Business AM, Belgium’s first digital talk-radio station, launched on Jan. 9 this year (see our report here), broadcasting from studios below Ghent Ghelamco football stadium, offering a non-stop flow of business news, interviews and reports. The station is part of the Ghent-based MediaNation group, which also operates the news websites Business AM and NewsMonkey.
Although Business AM added several weekly thematic programs to its roster, propelled by the station’s daily 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. ‘Morning Drive’ show, the new project failed to catch on.
In May, the station stopped its live morning show and reduced staff. Business AM’s promising program roster was reduced to politics and business news, interviews and continuous re-runs of existing news content.
According to business and news publication De Tijd, Business AM owner MediaNation posted a loss of 5.03 million euros in 2022, prompting the group’s board to implement a restructuring plan to break even figures in 2023.
For now, Business AM is broadcasting on DAB+ and online, with Lennart Creël and Sofie Sonck the only presenters left.
RadioVisie also reported that earlier this year, one of Business AM’s presenter-operated Lawo Ruby broadcast studios was out of commission. At the time, insiders told RedTech that they expected the curtain would fall over Business AM sometime in the summer. The station management announced there would be a restart before the end of the year, but the attempt failed.
Compared to the Netherland-based Dutch-language BNR Nieuwsradio, which has a substantially bigger national audience reach, Business AM only targeted the Flemish part of the country. “Talk radio is expensive if you want to do it right,” a source told Red Tech. “Before you open the microphone fader, you must have content — research is crucial. Radio is a fast, 24/7 medium, and bringing the news when it happens is what makes news radio work.”
Another source cited mismanagement and a lack of marketing as problems with the station despite the unique, high-potential format.