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  • Merger forces sell off of local radio station

    2018 - 07.05

    MEDIA regulator rules will mean Mount Isa radio station 4LM will need to be sold after Australia’s two biggest rating radio stations became one company.

    Macquarie Radio Network’s shareholders voted to merge with Fairfax Media’s radio network.

    The $200 million combined company will operate Macquarie Radio’s 2GB in Sydney whose hosts include Alan Jones and Ray Hadley and Fairfax’s 3AW in Melbourne.

    Under the merger, Macquarie Radio will own licences in Sydney for stations 2UE, 2GB and 2CH.

    But media regulator rules mean it will need to sell its 2CH and Mount Isa station 4LM.

    Macquarie Radio’s executive chairman Russell Tate said the $200 million deal, which has regulatory approval, would bring together the greatest mix of talkback talent ever assembled in a single radio network.

    There were also ‘‘economies of scale associated with programming and talent costs derived from broader distribution of appropriate content and improvements in quality of content’’, he told shareholders.

    That implies more host sharing, already seen recently with Fairfax-owned 4BC’s use of 2GB’s Jones during the Queensland election campaign.

    Jack Singleton, the son of Macquarie’s majority shareholder John Singleton, will keep his board position with the merged group.

    Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood and director James Millar will also be board members, along with Macquarie executive chairman Russell Tate who will run the company for 12 months.

    Fairfax will own 54.5 per cent of the group and Macquarie shareholders 45.5 per cent. Macquarie will pay Fairfax $18 million based on its net debt.

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