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SPH boosts its radio efforts with the launch of two new stations

Following the high-profile retrenchment of more than 200 members of staff, Singapore Press Holdings has announced plans to launch two new radio stations in a bid to diversify away from print.

The stations entitled Money FM 89.3 and 96.3 Hao FM will go live in January, four months after SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung announced that the company would be axing 15 per cent of staff in its core media divisions.Money will run as a talk-format English station containing content from The Straits Times, The Business Times and SPH’s subsidiary, ShareInvestor. Aimed at white-collar workers, the station will go live on January 28.

Meanwhile, Hao FM will be a Mandarin ‘infotainment station’ targeted at those aged 45 and above. The station will play “classic hits by artists such as Wakin Chau, Faye Wong, Jacky Cheung and local xinyao music”, SPH said in a statement.

The station, scheduled to start on Jan 8, will also discuss topics ranging from lifestyle and healthcare to wealth planning.

The stations’ arrival follows Ng’s comments during the retrenchment announcement that the company would invest in “digital, data analytics, radio broadcasts, video and content marketing” to “deal with the disruption to [SPH’s] core media business”.

Following this, more than 130 people were made redundant, while the remaining 100 people were forced to take early retirement or have their contracts terminated. Allegedly, 40 of those jobs went from The ST  and 17 from BT. It is understood that SPH has since made further moves to integrate editorial content between the titles.

During Friday’s announcement, BT editor Wong Wei Kong said the paper’s weekend magazine, currently published on Saturdays, will be distributed with the main paper on Fridays starting next year.

However, some have questioned SPH’s choice to invest more in radio given the shift of media consumption to smartphones and video content. 

Sim Hong Huat, general manager of SPH Radio, said: “These are exciting times for SPH Radio as we gear up to the launches of our two new stations next year.

“With strong editorial support and great production teams, we are committed to offering the best to our listeners.”

SPH made a S$350.1 million profit this fiscal year due to its sale of the online classifieds business, plus fair-value gain from its property investments.

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