Nine Entertainment will drop the Macquarie Media brand name from its radio division, in a move to focus attention on consumer-facing brands such as 2GB and 3AW.
All Macquarie news bulletins have been brought under the 9News banner as part of the changes, while the radio network will be known in each city by its local call sign, 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR.
The decision comes two months after Nine took control of the radio network, appointing Nine’s former director of sport Tom Malone to helm the group’s radio business.
Mr Malone said the decision was about moving the radio brands “front and centre”, however for corporate purposes Macquarie Media will be referred to as Nine Radio.
In an internal note to staff, Mr Malone said the decision would allow Nine to focus on its consumer brands.
“These are our hero brands which invoke an instant connection with listeners and advertisers and these are the brands we’ll be pushing in the market,” Mr Malone said.
“These are our hero brands which invoke an instant connection with listeners and advertisers.Tom Malone, Nine managing director radio
Nine took over a 54.5 per cent stake in Macquarie in 2018 when merging with Fairfax Media. Nine, which is the owner of this masthead, then bought the remaining shares in the radio network in late-2019 and has since made changes to on-air talent and its executive team.
The decision by Nine to remove the Macquarie Media brand follows a decision to get rid of the Fairfax Media corporate brand after taking control in 2018.
At the time Nine argued there was greater value in consumer brands such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.
The radio news bulletins, which came into effect on January 1, feature new introductions with the Nine News sound theme and a reference to Nine News for all intros and outros.
An internal note to staff said Nine had given the radio business the perfect opportunity for a “unified sound” for the bulletins.
Darren Wick, Nine’s director of news and current affairs, said the expansion of the 9News brand would allow listeners to rely on Nine for news across TV, radio and digital.
“9News is a trusted household name across Australia and this move sees us extending that brand across all broadcast news,” Mr Wick said.
Sources close to Macquarie Media who wished to remain anonymous raised concerns that there would be job cuts in the radio news divisions as part of the brand integration. However, other unnamed radio sources were optimistic, excited by the opportunity to work across multiple platforms. Nine has been approached for comment.
The integration of Nine’s branding into Macquarie Media is the latest of a number changes made by the company, which was looked to extract $10 million in annualised cost savings after the takeover was secured.
Former chief executive Adam Lang and national executive producer Michael Thompson have both left the business, while Sky News editor Greg Byrnes took over as head of content. 2GB’s Steve Price and Ross Greenwood have also left the business, while former afternoons host Chris Smith is set to return to 2GB and 4BC to host a weekend program. Nine’s former Today Show host, Deborah Knight, will take over the 12pm to 3pm time slot.
The Macquarie Media has recently been challenged by a large advertising boycott caused by 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones, who made controversial comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last August.
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