Sky Sports Radio - Company Profile

Sky Sports Radio company profile

Sky Sports Radio has been broadcasting the best of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing to a state-wide audience for more than 34-years of its 86-year history.

The National Racing Service, broadcast on Sky Sports Radio daily throughout NSW, each week covers more than 1500 races. Live race descriptions are complemented by appropriate pre-race form guides, up-to-date TAB information, mounting yard mail and post-race opinions.

Sydney metropolitan area listeners tune to Sky Sports Radio via a five kilowatt transmitter located at Homebush and the Sydney footprint is expanded by a wide-spread of more than 105 narrowcast transmitters. The narrowcast transmitters ensure a state-wide coverage as far north as Tweed Heads, south to Bega and west to Broken Hill.

Sky Sports Radio has pioneered new digital radio technology with data displays and exclusive sports content currently available from time to time on its digital channels. More live racing and sports betting entertainment will be added to the digital service as the penetration continues to increase.

Digital radio provides listeners with a richer experience with the broadcasting of text such as TAB racing and sports odds, tips, results and special promotions. At this stage digital service only is available to Sydney metropolitan listeners.

Sky Sports Radio also utilises online technology and podcast’s daily highlights from the Big Sports Breakfast  and Racing HQ as well as full programs and streaming high quality broadcasts online.

Racing may be the backbone of the company but Sky Sports Radio, as the name suggests, has a variety of other sporting programs.

The flagship in this arena is the Big Sports Breakfast co-hosted by Terry Kennedy and Michael Slater on air each weekday morning from 5:30am to 9am. It is the only all-sports breakfast program on radio in New South Wales. Big name national and international sports stars call in for breakfast and along with the expert views of a strong team of regular contributors guarantees the listeners are kept up-to-date with the latest news and views on their favourite sports.

On 10 March 2014, The Big Sports Breakfast TV was launched on Sky Racing 1 (Foxtel Channel 519) with the radio program simulcast.

The casual racing enthusiast and the more serious punters are catered for in an informative and entertaining fashion with Inside Running. Each Saturday and public holiday from 6:30am Andrew Bensley hosts this comprehensive coverage with expert help from Ron Dufficy, Michael Fraser, Deane Lester and a team of other respected form analysts throughout the country.

Other programs garnering a loyal audience on Sky Sports Radio include:

  • Punters Post Mortem (Mondays 9am to 10am) Terry Kennedy, Ron Dufficy and Deane Lester present an authoritative overview of the previous weekend racing highlights.
  • Racing HQ (9am to 10:30am Tuesday to Friday) is a fast-moving racing news program hosted by the omniscient Andrew Bensley. News, views and interviews abound during this fast-moving hour and a half.
  • Big Sports Breakfast Weekend (7am to 10am Sunday) hosted by Jimmy Smith and Stuart Clark. The first hour is devoted to racing with expert comments from Ray Thomas and Malcolm Johnston and from 8am general sports is covered by Jimmy, Stuart and a regular panel of experts.

This unique blend of high-calibre racing and general sports coverage broadcast throughout the state, on digital, and with Big Sports Breakfast TV's arrival on the Foxtel platform into 2.2 million homes, has installed Sky Sports Radio as a leader in sporting coverage.

Tracking the Sky Sports Radio tale

Tracking the progress of Sky Sports Radio from its origins way back in 1925 reveals a litany of luminaries, past and present, of the broadcasting world.

Originally under the ownership of the Labour Council of New South Wales as radio station 2KY with a music-format it progressed to talk programs and ultimately the current popular niche of race broadcasting. A cavalcade of radio broadcasting doyens have graced the station's airways in three formats.
• Music: Lyal Richardson, Bill Perryman, Donald Day, Jim Tregonning, Bill McColl and Brian Howard.
• Talk Back: John Harper, Ron Casey, Ita Buttrose, Mike Gibson, Bob Maumill and John Singleton.
• Sportscasting: Ken Howard, Cyril Angles, Ian Craig, Ray Conroy, Tiger Black, Doug Melton, Greg Hartley, Peter Peters, Peter Bosley and Ray Warren.

Race broadcasting, the present speciality of Sky Sports Radio, actually dates back to 1949 when night harness racing was introduced and soon after greyhound racing was added to the program guide.

Still under the banner of 2KY, in the mid-60s the station obtained network capability from 2GB for Wednesday thoroughbred race broadcasts and expanded to Saturday afternoon gallops coverage by 1974. Eventually in 1981 2GB dropped out of race broadcasting and 2KY had exclusive commercial coverage.

By 1992, taking advantage of the open narrowcasting provision of the Broadcasting Services Act, the station began to introduce a state-wide narrowcasting network.

Sky Sports Radio now transmits to more than 105 centres throughout New South Wales, practically blanketing the state with its exclusive racing radio service.

In 2001 the radio station was acquired by Sky Channel Pty Ltd heralding a new era in broadcasting in racing and sports. The amalgamation of the two visual and audio broadcasters enabled the organisation to take advantage of the synergies that exist within the two entities. As a result of the Sky Channel acquisition 2KY was rebranded Sky Sports Radio.

Sky Sports Radio has embraced the next generation of technology, pioneering Digital Audio Broadcasting and chief engineer, Max Carter, won two Commercial Radio Australia awards for his contribution to the early development of the new medium. In 2010 Sky Sports Radio began broadcasting the English Premier League on its second digital channel. It was the first radio station in Australia to broadcasting live sports coverage on its digital service and was recognised by Commercial Radio Australia in 2010 as a finalist for best new digital radio format. Other recent commercial radio awards include:

  • Best Newcomer 2009 - Michael Slater
  • Best Sports Coverage (Metro) - 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival
  • Best On-Air Team 2013 - TK & Slats
  • Best Newcomer 2013 - Andrew Webster

Sky Sports Radio has produced some of the greatest race callers in Australia and is continually focussed on harbouring new broadcasting talents. This is highlighted through the John Tapp Scholarship program.

Matt Hill was the inaugural winner of the John Tapp Scholarship which subsequently has been awarded to Josh Fleming, Mitchell Manners and Luke Marlow, who all now are broadcasting through Sky Sports Radio and Sky Racing.

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Sky Sports Radio Team

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Terry Kennedy

Terry's experience in the media dates back to 1982, when he joined Network Ten. He's hosted and called many sporting events. He has a passion for rugby league and racing and a solid overall sporting knowledge that our listeners enjoy Monday to Friday on the Big Sports Breakfast. 'TK' also hosts Punters Post Mortem every Monday from 9am-10am on Sky Sports Radio.

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Program Spotlight

From 6.30am every Saturday this extensive preview programme is hosted by the ubiquitous Andrew Bensley. It's a fast-moving four hours of radio, highlighted by a procession of punter-friendly information including the latest racing news, revealing interviews with key jockeys and trainers as well as professional opinions of authoritative form experts.

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