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Upheaval at Coro FM

Coromandel FM was started by Warren Male in 1991, and has been by far the most successful radio station on the Peninsula. It was funded by a number of Thames businessmen at the time.

Anyone who imagined for one moment that all would remain the same after Mediaworks took it over a couple of years ago should think again. Warren has held it together as a local institution until his recent retirement as station manager. 

It has now been revealed that Mediaworks intends to centralise the operation of its regional stations in Parnell and that is going to lead to big changes. It appears that the positions of the three presenters - Rex Simpson, Alan Beagle and Mike Bain (also News Editor) have been "dis-established." There is no word on whether they will be able to apply for positions in Auckland.

It seems likely that the sales people will continue to market the station from a local office, and that the 21 local frequencies will be retained, but there will certainly be a loss of local flavour as whatever programmes they run are wedged into the national requirements of Mediaworks.

It seems certain that this will lead a loss of loyalty over time, and may even provide an opportunity for a bright-spark rival to get established - especially if one was able to cash-in on an AM frequency that would cover the Peninsula from one transmitter. 

I fully suspect that such a move may be in the offing, and it will be interesting to see the Mediaworks reaction. Male is unlikely to care too much in his new role of "Brand Ambassador", whatever that is. He is a smart kooky though, probably more responsible than anyone else for maintaining the National grip on this electorate, and has openly supported the election of National leaning mayors and councillors over the years.

Theere is no indication of his reaction to this news, yet! 



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Reader Comments (2)

No great loss as far as I can see. The current Coro FM format is bland and dull, there are far too many commercials, the presenters are going through the motions, and the local content is already minor overall with mostly regurgitated press releases with no investigation, and presented not to cause offence. Coro FM is nowhere to be seen during weather events, and, although claiming to be the "go-to" media for civil defence situations, has not performed this function for many years. Local information discemination is better achieved through other mediums such as the internet's various social media options, and this includes getting some interesting local comment and debate, such as this very website! The days of Coro FM being the only radio choice for entertainment have already long passed, you can receive many different stations now through the "wireless", or just go to the mobile phone or internet where you can access thousands of "radio" options at any time from all parts of the world.

July 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

I can't let this go by without acknowledging the work of Warren Male in establishing the most commercially successful radio station in New Zealand. There have been other non network owned stations, serving communities of similar size, but none as effective as CFM at selling advertising. The yield per head of population, both normally resident, and holiday peak, has been far better than any other New Zealand market, and will no doubt have rewarded the founding shareholders well. As a private company true profit can be hidden by wise investment and careful accounting. Not only were revenues high, costs were maintained at minimal levels. CFM has been very well managed in every fiscal respect. Inevitably the station was going to be purchased by one of the networks, and Warren sold out at the peak of the market. Good On Him! Media Works management style is to run everything at minimal cost. Networking the programme from Auckland will reduce ongoing costs to about 20% of what they are now, and advertising revenue will drop by about half. If you do the math less is more. CFM is More FM. None of this is Warren's doing. He would have sold out or retired by now and no one would have paid the amount MediaWorks then mostly owned by Steven Joyce, now Minister of Everything paid. Media Works was subsequently bundled up and sold to an unsuspecting Australian Finance group and it's former proprietors headed for the hills, or politics. Mediaworks Radio and TV is being shriven for sale; the dumping of the local players just another chapter in the elimination of anyone being paid a fair salary in favour of the lowest common denominator. Yes local news was controlled to maintain revenue from advertisers dedicated to the Coromandel Cause, often blamed on the National Party, but really like the KKK or The National Socialist Movement, a convenient cover for some who would seek to make large sums of money from dodgy land deals and the like. Such control is now redundant as aggrieved property owners can use social media to put their case. The evolving local media like 'stop the crime in Thames' really does have an effect. CFM may have been malleable and convenient but at no time had better then a 10% market share. Actual listening figures reflect, as you point out, the short distance to many other stations. The idea that if you put it on CFM everyone would listen, applied only to the faithful few.
Now the accolade: Warren Male and his then wife, founded a business that employed hundreds if not thousands of people who have gone on to be successful broadcasters or be successful in other related trades. Most of these people got their first job here. CFM actively promoted events involving holiday makers, while it was still possible to do so, encouraging property ownership and the annual migration of high spending tourists. No one else has done so much for this region, and while there may have been some personal profit, others made heaps more. The effects of demographic and economic changes now call for market adjustments, will see some retire gracefully, and others dumped. Nothing new here; just closer to home. Well done Warren! Timed right out.

August 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Jeffares

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