SPH To Get 2 New Radio Stations

Think Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is just a newspaper company? Nah.

As print newspapers become an increasingly less viable business, as evidenced by how SPH’s profits are declining on sliding revenue from its newspapers and magazines, the company has to look to over ways to make money, right?

Well, looks like radio is one of them. SPH Radio has just been awarded frequencies for 2 new radio stations in an open tender, reported Channel NewsAsia. That means it beat out rival Mediacorp.

SPH did not just outbid Mediacorp, but beat out three Mediacorp proposals.


New Stations

The new stations will be at FM89.3 and FM96.3.

One will be used for a new Chinese radio station for those above 50 that will have Chinese pop and xinyao. It will have content from Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News.

The other will be for PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen) and is intended to educate listeners on financial matters. It will have content from The Straits Times and The Business Times.

Encroaching Territory

So what, you may say? If the stations don’t go to SPH, they will just go to Mediacorp, the other member of the media duopoly in Singapore, so what’s the whole point?

That’s a good point — though there are also independent owners of radio stations (i.e. not SPH or Mediacorp).

What’s significant is that with the 2 new stations, SPH will now have 5 stations out of Singapore’s 20 — one-quarter of the radio pie.

Mediacorp is still the leader of course, with 12 stations, but SPH is encroaching in its territory. SPH’s radio stations have even increased listenership, according to an SPH Radio media release.


SPH’s desperation to get a bigger slice of the radio is ostensibly due to its shrinking slice of the newspaper market — in fact, by using content from its newspapers to boost the two new radio stations, it may be providing a good justification for the papers’ continued existence — and the continued employment of the staff working there.

Translation: Don’t retrench us newspaper staff just yet, we’re also doing work for the radio stations!


Measuring Up

Let’s take a look at how Singapore’s radio stations measure up against one another:


Target audience Content


Mediacorp Stations
1. Ria 89.7FM Malay/English All ages Pop  Unavailable
2. Gold 905FM English Seniors Classic Hits Unavailable
3. Symphony 92.4FM English All ages Classical, Easy Listening  Unavailable
4. Y.E.S 93.3FM Chinese All ages Pop Mediacorp’s No. 2 radio station with 18.5%
5. 938 LIVE FM English All ages News, Talk Shows   Unavailable
6. Warna 94.2FM Malay All ages Adult Contemporary   Unavailable
7. Class 95FM English Adults Adult Contemporary Highest-rated English station, with 758,000 listeners
8. Capital 95.8FM Chinese All Ages Classic Hits, Talk Shows Mediacorp’s No. 3 radio station with 17.3%
9. Oli 96.8FM Tamil/Hindi All ages All music, Talk Shows   Unavailable
10. Love 97.2FM Chinese Adult Adult Contemporary Mediacorp’s Top radio station with 19.4%
11. 987FM English Youths Latest Hits   Unavailable
12. Lush 99.5FM English Youths Indie music   Unavailable
SPH Radio
13. ONE FM English Youths Latest Hits 267,000
14. Kiss 92FM English All Ages Classic Hits 567,000
15. UFM 100.3 Chinese All Ages Pop 399,000 cumulative listeners
16. FM89.3/FM96.3  English  PMEBs Financial News  N.A.
17. FM89.3/FM96.3  Chinese  Above 50 Pop/Xinyao  N.A.
Safra Radio
18. 883 JIA FM Chinese Seniors Classic Hits 550,000 cumulative listeners (as of 2014)
19. Power 98FM English All ages Hit Songs, Old Songs
20. BBC World Service English All ages News, Talk Shows  Unavailable

Mediacorp’s figures are as of June 2016, while SPH’s figures are as of Dec 1, 2016. Safra Radio’s figure is as of 2014.

Blurred Lines

What we can glean from this is that SPH may be the undisputed leader in print newspapers and Mediacorp may be tops in TV and Radio, but the lines aren’t as clear as we may think.

Despite its print troubles, SPH is gaining ground in radio, and its property revenue is still rising.

SPH also has a bustling events management arm called Sphere Exhibits and the ever-popular Hardwarezone forum.

Mediacorp’s TV business, while still popular, is also being threatened by the rising popularity of online streaming TV services with more up-to-date foreign programmes.

Radio: The Next War?

Will radio be the next battleground between eternal local rivals SPH and Mediacorp?

We won’t speculate, but will just bring out the popcorn.

Now that’s entertainment.

Featured image from YouTube