Glenn Dyer writes:

It’s taken
just a year but Vega, the $158 million experiment in Australian
commercial radio, is no more. Conceived in a belief that Sydney and
Melbourne could be “networked” and linked by a common interest in adult
talk and golden oldies music for the boomer generation, Vega’s
experiment finally ended last Friday with the news that both stations
would be reverting to more local operations.

The “networking” was
always half-hearted: Vega management recognised from the start that
the two stations couldn’t be totally integrated – breakfast, for example, had to be
separate broadcasts. But there was always a belief that costs could be saved by networking
some presenting shifts between the two cities.

Vega’s
Sydney licence cost DMG $102 million and the Melbourne one cost $56
million. It has proved to be an expensive learning curve.

The station’s
expensive Sydney signing, Angela Catterns, is now going to share the
breakfast shift with Rebecca Wilson and Tony Squires, the afternoon
drive hosts. Catterns, who cost DMG an estimated half a million
bucks when poached from ABC local radio 702 a year ago, has been
wanting a hand in breakfast for months. She has sounded alone and
isolated at Vega.

And her audience has sort of left her (and the
station) alone as well: her latest audience was just over 2% and Vega’s Sydney share was 2.3%. In Melbourne, Vega had a smaller share of just
1.4%. That’s the territory of ABC Radio National, ABC News Radio and Classic FM.

Francis
Leach, who did afternoons and then mornings networked from Melbourne to
Sydney, has gone from Sydney and has been replaced by an unknown. Mike
Perso has also gone from afternoons in Sydney; he too has been replaced by
an unknown.

By adding Wilson and Squires to breakfast, Vega
Sydney will be following Vega Melbourne which already has a triple
header in Melbourne for breakfast. No mention on the replacements in drive for Wilson and Squires.

Peter Fray

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