WorldAudio licence spree part of national program

BUDDING national AM radio network WorldAudio has bought licences for three regional locations in Western Australia as it builds its network for a planned national launch at the end of August.

The listed Sydney-based company, which boasts national retailer Gerry Harvey as a significant shareholder, announced it had purchased apparatus to broadcast on 1620AM Geraldton, 1611 Kalgoorlie and 1611 Esperance.

WorldAudio said it also had Australian Broadcasting Authority commercial licences for Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, which enabled it to operate as an independent commercial broadcaster in those towns.

The company said the new licences, in addition to 1620 in Perth, took it almost halfway in its plan to have 32 stations ready to launch as a national network on August 29.

The network’s content will be music focused and include hosts such as former performer John Paul Young.

Current broadcasts are simply a test run of programming aimed at Sydney but chief executive Andrew Thompson said that by August the network programmers based in Sydney would be able to localise their content.

Mr Thompson said the company’s aim was to have a centralised administration with an annual cost of $4 million a year to cover a potential audience of 12 million people.

“If we get 1 per cent of the current [$780 million] radio market we will be making a very tidy profit,” he said.

The company currently has a market capitalisation of about $30 million, having raised $6 million in the original listing process almost two years ago and a further $7 million in July last year.

Mr Harvey invested $1.5 million in February and controls about 8 per cent of the stock.

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