2CH bidders line up, with Grant Broadcasters and Council of Churches tipped as front runners

2CHGrant Broadcasters and the NSW Council of Churches (NCC) are thought to be the lead contenders to buy Macquarie Radio’s easy listening radio station Radio 2CH.

Mumbrella understands that both parties have approached Macquarie about buying the station, which was put up for sale following the merger of the Fairfax and Macquarie Radio Networks.

While the sales process is ongoing Grant is thought to have tabled a $6m bid, while NCC, which has a long standing relationship with the station, has tabled an offer of $1 in a proposal which would allow Macquarie to continue operating the station under a revenue share model. 

Macquarie has been forced to put the station up for sale because of licensing rules which prevent a broadcaster from holding more than two licenses in any city. The merged entity now holds licences for Radio 2UE, Radio 2GB and Radio 2CH.

As Mumbrella revealed earlier this year, management has brought in the company’s former managing director Rob Lowenthal to handle the sale process. 

It is thought that Grant’s offer is around $4m short of the $10m Macquarie had been rumoured to be seeking.

If it deems the offer too low, it leaves Macquarie with the option of returning the licence to its previous owner, the NCC, which sold the station to Macquarie back in 1994 with the requirement that it must air religious programs on Sundays and reject certain types of advertising.



Grant Broadcasters and the NCC both declined to comment this morning, while Macquarie chairman Russell Tate would not be drawn on the process beyond saying it is continuing and that “further expressions of interest are currently being dealt with”.

Tate has previously told Mumbrella they were open to continuing to run the station.

“In the last few years we’ve operated 2GB and 2CH as one entity, so it wouldn’t be hard for us to do,” he said back in January.

Were Macquarie to continue to operate 2CH, on behalf of the NCC, it is thought from an advertising perspective there would be sales synergies by integrating the easy listening station with the rest of Fairfax Radio Magic network, with 2CH revenues shared between Macquarie and the church body.

In April media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced it had accepted enforceable undertakings from the new entity to sell radio stations 2CH in Sydney and 4LM in Mt Isa.

Macquarie has until 31 March 2016 to sell the Radio 2CH licence.

Nic Christensen


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