Welcome to ABC Friends NSW & ACT
16 February 2018
This bill would amend the Corporation's Charter to require the ABC's service to be 'fair' and 'balanced'. Read the Final Report [here]
16 February 2018
This bill would amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 to ensure regional communities are provided for in the functions of the Corporation, and through representation on the ABC Board. Read the report [here]
Patricia Edgar - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - April 18, 2018
How many times must it be said that if we do not take action Australian children's programming will disappear from our screens?
The Director-General of the BBC has now conceded there is a crisis, with young people spending more time viewing Netflix and YouTube than they do BBC programs. In July 2017 he announced the broadcaster's biggest investment in children's services in a generation - an additional 34 million pounds across the next three years to enable the BBC to reinvent how it serves its youngest audience in the years ahead. The BBC's plan is foundering and as well Australia's children's viewing through broadcast television, is tanking quietly. Read more.
ABC Friends supports World Press Freedom Day
In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 - 3 May. This year's global theme is 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law', and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. Read more.
InDaily - April 11, 2018
The communications minister doesn't believe the ABC competes with News Corp because the public broadcaster doesn't chase advertising dollars.
The Turnbull Government has launched a "competitive neutrality" review to look at whether the ABC and SBS operate on a level playing field with commercial media companies.
The inquiry was part of a deal it did with One Nation to pass media ownership reforms through parliament.
Minister Mitch Fifield told a Senate committee today that several commercial media organisations thought the review was timely and appropriate. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 13, 2018
The number of hours of factual programming on the ABC has dropped by 60% since 2014, drama by 20% and documentary by 13.5%, the broadcaster has told a parliamentary inquiry.
Original Australian documentaries and factual programs have dropped from a total of 224 broadcast hours in the 2014-15 financial year to just 110 last financial year.
First-run Australian drama has dropped from 51 hours to 40 and narrative comedy from 24 to 20. Read more.
Broede Carmody - SMH - April 11, 2018
The ABC slashed the amount it spent on drama by 20 per cent in the 2016/17 financial year.
The broadcaster spent $27.2 million last financial year, down from $36.2 million the year before, according to documents tabled with the Senate's committee for environment and communications. Read more.
Michael Koziol - SMH - April 11, 2018
ABC journalists frequently make errors that are caught before publication but editors failed to do so in the "unusual" case of Emma Alberici's company tax stories, the public broadcaster has said.
Fronting a special Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, editorial director Alan Sunderland played down the nine mistakes or omissions of fact the ABC identified in a piece about corporate tax avoidance by its chief economics correspondent, which was savaged by Turnbull government ministers. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 10, 2018
The Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, has accused the ABC of having an anti-business bias in a letter of complaint about the "slanted analysis" and "poor reporting" in economics correspondent Emma Alberici’s company tax stories.
In the letter to the ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, Joyce wrote: "Any reasonable person consuming the ABC's coverage would incorrectly be led to believe that Qantas (along with other large corporations) was in some way shirking its tax responsibilities and not contributing to the Australian economy. This could not be further from the truth." Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 4, 2018
The Australian federal police raided the home of a debt collector for the Australian Taxation Office who is a key whistleblower in a joint Fairfax/Four Corners investigation into the extensive powers of the tax office.
The raid came just days ahead of the broadcast on the ABC of the program, Mongrel Bunch of Bastards, which is set to air on Monday 9 April. Read more.
Media Release - Minister for Communications - March 28, 2018
The Turnbull Government has appointed an experienced panel to conduct an Inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters.
The Inquiry will examine whether Australia's national broadcasters - the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) - are operating in a manner consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality.
Michael Koziol - SMH - March 31, 2018
The economist appointed by the Turnbull government to head its review of the ABC and SBS has assured fans and viewers they have nothing to fear from his probe into the public broadcasters.
Robert Kerr, a retired competition tsar, will examine whether the networks are complying with the principle of "competitive neutrality" - that is, ensuring they do not enjoy advantages over commercial rivals purely because of their public ownership.
The inquiry is expected to deal with concerns raised by commercial publishers, including Fairfax Media, about the ABC's involvement in free online news, as well as its expenditure on promotion through Google. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 30, 2018
The Coalition has handed Rupert Murdoch something his outlets have been lobbying for pretty hard recently: an inquiry into whether the public broadcasters are “using their privileged status to smother commercial operators”. That’s how the announcement of the terms of reference for a competitive neutrality inquiry was reported by the Australian this week.
The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, appointed economist Robert Kerr, commercial TV lobbyist Julie Flynn and former ABC TV executive and producer Sandra Levy to examine whether ABC and SBS are "operating in a manner consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality" which require that public entities shouldn’t enjoy a competitive advantage. Read more.
John Power - The NewDaily - March 28, 2018
The ABC is refusing to release its correspondence with the Prime Minister’s office in the days surrounding its publication of a trove of misplaced Cabinet documents that it later returned to the government.
In January, the national broadcaster revealed the partial contents of a collection of 1500 Cabinet papers that had been accidentally sold at a government auction, providing a rare glimpse into the inner workings of five past governments. Read more.
Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 27, 2018
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is looking for new directors for the ABC board, with well-known Melbourne business personality and property investor Joseph Gersh believed to be among those approached for the job.
Mr Gersh is the founder of boutique investment bank Gersh Investment Partners, has an Order of Australia and is director of not for profit current affairs forum The Sydney Institute. Read more.
March 26, 2018
About this inquiry - This bill would amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 and the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991 to provide more transparency on how the national broadcasters allocate Government funding in relation to salary and allowances paid to employees, and payments to on-air talent contractors where the total amounts paid exceed $200,000 annually. Read the report.
Craig Mathieson - SMH - March 19, 2018
Harrow is the television series the ABC gets when it cuts its coat according to the cloth it has, or more precisely with the cloth provided to the national broadcaster by its financing co-partners.
The story of a brilliant forensic pathologist, Dr Daniel Harrow (Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd), who outrageously bends the rules to solve the murder case on the slab before him, the crime mystery plays as if it was constructed for an international audience. Read more.
Susannah Guthrie - The NewDaily - March 23, 2018
Margot Robbie's production company has partnered with the ABC to produce a new local 10-part series, indicating the Gold Coast-born actress's commitment to the industry where she cut her teeth.
The ABC announced on Friday it had signed a deal with LuckyChap Entertainment, the production company Robbie founded with her husband, Tom Ackerley, friends Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr and producer Brett Hedblom. Read more.
Michael Lallo - SMH - March 22, 2018
Since 2016, Today's metropolitan ratings have slumped by almost 16 per cent - while Sunrise has shed nearly one-fifth of its city audience. This isn't surprising.
In 2018, most long-running shows are losing viewers. If they experience only a small decline - as opposed to a precipitous drop - they're doing well.
Which makes ABC's NewsBreakfast - presented by Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland - an interesting case study. Read more.
Broede Carmody - SMH - March 23, 2018
A senior ABC executive has apologised to Australian Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey after he was labelled a "c---" on Tom Ballard's Tonightly program.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 23, 2018
Communications minister Mitch Fifield and Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi complain about ABC show that called candidate four-lettered word.
Conservative politicians who complained about a sketch on ABC TV's Tonightly comedy show are serial critics of the public broadcaster who are pushing a political agenda, comedian Wil Anderson has said. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 21. 2018
The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, has asked the ABC to investigate a TV comedy segment in which a candidate for Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives party was lampooned in a skit about the name of the electorate of Batman. Read more.
Aja Styles - SMH - March 20, 2018
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is demanding the ABC apologise and investigate a skit in which an Australian Conservatives candidate got labelled a "c---".
Tonightly with Tom Ballard ran a skit last week about renaming the Melbourne electorate of Batman after concerns about the history linked to founder John Batman and his involvement in the murder of Aboriginal people. Read more.
ABC Media Release - March 18, 2018
ABC News has again demonstrated why it is Australia's most trusted news source with a standout performance in two of the nation's top media awards: the Rural Press Club Awards and the Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism.
Dominique Schwartz and Alexandra Blucher were the overall winners of the Rural Journalism prize as well as taking out the category for Excellence in Rural Journalism Online at last week’s Rural Press Club Awards. Read more.
ABC must spend 'more time talking to ordinary Australians' about hip pocket issues, internal review finds
Michael Kozoil - SMH - March 16, 2018
ABC journalists should focus more on economic and hip pocket issues and "spend more time talking to ordinary Australians", an internal review at the broadcaster has found.
An audit of the network's news coverage, designed to investigate claims of left-wing bias and "elitist" story selection, has concluded the ABC should be more concerned with the effect of issues on "average citizens". Read more.
Read the full ABC Report [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 16, 2018
The ABC's main television and radio news bulletins should cover more human interest stories, local news and hip pocket issues, the managing director Michelle Guthrie has said.
Guthrie was endorsing an internal editorial review which found the 7pm ABC TV news and the 7am radio news bulletins assumed public broadcasting audiences were more interested in major national and international events than they were in their own community. Read more.
Johan Lidberg - The Conversation - February 20, 2018
The ABC's chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici, did her job the other day. She wrote a well-researched analysis piece investigating whether the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cuts would grow the economy and break Australia's wages deadlock.
Alberici's article came in for a lot of criticism from the Turnbull government for its one-sidedness and lack of balance. Later, the ABC took down the article from its website.
If you read her piece, you’ll see that, yes, she could have included more voices, and yes, the case for company tax cuts was forcefully argued against. But the argument and analysis was built on sound research, as Saul Eslake (one of Australia's most senior and respected independent economists, who was quoted in Alberici's story) has pointed out. Read more.
Lauren Carroll Harris - The Guardian - March 8, 2018
Since diving into the ABC’s drama offerings for 2018, I’ve thought often of the words of Sandra Levy, the former ABC director of television, more than 10 years ago: “I think the future for ABC television is very bleak.”
We speak a lot now about the golden age of television. But as longform, serialised storytelling has emerged as a global point of cultural interest, the ABC has stepped away from drama as a staple of its programming. How ironic that in a period of intense global creativity and demand, the predicament of Australian drama is that it’s missing in action on the ABC. Read more.
Tom Switzer - SMH - March 5, 2018
The other day a general member of the public - let’s call him Darren - forwarded me a group email from Q&A staff. Headlined "Tony Jones wants your questions!", the message was a laundry list of topics for the studio audience to consider before they ask questions at tonight's episode in Ultimo, which Darren will attend.
Darren was incredulous. Here was one of the ABC's most popular shows, he complained, taking for granted a set of left-liberal assumptions and setting political debates within a set of suggested boundaries.
To which I replied: why the surprise? Conservatives, like some social democrats, have long believed that the public broadcaster all too often flouts the statutory guidelines that insist on impartiality. Read more.
Tony Walker - The Age - March 4, 2018
Let me rise in defence not of the ABC itself, nor ABC management, nor the ABC board, nor Emma Alberici in particular, but of a fundamental principle. This is the editorial independence of the national broadcaster.
If those in authority - supported by their allies in the media - are encouraged to believe ABC management will fold at the first rustling of official disapproval then we would quickly lose confidence in the organisation’s ability to hold politicians to account.
Under pressure, the ABC’s hasty return to the government of two filing cabinets of classified documents that had ''fallen off the back of a truck'' is a case in point. Read more.
Luke Henriques Gomes - The New Daily - February 28, 2018
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has denied the broadcaster's chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici was "hung out to dry" when her controversial tax cuts analysis piece was taken down amid complaints from the Turnbull government.
Ms Guthrie and the ABC’s Head of Editorial Alan Sunderland were grilled about the controversy at a late-night Senate Estimates hearing on Tuesday.
The ABC boss also revealed that, aside from a 1000-word complaint letter from the Prime Minister's Office, and separate complaints from the Treasurer and the Communications Minister, she had also been contacted by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and the Business Council of Australia about Ms Alberici's article before it was taken down. Read more.
Michael Koziol - SMH - February 28, 2018
ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has conceded the news outlet "clearly failed" by publishing a pair of controversial articles about corporate tax by its chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici.
In a repentant letter to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Tuesday, Ms Guthrie promised to do better in the future and indicated Alberici's material was subject to an internal investigation.
And in a late night appearance before Senate estimates, the ABC boss failed to express confidence in Alberici, saying only that she would continue in her role as chief economics correspondent. Read more.
Michael Koziol & Jennifer Duke - SMH - February 27, 2018
One of the ABC's top bosses has issued a mea culpa over the broadcaster's handling of several recent controversies in its news division, acknowledging it needs to bolster editorial oversight.
The ABC has copped criticism this month over the execution of the so-called Cabinet Files series, its subsequent apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd and the publication of taxation stories by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici.
