Nine’s latest radio move: Fear when Russell Tate calls staff meeting

• Last week Tate told Macquarie CEO Adam Lang that he was no longer required

The outgoing executive chairman of Macquarie Media Russell Tate has the unenviable task of preparing the radio stations ahead of the arrival of the Nine Entertainment Co when the biggest commercial media company in Australia takes total control at the end of next week.

Last week Tate told Macquarie CEO Adam Lang that he was no longer required ahead of Nine appointing their own radio boss. Earlier this week he shut down the original programming on the Macquarie Sports Radio network along Australia’s east coast.

Yesterday he had to tell 3AW director of operations Stephen Beers that his position had been made redundant. Beers had been with 3AW for 30+ years and was well regarded by all staff. During his years as the station’s chief engineer he became part of its #1 breakfast team Ross and John when they made their overseas broadcast trips.

Also departing the Macquarie Media stations this week was Gordon Hill, the commercial director of 6PR. Hill came to the Perth station 18 months ago from a career in banking.

Following a meeting with Beers, Tate addressed an all staff meeting.

There were many nervous people ahead of the meeting with fears there could be significant job losses. That hasn’t happened…yet.

“3AW is an iconic and successful Melbourne station focussed on local audiences and content and that will not change,” said Tate yesterday.

The 3AW team will remain firmly focussed on serving its audience and advertisers as they have always done.

3AW still occupies studio and office space at the top of The Age building in Melbourne. Much of the building is now sublet to the NBN. There is speculation that both the radio and newsbrand operations could be moved in the future, perhaps into the Nine building not far away if there is room.

Staff perhaps have good reason to be fearful when Russell Tate calls an all staff meeting at a radio station.

Back in 2011 Tate had to wind up the Melbourne talk radio experiment 3MTR after it failed to gain an audience in its first 12 months.

A little later he oversaw the demise of Macquarie’s first attempt at a networked talk format – Talking Lifestyle which rebranded the AM stations Magic, 2UE and 4BH. That format changed to Macquarie Sports Radio and that winds up in its current format tomorrow evening at 11pm.

Macquarie Media meanwhile yesterday announced the resignations of directors Monique Anderson, Louise McCann and James Millar following the off-market takeover bid by Nine Entertainment Co to acquire all of the ordinary shares in MML. Hugh Marks and Paul Koppelman (Nine CFO) join Russell Tate as directors of MML. Rachel Launders (Nine general counsel and company secretary) has been appointed additional company secretary. Lisa Young and Alessandra Steele continue as company secretaries.

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