Gold's and KIIS/WSFM's combined numbers for 55-64 in Melbourne and Sydney respectively) in Brisbane thanks to the format/presenter changes at 4BH and a 4BC that isn't interesting enough to switch to, as well as a focus on 25-54 demo (which 97.3 is as dominant in, as the younger demographic) which has somehow leeched out into 55-64 success. This is leaving one demo, 65+, the demo that has one foot in the grave… and is at severe risk of dragging MRN in Brisbane down with it, unless change is rapidly made, to a talkback format that also risks dying with the presenters who have used it as a pulpit for so long.

After all, a market comparable to Brisbane in size, in the US: Baltimore, in Maryland can support local presenters on WBAL, from 5am in the morning to 6:30 at night, in a much more tightly run radio marketplace than Brisbane: with sixteen FM stations and nine AM stations, offering a wide range of formats (where as Brisbane's commercial FM format range is limited, and the commercial AM format range is very limited after 4BH dropped music in Feburary), for a wide amount of tastes.

CONCLUSION: THE ART OF TALK, AND RADIO'S CHANGING FACE

But as we leave, Kuttsy's Radio Pitch: we take a trip back nearly 25 years, to the last time such dramatic format changes, as the ones that have happened in the last two years happened in Brisbane AM radio.
In early 1994, both 4BC and 4BH came up with the same format, to try and solve four years of woe for both stations, after 4BK became B105: (4BH, missing out on a FM conversion in 1990, due to financial issues, and 4BC losing racing broadcasts to 4TAB (a rebadged 4IP, itself struggling, until the QLD TAB (now part of Tatts Group) bought the station) in 1991, followed by a major attempt to plug the gaps the end of QLD TAB sanctioned racing broadcasts had left, with what was, and still is a niche format in Australia: country music (already tried by 4KQ in the mid 1980s), before the Lamb family (owners of 2UE) bought 4BC). That format, was talkback radio. However, 4BC had a clear advantage over 4BH in the talk stakes: with the Lamb's links to 2UE, which saw John Laws's morning program syndicated to Brisbane, and highlight packages for Alan Jones introduced, alongside a local schedule, spearheaded by the signing of Rod Henshaw from the ABC. However, it all rode on the first survey of 1994: which produced a major shock to the entire Brisbane radio scene, a byproduct of 4BH abandoning it's "bright and beautiful" music format (that had been the station's lifeline since the mid 1970's, notably making 4BH one of the few members of the original Macquarie Network to not be news/talk (a move that wound up successful in the long term for 2GB and 3AW) for talk and a new brand: "New 882"...




Story on 4KQ's shock win in 1994 from Reegs75 on Youtube

That shock was, 4KQ winning that first survey of 1994 by a mere .2% , toppling the FM dominance of Brisbane radio since the mid 1980s (when FM104 was getting a third of Brisbane's listening audience, on it's own) resulting in the final survey won by a AM commercial station, in the Brisbane market to date. 4BC's slicker talk product, rated higher than 4BH's talk product (but not as high as 612, which coaxed Haydn Sargent out of retirement, to air against John Laws relayed from 2UE on 4BC and New 882's "housewives' champion", Colin Greatorix (who promised to take 35 Brisbane calls each morning: even today, still a hell of a lot more than what 4BC takes during Jones/Hadley's shifts (probably 5-10 Brisbane calls a day total), however: and 4BH eventually reverted to easy listening (with the station sold to Star 106.9 in Ipswich, then ARN (who co-located the station with 4KQ at Stones Corner until 97.3's launch forced another sale, this time to DMG Radio), and finally to "Old" Southern Cross in the lead-up to DMG aiming for a new Brisbane FM licence: what became Nova Brisbane) eventually regaining a decent ratings position (until the late 2000s, when 4KQ again overtook 4BH's ratings, eventually leading to the Magic 882 rebrand (made at 5.6% share in January 2014, followed by the decision to network in Magic 1278 from Melbourne (made at 3.2% share in Nov 2015) followed by Talking Lifestyle (made at 2.5% share (inc. breakfast at 2.2%) in Feb 2017): while 4BC thrived with commercial news/talk, well into the first decade of the 21st century, until, the ABC elevated Spencer Howson to breakfast: taking 612 to ratings heights that many had forgotten a AM breakfast show could reach.

And a shock like 1994: could be in the future, especially if 4BH's "lifestyle" conversion, suddenly adds 2% more to 4KQ's total figures, as more people discover "Talking Lifestyle" isn't what it is cracked up to be: the most recent survey revealed that 4BH was only getting 1% of the total audience in Brisbane: as well as the unknown of what long term impact the retirement of Spencer Howson will have on 612, whose replacement had a entire survey's head start on 4BC, let alone the event of 97.3 losing Robin Bailey, to 4MMM, and what impact that could cause to the FM dial once again, in the long term.

It will only take a change in upper management, at MRN to address the demographic elephant at the door at Southgate Ave, Cannon Hill. And when that elephant in the room is addressed, then and only then will 4BC, return to a stronger ratings base. After all: with the last survey that had Jamie Dunn doing breakfast, in October 2010, 4BC and 4BH combined pulled 29.1% of the 55-64yr audience. Today, 4BC and 4BH is lucky to get 7.3% combined of that same audience, two thirds less than seven years ago: something that hasn't been duplicated elsewhere, due to far stronger, more relevant talk formats in Sydney and Melbourne, that can weather the impact from a poor-performing Talking Lifestyle. Network talk, cannot work if it's the sole focus of a station: 3AK and 2UE proved it 30 years ago with the CBC experiment, and now 4BC, 4BH and 3EE (and to a lesser extent: a weakened 2UE) have proven it in a changing world.

It is now simply a matter of time, before MRN realize their mistake: especially if there ends up being a generation of Brisbanites, maturing, (particularly the 40-65yr age bracket (with emphasis on the 40-54 side of that bracket), which had their radios tuned to Stereo 10 and FM104 30yrs ago as 10-35yr olds, as well as witnessing the majority of the big changes in Brisbane radio in the last 37 years:
-Commercial FM's launch with FM104 in 1980.
-4IP becoming Radio 10, later: Stereo 10.
-4KQ switching to classic hits from country music in 1987.
-Stereo 10 becoming Lite and Easy 1008 in 1988, then back to a updated 4IP format in 1989.
-Triple J's arrival in Brisbane in 1989.
-4BK conversion to FM (B105) in 1990.
-4IP converting to racing broadcasts in 1991.
-Aforementioned format changes for 4BC/4BH in 1994.
-The allocation of new commercial FM licences (97.3 and Ipswich station Star 106.9 converting to 94.9 in 2001, and Nova launching in Brisbane on 106.9 in 2005)

-Digital radio finally arriving in 2009 as well as the rise of the internet: at the same time.)
This same maturing audience will likely not know the art of quality commercial talkback emanating from their own home town, like their predecessors (who clung to Haydn Sargent: who knew the talkback artform like it was second nature and was rewarded with listeners sticking like glue for twenty years) with a realistic comparison to the successes 2GB, 3AW and FiveAA are today (i.e. Sydney and Melbourne's commercial talk leaders have had talk formats for over 30yrs, and have had relative stability in breakfast lineups for the last twenty years (2GB having Alan Jones doing their breakfast shift since 2002 and 3AW's Ross and John breakfast shift running since at least 2000, while Adelaide's sole commercial talk station is only 40yrs old, and is punching above it's weight: with a talk format for half it's history, filling a major gap in the Adelaide commercial radio market caused by the AM-FM conversion spree of the early 1990s) in stark contrast to the six permanent local breakfast lineups 4BC has had since 2000: 
-John Miller solo (2000-01).
-Then the addition of Ross Davie to John Miller's solo product (around the time Old Southern Cross bought 4BC, trying to emulate the success with "Ross/John" at 3AW) (2002-2005).
-the addition of Peter Dick (with John Miller going to drive): making "John and Ross", "Peter and Ross" (2005-2008).
-Jamie Dunn and Ian Calder (2009-2010).
-Peter Dick returning to breakfast with Mary Collier (which eventually lost Peter Dick, due to health troubles) (2011-2013).
and finally, -Ian Skippen and Lorretta Ryan (2014-April 2015):

Overall: a average of a new local breakfast lineup, almost every three years at 4BC.
As I mentioned earlier: commercial talkback is a artform: and like all art, it takes a long time to produce a masterpiece. And, if you want to make that masterpiece out of 4BC: it cannot be done from a Pyrmont studio and beamed in for 21hrs a day, only having breaks for token Brisbane content such as news bulletins and a sole local shift. This new commercial talk radio masterpiece, has to be produced in Brisbane, with content relevant to Brisbane, and involve Brisbane, every step of the way.


As we close the second spin-off, just before the sixth radio ratings survey of 2017 arrives (and the nineteenth since the 4BC changes: it'll be twenty-one surveys since the changes at years end): it still asks many questions, about MRN’s motivation concerning 4BC. Did they really think Queenslanders were stupid enough, to think that Alan Jones for breakfast would first outrate a established local program, let alone a schedule that will eventually consist of three minutes of news per hour with local content being pretty much nonexistant on both 4BC and 4BH, sold by a promotional team that thinks that the best advertising for their current breakfast product is on the side of a taxi and a television campaign calling 4BC "The Power Station": and a sales team plugging the "only commercial talk advantage"? With today’s ratings (5.8% share 10+, 6% share 5am-midnight: all due to all other shifts rating weaker than Jones), it continues to prove that MRN’s futility in almost running a pure relay of 2GB, on Brisbane airwaves and selling it as a successful ratings proposition is nothing but a pipedream, while they are continually reliant on the oldest of all the demographics: 65+, while having no idea on how to attract new listeners to replace the droves that left 4BC and 4BH in the last decade for the ABC, for ARN's 4KQ and the ARN/Nova JV 97.3, other stations (inc. Ipswich's River94.9 and community stations such as Bay FM in Cleveland (who until recently carried John Laws's morning product from 2SM into Brisbane) and most critically, the internet: which has opened the doors to streaming radio from all over the world.

The one thing that a commercial AM frequency has in a city like Brisbane, is value. Where is the value in 4BC, that MRN spent so much on to merge it's own network with Fairfax's radio network, if it isn't being used to transmit Brisbane's stories, to Brisbane ears?
Localism, is what gave birth to the radio dream at 4BC nearly 90yrs ago. It is now time, to revive that dream for a new century. Simply, make local radio matter once again at Cannon Hill, before we lose it for all eternity.


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