ACCC says it will not oppose Fairfax-Macquarie Radio merger

ACCCThe consumer watchdog has announced it will not oppose the proposed merger between the two biggest talkback radio groups in the country, Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio after conducting an investigation into the proposal.

After conducting market consultation with key stakeholders, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today announced it will not oppose the merger of Macquarie Radio Network’s Radio 2GB with the broader Fairfax Radio network.

The ACCC determined the combined Macquarie/Fairfax radio business would continue to face strong competition from other commercial radio stations.

In a statement ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “The ACCC considered the effect of the proposed transaction on the price of radio advertising, as well as the quality of news and other content provided to audiences.”

A merger would bring together the dominant stations in the Sydney and Melbourne markets, with Macquarie’s 2GB boasting the likes of Alan Jones and Ray Hadley and Fairfax’s 3AW with Tom Elliott and Peter and Kate all dominant in their respective timeslots.

The combination of Radio 2GB together with Fairfax’s Radio’s Radio 3AW, 4BC and 6PR would provide the new MRN entity with a strong national talkback network, focused on an older demographic.

“While few other commercial radio stations currently operate the same talkback format as 2UE and 2GB, other radio stations would be able to change their format and programming to include more talkback if it made commercial sense to do so,” Sims said.

In its investigation, the ACCC also considered whether the merger would affect other radio stations and networks which syndicate programmes and content from Fairfax or MRN.

Miranda Ward 


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