There were Seas and Hots and Stars plus a bevy of bits and bobs, all the result of numerous mergers and acquisitions that over several years brought together the considerable resources of stations from Austereo, RG Capital, DMG, Southern Cross, B105, Triple M, FOX and 2Day, among many others, to arrive at an owned network that today boasts the broadest commercial radio footprint Australia has ever seen.
Finally, today, all those disparate names and call signs have been wrangled, distilled and reduced to just two essential elements – HIT and Triple M. Well, almost.
As the “pyramids” below demonstrate, while there will be mainly (but not entirely) two uniform designs, not all the call signs will change. Between Adelaide and Perth for instance, it’s kind of HIT and Mix.
Why? As successful a transition HIT107 has made from its former ego, SAFM, you don’t mess with a winning heritage brand like Perth’s Mix94.5 lightly. Similarly with FOX and 2Day.
In Gosford (Central Coast) and on the Gold Coast the SEA-FM call sign will be retained as will 2GO and GOLD respectively, mainly because the HIT and Triple M stations from Sydney and Brisbane bleed into the Central and Gold Coast markets.
Then there’s Townsville and Newcastle. They will keep their names too. Chief Creative Officer, Guy Dobson (left) explains, “The livery will change. Those markets will be wearing the Triple M colours and we’ll be saying on the air, ‘Part of the Triple M Radio Network.’ But TO in Townsville and KO in Newcastle have certainly been around for a long time in terms of brand… and big markets too. Surveyed markets as well, so we thought we’d keep them (the call signs), certainly for the launch.”
As complex as all that sounds, it’s still a lot clearer than the mish mash of brands that were under the SCA umbrella up until yesterday.
Even before the launch, locals in some markets, such as Toowoomba, where the call signs will change to HIT and Triple M, have taken a critical stance. According to a poll in the Chronicle, 75% of its respondent readers were against the changes.
“It’s easy to be against something in a poll when you have no idea about what the changes are going to be,” says Mr Dobson. “So, let’s just wait for the launch. The sun will come up, the radio station will still be there pumping the same old content out. It’ll just say Triple M. It’s no big deal.”
Judging by reader comments, the main concern is that local content will give way to more and more networked shows emanating from metro markets.
Mr Dobson is at pains to stress, “In regional markets, it’s all about local programming. Local Breakfasts, particularly and knowing where the parish pump is in those regions is very important.”
Having said that, it would be silly to waste all the talent and resources that SCA, as a group, generates on a daily basis, “Our regional Triple M and HIT counterparts will be able to pick and choose what they like from the metros if it sounds right and fits right… just as it has been up til now.”
The rebrand will undoubtedly result in some economies of scale in terms of collateral and web design while consolidating web traffic, but it is not about cutting local content, rather it’s about adding higher value content to that which is already there. “It’s the ability to get talent of the likes of Mick Molloy on, for arguments sake. We can run a national competition. On the business end there’s economies of scale for us but for the locals, they can take part in something that may have been outside the scope of a budget in Dubbo.”
The Triple M Network recently launched a Mid-Dawn talk show, Luke Bona Overnight. “That’s primarily a show we’re putting together for regional Australia but we’re carrying it on the metro stations too. I think it’ll be a great example of a show that will resonate right around Australia on the Triple M Network and branded as ‘On the Triple M Network,” says Mr Dobson.
43 stations including Metro. 40 Hit and 3 Sea.
Selected heritage and coastal stations will remain/change to Sea. This includes Sea FM Gold Coast and Sea FM Central Coast. These stations will still reference on air as being a part of the Hit Network.
29 pure Triple M stations, including Metro. 34 stations in the Triple M Network.
Selected heritage stations will change to a transition brand for twelve to eighteen months to introduce consumers to the change more softly. This will be for Gold FM Gold Coast, KO FM Newcastle, 4TO FM Townsville, and 2GO FM Central Coast. These stations will also regularly reference on air that they are part of the Triple M Network.
Under the regional rebrand there will be:
- 1 website for Hit network under hit.com.au
- 1 app for Hit Network
- *Average Daily Unique Browsers for Hit Network 209,007 (Nielsen October 2016)
- 1 website for Triple M under Triplem.com.au (except for the 5 independent brands)
- 1 app for Triple M
- * Average Daily Unique Browser’s for Triple M Network 200,883 ((Nielsen October 2016)