Ben Butler March 27, 2012
Failed Melbourne right-wing talk radio station MTR owed more than $13 million to Sydney-based Macquarie Radio Network when it was abruptly pulled from the air earlier this month, documents filed with the corporate regulator show.
Minutes of a meeting of creditors show that ASX-listed Macquarie, which owns half of MTR, was owed about $12.5 million while its subsidiary Harbour Radio was owed between $600,000 and $667,000.
The report shows that the other joint venture partner, Pacific Star Network, which is also listed on the exchange, claimed to be owed more than $195,000.
In addition to the millions owed to the joint venture partners, MTR also owed far smaller amounts to celebrities, journalists and on-air talent.
Psychologist Sandy Rea, a regular on station programming boss Steve Price’s breakfast show, was owed $3150, the report, filed following a creditors meeting a fortnight ago, shows.
Channel Nine’s Robert Penfold is listed as being owed $1350 while Collingwood legend Peter Daicos was owed $3300 through his company Madicol.
Herald Sun gossip writer Fiona Byrne was owed $840 while columnists Alan Howe and Susie O’Brien were owed $500 and $400 respectively.
Rita Panahi, a regular on SEN, the sports station run by MTR half-owner Pacific Star Network, is recorded as being owed $750.
Senior political journalist for The Australian, Dennis Shanahan, was owed $82.50.
Profile Talent Management, an agency representing a host of celebrities including music mogul Molly Meldrum, was owed $330.
A financial report included in the minutes shows that for the 18 months to the end of December MTR brought in revenue totalling $4.72 million, running up a loss of $9.15 million.
Station management felt that ‘‘revenue had significantly declined and was unlikely to improve in the forseeable future’’ and ‘‘the company is unlikely to achieve a profit in the forseeable future’’, PPB said in the report.
MTR was yanked off the air on Friday, March 2, midway through a news bulletin.
Macquarie and Pacific Star had placed the company behind the station, Melbourne Radio Operations, into administration earlier that day after a legal stoush over how to stem the venture’s continuing losses.