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Austereo's beginnings can be traced back to the introduction of commercial FM radio broadcasting in Australia - with the formation of Adelaide Stereo FM which in 1980 secured the first commercial FM licence in Adelaide. Originally called Double SA FM, the station changed its call sign in 1981 to SAFM. Within four years the station assumed market leadership - a position it continues to hold today.
In 1986 the company purchased the struggling FOX FM in Melbourne as the first stage in the development of a national FM network. One year to the day following its purchase by Austereo, FOX FM assumed market leadership becoming the most listened to station in Australia.
This success underscored Austereo's business strategy of acquiring under performing radio stations and building them through disciplined programming and management.
The following year Austereo also purchased 4BK in Brisbane as a platform form which to bid for the right to convert the AM station to FM as part of the Government's Metropolitan Conversion Plan for radio broadcasting.
The conversion of a lowly-rated AM station (4BK) in Brisbane to the market-dominating FM station (B105 FM) is without parallel in Australian broadcasting and created radio history.
On 1 December 1994, Village Roadshow sold the Triple M network (except Perth) to Austereo and in turn acquired a share holding of 53.5% in Austereo, thus giving it control of the two national networks. Triple M Perth subsequently joined Austereo from 1 July 1995.
In 1995 Austereo established a joint venture with Usaha Tegas to provide research, programming and sales consultancy to a network of five national radio stations in Malaysia. Since then the group has emerged as Malaysia's premier radio network operating the leading English, Chinese and local Malaysian speaking radio stations.
In November 2000, Austereo established a commercial services agreement in the United Kingdom with UKRD Group Limited which operates 14 radio stations in markets and regions including Scotland, West and South West of England, Manchester, the Home Counties and East Anglia. Supporting the commercial services agreement, the group has purchased a nominal equity interest in UKRD with an option to acquire up to a further 10% before March 2004.
Austereo continues to build its offshore presence by exporting its intellectual capital to Malaysia, Greece and the UK. Austereo is the largest radio broadcaster outside America. A key factor in its success is its access to the best Australian entertainment talent.
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