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What You Think

User Opinion Story
Anthony The Koala
24 March 2021 - 10:46pm
The saga of 3MP's changing format continues.....

According to this article, 3MP enjoyed top ratings in Melbourne despite being licenced for an audience in the Mornington Peninsual and poor signal reception in Greater Melbourne.

Yet moves to improve 3MP's signal coverage have been raised in 2011 and the ACMA was ready to change the licence conditions accordingly, reference, https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/3mtr-may-get-power-increase .

It is likely that the improvements to 3MP's signal strength have not been carried out most likely due to the over $20 million loss by the then owners, Macquarie Media alone when running 3MP as MTR 1377.

So the issue of signal strength and reach in Greater Melbourne continues today as this page said. Yet 3MP topped the ratings with poor signal strength.

As a result, it can be said that management is in full control of its program content. One ratings survey result under new management ACE is not enough to indicate 3MP's success. Several surveys are needed to indicate a trend.

The article and "nigel's" post suggests that a central studio as in the former Rowston St and Bendigo St are not needed given the staff in the regional areas can produce a professional product live or voicetracked and deliver the program content via the IP networks.

Nevertheless, despite notions held by some in the professional radio community that AM as a music format is dead, let's not forget 4KQ's ratings results being 4th in the market and 50% lead (3% higher) above talk station 4BC, reference: https://www.radioinfo.com.au/sites/default/files/NewsImage/Brisbane012021.png

When it comes to music format, 3MP was a beautiful music/elevator music format such as 2CH. The format topped the ratings in Melbourne and Sydney. Beautiful music was associated with the verb 'relax' and 'relaxing' is associated with 3MP's current slogan.

But 'relaxing' is not restricted to the formats of yesteryear and is not a particular genre. People can relax with classical music and they can relax with heavy metal music.

One poster to this site mentioned how his friend, a scientist was relaxing to 3MP when it was playing "classic rock". The scientist was not happy when 3MP changed from "classic rock" to sports.

Having sampled 3MP and not having a problem with the music played, it seems to be another variation of the "hits-and-memories"/"golden oldies"/ "classic hits" format. It's a hackneyed format and there is likely to be overlap in stations using this format.

The "beautiful music" format of yesterday with lush string arrangements, orchestral arrangements of contemporary adult hits and crooners has been ditched world wide. It is not unique to Australia and the circumstances leading to the dropping of the format and not resuming the format are different.

For example when 2CH was taken over by Wesgo in the late 1980s, the "beautiful music" format was dropped and ratings never returned to its "beautiful music". Ironically in 1992, when 2SM went from a "Lite 'n Easy" format to an automated "Muzak"/"beautiful music" format, its ratings went from 4% to 7% then flopped down never to get above an asterisk rating.

Should there be a return to "beautiful music"? This site knows that my music tastes are wider than what the radio station defines as relaxing or beautiful music.

I believe that people's tastes in music may well be wider than a radio station's music format for a target market and is not reflected on air.

Perhaps the late Mr John Brennan was right when he said that program/content directors should go outside the demographic. He said that in the context of radio presenters, but it may well apply to the music.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting, dynamic and opinionated Belfield
3MP: Can it rise from the ashes?
24 March 2021 - 11:56am
3MP is often cited as an AM station station with inadequate coverage across its licence area which is true. 3MP's licenced service area is the Greater Melbourne metropolitan area, the same as the other commercial broadcasters in Melbourne.

I can only suspect that at sometime in the past the Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula licence areas were merged together, but the Rowville transmitter site was never intended to provide coverage into the inner city or Western suburbs. A similar thing happened with 2WS in Sydney which was originally licenced to only the Western suburbs of Sydney. Ultimately the Western Sydney and Greater Sydney licence areas were merged as a result of court action by the owners of 2WS and 2WS were actually successful in winning an FM conversion bid.

In all honesty, it is no longer possible for any station to provide adequate AM coverage across Melbourne with a 5kW AM transmitter. The only AM services in Melbourne that provide adequate coverage are the two ABC services, which operate at 50kW.
3MP: Can it rise from the ashes?
24 March 2021 - 10:34am
Magic 1278 also came back from a disastrous sports format the same as 3MP. Magic is beating 3mp in the ratings is because they play better music and the AM signal spreads around Melbourne where as MP am signal is absolutely crap. No wonder MTR didn’t survive.
3MP should go the way of the old 3AK format which was the beautiful music format. The only way ACE radio and 3MP will survive is that they go FM and the federal government must improve the DAB+ signal as it keeps dropping out.
3MP: Can it rise from the ashes?
24 March 2021 - 2:17am
Insightful article as usual Brad. A few history points to mention about MP. Brian Simpson PD and his team of polished announcers took the station to the top of the ratings launching a true easy music format in the late 80’s. It was successful until the mid 90’s when they split the market by launching Magic 693 around 1994 after simulcasting MP on both frequencies for at least a year. 693 had been the failed 3EE male skewed AWA talk based station. Magic 693 took a large chunk of MP’s older audience playing the unforgettable songs 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and Johnny Young on live breakfast with DCS voice tracking the rest of the day. It was still all out of Frankston, with a Melbourne sales team based at the old 3EE studios in St Kilda Road. Unfortunately, the parent company APN needed to sell both stations when they secured TTFM and Gold FM. 3AW purchased them and had to off load two stations as they already had 3AK. Fusion media, a Christian organisation picked up 3AK, which moved to St Kilda Rd and Golbourn Valley Broadcasters, owner of some Shepparton commercial stations, stepped up to the big smoke to run MP out of Frankston, ironically, using some unknown regional talent. It apparently failed and Data and Commerce picked it up and 3AK, which was relaunched as Talk 1116. Both stations were moved to Richmond and eventually 3AK was leased out to Danny Steffari to create SEN 1116. Danny launched SEN in Adelaide a year or so later by leasing the frequency from ARN (APN) which became Cruise when he hit financial difficulties. DCL continued to operate SEN as 1116 SEN due to copyright issues and apparently not being prepared to pay the creditors a reported fee of $50k for the brand. Somehow DCL became Pacific Star after various issues with DCL and 3MP had been reasonably stable with a heritage line up of legends in the early 2000’s including Sean Cosgrove, Greg Evans, Jane Holmes, Peter Tarnawski and I recall the late Peter O’Callaghan, with both stations under the guidance of PD Peter Butler. After the failed MTR experiment in 2010, MP came back as MY MP, which had continued run on DAB during the entire MTR period until the plug was pulled during drive on a Friday night. MY MP was a very a mix of 70’s and 80’s, similar to Gold FM at the time, not surprising as both My MP and SEN were under former Gold FM staff member Mark Johnson as PD. My MP was re launched as 3MP featuring the old jingles as a nod to the past including the famous Mike “up there Cazaly” Brady jingles. The music didn’t seem to change much, but live and voice tracked shifts were reinstated with Johnson and SEN staffers including Eddie Olek and John Tamb. Some paid weekend shows were introduced too including Jim the Trading Tutor, that Radio Show and Richard Stockman’s Big Breakfast. The station was relaunched as Classic Rock to pick up the audience from MMM’s Classic Rock DAB station when it closed. It was jock free and gained a small cult audience playing some album versions of classics from the 60’s to the 80’s. It was advertised on SEN to get male sport fans to cross over when they wanted music. After Pacific Star took over and Mark Johnson was gone, MP was released as SEN plus, mostly a simulcast of SEN with some live sport that wasn’t available on SEN such as the A League, NBL and local football from the Eastern Football League. In its last few months before changing to SEN track during Covid, it was running live SEN SA programming into Melbourne as well as live sport not on 1116
SEN. SEN track is now on 1593 in Melbourne a narrowcast frequency formerly used for Italian language station Rete Italia. Ironically, this merry go round started when Peter Corso bought 3AK around 1990 to start an Italian station. He later sold AK to AW and kept the transmitter sites, which I believe he may still own today. He may sold AK as he was able to get a narrowcast frequency, which I believe was 1116 prior to AK moving to it. 1503 is now a community station 3KND. It had previously used for narrowcast Italian, possibly by Corso until the ABA allocated community licenses in 2001.
My knowledge is gained from working at MP from 1994-1996, again from 2005-2006 and at SEN (formerly Crocmedia) since 2011.
3MP: Can it rise from the ashes?
22 March 2021 - 2:06pm
The BBC has shown that Digital Audio Broadcasting is by far the most energy efficient method of distributing program to large numbers of listeners. This makes on line and podcasting more expensive.

