Border radio stations The River and Star FM will swap titles for network brands from late this year and early 2017

THE names of the Border’s two major FM stations, Star and The River, are to vanish. 

The broadcaster’s owner Southern Cross Austereo this week said it planned to rebrand its 75 regional stations to be either Hit or Triple M.

Star FM is to be Hit and The River will be Triple M.

Happy days: Andy Walker (centre) with staff celebrate the first birthday of The River radio station in July 1999.

Happy days: Andy Walker (centre) with staff celebrate the first birthday of The River radio station in July 1999.

The move will help SCA save money on administration with the Hit and Triple M monikers used by the company’s capital city stations.

The River already airs Triple M football commentary and Star FM broadcasts Hamish and Andy who are heard on Hit in metro areas.

The demise of The River name is dispiriting for radio veteran Andy Walker, who was the station’s manager when it opened in 1998 as a rival to B104.9FM, the then name of Star FM.

“It will be sad to see it go because I always thought The River was such an appropriate name given the locality,” Walker said.

“We’re known for the Murray and it went hand-in-hand with being on the river.

“They’re losing their localism and going metro, making it cheaper and easier for them to program.”

Walker, who works for 2AY, said The River was initially not meant to be known by that handle.

“When we originally came to town the intention was to call it Star FM and a lot of art work had been done and approved with that name,” Walker said.

“But it turned out the owners of what was then B104.9 had the ownership of that name and there wasn’t much we could do.

“We had a staff launch at the Star Hotel because we were going to call it Star.”

Thanks to geography The River name escaped an earlier chop when the network rebranded a range of stations as Sea FM.

Walker said The River broadcast every weekday shift, apart from its evening session, from its David Street studios when it began in Albury.

It came under the same ownership as Star FM in 2004 and the stations have shared space on the corner of Kiewa and Swift streets since 2005.

Star FM began in 1993 as 2AY FM with the old 2AY being renamed 1494 AM for a short period before reverting to its former name when the B104.9 brand emerged. 

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