KOFM will maintain its identity, but sister station NXFM will become known as Newcastle’s Hit FM 106.9 in Southern Cross Austereo’s mass re-branding of its regional radio network.
From December 15, KOFM will become part of the Triple M network alongside another 25 regional stations, incorporating the Sydney rock giant’s orange, yellow and black logo of a winged-man playing a guitar.
Unlike the majority of the SCA network, KOFM is listed as one of four “heritage” stations enabling it to retain its name. The other heritage stations are Townsville’s 4TO, Gosford’s 2GO and Gold FM on the Gold Coast.
NXFM’s fate will be different. The youth-orientated station will be one of 43 to be re-badged Hit FM.
SCA’s head of regulatory affairs and corporate communications, Creina Chapman, said the changes were aimed at boosting advertising and would not result in a reduction of local news and content or job cuts.
“There won’t be a difference in the local content, everything from a content point of view will stay the same,” Chapman said. “It’s mostly a re-branding exercise. The difference is it’s much easier for advertisers.”
Triple M in Sydney has a predominantly “rock” playlist, but Chapman said KOFM would maintain its wider variety of music after the re-branding.
“It shouldn’t make any difference at all to the content,” she said.
The Charlestown-based KOFM first launched in 1931 and has long been Newcastle’s most popular radio station. In last month’s ratings they obtained 18.2 per cent of the market, ahead of NXFM (13%), 1233 ABC (10.6%), NEWFM (10.4%) and Triple J and 2HD (10.1%). That included 33.1 per cent of the 40-55 demographic.
KOFM is also believed to be the first Australian radio station to adopt a top-40 format, which assisted in the medium’s resurgence, following the advent of television in 1950s.
NXFM is Newcastle’s leading station in the 10-17 (25.1%) and 18-24 (30.8%) age groups.