Radio Sport wars in Melbourne

In Melbourne over the Christmas break, the third Cricket test has not been the only sport on the agenda. As the new programming and management team move to take over the 3AK frequency and rebrand it as the Sports Entertainment Network 1116 SEN, they have been scouting for broadcasting talent in the studios of their rivals.

Dermott Brereton, who was in negotiations to present Sport 927 breakfast in 2004, will not be heard on that station and instead will present Drive on 1116 SEN from 4-7pm, after his management team began talks with the new station and Sport withdrew its offer. The future of Sport 927’s Kevin Bartlett, who has hosted the breakfast show for almost
eight years, remains uncertain at this stage.

SEN has also signed AFL legends Garry Lyon, Tim Watson and Billy Brownless to do breakfast 6-9am, with Anthony Hudson on mornings until noon.

Mark Doran is expected to present evenings.

In total the new SEN is reported to have tried to poach about a dozen staff from racing and sports station Sport 927. Some production and sales staff are believed to have accepted offers, while some others are rumoured to still be in discussions with SEN. Many Sport presenters are reported to have rejected the SEN approaches.

Sport 927 is expected to launch its new lineup in competition to SEN on January 13, but the stations are certain to sound very different from eachother because of Sport’s heavy live race call commitments. Manager Noel Crowe sent a memo to Sport 927 staff warning them of impending changes to combat the coming of SEN before Christmas.

SEN will also face stiff opposition from 3AW’s dominant AFLcoverage with Rex Hunt during winter and ABC774’s national cricket coverage in summer. Triple M also broadcasts AFL calls with Eddie McGuire and John Newman and live broadcast rights for these major sports are not up for renegotiation in the near future.

SEN says its coverage will contain talk and talkback about sport, but has not gone public on whether it has secured any live broadcast rights. Australian broadcast rights for the impending Olympics and Commonwealth Games are also already tied up.

SEN is expected to launch its new format very soon.