Macquarie Sports Radio tweaks lineup with Mark Levy and Mark Riddell to run national breakfast

Macquarie Sports Radio has tweaked its lineup for the third time this year, extending its Sydney breakfast show with Mark Levy and Mark Riddell across Australia.

Riddell and Levy were already syndicated in Brisbane, but now replace Melbourne breakfast hosts, Matt Thompson and Tony Shaw. Melbourne breakfast co-star, Jimmy Bartel, will join Levy and Riddell from 9am to 10am. It follows the last radio ratings survey of the year, which saw Thompson, Shaw and Bartel receive an asterisk in the breakfast slot.

It is not yet clear whether Thompson and Shaw will continue with the network.

The announcement is the third breakfast change since the launch of the new network in April last year. Levy and Riddell replaced Sydney breakfast hosts Beau Ryan and John Stanley after just three months. At the same time, Melbourne breakfast host Tony Leonard was replaced by Thompson, and moved to mornings.

In addition to the breakfast changes, Macquarie Sports Radio will extend its drive time coverage by an hour, with Mark Allen and David Schwarz to now run from 3pm-7pm Monday to Friday. During the NRL season, Ray Hadley’s Continous Call Team, which runs on 2GB, will also be held on Macquarie Sports Radio Melbourne and on DAB+ in Perth. During the AFL season, 3AW’s Football coverage will air on Macquarie Sports Radio Sydney and Brisbane.

The changes follow a major marketing push in September last year, which sought to build awareness of Macquarie Media’s new radio network.

But Macquarie Sports Radio’s audiences continued to struggle in the later half of the year.

In Sydney, Riddell and Levy’s breakfast show had a 1.2% share for the final survey of the year, while the station’s total share was just 1.1%. In Brisbane, Macquarie Sports Radio has an 0.6% share of the market, while Riddell and Levy grew to an 0.8% share in breakfast. But the worst result was for Melbourne, with Thompson, Shaw and Bartel had an asterisk in their breakfast slot, with an audience so low it didn’t even reach 0.1% share of listening. Total share in Melbourne was 0.1%.

At the time, Macquarie Media’ national executive producer, Michael Thompson, told Mumbrella Melbourne breakfast was a “tough market”.

“On the one hand we have Macquarie Sports Radio and the on other station we have Ross and John delivering a 20.5% share, so it is a very tough situation, but again I’m confident the cricket is an opportunity for us to establish ourselves in Melbourne, and in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth on DAB+,” Thompson said.

“It’s a disappointing result, and it is a very tough slog, but I think the opportunity is in front of us to promote that audience in Melbourne.

“Familiarity is probably one of the key challenges. We’ve spoken previously about brand awareness and getting that name out there, and that is really one of the key focuses for us in terms of basically telling people where to find the station.”

However he was adamant he did not regret the change from a Talking Lifestyle format to a sports radio format.

Nine is the majority shareholder in the Macquarie Radio Network.


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