Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will have a new radio format from next Monday 27 February 2017.
The Macquarie Radio Network is about to ditch the easy-listening Magic oldies format in Melbourne and go lite-talk with the new station Talking Lifestyle.
Talking Lifestyle will be heard at Magic’s current frequency 1278AM in Melbourne. The station will target a 45+ audience with its talk magazine format.
Presenters for the station will broadcast from either Sydney or Melbourne. The on-air line-up will include Ed Phillips, Catriona Rowntree, Nick Bennett, Dee Dee Dunleavy and Sabina Read.
The change of format is bold. Talk radio is expensive and the more cost-effective Magic music format was well established, especially in Melbourne after 10 years in the market. A jump from a music format to a talk format is a big gamble in radio, especially with a well-documented history of disaster.
In Melbourne initially, the big winner by default will most likely be 3MP. It already has a cross-over audience with Magic and those listeners will be the first to wander.
The biggest loser could possibly be Macquarie’s own 3AW that also has a large number high-rating of lifestyle shows with Denis Walter in afternoons and Philip Brady at night. The Talking Lifestyle format may send some 3AW listeners investigating the new station.
Melbourne audiences also have a recent memory of Melbourne Talk Radio, an ambitious assault in the talk radio market with expensive, high profile presenters. It was a complete failure so Talking Lifestyle will be a struggle to get off the ground.
2UE, the Sydney base for the new Talking Lifestyle station, has been working the format since September 2016. It experience a 1.2 point drop in the last survey of 2016 and had 3.5% of the Sydney market. Most of its audience was 65+ and even then it only pulled a 9.5 share of that demographic trailing fourth, well behind leader 2GB with 25.7%.
With radio survey one for 2017 ending on March 4, Talking Lifestyle will not have any impact. In fact, the first real result of impact will probably not be known until the end of survey three, finishing on May 27.
Talking Lifestyle will be live across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from Monday 27 February 2017.