Since DAB+ can have 18 programs per transmitter and DRM can fit 14 channels x 3 programs compared to analog which is one program per transmitter. It is time that the broadcasters fort back against the streamers by making a larger variety of programming including music programming available to listeners. Using the additional channels to play from a hard drive of old songs will not do it. DAB+ digital radio should reduce the numbers of programs per transmitter to improve the sound quality and add album art atleast.
Spotify campaign claims streaming solves music industry challenges
Anthony The Koala
21 March 2021 - 11:40pm
Further to the relaxing music not having a specific genre, an advertisement for Medibank featured a character playing 45 year old client services officer who liked to relax on heavy metal music, reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Sgp7QOpdo&ab_channel=Medibank

If "whatever floats your boat", then triplem offer a range of DAB+ channels
for various genres of rock music, including heavy metal, classic rock, country, 90s and soft rock, ref https://www.triplem.com.au/sydney .

Similarly "relaxing music" could also mean listening to ABC-FM (Classic), Fine Music (2MBS-FM, and DAB+).

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
3MP is back in the Melbourne market
Anthony The Koala
21 March 2021 - 12:09am
With reference to the article at https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/i-though-it-would-be-easy-it-wasnt-brenno-got-me-there-alan-jones and many on-air tributes to Mr Brennan, I purchased Mr Brennan's book "Brenno, My Life And Times As A Media Godfather", ISBN 9781742575728 and look forward to reading his book.

After listening to the on-air tributes, I learned that one can be tough, be a mentor and be a person of faith without compromising professional or religious values.

When I was a trainee at a large broadcasting network, it really disappointed me that as a trainee I was kept in the dark, not shown the ropes and had no mentors.

The on-air tributes on Mr Brennan restored my faith that there are decent people in the media especially bosses who were willing to have give people a go and provide continuous feedback.

The knowledge gained from the on-air tributes including a tribute in the SMH, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/i-owe-that-man-everything-godfather-of-sydney-radio-john-brennan-dies-20210313-p57aft.html and Mr Brennan's book should provide knowledge that is transferrable to other industries on what it is to be a great boss.

As I said before, may Mr Brennan's soul and the souls of those who have gone before him rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him, amen.

Thank you Mr Brennan,
Anthony of Belfield
John Brennan funeral details
19 March 2021 - 1:42pm
In response to Eugene's comment, we sought a response from Xtra Research. Here is the company's response:

With regard to the Kingaroy Survey Coverage Area, it is based on the Commercial Radio Australia Licence Area Profile, which is available on the Radio Alive website: www.radioalive.com.au/RA/media/General/Documents/Licence%20Area%20Profiles/update/QLD_Kingaroy.pdf.
This map is also reflective of the ACMA Broadcasting Area available here: www.acma.gov.au/broadcasting-licence-areas.

Listeners who tune between stations are captured in the cumulative audience figures which are published by both demographic and session in the public release. The participating radio stations are also provided with additional data through written reports and via the approved Frequency software. The reports available in Frequency include much more granular information on listener patterns, including ebb and flow reports amongst other data.

The assertion that the unpublished station listened to most figure of 36.7% can be directly attributed to CROW FM is incorrect. The unpublished station listened to most figure is in fact a combination of a large number of stations including those in neighbouring licence areas with overspill into Kingaroy, narrowcast stations, and community stations, as well as listening conducted via streaming to stations outside of the licence area.

Cliffo & Gabi hit it off in Kingaroy's first survey for 4 years: Xtra Insights
19 March 2021 - 12:30pm
“The ACMA decisions seems to ignore the technical characteristics of broadcast systems.
1. In capital cities there are two types of community broadcasts. One covers the whole city and the other covers a number of suburbs and is usually parochial to that area.
2. DAB+ in Australia is broadcast from the most powerful DAB+ transmitters in the world, with the transmitting antenna high on TV transmitting towers. This means that the coverage is designed to cover all of each capital city. The fact that it is a multiplex means that the coverage area of commercial and community broadcasters must be identical from each transmitter.
3. The UK has small scale DAB broadcasting, which is not suitable here because there are only 8 DAB+ transmission channels available in the populated parts of Australia. The rest of the channels are used by TV, which is not the case in the UK. This means that additional DAB+ channels are not available if DAB+ is to be used in areas surround our capital cities.
4. A better option for community broadcasting and for all regional broadcasting is to use DRM on the now vacant TV channels 0, 1 and 2. There are 206 DRM transmission channels available. Each transmission channel can carry up to 3 broadcasts. Since there are so many channels available it means that the transmitter can be located in the middle of each audience, requiring much less power and therefore transmission costs.
ACMA won't adapt proposed deeming principles for digital expansion
19 March 2021 - 10:49am
Please note that the survey company has sent updated charts, which have now replaced the old charts in this report. Cliffo & Gabi hit it off in Kingaroy's first survey for 4 years: Xtra Insights


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