In an email to staff on Tuesday, the ABC's head of news Gaven Morris announced a restructure of senior positions at the broadcaster and conceded there had been "a number of editorial issues" and indicated a need to improve processes, particularly with regard to the ABC's online output. Read more.
Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - February 24, 2018
There are still some senior managers at the ABC prepared to drop the management speak and arse-covering and tell things with brutal, even profane, honesty.
It's fair to say he would not get much argument from senior journalistic staff about at least half of that statement. Two issues - first, the way the organisation dealt with a huge trove of sensitive government documents that fell into its hands; and second, the controversy over a couple of stories by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici - have played out disastrously for the national broadcaster and seriously damaged staff morale. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 23, 2018
A week after it was taken down from ABC Online Emma Alberici's contentious analysis piece on the government's proposed tax cuts for business went back up on Thursday. Unusually, the amended article carried a prominent editor's note at the top, rather than at the end as is common practice. "This analysis has been revised and updated by our chief economics correspondent. Passages that could be interpreted as opinion have been removed. Our editorial processes have also been reviewed. Emma Alberici is the ABC's chief economics correspondent and is a respected and senior Australian journalist." The revised piece added comments from the Business Council of Australia and finance minister Mathias Cormann, loud critics of the original. Read more.
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - February 22, 2018
After a bitter dispute, Emma Alberici has succeeded in getting the ABC to repost her 'analysis' of the Turnbull government's tax cut plans with the help of lawyers, The New Daily can reveal.
ABC sources told The New Daily that lawyers were involved as the former Lateline presenter, now the ABC's chief economics correspondent, fought for her credibility, reputation and career.
ABC News director Gaven Morris had ordered her critical article on the claimed wage flow-on benefits of corporate tax cuts to be removed from the ABC website last Friday. Read more.
Peter Brent - Inside Story - February 19, 2018
right and early last Wednesday morning the ABC published two articles by its chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici. Each of them strongly criticised the Turnbull government's corporate tax cut, which faces a less than enthusiastic Senate. Both articles enjoyed roaring circulation on the internet via social media; both were leapt on by the Labor opposition during question time.
Malcolm Turnbull reacted in fury. He and two of his ministers complained to ABC management, and on Friday one of the articles, the analysis, was pulled and the other tweaked. (You can still read the analysis on John Menadue's Pearls and Irritations.) Read more.
Greg Jericho - The Guardian - February 18, 2018
The battle over company tax cuts is hotting up and the response by the government and the business sector to analysis by ABC's Emma Alberici - on the impact of such tax cuts and evidence that one in five of the largest corporations in Australia paid no tax over the past three years - shows how worried they are that they are losing the fight.
On the same day Alberici's article was published, the prime minister referred to it during question time as "one of the most confused and poorly researched articles I've seen on this topic on the ABC's website". Meanwhile, the Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, argued in the Australian that there were good reasons why the airline hadn't paid tax in the past and that whether it did or not was irrelevant when it came to the issue of arguing for a lower tax rate. Read more.
The ABC has decided to close sound and reference libraries in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth, to reduce the service in Sydney, and to make 10 specialist librarians redundant.
The Australian Library and Information Association are organising submissions to the Minister for Communications and ABC Board. You can read their key points on the issue [here]
You can read ABC Friends' submission [here]
David Tiley - ArtsHub - February 2018
As part of its branding campaign, the ABC produced a document called Efficient, trusted, valued. It articulates the key defensive statements, but with clear graphs which provide additional data. These factoids have been whispered for a long time but the ABC is now armed with a new sense of outrage, and prepared to think in terms of constant dollars.
It can demonstrate that the real income to the ABC has declined by 28% since 1985. That amounts to $336m/year in 2018 dollars. But populations have increased as well, so the legendary 8c/day of 1985 has now halved in real terms. In 2017 numbers, the 1985 figure was 19.2c/day, which is now 9.7c. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 17, 2018
Malcolm Turnbull, his communications minister and the treasurer all wrote to Michelle Guthrie to complain about coverage of corporate tax policy by Emma Alberici before the ABC removed the contentious piece on Thursday.
The letter from the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, is quoted in the Weekend Australian, which also reports the prime minister and the treasurer, Scott Morrison, wrote to the ABC boss.
"This coverage contains multiple factual errors and misrepresentations in breach of the ABC's editorial standards," Fifield said. "It is neither fair, balanced, accurate nor impartial. It fails to present a balance of views on the corporate tax policy." Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 16, 2018
After complaints from Malcolm Turnbull, ABC News has removed an analysis piece about the government's proposed corporate tax cuts by economics correspondent Emma Alberici.
An accompanying news story by Alberici - which said Qantas hadn't paid corporate tax for close to 10 years - has been rewritten and reposted.
"Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, one of the most prominent supporters of the Turnbull government's proposed big business tax cut, presides over a company that hasn't paid corporate tax for close to 10 years," the news report said. Read more.
James Fernyhough - The New Daily - February 16, 2018
The ABC has removed an article by one of its most high-profile journalists criticising the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cuts, on the grounds that it "did not meet ABC editorial standards".
The article, written by economics correspondent and former Lateline host Emma Alberici, was published on Wednesday under the headline "There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five corporations don't pay it". Read more.
Broede Carmody - SMH - February 12, 2018
Laura Tingle has been made chief political correspondent of the ABC's 7.30 program.
The Walkley-award winning journalist, who is currently the political editor for The Australian Financial Review, will join the nightly current affairs program in the coming weeks. She said in a statement that after 35 years as a print reporter it was time for a new challenge. Read more.
Paul Wallbank - Mumbrella - January 31, 2018
A proposal by the ABC to restructure its sound and reference libraries, resulting in the loss of 10 staff has been blasted by current and former employees.
The proposal, which will see the state-based libraries centralised in Melbourne and Sydney with most of the CD and print collections digitised, is part of the national broadcaster's efficiency drive under CEO Michelle Guthrie.
The host of current affairs show PM, Linda Mottram, described the proposal as “ripping the heart out” on Twitter, following reports of the move in The Guardian. Read more.
A two page flyer produced by ABC Friends you can download & print [here] (300KB PDF)
Andrew Fowler - The Guardian - February 10, 2018
Hundreds of pages of cabinet documents, some of them marked secret, others with an even more restricted circulation, are handed over to the ABC. It's the kind of information journalists can normally only dream about, a cornucopia of documents dealing with high level national security and an insight into the internal workings of government over six administrations. But what emerges from this treasure trove of 1,500 documents? A few interesting, but mainly rather ordinary stories.
So what happened to the material that many journalists spend so much of their lives trying to discover - documents involving national security? On 1 February, the ABC news director, Gaven Morris, explained all on the network's AM program: "We haven't gone anywhere near, you know, stories or issues that may have a national security implication." Read more.
The ABC - Now and into the Future
Video of the event (1' 22")
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 9, 2018
The ABC now costs every Australian just four cents a day, half what it cost in 1987 when the famous "eight cents a day" campaign was launched by then managing director David Hill.
"We've learned to do a lot with our few cents a day," the ABC's chief financial officer, Louise Higgins, told an audience of 400 members of the public in the ABC TV studio usually the domain of Tony Jones' Q&A. "In other words, our per capita funding has halved in real terms." Read more.
Read the ABC Friends Media Release [here]
Brooke Wylie - ABC News - February 9, 2018
The ABC's editorial board has fielded criticisms from members of the public during its first annual public meeting at the broadcaster's headquarters.
Repetitive programming, partisan coverage, staff cutbacks, cross-program advertising and cuts to current affairs program Lateline were among the concerns raised during the 90-minute public meeting.
Members of the public were invited to attend the broadcaster's first annual public meeting at the ABC's headquarters in Sydney, as well as at events held in Tasmania and Queensland.
Three-hundred-and-fifty questions were submitted from members of the public across the country in the lead up to the meeting. Read more.
February 5, 2018
On 10 May 2017 the Senate established the Select Committee on the Future of Public Interest Journalism, to inquire and report on the following matters: (a) the current state of public interest journalism in Australia and around the world, including the role of government in ensuring a viable, independent and diverse service; (b) the adequacy of current competition and consumer laws to deal with the market power and practices of search engines, social media aggregators and content aggregators, and their impact on the Australian media landscape;(c) the impact on public interest journalism of search engines and social media internet service providers circulating fake news, and an examination of counter measures directed at online advertisers, 'click-bait' generators and other parties who benefit from disinformation; (d) the future of public and community broadcasters in delivering public interest journalism, particularly in underserviced markets like regional Australia, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities; (e) examination of 'fake news', propaganda, and public disinformation, including sources and motivation of fake news in Australia, overseas, and the international response; and (f) any related matters. The Report is now available [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 6, 2018
A last-ditch attempt to prevent the dismantling of the ABC's sound and reference libraries will be made at a board meeting on Thursday as it emerged that management is planning to send its entire book collection to Samoa.
Guardian Australia revealed last week that the ABC is breaking up its historic music and reference libraries and making 10 librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages.
Sources say management plans include packing up all 22,000 books in Sydney and Melbourne - apart from a few "special items" - and sending them to Samoa. The books have been targeted because management wants the library space for the IT division. Read more.
Angus McPherson - Limelight Magazine - January 30, 2018
The ABC is consolidating its sound libraries in a move that will see physical libraries dismantled and library staff made redundant, The Guardian reported this morning.
As part of ongoing changes at the ABC, Sound & Reference Libraries around the country will be dismantled in favour of a centralised library in Melbourne. In an announcement to staff dated January 16, obtained by Limelight, the ABC said collections will be "culled to remove duplicates and CD's [sic] no longer required, (approximately 50% of current holdings), with only a single copy held in Melbourne. Changes to the CD collections will be the initial focus as this is the area of key impact and demand." The Sound Libraries serve music stations including Classic FM and Triple J, as well as providing music for documentaries and other programs across the ABC. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 2, 2018
Michelle Guthrie's handpicked business transformation expert, who spearheaded the ABC's content restructure in November, has left the ABC before the plan could be bedded down.
Debra Frances was originally brought into Aunty as a consultant to work on the restructure of the organisation but Guthrie was so enamoured of her skills she brought her in-house, giving her a staff card and the newly created title of "head of transformation".
But just two months into the project - which will see the old TV, radio and news divisions broken up - another exec, Anne Milne, is stepping up to complete "the execution phase of the restructure", according to an email to the executive team from finance chief Louise Higgins. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 30, 2018
The ABC is dismantling its historic sound and reference libraries across the country and making 10 specialist librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages.
Radio National, Classic FM, JJJ and all the other ABC programs rely on the Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart libraries, which are packed full of CDs and vinyl as well as books and journals after 85 years of collecting.
The librarians know the collection intimately and suggest music for documentaries and other programs.
The libraries will be "culled and packed" to reduce duplication and to "align with production requirements", according to the staff announcement. Read more.
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 28, 2018
Australia's opinion makers wake up to Radio National. The three-hour live RN Breakfast, presented for 12 years by Fran Kelly, reaches half a million listeners across the major capital cities alone. It lands the key political interviews and helps set the news agenda but also has the time and space to examine issues in depth. As the flagship RN program, Breakfast is well-resourced and has the largest share of the RN budget.
When Kelly moves away from the mic at 9am, RN begins its daily mix of news, live topical shows, specialist content and features. Unlike the ABC's local radio stations, RN is labour-intensive radio. It's an expensive exercise to create original, well-researched programs that look beyond the daily news cycle and explore the arts, philosophy, science and the law, as well as drama and music, long-form features, book reading and creative audio. Sadly, management cuts in recent years have seen drama, music and book reading fall away. Read more.
Michael Bodey - The Saturday Paper - December 16, 2017
The ABC has a demographic problem. And it knows it.
A recent major research project for the public broadcaster divided its viewers and listeners into the kind of archetypes so loved by digital types - "influencer", "me-timer", "binger", "innovator" and so on - and those derided in the digital world - "time-filler", "company seeker".
The different consumers were graphed in four quadrants, divided by axes representing engagement and emotion. Unsurprisingly, the quadrant of actively engaged and emotional users was dubbed the area of greatest value and growth potential for the ABC. The quadrant represented by reactivity and mere utility was marked as the least value and, on the analysis, represented by a dead fish. Read more.
The ABC is launching a new country-wide rural affairs program three years after axing Radio National's Bush Telegraph.
The new radio show is expected to hit the airwaves on January 22. Like its national predecessor, it will provide in-depth news and analysis of issues important to rural and regional Australians.
The show is tentatively titled The Dirt and is set to be hosted by Perth-based broadcaster Sinead Mangan. It will be broadcast on all regional ABC radio stations from 6.05pm to 6.30pm Monday through to Friday, before being replayed on Radio National and Radio Australia. Read more
By Daily Review December 7, 2017
Changes to breakfast, afternoon and drive slots across the ABC's radio network have been announced this week by its director of radio, Michael Mason, who said they were in response to the changing needs of its audience.
One of the big changes is the cancellation of Radio National's Books and Arts to make way for a daily arts program called The Hub and the reduction of hosting duties by Michael Cathcart from five days to one day a week.
The Hub will be presented by a different person at 10 am each weekday "with contributions from an ensemble of artists, makers, writers and critics, and delve into the creative worlds of the visual arts, theatre and performance, literature, film and TV as well as popular culture" the ABC announced. Read more
Judith Whelan - SMH - December 11, 2017
In its 85 years of service to Australians, the ABC has achieved a remarkable and enviable record as a broadcaster renowned for its quality of coverage, its relationship with its audiences and innovation in both programming and distribution.
This strong tradition has continued in more recent years, as broadcasting has become increasingly digitised, audiences have been given many more program choices from many more media providers, and technology has allowed them to choose how and when they will read and watch and listen to what they what. Read more
Kerrie O'Brien - SMH - December 9, 2017
Two of Australia's best current affairs programs have just been slashed in half. Both flagship offerings on ABC Radio, they are unique in our broadcasting line-up and critical to our collective education. The World Today, the lunchtime wrap, and PM, in the evening, will run to just 30 minutes, down from one hour. One has to ask, where is the logic?
"Leave the audience wanting more" was one memorable quote justifying the change. What does that mean when it comes to current affairs? How is it relevant? To provide compelling, insightful, well-crafted stories is no doubt expensive but surely the cost of losing such educational, informative shows is far greater? Read more
Comment - SMH - December 9, 2017
The ABC's recent organisational restructure to take effect early next year raises serious concerns about the future of Radio National (RN). The network is arguably the most distinctive part of the ABC, and embodies many aspects of what the ABC is required to do under its charter. New arts and culture programs on Radio National in 2018 are to be warmly welcomed however this program line-up will be the last to be devised by a dedicated network executive. In future years, this structure will be fragmented and focus on RN as a coherent network will falter. Read more
Media Release - ABC - December 6, 2017
The ideas network welcomes an ensemble of new programs to 2018 schedule.
In 2018, ABC RN will continue to nurture the intellectual and cultural life of all Australians by introducing dynamic new voices and programs to its impressive suite of specialist content. Read more and download the full 2018 RN Schedule
Media Release - ABC - December 6, 2017
A new national music and culture show presented by Myf Warhurst; an early evening regional current affairs program; and extended co-hosted Breakfast shows are among some of the changes announced by the ABC today for its 2018 station and network radio line-ups.
The ABC's capital city radio network, its triple j and RN national networks and its regional stations have unveiled their 2018 program schedules which will launch on-air from January 22 next year.
Director of ABC Radio, Michael Mason said the changes to the program schedule along with a move in some capital city stations to co-hosted breakfast shows reflected the changing audience needs. Read more
David Washington - INDaily - December 5, 2017
ABC local radio stations are set to lose more locally produced programming only weeks after the national broadcaster's head of radio promised an Adelaide audience there would be no more networked shows.
Head office will tomorrow reveal the 2018 line-up for all of the ABC's radio stations, with one of the changes expected to be a syndicated new national program hosted by former Triple J announcer Myf Warhurst.
The new show is part of controversial moves revealed in The Guardian today, including trimming the PM and World Today current affairs programs by half an hour. Read more
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - December 5, 2017
Staff told shortened formats will 'leave the audience wanting more' as Myf Warhurst fronts a lighter offering
The flagship ABC radio current affairs programs PM and The World Today will be halved in length next year and Business PM will be axed, staff have been told.
PM and The World Today will both be reduced from hour-long programs to 30 minutes, radio current affairs employees were told at a meeting on Monday by Tanya Nolan, the managing editor of audio current affairs. Why Radio National's fans fear death by a thousand cuts
From 22 January The World Today, hosted by Eleanor Hall, will end at 12.30pm instead of 1pm to make way for a new "entertaining" national program on ABC Local Radio hosted by the former Triple J presenter Myf Warhurst. Read more
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 28, 2017
The ABC's flagship radio station is expensive, esoteric and - its supporters say - essential to Australian public life. Now it is facing more upheaval
Australia's opinion makers wake up to Radio National. The three-hour live RN Breakfast, presented for 12 years by Fran Kelly, reaches half a million listeners across the major capital cities alone. It lands the key political interviews and helps set the news agenda but also has the time and space to examine issues in depth. As the flagship RN program, Breakfast is well-resourced and has the largest share of the RN budget. Read more
Tuesday 28 Nov 2017 - From 5.15 to 6.15pm - Civic Pub, Braddon
Attacks on the ABC: In whose interests? The ABC's independence and funding is under threat, with an "inquiry" prompted by Pauline Hanson and powerful private media interests attempting to undermine it. Come and hear:
- Ranald Macdonald, former editor-in-chief of The Age, broadcaster - and Collingwood Football Club President
- Together with Canberra's own David Kilby as MC
- Further details [here]
Peter Hartcher and James Massola - SMH - November 25, 2017
The ABC needs to have its budget protected from future attack by special legislation, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
The former Labor leader said that while the national broadcaster's independence was enshrined in law, its $1.04 billion annual budget was vulnerable. Read more
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 17, 2017
We've seen the handiwork the consultants to the ABC came up with when Michelle Guthrie announced her radical content restructure on Tuesday. No more TV and radio departments. It's all about "teams" grouped around four topics: news, regional, entertainment and innovation.
The 3,000 broadcasters, journalists, producers and technical people who work to produce all this content are still getting their heads around where they sit and who they report to. ABC TV's Media Watch program, for example, has been slotted into the entertainment team after almost ending up in news, which could have been an awkward fit, given it has to critique the news output. Read more
Karl Quinn - SMH - November 15, 2017
The chairman of the ABC has outlined his vision for the national broadcaster, and it's a long way from the Aunty of old.
The ABC is set to morph into a Netflix-style streaming service from as early as next year, and to use data and analytics to track which actors and stories resonate with audiences, board chairman Justin Milne has revealed.
Delivering the Hector Crawford memorial speech at the Screen Forever conference on Wednesday, Mr Milne avoided mentioning Netflix and streaming rival Stan by name, but did point to Amazon as a model for what the ABC is likely to evolve into. Read more
Karl Quinn - SMH - November 14, 2017
There's a lot to like in the restructure announced by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, but it does little to address the broadcaster's biggest challenges.
Though it has been flagged as "the biggest shake-up in the national broadcaster's history", there is at first glance little in Michelle Guthrie's long-anticipated restructure of the ABC to startle the horses.
No job losses. Earlier-than-planned recruitment of additional staff for the regions. No cuts to programs or networks. What's to fear in any of that? Read more
Margaret Simons - Inside Story - November 14, 2017
There are really only two ways to organise a big media organisation. You do it either according to the platforms on which your content is delivered, or by the genres of content you are producing. At different times over its history the ABC has tried both.
Yet the determinant of success has never been the big-picture organisational chart; it's been the internal communications, leadership culture and strategic vision. Read more
Broede Carmody - SMH - November 14, 2017
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has unveiled one of the biggest shake-ups in the broadcaster's 85-year history. From early 2018, staff will be re-organised into teams focused on particular topics instead of working strictly for radio or television.
The restructure does not include any job losses or particular programs getting the boot. Read more
Amanda Mead - The Guardian - November 14, 2017
The reorganisation of the ABC along genre lines to remove the historic division between television and radio is not a "dumbing down" exercise but an "evolution" for the digital age, its managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told staff.
From February next year the networks will be divided up into three new teams and a fourth team for original content and innovation, Content Ideas Lab, led by an ABC Radio staffer, Angela Stengel. Read more
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - November 13, 2017
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday will drop the long-standing radio and television divisions in a digital-first restructure, The New Daily can reveal.
Senior management will be briefed on Monday with an all-staff announcement to be made by Ms Guthrie from Melbourne on Tuesday.
The heads of ABC Radio (Michael Mason) and ABC TV (David Anderson) will lose their once all-powerful fiefdoms. They will be redeployed in three "platform agnostic" divisions Ms Guthrie and the ABC Board will unveil. Read more
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - November 13, 2017
Twelve months in the making, a small fortune in consultants' fees and countless "cascade sessions 'and leadership principles workshops later, Michelle Guthrie's Transformation Project will be unveiled on Tuesday.
The ABC board has ticked off on the structure, the communications strategy - which includes not confirming the date - is in place and the message is clear: this is not about job losses, this is about reorganisation. Read more
Broede Carmody - SMH - November 13, 2017
ABC staff are suffering "dangerous" levels of workplace stress, according to a survey conducted by one of the unions responsible for the national broadcaster.
The Community and Public Sector Union has said it will enter the ABC's Ultimo headquarters under the Workplace Health and Safety Act to ensure the broadcaster has the appropriate measures in place to deal with any potential fallout from its digital restructure, including increased rates of anxiety. Read more
Tribute to an ABC Legend
The late, great, John Clarke was a satire genius, but he was also an accomplished bird photographer. ABC Friends is pleased to release the John Clarke 2018 Australian Birds Calendar.
Makes an ideal Christmas Gift!
Melissa Cunningham - SMH - November 10, 2017
The ABC has refused to publicly disclose the salaries of staff earning more than $200,000, arguing the demands are onerous and will prove counter-productive.
The decision will put the national broadcaster on a warpath with the federal government, which has signalled it may introduce legislation forcing the ABC release the figures. Read more
Broede Carmody - SMH - November 10, 2017
Veteran ABC journalist and board member Matt Peacock has said the past few years have been "very tough" as he prepares to leave the public broadcaster.
The senior 7.30 journalist, who helped uncover the scale of Australia's asbestos crisis in the late '70s, revealed on Thursday he was among the 11 staff who had recently opted for a voluntary redundancy. Read more
Ruth Hazelton - change.org - November 6, 2017
It's been a year since The Inside Sleeve, The Daily Planet, The Live Set, Soundproof, The Rhythm Divine and Jazztrack were either decommissioned or removed from RN's schedule.
It has been made clear to us, despite our best efforts, that ABC Head of Radio Michael Mason and his colleagues will not reconsider this decision.
Faced with this situation, we have been looking at alternative ways to increase the quantity of independent and curated music programming via ABC radio nationally; and to the largest audience possible. Read more
Alan Sunderland - ABC - Nov 2, 2017
The ABC has been in the news a bit lately, not least because there is a push underway to make sure our journalism is fair and balanced.
In fact, there is even a proposed law to that effect before our Federal Parliament.
So what could possibly be wrong with such a simple and admirable idea? Surely, all media should aim to be fair and balanced in the way they report the news?
Well, let me try to tell you exactly what's wrong with it. Read more
The 2017 ABC Annual Report was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Communications and the Arts on 26 October 2017 and is now available [here]
Broede Carmody - The Age - November 1, 2017
Some ABC staff feel like the national broadcaster is facing death by a thousand cuts.
On Wednesday, management announced more staff were walking out the door. Eleven people - including a senior 7.30 journalist - have put up their hand for voluntary redundancy.
It is understood this round of redundancies aren't related to budget cuts and will allow more digital staff to be hired. It's no secret the ABC's news director, Gaven Morris, wants the broadcaster's websites to leapfrog News.com.au as the country's most popular online news source. Read more
John Clarke made a name for himself as a stalker of politicians and hypocrites. He managed to pour scorn with a twinkle in his eye and a half smile, leaving his target little choice but to respond in the same way.
Sometimes his barbed comments were so sharp his victim would be impaled before he or she had a chance to realise the space they now occupied.
But Clarke, who died Sunday 9 April this year, also enjoyed a sometimes-solitary pastime that also involved a great deal of subterfuge and stalking. The cutting comedian photographed birds. Read more
On 18 October 2017, the Senate referred a range of matters relating to the economic and cultural value of Australian content on broadcast, radio and streaming services to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 9 May 2018. The full terms of reference [here].
The Committee prefers to receive submissions online as an attached document through the Committee's website [here]. Alternatively, submissions may be emailed as an attached document to email@example.com or mailed to the address below. The submission should be lodged by 31 January 2018.
Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - October 21, 2017
Fox News never announced that it was dropping its famous slogan "Fair and Balanced". A reporter for Vanity Fair broke the story on June 14 this year.
