Questions asked at 2024 ARN Media AGM

May 15, 2024

Here is the text of the 6 written questions lodged during the 2024 ARN Media hybrid AGM held on May 14, along with a summary of the answers. See webcast of 41 minute meeting.

Q1. Who came up with the original Southern Cross bid strategy, us or Anchorage? How much shareholder cash have we burnt through so far lobbing 7 different proposals before our partner embarrassingly walked out last weekend? Have Anchorage paid equally for the bid costs?

Answer: Chair Hamish McLennan said the idea came from the ARN management team and then CEO Ciaran Davis said the costs of around $5 million would be shared equally with Anchorage. Watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q2. What is going on with Seven West Media becoming our biggest shareholder during the year? Have they requested a board seat and what is their position on the Southern Cross Media merger proposal? Why does our 4th biggest shareholder, Alison Cameron, get a seat on our board but Seven West, News Corp and Allan Gray don't?

Answer: Chair Hamish said Seven hasn't asked for a board seat and then he strongly backed Alison Cameron whose family have notched up 70 years in the radio business. He said she also backed the Southern Cross bid strategy. Watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q3. There is a growing risk that the Federal Parliament will impose a blanket ban on gambling advertising, similar to the tobacco regime. What proportion of our advertising revenue currently comes from the gambling industry and is it currently above $20 million a year? Is the gambling sector one of our 5 biggest industry advertisers? Which sectors are larger?

Answer: The CEO said it is less than 5% of total revenue. Watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q4. Could new director Brent Cubis and the chair comment on the recruitment process that led to his appointment to the board. Was a head hunter involved, did the full board interview Brent and did they interview any other candidates? Did Brent know any of our directors before engaging with the recruitment process and could he explain his past dealings with our two biggest shareholders, News Corp and Seven West Media, and their proprietors, if they have been any?

Answer: The audio cut out towards the end when Brent spoke but the chair said the process was thorough and all directors interviewed Brent before he was appointed. Watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q5. Is it correct that Kyle Sandilands is paid more than our CEO? Also, why did it take so long to get the Kyle & Jackie O show up in Melbourne and what has the reaction been so far. Melbourne is not used to his sort of uncouth antics. Has there been much blowback and what board protocols are in place when he crosses the line?

Answer: Chair Hamish admitted Kyle "probably" earns more than the CEO, who he then declared was Australia's best radio CEO and one of the best CEOs in Melbourne. He said you didn't have to listen to Kyle if you don't like the content but plenty do, plus appropriate protocols are in place to keep him within editorial guidelines. Watch video of exchange via Twitter.

How does the Chinese Communist Party exercise its control over advertising content on the Hong Kong Tramways? Do we need to seek approval from the Government in terms of the ads we run and do we have to run many government ads?

Answer: not asked.