#localradiomatters: Revive 4BC and 4BH as strong, locally sourced radio stations.

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What does local radio mean to you?

Does it mean, up to date news on events happening in your city, and the world around us from a hometown voice?

Does it mean, a vital cog in a healthy democracy?

A vital need to keep the big end of town in check, with the man in the street? 

An vital source of emergency information, as well as entertainment for those of us at home, at work (sparking watercooler talk) and on the road?

Local radio means all these things, whether it be in the public sector, like ABC's Local Radio network nationwide, in the community sector, like 4ZZZ or even in the commercial sector: especially, in the talkback format that stations like 2GB, 3AW and 5AA have constantly innovated in.

In the case of 4BC in Brisbane, Australia: local commercial talkback used to be the mantra of the station: promoting itself, as "Talking Brisbane", now real Brisbane talk is relegated to three hours a day of local presentation, hourly news updates, and local traffic, with the remaining 21 hours (inc. the critical breakfast shift) being sourced from it's sister station, Sydney's 2GB (by way of 2GB's owners: Macquarie Radio, merging with 4BC's owners Fairfax Radio, in 2015, and then proceeding to cut the costs out of the Brisbane operation, by axing local presentation in various timeslots, in favor of a 2GB relay)

For a station that was built on the legacy of presenters such as Greg Cary, Walter Williams and the original king of Brisbane talkback: Haydn Sargent, having no local input at breakfast let alone no local announcers for over 3/4 of the broadcast day: is a move towards becoming irrelevant to any new listeners.

Meanwhile, 4BH, (4BC's Brisbane sister station based in the same building, in the eastern Brisbane suburb of Cannon Hill), has seen ratings plunge towards test signal levels, due to a move to change 4BH's format twice in two years: first being in early 2017, from music (which had been mostly sourced from Melbourne station 3EE since Nov. 2015) to a talk radio format entitled: "Talking Lifestyle" sourced from 2UE in Sydney with no local input at all, other than news bulletins, then a move in April 2018, to replace TL with Macquarie Sports Radio, with a similar lack of local input as Talking Lifestyle.

4BH's biggest successes have been from a longterm easy listening/beautiful music format (bar a move to a Brisbane-focused talk format in 1994). The decline began, when it tried to copy what 4KQ was doing, and move it's playlist away from it's heritage, followed by a rebrand in 2014 as Magic 882. Post MRN/Fairfax merger, the Brisbane station was trimmed to one local shift, networked out to 3EE (which saw their programmes and playlist airing on 4BH), until the Talking Lifestyle change last year.

The solution:
The solution we hope to achieve is the following:
1. 4BC is returned to a format resembling what Macquarie currently offers in Melbourne on 3AW, and Nova Entertainment offers in Adelaide on 5AA: a strong local emphasis, including an local breakfast talkback product, what I'd call a 75/25 daily schedule: 75% local presentation, 25% sourced from outside Queensland.
and 2. 4BH is returned to a music format, that currently isn't offered on radio in Brisbane: something similar to Nova Entertainment's SmoothFM, with a return of 4BH's beautiful music/easy listening roots, with some adult contemporary added in, with the most critical factor, being that it's 100% presented and sourced in Brisbane.

So why, the petition?
After writing Kuttsy's Radio Pitch between late 2015 and mid 2017, I had a epiphany, and decided to use this to drive change. The #localradiomatters hashtag is part and parcel of that epiphany, and is a strong link to what has happened, and what we need to do. And one line from the early days of the #localradiomatters push, sums up why I'm doing this petition...
"If 4BC's owners don't reconsider their current strategy, commercial talk radio announcers will be extinct in BNE one day."Tweet from October 19, 2017.

And that one day, may indeed be really soon: if we do not act now.
After all, a generation of Brisbane radio listeners might end up not knowing the art of quality commercial talkback radio with a local orator of the medium such as Haydn Sargent, and that will affect all of us in ways, we cannot imagine.

So, make local radio matter again: Macquarie: Brisbane, and Australia wants to hear your response.

Adrian Cutts,
Operator of kuttsywoodscouch.blogspot.com