These days Rupert Murdoch's American cable network tags itself "Most watched, Most trusted."
That is also untrue: MSNBC now regularly outrates it, and Fox is the most negatively fact-checked news network in the United States. Read more
RadioInfo, October 18, 2017
The Turnbull Government has introduced legislative amendments to the ABC Act in the Senate to "enhance the ABC's commitment to rural and regional Australia and require its news services to be fair and balanced."
The move fulfills the government's promise to Pauline Hanson in return for her support for the media reform bill.
In a statement released to radioinfo today, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, said: Read more
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - October 17, 2017
Can we just be serious just for a moment?
Having read your piece in The Australian headed "Shrill Attacks on ABC Adjustments Are Hysterical, Unhinged" (9/10/17), I cannot believe that you, Minister, REALLY believe in what you have written.
You adopt the tone of surprise, astonishment and even of being slightly hurt by those who challenge your pronouncements.
* First, your proposed Charter requirement for "balance'" on top of fairness, impartiality and accuracy for ABC news and current affairs coverage. Read more
Jane Goodall - Inside Story - October 13, 2017
The BBC charter is up for renewal, and members of senior and middle management have been co-opted into a working group "to identify what the BBC does best and find more ways of doing less of it better." Actually, that's fake news - or news fiction. It's a summary of the first episode in the latest series of BBC Two's satirical documentary W1A. BBC insiders have attested to the accuracy with which the series (whose title is the postcode of Broadcasting House in London) depicts a corporate culture in which ever more resources are indeed being devoted to finding ways of doing less.
At the ABC, which in so many respects mirrors the BBC, a similar range of scrambled corporate imperatives is being rolled out. In programming areas where our own national broadcaster purports to do best, like current affairs and investigative journalism, the quest to find "more ways of doing less of it better" is the order of the day. Or so it would seem, going on managing director Michelle Guthrie's speech to the Friends of the ABC last week. Read more
Broede Carmody - SMH - October 13, 2017
The axe has fallen on ABC program The Book Club after longtime host Jennifer Byrne decided to leave the public broadcaster after a two decade career.
The veteran journalist and television presenter will sign off for the last time in mid-December for the TV show's Christmas special. Full story [here]
Karl Quinn - SMH - October 13, 2017
Communications minister Mitch Fifield has demanded the ABC reveal the names and pay packets of everyone earning more than $200,000 per annum.
The ABC has been ordered by Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to reveal what it is paying its top on-air personalities, in what amounts to a win for One Nation.
The national broadcaster has been directed to "voluntarily" cough up the salaries of all staff being paid $200,000 or more by the end of next month. If it does not do so, Senator Fifield will push for a change to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act to force the disclosure. Full story [here]
Debi Enker - SMH - October 12, 2017
At last; thank goodness. After months of roaring silence, the ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has come out swinging, vigorously defending the organisation against attacks by the government and rival media outlets.
At a Sydney function held by the ABC Friends advocacy group, she robustly detailed some of the ways in which the public broadcaster had been opportunistically used by the federal government as a bargaining chip to pass its media deregulation legislation. Full story [here]
Broede Carmody - SMH - October 10, 2017
The ABC has once again been accused of biased reporting by a federal MP taking out an ad in a local newspaper.
Queensland Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen has admitted to using his taxpayer purse to criticise the ABC's coverage of the state's new Adani coal mine. Full story [here]
By ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie - 6th October 2017
Thank you very much for the privilege of presenting this dinner address at the ABC Friends' first national public conference.
It is a very important gathering in both its timing and in the issues discussed. I understand a delegation will be meeting with the Chairman on Monday to take him through the key findings.
It is very apt that the underlying theme for this conference is "Democracy demands diversity". My address tonight maintains there is no media and cultural diversity without the ABC and democracy would be very much the poorer in the absence of the national broadcaster. Full speech [here]
Daily Review - October 8, 2017
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has taken aim at a deal struck between the Turnbull government and One Nation to pass media reform changes.
In a speech to the Friends of the ABC this Friday night, Guthrie said: "Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making." Full story [here]
Kathleen Noonan - The Courier-Mail - October 7, 2017
It's dinner time and Leigh Sales is interviewing Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on the ABC's 7.30. In between drinking gin and tonic, eating teriyaki salmon and yelling at the TV screen, I am busy keeping count. Sales has asked the minister five clear, reasonable questions, - including: "If 50 of the refugees from Nauru and Manus Island are being sent to the US for resettlement, how many does that leave?" She asks this six times. Then: "Is it accurate that we're offering Rohingya refugees $25,000 to return to Myanmar and is it actually safe for them to return?" Full story [here]
Debbie Cuthbertson - SMH - October 8, 2017
In 1990 the first season of The Simpsons was screening on American TV and Mr Bean first appeared on British tellies.
In Australia, however, the new decade ushered in something much more serious and profound - a late-night program on the national broadcaster dedicated to reflection on and discussion of big ideas. Full story [here]
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - October 7, 2017
ABC MD Michelle Guthrie has blasted the Turnbull government's 'vendetta' deal with Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party to secure its latest media ownership reforms.
"Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making", Ms Guthrie said in an ABC Friends national conference after-dinner speech in Sydney on Friday. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 6, 2017
From time to time the ABC undertakes editorial reviews to see if the news department is meeting editorial standards. A spot audit of the same-sex marriage debate was undertaken on 7 and 8 August, covering more than 60 items on national television and local and national radio. It found that overall there was a "broadly even number of voices both in favour and against the plebiscite". Full story [here]
Andrew Taylor - SMH - October 6, 2017
ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has launched a stinging attack on her commercial television rivals, accusing their chief executives of wanting to deny "your children and grandchildren" the right to watch Play School and Peppa Pig.
Ms Guthrie also questioned the commercial strategies of rival media players and said the Turnbull government's media law reforms were designed to further a "political vendetta". Full story [here]
Broede Carmody & Adam Gartrell - SMH - October 5, 2017
The ABC's evening news program Lateline and Stan Grant's The Link will be axed as part of a sweeping overhaul of the national broadcaster's current affairs schedule.
Lateline host Emma Alberici will remain at the ABC and will take up a senior news and current affairs role. Full atory [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - October 5, 2017
The ABC has announced an overhaul of its current affairs journalism including the axing of its flagship show Lateline and the creation of investigative and specialist reporting teams.
The new teams of reporters and producers will work across television, radio and online to boost the broadcaster's daily news and current affairs output.
Hosted by Emma Alberici, Lateline first aired in 1990, with Kerry O'Brien in the chair until 1995, and has been fronted over its 27 years by some of the ABC's biggest names including Maxine McKew, Virginia Trioli, Leigh Sales and Tony Jones. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 29, 2017
The ABC's senior executive is busy finalising a restructuring plan originally scheduled for October but which has now been pushed back as late as November.
With 16 months now under her belt, the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is getting on with her "transformation" agenda which includes creating the $50m GIG, or Great Ideas Grant, creating 80 new jobs in regional Australia and shedding 200 jobs in management, support and content areas.
Now, with the help of consultants, she is attempting to reorganise the national broadcaster for the post-analogue age. What this means is rearranging the broadcaster along genre lines rather than the traditional platforms of television, radio, news and online. Full story [here]
Tony Wright - SMH - September 26, 2017
Away from the TV cameras, the sound stage and the audiences, John Clarke took solace and pleasure from the natural world.
Birds were his great delight.
Shy little wrens and and the great wing-spread dance of the brolga; startled flocks of curlews and godwits, the flight of an egret or the sharp eye of a sea-eagle in search of a meal – all of these, and many more, were captured by Clarke's own camera.
The man who made Australians and New Zealanders laugh at themselves and who, with his collaborator Bryan Dawe, regularly stripped bare the vanities of politicians, spent much of his private time quietly wandering the bush and beaches with his wife, Helen, listening out for the song of birds. Full story [here]
Denis Muller - The Conversation - September 27, 2017
Among the four concessions concerning the ABC that senator Pauline Hanson extracted from the federal government in exchange for her support of its recent media ownership law changes, one in particular has the potential to do real damage to the national broadcaster.
This is the promised inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality. It has been on the agenda of News Corp for years to have the ABC's wings clipped, for the obvious reason that it sees the ABC as a commercial rival. If News Corp had its way, the ABC's big strategic move into digital broadcasting more than a decade ago would have been cut off at the pass.
So Hanson, whether she knew it or not, has played into the hands of New Corp on this, and given the government a political opportunity to do yet one more favour for Rupert Murdoch. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - September 19, 2017
Cuts to the ABC in regional and rural Australia and the corporation's increasing reliance on digital technologies is jeopardising the safety of remote communities and their access to emergency warnings, Deakin University research has found.
The ABC's increasingly "digital-first" approach to emergency information and the reduction in ABC reporters' local knowledge is causing great distress among rural populations who rely on broadcast signals because they don't have the bandwidth or coverage for digital, researchers say.
A reduction of local news and information, centralised newsrooms in metropolitan areas, the closure of several ABC stations and the scaling back of broadcast programming has been disastrous for people outside the cities, according to a new study, Communication life line? ABC emergency broadcasting in rural/regional Australia. Full story [here]
Alex McKinnon - The Saturday Paper - September 23, 2017
As the debate on same-sex marriage continues, the 'No' case is exploiting the ABC's charter and complaints process to gain prominence for ugly views.
It took two days, but the Australian Christian Lobby did lodge a complaint with the ABC. At issue was Joe O'Brien's line of questioning on the breakfast show News Mornings.
The lobby's managing director, Lyle Shelton, had been invited to debate same-sex marriage with City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster. Almost immediately, he pulled the conversation to "children being taught radical LGBTI sex education". Full story [here]
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - September 15, 2017
One of our most trusted institutions is under real threat- and, like Humpty Dumpty, once broken may never be able to be put together again.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be expecting strong editorial support from all major and minor commercial media around Australia at the next election.
Under the guise of delivering reform on outdated and restrictive media laws and allowing home grown major media players to compete against the likes of Amazon and Facebook, our PM has delivered what Australian media executive have been lobbying so hard for.
In one of the more laughable comments, News Corps exec. chairman Michael Millar welcomes the "important" passage of the far ranging media package as being a win for regional Australia. Full story [here]
Amy Remeikis - The Guardian - September 15, 2017
The Turnbull government has signalled it will press on with meeting One Nation's demands to place restrictions on the ABC.
The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, said he would negotiate to make the Pauline Hanson driven reforms a reality, despite opposition from the majority of the crossbench. He listed legislation, including re-establishing the ABCC, Gonski 2.0 and the childcare reforms, the government has managed to pass despite hostilities.
"The more people say we can't do something, the more determined the government is to deliver on behalf of the Australian people," Fifield told the media on Friday, standing next to a beaming Malcolm Turnbull on the second anniversary of his prime ministership. "So I will be giving this the same application I do with everything else." Full story [here]
Jane Goodall - The Inside Story - August 31, 2017
When Kerry O'Brien retired from Four Corners at the end of 2015, he left the program on a high. Reporter Adele Ferguson had won a Gold Logie for "The Price of Convenience" (30 August), an investigation of 7-Eleven's employment practices. Other 2015 stories with major political ramifications were Making a Killing (February 16) on animal cruelty in the greyhound racing business, and a two-part series investigating the continuing presence of the Mafia in Australia (June 29 and July 6).
With Sarah Ferguson as presenter, the program has remained at the top of its game, and the run of high-impact investigations continues. Hardly a week goes by without a major news item triggered by Four Corners, and many of these are concerned with the longer-term consequences of its revelations. Full story [here]
Nick O'Malley - SMH - September 5, 2017
Dick Smith is launching an advertising campaign against ABC TV news and current affairs, which he says has warped the debate he has tried to spur over Australian population growth.
He claims both Labor and Liberal politicians have told him they agree that Australia needs to cut its immigration intake to avoid future social and environmental fracturing, but they say they cannot say so publicly because the ABC will label them racist. Full story [here]
Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications
Transcript - Doorstop Interview - Canberra - 4 September 2017
When Parliament last sat we had the government welcoming what it called 'constructive engagement' with One Nation for its flawed media ownership changes. We now know what that 'constructive engagement' entails. It is basically a package of measures designed to undermine the ABC and the SBS as our trusted public broadcasters. We know that this is a government that has no commitment to our public broadcasters. [Full transcrip]
Michelle Rowland will be a guest speaker at 'Public Broadcasting in the 21st Century - Public Conference - Sydney - Friday October 6, 2017' - see above.
ABC Friends are again in the process of building membership, raising awareness and a fighting fund to defend our national broadcaster. Our latest campaign is being built around our ABC Defenders.
