Anna Murdoch Mann’s Radio Business on the Gold Coast has apparently
hits the skids. You ought to check into this – the Hot Tomato
Broadcasting Company located in Southport Queensland has lost 31
employees out of 35 in the past 18 months including owner Anna Murdoch
Mann’s brother Jan Torv together with his partner and Gold Coast media
identity, Suki Mead.

Latest to go is Anna Murdoch Mann’s mysterious financial adviser and fellow board director – Nye Bowen.

The list of staff members who have departed, either forcefully or
voluntarily, include the CEO, two board directors, the company
secretary, the News Director, Music director, Executive PA, IT
personnel, the entire sales force twice over – including their top
revenue writer Bernadette Brushe, key on-air staff,(Suki Mead, BJ
Edwards, Emily Jade O’Keefe, Lisa Leuong, Greg ‘Krusty’ Biltson, Simon
Mountain, Summer Arathoon, Aaron Lucas, Grant Brown, midnight to dawn
presenters, outdoor cruiser van drivers and traffic reporters)
accounting staff, PR staff, senior Image Producer Robbie Wood, Producer
Lisa Lloyd, etc. Some left voluntarily without jobs to go to.

The station is said to be haemorhaging cash to the tune of $100,000.00
per month with some advertisers claiming they are buying discounted 30
second ads for as little as 16 dollars each.

The radio station is now almost 50% automated. It’s not retrenchment,
according to a current staffmember who is actively seeking other
employment, it’s exodus and execution. This is not a happy place to

Anna Murdoch Mann’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, who controls the Gold Coast
Bulletin, is reported to have instructed his editors to provide
favorable coverage to help protect his mother’s investment.

Hans Torv, the Chief Executive Director of Hot Tomato openly uses his
sister through her son Lachlan, to influence press coverage in the
Bully over what can and cannot be said about his company and competitor
Macquarie Bank’s broadcasting licences. Accordingly, Macquarie
Radioworks gets poor coverage in the paper despite their market
dominance. Wonder how the Chairman of News Corp feels about his ex-wife
controlling editorial content on one of his most successful businesses.

It is common knowledge that there is no ‘cosy’ relationship between the
Gold Coast Bulletin and Macquarie Radioworks who own the two dominant
stations on the Gold Coast being GOLD FM and SEA FM respectively.

The latest radio survey on the Gold Coast showed that Macquarie
Radioworks dominated the survey by a substantial margin with Hot Tomato
coming in a distant third – with breakfast (the most important revenue
source of all radio station) coming fourth behind the two local
community broadcasters.

GOLD FM and SEA FM are sold out with the leftover radio advertising dollars going to Hot Tomato by default.

Macquarie Radioworks sales staff have volunteered that Hot Tomato does
not even come up in conversations with their advertisers. According to
them, Hot Tomato is invisible in the market place. Macquarie Radioworks
believe that both the listening audience and advertising market has
been verifiably rejected Hot Tomato.

Hot Tomato’s head honcho Hans Torv has attacked Macquarie Radioworks
survey results through a bizarre ‘open letter’ to News Corp media
outlets and advertising agencies claiming that Hot Tomato is on the
rise. MR responded to that claim with a simple and elegant full page ad
showing they have a total cumulative audience of almost a quarter of a
million listeners – or half of the Gold Coast – listening to them each

The wags are saying Hot Tomato is ripe for the taking.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey