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SPH to launch two new radio stations; previews upcoming changes to its newspapers

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Mr Sim Hong Huat (second from left), General Manager, SPH Radio introducing his new radio DJs from Money 89.3FM and 96.3 好FM.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has announced that 96.3 Hao FM and Money FM 89.3, the two new radio stations joining its stable, will hit the airwaves in January 2018.

This was revealed at a trade engagement event on Friday with media and advertisers, where key personnel from the media giant also shared upcoming changes to its print and digital products, including newspapers, The Straits Times (ST) and The Business Times (BT).

The launch of the new radio stations follows a successful tender in March 2017.

It brings the total number of radio stations managed and operated by SPH Radio, an SPH subsidiary, to five.

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Singapore's first business and personal finance radio station, Money FM 89.3, is expected to launch on Jan 29.

It will be hosted by industry veterans including Claressa Monteiro, Yasmin Jonkers and Elliott Danker.

Aimed at PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen), financial market participants as well as the general audience, the talk-format English station will have content from ST, BT, and SPH's subsidiary, ShareInvestor.

96.3 Hao FM will be a Chinese infotainment station targeted at those aged 45 and above, playing classic hits by artistes such as Wakin Chau, Faye Wong, Jacky Cheung, and local xinyao music.

The station, scheduled to start on Jan 8, will also discuss topics ranging from lifestyle and healthcare to wealth planning.

The current lineup of hosts includes radio personalities such as Jackie Liu, Tan Li Yi, Hong Wei Wen, and Wen Guo Xian.

Sim Hong Huat, general manager of SPH Radio, said: "These are exciting times for SPH Radio as we gear up to the launches of our two new stations next year.

"With strong editorial support and great production teams, we are committed to offering the best to our listeners."

More than 400 clients attended the trade event hosted by SPH's Integrated Marketing Division (IMD) at the Parkroyal on Pickering, where editors of ST, BT, Lianhe Zaobao and The New Paper also shared their upcoming plans.

In a session hosted by head of media solutions at IMD Ignatius Low, executive editor of ST, Sumiko Tan said a priority for the coming months is creating more premium content.

"Hopefully in the coming months you can see more investigative stories and cutting-edge commentaries," she said.

Another focus is to grow its community of readers through events such as the Singapore Coffee Festival.

Ms Tan added that from 2018, technology news will be shifted to the Life section.

BT editor Wong Wei Kong said the paper's weekend magazine, currently published on Saturdays, will be distributed with the main paper on Fridays starting 2018.

The Friday paper will also be redesigned to carry popular weekend features such as personal columns and car reviews.

With Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2018, editor Goh Sin Teck said one of the highlights will be a Broadway-style Chinese-language musical, without giving further details.

The New Paper editor Eugene Wee quashed rumours that the paper will exit the print market, following Today's move in August 2017.

"We reach out to almost 600,000 readers now, and this number is almost 20 per cent higher than the combined My Paper and New Paper readership before the merger," he said.

On SPH's latest digital offering Stirr, Chew V Ming, deputy head at SPH's English, Malay and Tamil Media group, said how the team differentiates itself from other similar products is the fact that the team is made up of full-fledged journalists.

This is an advantage because "journalists are simply more aware of the big picture concerns that maybe some of the younger influencers out there may not be aware of", he said.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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