ACE Radio to take over Nine’s music stations 2UE, 4BH & Magic1278
ACE Radio is set to run Nine Radio’s music stations 2UE, 4BH and Magic1278 from early next year. The company is now advertising for sales people.
The two companies have signed an option, giving ACE Radio a multi-year lease on the stations.
Assuming the option is exercised, the stations would then be aligned with ACE’s existing network of 18 regional radio stations and 3MP in Melbourne.
Nine’s managing director of radio, Tom Malone, said the deal was a win for both networks.
“It’s almost two years since Nine acquired these stations as part of the Macquarie Media transaction. In that time, we have moved them from an unprofitable sports radio network to a clearly defined music offering which has seen audiences grow by 173%.
“This agreement with ACE Radio gives them the option to lease these music stations, opening a footprint in the metro radio market while at the same time freeing up Nine Radio to focus on our core strategy of talk radio.”
ACE Radio will spend the coming months putting together the logistical and sales infrastructure which should allow it to exercise the option in early 2022.
ACE CEO, Mark Taylor, noted the opportunities of the deal, particularly with Sydney’s 2UE.
“Stations like 2UE don’t become available every day. It was a particularly important part of our plans. The brand has a significant heritage in Sydney. And while we want to build on that, we also want to deliver something new and exciting to its audience.”
Nine became the majority shareholder in the company then known as Macquarie Media in 2018 when it acquired Fairfax. Then, Macquarie Media had talk stations such as Sydney’s 2GB and Melbourne’s 3AW, as well as a network of stations known as Macquarie Sports Radio.
In late 2019, the Macquarie Sports Radio talk programs were paused as the network looked at the stations’ development amid dire ratings.
In early 2020, Nine announced it would be dropping the sports-focused content and branding, and instead reviving heritage radio brands 2UE, 4BH and Magic, and playing 70s, 80s and 90s music on the stations.
Nine has since fully acquired the Macquarie Media network and rebranded it Nine Radio. It has been on a mission to ‘rebrand’ talk radio in the eyes of both consumers and advertisers and make it more appealing to a younger demographic.