Auction process for Sydney and Brisbane announced

The ABA has moved a step closer to auctioning the new Brisbane and Sydney FM licences. It has invited applications for the new commercial radio broadcasting licences for Sydney on FM 95.3, and Brisbane on FM 106.9.

The application period will close at midnight on Monday, 22 March. Auctions will take place at a time yet to be announced, soon after the closing dates. The earliest the Sydney licence could be auctioned is after Easter, when AFTRS Show Radio Broadcast has finished using that frequency.

The ABA has promised to publish the names of registered bidders and their ACN/ABN numbers in a news release prior to auction.

The reserve price for each licence is $1 million, but the price is expected to be many times more than the reserve. Industry experts are speculating on a Sydney price that is somewhere between a low of $100 million and a high of $155 million, the price paid by DMG for Nova 96.9.

DMG needs a second licence in Sydney to capitalise on its ratings and earnings potential in Australia’s richest radio advertising market. Several foreign networks are also said to be interested, as are various existing regional networks, although the bidding is likely to prove too rich for many regional players.

The Brisbane licence will attract the attention of ARN, which would like to get another FM frequency in that city, as well as DMG and Hot Tomato.