Already several well-known Australians have signed-up as ABC Defenders - watch the call-out video [here]
Read all our Defenders' messages [here]
If you or someone you know would like to become a Defender click [here] for details
Laura Brierley Newton - ABC News - September 2, 2017
On September 4, 1967, the first AM program played across Australia, forever changing the way Australians received their morning news.
Until that day Australians got their first dose of news from papers printed the night before, or brief updated snippets read live on radio by newsreaders.
Over the past 50 years the program has adapted and evolved with the times, but its original ethos has remained the same. "To bring to Australians as quickly as possible the essence of the news, commentary, interviews.
That was how it started and that's how it is today," Paul Raffaele, who was part of the original team of AM reporters, said. Full story [here]
Broede Carmody - SMH - August 31, 2017
The ABC's political editor Chris Uhlmann is taking up a new role with Channel Nine. Uhlmann will replace Laurie Oakes, who retired this month.
Nine's head of news and current affairs Darren Wick said in a statement the broadcaster would help lead Nine's political coverage "into a new era".
"He is a man of integrity, talent and possesses the hunger that drives the truly great reporters," he said. Full story [here]
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - August 17, 2017
Having recently acquired APN regional daily and non-daily newspapers and websites for a bargain $37 million and with Network Ten's free-to-air TV licences in administration and up for grabs, the American tycoon and his associates can consolidate media power if, as now seems likely, the 1980s ownership rules are abolished.
While Communications Minister Mitch Fifield asserts his abolition of Paul Keating's 'two-out-of-three' market constraint and audience reach rules are supported by the entire Australian media industry, it has become apparent that News Ltd will emerge with many market monopolies. Full story [here]
Martin McKenzie-Murray - The Saturday Paper - August 19, 2017
As the ABC faces down sustained attacks from News Corp and other outlets, the government is in the process of changing journalism for good.
On Wednesday evening, ABC chairman Justin Milne gave something of a history lecture in Parliament House. The occasion was the ABC's yearly parliamentary showcase, ordinarily a simple affair, but held this year against a dramatic backdrop - the senate debate on media reforms. Only the day before One Nation had triumphantly declared a deal with the government, one which would see support for reform in exchange for a range of amendments, mostly concerned with altering the charter of the national broadcaster. The Australian Financial Review called it, "the biggest assault on the ABC's independence in decades". Full story [here]
ABC Chairman Justin Milne address the ABC Parliamentary Showcase event on Wednesday 16 August 2017.
As a freshly minted Chairman, this is my first ABC Parliamentary Showcase and I am delighted to welcome you here to celebrate everything the ABC does and all that it contributes to the life of Australians.
Now, I may be an ABC ingenue but I've been around media for a while and can tell you that the advent of the internet, smart phones, instant global connectivity, Google, Facebook, Netflix and machine learning all mean that the changes we are experiencing today will be the biggest media has ever experienced. Full address [here]
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August 18, 2017
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (like his counterpart Theresa May in the UK) must on reflection think that calling an early election has not proven an Einstein-ian decision. Having expected community adulation, it is hard to reconcile having to negotiate with parties with different values and ambitions to pass legislation.
So, deals are a fact of political life for both PMs - even recognising the considerable personal cost in achieving them, which leaves little room for attaining the moral high ground. Political pork barrelling, to ensure that an image can be spun of decisive and strong leadership, is a nasty business.
Sadly, here in Australia the ABC is being cynically used to ensure right-wing support within (and of) the Government - and to satisfy implied guarantees to the voracious media groupings. Communications Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, continues to say that all media leaders support the Governments media "reforms", as if that makes them worth supporting. In Episode One on Pearls and Irritations last week, I said that 'reform' is defined as change for the better. Many surely would challenge that, in our current imbroglio, perhaps asking whether making media magnates more powerful and happier necessarily benefits all Australians. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - August 16, 2017
Pauline Hanson's bid to change the ABC charter and force the broadcaster to reveal the salaries of its top presenters appears doomed to fail despite the party striking a deal with the Turnbull government to support the deregulation of media ownership laws.
The government still appears on track to win support from the Senate crossbench to pass its media deregulation changes, which could trigger a round of major media mergers.
Pauline Hanson's bid to change the ABC charter and force the broadcaster to reveal the salaries of its top presenters appears doomed to fail despite the party striking a deal with the Turnbull government to support the deregulation of media ownership laws. The government still appears on track to win support from the Senate crossbench to pass its media deregulation changes, which could trigger a round of major media mergers. Full story [here]
- Tell the Minister for Communications that the ABC is not the government's political plaything!
- Unknown deals in the Senate challenge the independence of the ABC as Australia's most trusted institution
- The people of Australia are ABC shareholders and guardians of independent public broadcasting.
- If the Minister wants the ABC to change he must first conduct a major survey of what Australians expect of "their ABC"
- It is certainly not the role of minority political parties or indeed outside critics to dictate policy based on their personal prejudices
- We need informed and rational debate about the future role of public broadcasting in Australia not behind the scenes manoevering.
Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - August 16, 2017
As the Coalition's media ownership package is being negotiated in the Senate, the ABC's chairman sends a message about the importance of its independence.
The ABC chairman has underlined the importance of the ABC's independence, and declared ABC-bashing will not solve the problems faced by commercial media outlets, as the Turnbull government's media reform package hangs in the balance.
Justin Milne was in Canberra on Wednesday night as part of the national broadcaster's annual showcase in Parliament House, and took the opportunity to send politicians a clear message as the horse trading intensified behind the scenes on the government's media reform package. Full story [here]
Jonathan Holmes - SMH - August 17, 2017
If the government's deal with One Nation goes ahead, and there's no guarantee of that, every ABC employee who is paid more than $200,000 a year will have their salary published for the world to see.
Well, that's already happened at least once, thanks to a spectacular cock-up by the ABC's own bureaucracy. In December 2013 it accidentally attached a comprehensive salary spreadsheet to an email it sent to a journalist at The Australian. Full story [here]
Matthew Doran - ABC News - August 17, 2017
The chairman of the ABC has defended the public broadcaster's role in the Australian media industry.
Justin Milne has only been in the role for a matter of months, but in an address at Parliament House on Wednesday evening, he hit back at criticism the ABC is harming the fortunes of Australia's media empires.
His comments follow a deal between the Coalition and One Nation on the Government's shake-up of media ownership regulations. Full story [here]
Matthew Doran & Henry Belot - ABC News - August 16, 2017
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has announced "conditional support" for the Federal Government's shake-up of media ownership and regulation.
That support may end months of political deadlock with Labor and the Greens opposed to the changes, claiming they would only weaken media diversity.
Senator Hanson said her party would back the measures because the Coalition had agreed to investigate the ABC's balance, its commitment to regional areas, and order the public broadcaster to be more transparent about its wages. Full story [here]
Lucy Battersby - SMH - August 15, 2017
Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has given the government's media reforms "conditional support" in exchange for a $12 million boost to community radio funding and changes to the ABC, including a greater focus on regional areas, more financial transparency and increasing its political impartiality.
The government will also conduct an inquiry into the ABC's competitive neutrality - whether it is using taxpayer funding to undermine commercial players - and to "legislate a requirement for the ABC to be 'fair' and 'balanced'", according to a post on One Nation's Facebook's page on Tuesday. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - August 15, 2017
Big name stars such as Tony Jones and Leigh Sales would have their salaries revealed to the public and the ABC may be restricted from competing with commercial rivals under a deal struck between the Turnbull government and One Nation.
Pauline Hanson announced support for the government's media deregulation package on Tuesday afternoon after Communications Minister Mitch Fifield agreed to a number of conditions, including introducing legislation requiring the ABC to be "fair and balanced". Full story [here]
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield demands ABC explain Sam Dastyari Australian Story 'infomercial'
Matthew Knott - SMH - August 10, 2017
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has written to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie to demand the public broadcaster explain why it devoted an episode of Australian Story to Labor senator Sam Dastyari.
As well as the episode of Australian Story, Senator Fifield has asked the ABC to explain why a recent Media Watch episode heavily featured an interview with Senator Dastyari. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - August 11, 2017
The Sky News Australia boss, Angelos Frangopoulos, has raised the stakes in the Murdoch empire's latest war on the ABC by suggesting the government give the commercial media a chance to pitch for Aunty's $1.4bn in annual funding.
In an interview with the Australian this week Frangopoulos, who recently became the chair of the Walkley advisory board, was critical of a deal between ABC Commercial and billboard advertising group oOh!media in which news content is syndicated on roadside billboards as well as digital billboards in shopping centres and Qantas lounges.
"If the ABC thinks it's OK to go chasing commercial revenues, then it should in turn be challenged for its own funding," the Sky chief executive said. "We've learned that the ABC is a formidable commercial opponent, not because of its content, but because it can fully leverage its taxpayer-funded resources. Full stoey [here]
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August11, 2017
Make a deal for political expediency and then unforseen consequences usually follow.
The ABC and its future is not a 'bargaining chip' for the Government to use to pass legislation in the Senate.
Yet a deal brokered by Communications Minister Fifield to gain Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm's vote some months back has already come back to haunt it. Full story [here]
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - August11, 2017
Make a deal for political expediency and then unforseen consequences usually follow.
The ABC and its future is not a 'bargaining chip' for the Government to use to pass legislation in the Senate.
Yet a deal brokered by Communications Minister Fifield to gain Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm's vote some months back has already come back to haunt it. Full story [here]
Amy Remeikis - SMH - August 4, 2017
'Good evening, I'm Leigh Sales and welcome to 9.30.'
Speculation is rife the ABC is considering moving its flagship current affairs program, 7.30, to 9.30pm, as part of a shake up of the broadcaster's news and current affairs schedule. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian- August 4, 2017
Just a week after telling the Australian media to be kinder and to stop attacking each other (to howls of laughter), News Corp's Australian boss Michael Miller joined a chorus of media chiefs who accused the public broadcasters of stealing audiences with their free content, distorting the market for commercial players and aggressively competing for TV shows and online news audiences.
The Australian used its front page to launch an unedifying attack on the ABC and SBS ("Calls to rein in ABC and SBS") which continued for a couple of days. "Corporate chiefs at News Corp, Fairfax Media, Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment are among a group of industry leaders throwing new weight behind criticisms the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service are overstepping their public service remit," the report said. Full story [here]
Celebrating Aunty's 85th Birthday
Come and join us in the majestic surroundings of the famous Cello's Restaurant in Sydney. Our special guests this year are the ABC's Gaven Morris and Joe O'Brien. Booking is essential - full details [here]
Santilla Chingaipe - The Saturday Paper - July 29, 2017
In the age of viral videos, you never quite know what will become the next internet sensation. It could be a North Korea expert being upstaged on camera by his children while conducting a live interview, or a police shooting of an unarmed black man in the United States.
Recently, the ABC's political editor, Chris Uhlmann, found himself in the position of social media sensation after a piece of his on-camera commentary went viral. His takedown of United States president Donald Trump was praised by commentators and journalists alike for its searing assessment of Trump's performance at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Full story [here]
Jenna Price - SMH - July 26, 2017
I've always loved the ABC. It keeps the clock by which my life has been measured.
The 7.45am news bulletin on local radio. The 7pm news. The strange little modern experiments that provide an insight into generations not mine including The Katering Show where I sit in a room watching television with others who are all laughing and who get all the jokes. Although I haven't laughed on time once, it's true I now call that catch-up app of the ABC's, IVoo. Just like the Kates. Full story [here]
This questionnaire is designed to enable you to provide your views about the ABC in the future as it moves again into uncharted waters.
ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has given her support for ABC Friends' initiative to provide feedback to ABC Management on what we want of our ABC. This is your opportunity to be part of that process. Complete the survey [here]
The Australia Institute - Media Release
As the Federal Government's proposed legislation to relax restrictions on who can own and operate newspapers, TV and radio stations in Australia, Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has reportedly proposed that ABC funding should be cut as a condition of its support for the legislation.
New polling released today shows a combined 74% of South Australians want funding to the ABC increased or maintained, while 18% supported cutting the national broadcaster.
When asked specifically about whether the Government should cut the ABC in order to get One Nation's support for their media reform laws, support was 16.5%. Read the full Media Release [here]
Tom Richardson - InDaily - July 13, 2017
Almost three quarters of South Australians want taxpayer funding to the ABC increased or maintained at its current level, according to a new ReachTel poll, InDaily can reveal.
