Nine and the ACE Radio Network have confirmed they have signed an option for ACE Radio to operate Nine Radio’s music stations 2UE, 4BH and Magic1278.
Assuming the option is exercised, ACE Radio will take up a lease which will see them operate the music stations from early 2022, aligning them with their existing network of 18 radio stations across regional Victoria and NSW.
Nine’s Managing Director – Radio, Tom Malone, welcomed the deal as a win/win for both Nine Radio and ACE Radio.
“It’s almost two years since Nine acquired these stations as part of the Macquarie Media transaction,” said Malone. “In that time we have moved them from an unprofitable sports radio network to a clearly defined music offering which has seen audiences grow by 173 per cent.
“This agreement with ACE Radio gives them the option to lease these music stations, opening a footprint in the metro radio market while at the same time freeing up Nine Radio to focus on our core strategy of talk radio.”
ACE Radio is expected to spend the coming months putting together the logistical and sales infrastructure to allow them to exercise the option in early 2022.
ACE CEO, Mark Taylor, said: “Stations like 2UE don’t become available every day. It was a particularly important part of our plans. The brand has a significant heritage in Sydney. And while we want to build on that, we also want to deliver something new and exciting to its audience.”
Should the deal complete, Sydney’s 2UE, Brisbane’s 4BH and Magic 1278 in Melbourne would join ACE Radio’s existing metro station 3MP in Melbourne, for the term of the multi-year lease.