Media Monday: Staff cuts and line-up changes at 2UE, Magic 1278 and 4BC, The Australian launches subscriber benefits

In Australian media news this week, Fairfax Radio’s Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane radio stations announce on-air line-up changes following job cuts due to Macquarie Radio Network merger, The Australian launches subscriber benefits, NewsLifeMedia launches new websites for Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia, Macquarie Radio Network set to broadcast a Gallipoli special, and Nine Entertainment Co announces it is selling Nine Live to focus on its free-to-air, digital and subscription streaming services.


Changes to Fairfax radio station line-ups

Fairfax’ radio networks announced a number of staff changes last week following the company’s merger with Macquarie Radio Network. Media Watch reported this week that the entire newsroom of Sydney’s 2UE lost their jobs. The merger has led to the loss of at least 50 jobs.

Fairfax this week released statements announcing the following changes:

Sydney: Talk 2UE 954

  • 2UE has extended the programs of Stuart Bocking’s mornings to 9am to 2pm, and Justin Smith’s afternoons to 2pm to 6pm, and
  • 2UE breakfast with John Stanley and Garry Linnell will keep its 5am to 9am timeslot.

Melbourne: Magic 1278

  • Breakfast co-host Kevin John, weekday and evening presenters Peter O’Callaghan, Ric Ditchburn and Peter Van, and one other staff member will leave the station,
  • breakfast co-host Jane Holmes will remain, and
  • fill-in presenters including Mike Brady will take over on-air roles during the survey break.

Brisbane: 4BC

  • Alan Jones will host breakfast on Mondays to Fridays (networked 2GB program),
  • Ray Hadley will host mornings (networked 2GB program),
  • Clare Blake will host afternoons,
  • Ben Davis will host drive,
  • Ross Greenwood’s ‘Money News’ program will be added between 6pm and 8pm weekdays,
  • Mike Jefferys will host evenings (2UE networked program), and
  • ‘The Continuous Call Team’ NRL program from 2GB will continue on Friday nights and weekends during the football season.


The Australian launches subscriber benefits program

The Australian has announced the launch of The Australian Plus, a suite of benefits, experiences and exclusive offers for digital and bundle subscribers of The Australian and Business Spectator.

Benefits will include:

  • ‘In conversation’ events with editors,
  • private dining at exclusive restaurants,
  • corporate hospitality at major sporting events, and
  • discounted offers and competitions from premium partners.

In the first month of launch, members can also access:

  • Complimentary subscriptions on leading titles including The Wall Street Journal, The Times and selected News Life Media titles,
  • member-only offers on the Eureka Report and Barrons Asia for investors,
  • a competition to win a five-night luxury accommodation package for two in Thailand with COMO Hotels, and
  • a 30% offer off HarperCollins books: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and The Anchoress.

The Australian chief executive officer Nicholas Gray said: “The Australian Plus was created on the back of research engaging both subscribers and casual readers of The Australian who told us they valued the idea of a program that gets them closer to the quality journalism they subscribe to.”

The Australian’s digital subscription base grew 15% in the year to December to 65,735.


Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia get new websites

NewsLifeMedia has launched new websites for Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia that take advantage of the brands’ growing mobile audiences.

The fully-responsive sites feature social sign-in and sharing, faster-loading responsive image galleries, improved search tools and simplified membership functionality.

The sites also host a greater number of rich media ad units, which are available across devices. The social sign-in will capture audience data.

NewsLifeMedia lifestyle publisher Nick Smith says the company is also investing in its digital editorial teams to boost content output and analytics, driving ‘data-driven editorial’.

Earlier this month, the company also launched Buro247, which targets a “younger, affluent fashion and lifestyle consumer”.


Vogue new website screenshots all devices

Macquarie Radio Network to broadcast Gallipoli special

Macquarie Radio Network talk back stations 3AW, 2UE, 4BC and 6PR will broadcast a special national program from Gallipoli on Saturday, 25 April to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing.

A live dawn service hosted by Justin Smith will air from 10am to 1.30pm in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and from 8am to 11.30am in Perth.

“We’ll be talking with some pretty special people while we’re there,” Smith says.

“After 100 years it’s amazing how much people understand about what happened. And they always want to know more. Australians have become so eager to show respect. It says a lot about who we are.”

Smith covered the Anzac Day dawn service at Afganistan’s Tarin Kowt base in 2013.


Sale of Nine Live

Nine Entertainment Co. has announced it will sell 100% of its live events, ticketing and corporate hospitality business, Nine Live, to Affinity Equity Partners for $640 million.

“With the sale of Nine Live, our focus now is on optimising the performance of our free-to-air TV, digital and subscription streaming businesses and maximising returns to our shareholders,” said NEC CEO David Gyngell.

The sale will boost returns for shareholders, putting NEC in a net cash position.

NEC will retain a commercial relationship with Nine Live.

In New Zealand, Nine Live has partnered with MediaWorks to launch a new events company, MediaWorks Nine Live.

The company will focus on theatre, music and exhibition events, starting with Amplify festival, an international ice hockey tournament, and Irish music act Celtic Woman.


Michelle Herbison
BY Michelle Herbison ON 20 April 2015
Assistant editor, Marketing Magazine.