The national broadcaster has been at the centre of a bitter political debate in recent times, with key figures on the political right - notably former Prime Minister Tony Abbott - targeting the ABC over its alleged "bias" and Pauline Hanson's One Nation reportedly linking support of broader media reforms to a substantial cut in the ABC's budget. Full story [here]
Ranald Macdonald - The Age - July 12, 2017
Sometimes being an ABC Friends officeholder is difficult.
You want to shout from the rooftops about how dumb an ABC board or management decision seems to be, criticise an on-air interviewer for rudeness or lack of preparation, or just say that everyone expects better from our publicly funded National Broadcaster.
My challenge is to keep a sense of proportion and recognise what to me is the bigger picture: that the ABC must be preserved as an essential source of information and entertainment - an alternative voice in a democracy where many voices and sources of information need to be heard. Full story [here]
Karl Quinn - SMH - July 11, 2017
The ABC is under no obligation to produce Australian drama and comedy, and figures released in the Senate last week show it is making way less than it used to.
Anyone doubting the scale of the challenges facing the ABC right now need only look at the figures revealed in the Senate last Friday to see how great they are. Full story [here]
Ranald Macdonald - John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations - June 29, 2017
The ABC is not perfect but this country desperately needs an ABC able financially and committed to fulfilling its Charter requirements for all Australians. And for it to be free of political interference.
Saturday, July 1 marks the 85th birthday of the ABC. First the Australian Broadcasting Commission and then in 1983 it became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Never in its existence has it been under greater threat. Contunue reading [here]
Media Release ABC Friends - June 27, 2017
ABC Friends National congratulates Justin Milne, the ABC Board Chair, for asserting his recent leadership by holding his first board meeting in Alice Springs to demonstrate his commitment to regional Australia. It is a significant decision because this meeting coincides with the ABC's 85th Birthday at a time when the national broadcaster has been under attack for being too Sydney-centric.
Alice Springs is a welcome departure from so many capital city venues and offers an important message to all Australians that the ABC wants to reach out to people wherever they live. Continue reading [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 23, 2017
he ABC's promise to replace its weekly science magazine show Catalyst with 17 one-hour science documentaries in 2017 has been broken. We are past the halfway point of the year and the ABC has not screened a single episode. The director of television who made the promise, Richard Finlayson, has gone and Brendan Dahill, the executive who wrote the report which recommended the axing of the weekly program, had moved on before the decision was made.
At the time of Catalyst's downgrading in October last year, ABC insiders warned it was unrealistic to get that many programs to air in such a short timeframe, especially since they hadn't yet hired an executive producer to commission them. The ABC eventually imported British producer Aiden Laverty, a former editor of BBC's flagship science program, Horizon, who began work in April. Which didn'leave much time to make any programs. Full story [here]
Graeme Dobell - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute - June 19, 2017
The technical bastardry of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in degrading its shortwave broadcasts to the South Pacific has been starkly revealed. The bloody-mindedness helps explain the dumb decision to turn off Australia's shortwave service that broadcasts to northern Australia and the South Pacific.
The reveal happened in Parliament House last Friday, when the Senate Communications Committee took evidence on a draft Bill that would require the ABC to restore the shortwave services it killed on January 31. Full story [here]
Michelle Guthrie is the ABC's managing director. She joins Jane Hutcheon to discuss leadership, criticism and her reluctant embrace of the public spotlight. Watch it on iView [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 9, 2017
f the ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is committed to keeping ABC TV's Foreign Correspondent on air she has a funny way of showing it. At a Blue Mountains community forum this week Guthrie was asked about the ABC's attitude to foreign coverage. Worryingly, she said the ABC was committed to maintaining long-form and short-form international affairs across multiple media but "not to specific programs like Foreign Correspondent necessarily". Given that the program was shunted into a late-night time slot this year - 9.30pm on Tuesdays - and is now slated to finish its 2017 season over the dead months of summer, hopes are fading that it will return next year. This is not the first time Foreign Correspondent has appeared as though it is on death row. In November Guthrie sent shockwaves through ABC news by making similar public comments: Full story [here]
Gay Alcorn - The Guardian - June 2, 2017
The relentless, disproportionate attacks on the ABC usually receive little pushback from the ABC. Presenters hold their tongues, perhaps reporting what was said but usually refraining from full-throated rebuttal. That changed last week with the astonishing suggestion by Quadrant online editor Roger Franklin - in an attempt at satire, presumably - that had there been "a shred of justice" the Manchester bomber would have blown up the Q&A studio instead because, you know, the ABC excuses terrorism or denies its seriousness.
The basis for Franklin's fury was that a Q&A guest, physicist Lawrence Krauss, said that Americans are more likely to die from a fridge falling on them than in a terrorist attack. Full story [here]
Stan Correy - ABC News - June 1, 2017
This week, the ABC marks the 70th anniversary of its first truly independent news bulletin - but it almost never made it to air.
"Independent and up to the minute" is how ABC news promotes itself today.
But when the ABC began broadcasting in 1932, being independent and up to the minute meant going to war with some of the most influential men in the country: the Australian newspaper proprietors. Full story [here]
Editorial - SMH - June 1, 2017
One Nation's threat to blackmail the Australian people by demanding cuts to ABC funding was a disgrace. The ultimatum stood for almost a day before its stupidity dawned on party leader Pauline Hanson and she backed off.
The damage had been done. Any political threat to hold the public broadcaster to ransom and threaten its independence undermines confidence in the parliament and democracy. It is especially hypocritical when One Nation was behaving in a manner not unlike the apocryphal swamp-inhabiting political insiders the party claims to despise. Full Editorial [here]
Gareth Hutchens - The Guardian - May 31, 2017
Pauline Hanson's One Nation has resuscitated its threat to refuse to support the Turnbull government's budget measures unless the ABC's funding is cut.
Brian Burston, One Nation's party whip, said it had received "unfair treatment" from the ABC and the party would reject "all bills associated with the budget" unless the broadcaster's $1bn a year funding was cut by $600m over four years, according to the Australian. Full story [here]
Debi Enker - SMH - May 25, 2017
During a reportedly heated session at a recent conference on content organised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie declared that the TV set was dead. Finished. Kaput. Going the way of the dinosaur.
This is not welcome news for those of us who still prefer to watch most programs on that apparently doomed piece of equipment, rather than, say, squinting at our phones. Full story [here]
Axel Bruns - The Conversation - May 27, 2017
Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood has been busy. His company's announcement on 3 May 2017 that Fairfax would sack 125 of its newsroom staff led to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age journalists going on strike, at the worst possible time in the Australian political calendar.
Meanwhile, media reports highlighted Hywood's annual pay of over A$7 million - which at a median reported salary for journalists of just over A$51,000 would comfortably pay for the most of the staff laid off in Hywood's announcement. Full story [here]
Tina Faulk - The Spectator Australia - May 27, 2017
It comes as no surprise when you discover that 'Friends of the ABC' is not, like, say, the CWA or Mate for Mates, a support group in the sense we generally know it to be.
Rather ABC 'Friends' is like Get Up, fiercely political, acidly vengeful, in the main, a Labor front, rather than of music and current-affairs fans supporting the national broadcaster. Full story [here]
Editorial - The Saturday Paper - May 27, 2017
This is a defence of the ABC. It is a defence against a government with no apparent respect for the independence of one of this country's most important institutions.
It is a defence against the thuggishness of a minister such as Peter Dutton and the madness of a senator such as John Williams, against the blackmail and conspiracies that define politicians' relationships with the national broadcaster. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - Guardian Australia - May 15, 2017
After the ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, confirmed at Senate estimates that 120 more jobs would go, staff in the radio division were given some details on how it would affect them on Thursday. But the letter was so jargon-laden that barely anyone could understand it. Which is unsurprising as it was written by the director of radio, Michael Mason, the man responsible for the "preposterously named executives" last year including "Ideas Network Lead" and "Head Spoken".
Here's a sample: "Building on the success as RN as a podcast innovator this proposal brings together some of our most creative content makers, we are consolidating our current long form Radio Features team and the podcast content team from Content and Digital into a combined team focused on new digital audio content targeting key audience gaps and delivering rich content for RN's linear schedule." Full story [here]
Michael Koziol - SMH - May 25, 2017
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has called for a purge of ABC personalities in the wake of the broadcaster's decision to axe Yassmin Abdel-Magied's program, which he welcomed as "a good start".
"One down, many to go," Mr Dutton told 2GB radio's Ray Hadley during their regular Thursday morning interview, in comments that were repudiated by Labor.
Mr Dutton reserved particular opprobrium for the Q&A program and its host, senior ABC journalist Tony Jones, which he said exemplified a cultural problem at the public broadcaster. Full story [here]
Amy Remeikis - SMH - May 24, 2017
ABC head Michelle Guthrie was forced to defend the broadcaster's editorial independence, hiring practices and marketing, while denying its children's news program was sympathetic to Islamic State in a grilling which has come to characterise her time in front of the Senate.
Ms Guthrie, who celebrated her first year in the managing director role earlier this month, said the ABC was working on "maximising" its benefit to audiences and planned on announcing a $2.9 million spend in "genre programming" on Thursday, which would see its arts, science and education coverage boosted, as well as the return of Catalyst. Full story [here]
Broede Carmody - SMH - May 24, 2017
The ABC is axing the program hosted by Yassmin Abdel-Magied a month after the television presenter and activist sparked outrage over her Anzac Day comments.
Australia Wide is set to be shelved in the coming weeks as part of the national broadcaster's sweeping restructure. As well as programming changes, as many as 200 jobs are being slashed in order to reinvest $50 million a year back into regional and online content. Full story [here]
Nick O'Malley - SMH - May 24, 2017
The Australian Federal Police has been notified that the online editor of the Australian conservative journal Quadrant wrote an opinion piece saying that, "had there been a shred of justice", the Manchester blast would have "detonated in an Ultimo TV studio".
He added that, if such an attack took place, "none of the panel's likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity's intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty". Full story [here]
Media Release - ABC Friends - May 17, 2017
ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said Michelle Guthrie needed to spend more time watching ABC television if she really believes there is no need for local content rules to apply to the national broadcaster (Crikey 17 May 2017)
The ABC relies heavily on the BBC for a significant percentage of its screening time and has had a long standing commercial relationship with British television . Australian audiences can be forgiven for believing they remain part of the British Empire when they see yet another Antiques Roadshow, Stephen Fry or Midsummer Murders et al repeated ad nauseum in prime viewing time.
The national broadcaster has a responsibility to lead in reflecting Australian content. When quality Australian programs are screened they are well received by local audiences. However one glance at TV schedules reminds us just how reliant the ABC is on imported programs.
Australian Children's TV has suffered with local content being reduced considerably in recent years despite additional funding being allocated by government and subsequently redirected to other areas of the ABC.
Clearly the ABC needs to be more accountable about how it fulfils the role as the national broadcaster Australian shareholders want an independent broadcaster that accepts its leadership role and promotes Australian talent and stories.
Of course the ABC struggles with inadequate funding from government but that needs strong advocacy from the ABC must receive appropriate levels of funding to guarantee Australian content.
If the ABC is not meeting local content standards there is good reason to require it to do so. The new media environment is a major challenge for public broadcasting but taxpayers do not want to see any further subsidies going to the BBC!
Matthew Knott - SMH - May 17, 2017
Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood has hit out at the ABC for using taxpayer money to boost the profits of multinational corporations such as Google and encroaching onto the terrain of newspaper companies at an appearance before a public inquiry into the future of journalism.
Mr Hywood, who is overseeing a plan to cut 125 editorial jobs at the media company, was also forced to defend his salary and performance bonuses under pointed questioning from senators suggesting his pay packet was excessive. Full story [here]
ABC Friends Mid-North Coast presents: Rob Oakeshott "The Relationship Between the Media and Politics"
When: Tuesday 30th May at 10:00am Where: Westport Club, Buller Street, Port Macquarie. Download the flyer [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 12, 2017
Apart from his family there was a handful of friends at Mark Colvin's hospital bedside in his final days. One of those was his best friend Q&A host Tony Jones. Jones, his partner Four Corners host Sarah Ferguson, 7.30 host Leigh Sales and SBS presenter Jenny Brockie were among his closest circle of mates. While he was open about his kidney disease and transplant, Colvin's brief, final battle with lung-cancer was a closely-held secret.
After Colvin's death on Thursday, Jones called for the Walkleys to create a posthumous award for the former host of PM and legendary foreign correspondent. Full story [here]
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Advocacy) Bill 2015 (the bill) was initially referred to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee on 3 December 2015 for inquiry and report by 20 June 2016.1 The bill is a private senator's bill introduced by Senator Bridget McKenzie.
