What were Guy Dobson and Rex Morris thinking when they quietly bought two bush stations from Macquarie Southern Cross Radio two and a half thousand kilometres apart? Some thought that their company, Resonate Broadcasting, may be just acting as the front guys for a clandestine third party who had secret plans for the Warragul, Vic and Charters Towers, Qld stations.
“Not so,” says Dobson who can’t understand why there’s so much interest in why he and Morris bought the stations. Although the purchase price was undisclosed, Dobson says it represented good value. He would say that, wouldn’t he.
Not that he and Morris are making any real money from them. While 3GG, Warragul, which services some 185,000 people is doing okay, 4GC/HOT FM 95.9 in Charters Towers struggles with a potential audience of just 13,000. But costs are low. The combo employs only “two and a half” people and takes networked programming from former owner Macquarie Southern Cross Media most of the time.
“There’s no mystery,” says Dobson, “It’s an investment in the future. From little acorns big things grow. Who knows, Resonate may just be the next big independent network in a few years time. Once it was known that we had bought the stations, you’d be amazed at how many people came out of nowhere prepared to back us.”
Dobson has just signed a contract with Austereo to stay on as Director of Content for the group for the next three years during which time he and Morris will run the stations by remote control from Brisbane and Sydney.
After that, “I can’t be programming Austereo forever. I’m 42 now. By 46, I think I should be working for myself,” says Dobson.
In the meantime, Dobson says that owning, rather than just programming those stations, have given him a new perspective on the “business” of broadcasting. “It’s certainly given me a greater appreciation of sales. No point having great programming if you can’t sell it,” he said.