Up to 50 jobs to go amid efficiencies in newly merged Macquarie and Fairfax Radio operation



The merger of Macquarie Radio Network and the Fairfax Radio network could see as many 50 jobs cut, with 2UE’s news broadcasts to cease as early as next week with the loss of 11 staff.

Staff at the newly merged entity were advised of the changes in a conference call yesterday by chairman Russell Tate, while Mumbrella understands Sydney station 2UE will cease broadcasting a separate news bulletin as early as next Thursday as its newsroom begins to merge with the 2GB newsroom, with redundancies coming from both sides.

Macquarie Radio Network (ASX: MRN) today refused to comment on the redundancies but it is understood that across sales at Radio 2UE and Radio 2GB 22 jobs will go, with another 15 or so jobs to be made redundant due to wider efficiencies such as back of house and finance, and the networking of programs.

“We’re all in shock,” said one radio staffer, while other staff at the stations have also said the size and speed of the cuts were surprising. “We knew their would be cuts but we didn’t think they’d shut down 2UE’s newsroom this quickly – it was one hell of an April Fools day meeting,” said the staff member.

The Courier Mail is reporting there is also to be redundancies at 4BC with the merged Macquarie Radio likely to network Ray Hadley’s Mornings program and Chris Smith’s afternoons program. 

Macquarie Radio networkWhen asked to comment on the redundancies Tate said management were currently in consultation with their staff.

“Our priority at this point in time is consultation with staff and clarification of roles,” said Tate. “Until that is complete we won’t make further comment.”

Last week Macquarie Radio shareholders gave a green light to the deal, which formally came into effect yesterday.

The redundancies come on the same day the media regulator 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.

The merger announced last year brings the number one Sydney talk station Radio 2GB together with Fairfax’s broader talk radio network, which includes 2UE in Sydney as well as 3AW in Melbourne, 6PR in Perth and 4BC in Brisbane. However, it sees the company breach regulatory rules preventing a licensee from owning more than two radio licences in one market in both Brisbane and Sydney.

ACMA acknowledged the deal temporarily put the merged entity in breach but said it would accept MRN’s promise that it will sell the stations.

As Mumbrella revealed earlier this year, Macquarie Radio has brought in Rob Lowenthal, a former managing director of MRN to lead the sales process with potential buyers of easy talk station 2CH thought to include the NSW clubs industry and Grant Broadcasters, which owns dozens of regional stations across the country, retail giant Gerry Harvey, a close friend of Macquarie Radio major shareholder John Singleton.

Nic Christensen 

Nic Christensen is a former employee of both Macquarie Radio and Fairfax Radio.


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