Purpose of the bill (1.9) The bill proposes to amend the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Charter in relation to the delivery of services in rural and regional Australia in each state and territory. In addition, the bill seeks to define the ABC's mandate for its public service function for journalism in rural and regional Australia.
This Senate Committee Report, together with the Labor Senators' dissenting report and recommendations can be downloaded [here]
Media Release - ABC Friends - May 11, 2017
ABC Friends join with Mark Colvin's colleagues, friends and family in mourning his loss, and celebrating an extraordinary life. In over 40 years with the ABC, in a variety of roles, his professionalism, his passion for the truth and his work ethic shone like a beacon. His commitment to bringing to the world the horror of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 cost him his health, and ultimately, his life. His courage in continuing his career as an outstanding broadcaster despite his illness has been inspirational.
As a mentor to so many young journalists, he was legendary.
In the words of colleague Phillip Williams, Mark Colvin represented "the Gold Standard." He will be sadly missed by all of us.
National Vice-President, ABC Friends
Damien Murphy - SMH - May 11, 2017
One of the few Australian reporters to have been the subject of a play during their lifetime, Mark Colvin, was an outstanding survivor of an era when journalism eschewed personality for fact.
Perhaps the last "BBC voice" to remain on air at the ABC, his face was certainly well-known to television viewers but it was his voice that continued to echo down the years. Full story [here]
Karl Quinn - SMH - May 11, 2017
The veteran ABC broadcaster Mark Colvin has signed off for good. His was a massive intellect and a rare talent.
Journalism sent Mark Colvin out into the world, and when he became too ill to travel, it allowed him to keep bringing the world to us. The veteran broadcaster's rich tones, quick wit and easy grasp of a vast array of subject matter - from pop culture to politics, from foreign affairs to the affairs of the famous - made him a one-stop shop for what was going on in the world, whether on Radio National's flagship current affairs program PM or on Twitter, a medium he took to like a fish to water. Full story [here]
ABC News - May 11, 2017
One of the ABC's most respected journalists, Mark Colvin, has died aged 65 after struggling with a rare auto-immune disease for more than 20 years.
Among Australian journalism's most authoritative voices, and a master interviewer with a depth of knowledge in world affairs, Colvin held a number of overseas postings with the ABC, working as a correspondent in Europe and Africa. Full story [here]
Kim Dalton - The Saturday Paper - May 6, 2017
In Ken Inglis's forensic history of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he quotes then communications minister Neil Brown as saying in the early 1980s that the ABC "jealously guarded their independence and resented any intrusion". It "went into paroxysms of rage if a minister sought to intervene in any of their activities".
Actual, perceived and alleged political interference is a theme running through the national broadcaster's history, in regard to politically sensitive issues, in particular programs, coverage of contentious or contested issues, internal industrial relations and management practices, certain high-profile program-makers, producers or presenters, and the expansion or curtailing of services. Full story [here]
Jenny Buckland - SMH - May 2, 2017
Ten years ago the Australian Children's Television Foundation joined forces with the ABC to lobby for funding to establish a children's channel.
At the time, the ABC screened limited Australian children's content. Apart from Play School they commissioned six to 13 hours a year of children's drama and filled their children's schedule with imports. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 1, 2017
The ABC's budget for local drama, Indigenous, documentary and children's TV has been quietly shrinking since 2013 as management siphons off millions of dollars into other areas of the public broadcaster, according to the former head of ABC TV Kim Dalton.
In an essay published on Monday Dalton said ABC management and boards were ultimately not called to account for diverting money from Australian content.
Dalton ran ABC TV from 2006 to 2013. In his essay, Missing in Action: the ABC and Australia's Screen Culture, he has blamed the absence of transparency in the ABC's allocation of funds to different areas - such as news, digital, radio, regional and management - as well as a lack of public discussion or public policy. Full story [here]
Kim Dalton - The Conversation - May 1, 2017
Achievements by the ABC to significantly increase levels of local drama, comedy, documentary, Indigenous and children's content, as well as expand partnerships with independent production houses and creative talent, have in recent years been reversed.
The problem lies with a lack of governance, an inadequate, outdated Charter and the ABC's poor relationship with the independent production sector.
Between 2006 and 2009, the Howard and Rudd governments increased ABC TV's budget by almost 30%. The new funding was for additional Australian content. Full story [here]
Michael Lallo - SMH - May 1, 2017
Aunty's ex-TV chief accuses ABC of habitually ignoring criticism - and says it must change its ways.
The ABC is failing viewers and external producers, its former TV chief claims, while using its statutory independence to deflect valid criticism.
Kim Dalton, who served as ABC's television director from 2006 to 2013, says the national broadcaster has stripped an estimated $40 million from it TV budget since 2013 - without detailing where this money went. Full story [here]
Kim Dalton - SMH - May 1, 2017
The debate around the ABC for the most part is binary and sterile. One side claims that the ABC is simply underfunded and that any suggestion of imposing on it a set of expectations is a threat to its independence. The other side focuses only on the news and current affairs output and claims that the ABC is politically biased and overfunded.
But there is a profound disconnect between the ABC and its public policy settings concerning Australian screen content, and its contribution to Australian culture and identity. What we have seen consistently is that our most significant cultural institution is vulnerable to unilateral internal change, contrary to stated government policy and in the absence of any public discussion or review. Full story [here]
NewsMediaWorks / 26 April, 2017
ABC News Websites has moved into second place behind news.com.au in Nielsen's digital news ratings in March, bumping nine.com.au into third place.
The public broadcaster received a 19 per cent increase in unique audience traffic with 4.85 million visits, the highest number since August 2016. Nine.com.au had no change in unique audience from February. Full story [here]
Michelle Grattan - The Conversation - April 26, 2017
There are two issues in the latest episode of the culture wars, sparked by the Anzac Day Facebook comment by controversial young Muslim activist and part-time ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
One is what she actually said; the other is whether the ABC should act against a presenter who made such a comment - but not on air. Full story [here]
Anna Potter & Huw Walmsley-Evans - The Conversation - April 27, 2017
Australian children's TV may have recently picked up an Emmy Kids award for the ABCME animation Doodles, but otherwise kids' TV in this country is in a dire state.
Free-to-air TV networks have to commission certain amounts of children's programs each year. But in recent years there's been a dismaying lack of new live action shows, or recognisably Australian content. Instead, local children's TV has become dominated by animation with little sense of place.
This is a shame, because Australia's most fondly remembered children's TV shows are live action productions such as Mortified, Playschool, Blue Water High, and Round the Twist. When asked in a 2015 survey to name their favourite childhood TV characters, most people chose Round the Twist siblings Linda and Bronson, followed by Mortified's Taylor Fry. Full story [here]
ABC Media Release - April 24, 2017
ABC congratulates its winners and record-breaking number of nominations at the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards held in Melbourne last night.
The ABC won an impressive seven awards spanning drama, comedy, children's, factual and current affairs programs.
It also reaffirmed its reputation as the network that unearths the best fresh talent with Rob Collins (Cleverman) winning Best New Talent and Elias Anton (Barracuda) winning the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer. Full Media Release [here]
ABC News - April 25, 2017
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has called on the ABC to apologise for its reporting on a shooting at the Manus Island detention centre.
The incident took place on Good Friday and explanations about what caused it have been conflicting and contradictory.
Citing advice from "senior people on the island", Mr Dutton has repeatedly said Papua New Guinea soldiers fired shots into the detention centre because they were concerned about the welfare of a five-year-old boy who was allegedly led into the centre. Full story [here]
Craig Mathieson - SMH - April 20, 2017
Short is definitely proving to be sweet for the ABC. Some of the national broadcaster's best programming in recent years has come with a slimmed-down running time. The blithe, biting comedy of The Katering Show rewrites reality in 10-minute bursts, while the terrific factual interview series You Can't Ask That is still concise and compelling after doubling in size from 15-minute to 30-minute episodes for its second season. Full story [here]
James Careless - RadioWorld - April 17, 2017
OTTAWA - On Jan. 31, state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. shut down its shortwave radio transmitters; ending both international broadcasts of Radio Australia and the ABC's domestic service in Australia's Northern Territory. The transmitters were located at ABC broadcasting facilities at Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Roe Creek (Alice Springs). According to the ABC news release that announced the shutdown on Dec. 6 - less than two months before it took place - "The move is in line with the national broadcaster's commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences." Full story [here]
Gael Barrett - The Age - April 18, 2017
Tony Walker's proposals to "fix" the ABC ignore the principal problems (Comment, 17/4). The ABC is starved of funding due to the malevolence of Coalition governments. It needs on its board and as CEO skilled people who are committed to public broadcasting. The ABC's independence should be protected by parliament and must never be beholden to advertisers or commercial interests. The old complaint of left bias has been consistently refuted by numerous independent inquiries. SBS serves a particular audience but is now totally corrupted by advertising. Australia is a wealthy country, which once espoused ideals of justice and integrity. It can afford and must have a national broadcaster providing news, enlightened comment and quality entertainment. Gael Barrett, North Balwyn
Tony Walker - SMH - April 17, 2017
Let me rise in defence of public broadcasting, not an unqualified defence to be sure but resistance to the idea that public service broadcasting represents a luxury the country can ill afford.
Let's also confront the misuse to which endless debate about public broadcasting's alleged bias has become a weapon in this country's culture wars to no one's benefit least of all consumers. Full story [here]
Paul Karp - The Guardian - 12 April 2017
The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, has stared down a threat from Senator Brian Burston that One Nation will "reconsider" savings bills if the government doesn't cut $600m from the ABC in the May budget.
Burston and James Ashby, Pauline Hanson's chief of staff and party secretary, have savaged the public broadcasters, accusing the ABC of leftwing bias after a Four Corners special on One Nation and SBS of having too much multicultural and LGBTI content. Full story [here]
Vale John Clarke
The Executive of the NSW & ACT ABC Friends notes the very sad passing of John Clarke, one of Australia's greatest comedians and satirists. This represents an enormous loss for all of us in Australia and New Zealand. Our most heartfelt condolences to John's family, friends and all his colleagues at the ABC.
Matthew Knott - SMH - March 27, 2017
Incoming ABC chairman Justin Milne says he has deep respect for Malcolm Turnbull but his longstanding friendship with the Prime Minister will have "zero impact" on his role at the public broadcaster.
In an interview with Fairfax Media the telecommunications veteran said he would reduce his board appointments but would continue to serve on the board overseeing the rollout of the National Broadband Network. He also flagged that supercomputers capable of analysing huge amounts of data could be used in the future to assess the ABC's coverage for bias. Full story [here]
Editorial - SMH - March 25, 2017
Taxpayers deserve to be reassured early and often that Justin Milne is his own man, not just a prime ministerial bestie.
Malcolm Turnbull in his pre-prime ministerial days had a lot of time for the ABC - notably as a guest on the much-admired but regularly maligned Q&A program.
The multimillionaire who made a fortune out of internet service provider Ozemail used to share his thoughts about the ABC's role in Australian life and journalism, too. Full story [here]
Lucy Battersby - SMH - March 22, 2017
Justin Milne, the new chairman of the ABC, is a former filmmaker and serial entrepreneur who has been thinking about how television could be delivered over the internet for more than 20 years.
Milne emerged as the government's anticipated pick to helm the public broadcaster on Tuesday. He comes having carved a career rich in technology and broadcasting as well as blue chip corporate experience. Full story [here]
ABC Media Release - March 18, 2017
In an outstanding night the ABC has won the major honours at the 2016 Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism, taking the Gold Quill, the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award and the Young Journalist of the Year Award.
Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna was named Journalist of the Year for her reporting on Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, which led to a Royal Commission. Full release [here]
Martin Hirst - Independent Australia - March 18, 2017
Walkley Award-winning reporter and writer Quentin Dempster says the decision to appoint Minerals' Council chair Vanessa Guthrie to the ABC Board was a "direct 'political' choice" that is "provocative and revealing". As Doc Martin reports, it seems to many like a return to the bad old days of political stacking. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - March 17, 2017
Each member of the ABC's audience has a gripe about the public broadcaster - including those who run it.
Managing director Michelle Guthrie has remarked on the ABC's "peculiar obsession" with the British royal family and comparative lack of interest in Asian culture. Full story [here]
ABC Media Release - March 16, 2017
Departing ABC Chairman James Spigelman has been recognised for his contributions to the ABC, the law, politics and Indigenous reconciliation at a farewell event held at ABC Ultimo.
Tributes to Mr Spigelman were led by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - a lifelong friend - the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, the Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke and ABC Board Member Simon Mordant.
