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Radio networks begin digital preparation

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The radio industry has started to gear up for the launch of digital radio next year, with Austereo and Macquarie Radio Network both making appointments to facilitate digital switch-on in January.

In B&T magazine on 1 August, B&T revealed that none of the major networks had appointed staff for their new digital stations ahead of the switch-on next year. However Austereo, the radio network owner of 2DayFM and Triple M, has now appointed Jamie Angel to the role of national digital radio content director while Macquarie Radio Network, owner of 2GB and 2CH, has appointed Kate Edwards as head of integration.

Angel was formerly content director for Sydney’s 2Day FM. Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson said the appointment demonstrated the importance the company was placing in digital radio: “It sends a clear message to our staff, clients and listeners about just how seriously we are taking digital radio.”

At MRN Edwards has moved over from her role as networks promotions director to begin “the incorporation of the digital side of the business”.

Stuart Thomas, chief operating officer at MRN, said: “As the medium rolls out additional resources are being allocated to it. MRN is continuing to consider our programming initiatives within the scope of our existing programming resources.”

Other radio networks have not made similar appointments however, despite the closeness of the January 1 launch date for digital radio. A spokesman for ARN, owner of Mix and Classic Hits stations, said it will be using its existing staff to create content for digital without making a specific appointment.Fairfax Radio group general manager Graham Mott said there was no need to make an appointment as the content would be handled by existing staff.

When B&T spoke to DMG managing director Cathy O’Connor for the 1 August issue, she said an appointment to handle digital programming was “imminent” though a spokesman for DMG today said there were no developments to mention at this stage.

Due to Angel’s appointment Derek Bargwanna has been appointed content director of 2Day FM. He was formerly content director for Perth’s 92.9FM, and before that executive producer for the Kyle and Jackie 0 Breakfast Show on 2Day FM.

Bargwanna will be replaced at 92.9 FM by Mickey Maher, formerly content director for Austereo’s Newcastle affiliates NXFM and KOFM.


 

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