It has been a long time since the launch of a new radio station received daily coverage in the American specialized press. (To some extent, it is this excitement that Ross on the radio First Listen reviewers were looking to recreate.) But I’ve read about Australia CADA every day for the past two weeks since owner ARN announced Sydney’s Rhythmic Top 40 rimshotter The edge 96.1 was relaunched as a national hip-hop station, available on DAB in major markets and on ARN’s iHeart Australia platform.
CADA debuted on March 31. Since then, Australia Trades has documented better than me how:
There is a good review of the launch of the format and the morning show. Additionally, another preview article added a number of reader comments worth checking out that touch on CADA’s competitive relationship with Australia. Nova stations and the non-com alternative Triple-J network. Or check out this review on CADA, Triple-J, and Wordle.
ARN launched a TikTok trending channel on iHeart Australia nearly a year ago, months before SiriusXM’s North American release. He is also the (soon to be former) owner of Classic Hits 4KQ Brisbane, the most successful AM music in the world. It says a lot about their level of activity, and that of Australian radio, that they have been a more regular presence in this column than some American broadcasters.
I have heard CADA several times since its launch. Like Apple Music, the individual programs, not the overall format, are the monetary unit intended by the station. When I heard CADA in the evening, when the station is not hosted, it’s a relatively mainstream Top 40 Rhythmic. underground.
The “not hosted after 8 p.m.” part deserves discussion. It had been a long time since the night jock was no longer the ambassador of younger radio stations, but this seems to be a prerequisite for a national radio station which wants to be the nerve center of its format. Hip-hop, more than any other format, seems to be a 24/7 genre. And while I’m not a fan of reruns, a program-focused radio station could more reasonably air them at night than its rivals.
As a regional outlet, and now as an ATM network, CADA was not and will not be featured in individual market rankings. Like iHeart’s Black Information Network, the sale is not based on national advertiser ratings. There is no “two minute promise” on CADA, but it would have qualified if I had listened. (The main sponsor in the hours I heard was McDonald’s with Supercheap Auto Parts in Australia.)
CADA is described as “the Australian home of hip-hop and R&B”, but also around the lines “never miss a beat” and “get the tempo, set the tempo”. There are plenty of promotions and credo sweeps, including ones that talk about a “growing movement” and how “everyone from all walks of life” can “find their home at CADA.”
In its intent, CADA clearly hopes to be the lifestyle station for anyone not already represented by Triple-J, although that station has done a better job than any alternative outlet in the United States in including hip-hop, while Nova, launched as a hybrid of Top 40 and Triple-J two decades ago, is now a more adult mainstream CHR.
Here is Cada on April 5 in regular format around 9 p.m.:
- Camila Cabello f/Ed Sheeran, “BamBam”
- Nevada f/Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap, “Mac”
- Hilltop Hoods f/ Eamon, “Show Business” (Australian and a stream, despite its blast-from-the-past feature artist)
- Subject & A7S, “Break Me”
- ALTEGO p/Britney Spears & Ginuwine, “Toxic Pony”
- Ariana Grande, “Thanks, next time”
- Jack Harlow, “Nail Technology”
- Jay Sean, “Down”
- Beca Hatch, “2560” (Australian)
- Jr Choi, “To the Moon”
- Doja Cat, “Gotta Know”
- chain smokers, “Paris”
And here’s the station from earlier today during “The Hype-Up”:
- Day 1 f/ Hooligan Hefs, “Magic” (Australian)
- Gunna & Future f/Young Thug, “Push P”
- Usher p/Will.I.Am, “OH MY GOD”
- Roddy Rich, “The box”
- French Montana p/Swae Lee, “Unforgettable”
- Nicki Minaj f/Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle butter”
- Mason Dane f/Baby Prince, “Pretty Pearl” (Australian, apparently a truncated version that was more promotional than the full song)
- FelixThe1st & Dreya Mac f/Finch Fetti, “Own brand freestyle”
- Kanye West, “Hurricane”
- Kali p/ATL Jacob, “MMM MMM”
- A$AP Rocky, “Praise the Lord (Da Shine)”
- latte, “Big Energy” (the original, not the Mariah Carey/DJ Khalid remix)
- Justin Timberlake, “Summer Love” – ironically I had heard it the day before on Apple Music Hits
Triple-J has come by his mystique over the decades. It is difficult for a radio station to declare itself a movement right away, especially now. But CADA starts with many good ideas. It has the advantage of a more viable numerical level than America. It favors a format that would be niche in a market but scalable nationally. And proudly national is certainly better than fake local.
Same MMR fans are notorious for swooning when I write on international radio but 4KQ has been one of my most read articles so I hope listeners come because there are lessons for North America North.