Guests included ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, former Managing Director Mark Scott, current ABC Board Members and members of the ABC leadership team. Read the full release [here]
Michael Lallo - SMH - March 12, 2017
When it launched, some dismissed Insiders as a niche program. Now, it's Australia's top-rating morning show.
Pauline Hanson is standing in the ABC's Melbourne studios, watching Barrie Cassidy as he welcomes viewers to Insiders. "The government doesn't seem to have a strategy to deal with [her]," Cassidy says. "They don't seem to know whether to appease or oppose." Full story [here]
Emilia Terzon - ABC Radio Darwin - March 11, 2017
Screaming down a main highway wearing a shiny Olympic gold medal, celebrating an internationally anticipated verdict with beers in a bus, and an "endless" stream of crocodile stories.
These are just a few of the memories gathered by ABC veteran reporters since the public broadcaster opened its first bureau in the Northern Territory 70 years ago.
To celebrate the milestone anniversary, four current and former Top End broadcasters have shared their most memorable moments. Read the full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 10, 2017
BC staff, many of them seasoned journalists trained in deciphering messages, were blindsided by the revelation that dozens of the job losses outlined by Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday were not middle management at all. Guthrie talked a lot about reducing red tape and eliminating over- management, about bottlenecks and about "reducing the number of management roles across the ABC" in order to create a $50m content fund and 80 new jobs in regional and rural content. Read full story [here]
SMH Editorial - March 10, 2017
The new managing director seems focused on delivering taxpayers greater value for money. The question is whether she can do so while maintaining the ABC's independence and integrity.
It is important that the ABC spends as much on content creation as possible. ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie means investing in TV programs and radio broadcasts, along with news and current affairs journalism, drama and cultural shows. Hard to argue with any of that.
There's not enough Australian content on television. Hard to dispute that, either. Full editorial [here]
Michael Lallo & Tom McIlroy - SMH - March 8, 2017
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has suggested Catalyst - the controversially revamped science program - could inspire changes to key news and current affairs shows.
In a wide-ranging interview with Radio National's Patricia Karvelas, Guthrie was asked about the future of "crucial programs" including Lateline, 7.30 and the 7pm news bulletins. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - March 7, 2017
One in five ABC managers - totalling up to 200 staff - will lose their jobs under a sweeping restructure announced by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie.
Ms Guthrie acknowledged the "painful" cuts would be a blow for staff who lose their jobs, but said "swift and decisive action" was needed for the ABC to remain relevant to audiences. Full story [here]
Michael Lallo - The Examiner - March 8, 2017
An extra $50 million for ABC content. Eighty new jobs in rural and regional Australia. Who could argue with that?
The staff facing retrenchment - up to 200, gone by June - might have a few complaints.
On Tuesday, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie revealed a grand restructure of Australia's national broadcaster. Management and support roles will be slashed. (Though she focused on these cuts, up to 70 production workers on programs including 7.30 and Foreign Correspondent are also facing the axe.) The savings, Guthrie said, will be invested in "content creation". Full story [here]
Brian McNair - The Conversation - March 7, 2017
Today's long-awaited announcement of restructuring at the ABC highlights two directions for change in the coming year and beyond. Both are welcome.
More money will be spent on content production and delivery, and less on management, which some would say is always a good principle on which to run big public sector corporations. Managing director Michelle Guthrie will reduce the number of the ABC's divisions from 14 to nine "teams", leading to an altogether "leaner, less cumbersome management structure", as she put it in her speech to ABC staff today. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - March 7, 2017
Ten months after her arrival as managing director, Tuesday marked the day Michelle Guthrie finally asserted control over the ABC.
Since taking over from Mark Scott, Guthrie's tenure has been marked by internal angst and external confusion about where the ABC is going.
Online conspiracies - suggesting the former News Corp executive is a secret agent pursuing the "Murdochification" of the ABC - have been circulating wildly. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 7, 2017
The ABC will cut 20% of management positions and lose 200 staff by June, in what the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, calls a tough strategy to bring transformational change to the national broadcaster.
The job losses will start immediately in support areas in the TV news and television divisions, and move on to content areas later in the year.
The executive team will be reduced from 14 to eight and powerful new overarching roles have been created for former Nova executive Louise Higgins and current ABC executives Samantha Liston and Leisa Bacon. Full story [here]
ABC Media Release - March 7, 2017
The ABC will invest $50 million in new content and create 80 new jobs in rural and regional Australia under a new strategy and transformation program announced today by the ABC's Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie.
"Investing in Audiences" involves a number of interlocking initiatives designed to strengthen the Corporation and enhance its ability to deliver on its Act and Charter and serve the community. Full release [here]
ABC Media Release - March 7, 2017
The ABC has announced its biggest ever single investment in regional and remote Australia, to expand the broadcaster's coverage of news and information for audiences across the country.
The Connecting Communities package builds quickly to an extra $15 million a year ongoing, with almost $4 million more to be spent on new tools and technology.
Up to 80 new jobs, delivering regional news and information, will be recruited within 18 months as part of a broader content fund announced by the ABC's Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, today. Continue reading [here]
ABC MD Michelle Guthrie staff address - Investing in Audiences March 7, 2017
I joined the ABC because I knew it to be a trusted, much loved and treasured Australian institution. Our audiences and the broader community appreciate the critical role that the national broadcaster plays in the fabric of everyday life.
My ultimate objective as Managing Director has been to strengthen that bond.
Over the past 10 months, I've learned that the ABC has an extraordinary engine: the creativity and drive of its people. Daily, I'm impressed by the energy and passion that goes into your work and the amazing content that springs from it. I know that the ABC has a vibrancy and a community service ethic that needs to be nourished and protected. Full address [here]
ABC News - March 7, 2017
The ABC has announced a significant restructure, cutting up to 200 jobs to create a $50 million Content Fund and new positions in regional areas.
Managing director Michelle Guthrie has announced the ABC will cut management positions by an average of 20 per cent across the organisation. Other positions will go as part of an attempt to reduce duplication in support roles.
Up to 200 staff will leave the ABC by June this year. Full story [here]
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - March 6, 2017
Hundreds of redundancies at the middle and upper management levels of the ABC are to be progressively initiated by the national broadcaster's managing director Michelle Guthrie on Tuesday.
Ms Guthrie, appointed to the million-dollar-a year job last year, will unveil her board-approved "flattened management" restructure is calculated to free up $50 million in coming years, which is said to be for reinvestment in programs.
After months of work by specially hired consultants and her executive, Ms Guthrie has invited all ABC staff to an internally-broadcast briefing at noon on Tuesday to hear "how we shape the ABC in 2017 and beyond". Full story [here]
Margaret Reynolds - Spokesperson ABC Friends National Inc - March 3, 2017
ABC Friends National expresses its grave concern about some of the misinformation presented at the Senate Estimates Hearing on Tuesday, 28th. February.
Many of our members urge you to consider the following as a FACT CHECK which suggests that your advisers need to be much more rigorous in their research. Read the letter [here]
Amanda Meade & Helen Davidson - The Guardian - February 28, 2017
The ABC's managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told Senate estimates she believes it is not her job to lobby government for more funding for the broadcaster but to work within the budget she is given.
Under questioning at a fiery Senate estimates committee, Guthrie revealed she saw her role as a manager rather than an advocate for more funding, a marked difference from her predecessor Mark Scott who was a consistent lobbyist for additional funding and critic of government cuts.
"On my second day in the job I was handed down the triennial funding in the May budget and as far as I'm concerned we operate within that three-year funding envelope," Guthrie said. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 28, 2017
The Coalition has handpicked Western Australian mining lobbyist Vanessa Guthrie to sit on the ABC board, bypassing the independent nomination panel.
Guthrie is the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and until December was managing director of uranium developer Toro Energy.
Along with Queensland rural leader and businesswoman Georgina Somerset, Guthrie has been appointed by the government to sit on the ABC board for a period of five years. Full story [here]
Adam Gartell - SMH - February 28, 2017
The Turnbull government has overruled an independent selection panel to appoint the chairwoman of the Minerals Council to the ABC board.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said Vanessa Guthrie has the "requisite skills" to be on the board, despite not making the final list of recommendations put forward by the Nomination Panel for ABC and SBS Board Appointments. Full story [here]
Come join the protest rally at the ABC Centre in Harris St Ultimo
A broad group of community organisations will be there protesting prior to the ABC Board meeting.
We are extremely concerned that the ABC is failing to meet its charter obligations and that senior management is not genuinely listening to staff or responding to the needs of its audiences. Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Hands off RN Music and Friends of the ABC say a range of management decisions have created a crisis at the national broadcaster.
Recent decisions that demonstrate how out of touch the ABC Executive has become include:
- The axing of science program Catalyst
- Removing music from Radio National
- Ending shortwave transmission in the NT and Pacific, and
- Dismantling the Religion Unit
ABC management’s decision late last year to cut almost all but one of Radio National’s music programmes from its 2017 schedule drew sharp criticism from artists and audiences. The protest will call on the ABC board to step up and ensure our national broadcaster is properly funded by Government and properly managed by people who are genuinely committed to public broadcasting.
Come join the rally - there is power in numbers!
Michael Bodey - The Saturday Paper - February 18, 2017
The figures presented to television producers in November were alarming. In 2016, the average age of an ABC TV viewer was 66.
Little wonder one of Michelle Guthrie's few tangible objectives since joining the public broadcaster as managing director one year ago has been to "offer distinctive and relevant content not just to under 12s and to the over 45s, but to all Australians".
The quest to capture and retain the elusive millennial (15- to 35-year-old) and generation Y (mid-20s to late 30s) audiences is exercising minds in all media and advertising businesses. Full story [here]
Matthew Knott - SMH - February 17, 2017
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is poised to announce a sweeping overhaul of the broadcaster's management structures that is designed to free up tens of millions of dollars to invest in programming.
Ms Guthrie's plan - which she has been developing since she arrived at the ABC last May - will be presented to the ABC board for final approval next week, with an official announcement scheduled for next month. Full story [here]
ABC News - February 14, 2017
The ABC's Fact Check Unit is back in business - with ABC News and RMIT University partnering to relaunch the award-winning news service.
The newly-branded RMIT ABC Fact Check will return in March to once again test and adjudicate on the accuracy of claims made by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in public debate. Full story [here]
See also - The Conversation - February 14, 2017 [here]
Debi Enker - SMH - Jan 30, 2017
The ABC is in transition. Well, that's the milder description: it could also be called a worrying state of flux, with a spate of senior executive exits and persistent reports of low morale and ebbing confidence in managing director Michelle Guthrie, who took up the post in May last year.
In recent months, head of entertainment Jon Casimir, director of ABC TV Richard Finlayson and chief operating officer David Pendleton have announced their departures. Chairman of the board James Spigelman is expected to retire when his term ends on March 31, and there are rumours that Guthrie is considering adopting the BBC model and installing a director of content who would sit above the department heads in the hierarchy. Full story [here]
Barclay White - Shepparton News - February 3, 2017
Senator Nick Xenophon answered the SOS call to force the government and the ABC to Save Our Shortwave.
The South Australian politician and NXT party leader was in Shepparton yesterday for the senate inquiry into the dairy industry and took time out to visit the Shepparton shortwave broadcast station. Watch the interview [here] (YouTube).
RNZ - January 31, 2017
Thousands of people in remote parts of Solomon Islands who tune in to the ABC's shortwave service will be poorer off from today according to a leading activist in the country.
The ABC ends its short-wave service to the region from 1pm Solomon Islands time and says it will focus on FM and online services. Full story [here]
Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 30, 2017
Just days before it switches off its shortwave radio broadcasts in the Northern Territory, the ABC has announced a package of "transitional measures" for those affected by the cancellation, but federal minister Nigel Scullion has said it is "too little too late".
In December, the ABC announced it would cease transmitting radio broadcasts through shortwave radio in the Northern Territory and parts of the Pacific at the end of January.
The measures announced on Sunday come after weeks of sustained criticism from Coalition and Labor leaders, and remote workers and residents, who said the decision was made with no consultation or consideration of their needs. The announcement does not mention those affected in the Pacific region. Full story [here]
The Swinging Post - January 2017
It's essential': outback workers fight ABC decision to ditch shortwave radio.
For some living and working in Australia's outback, shortwave radio is the only way they can listen to the ABC - and their main daily contact with the rest of the world. But the ABC will end the service in two weeks.
"People that live out in contracting camps or mustering stock camps or outstations, and even a lot of the people who live in the bush on cattle stations, spend probably 100% of their waking hours out on the land and have very minimal contact with other human beings," says Tracey Hayes, the chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association. Full story [here]
Media Release - Margaret Reynolds - National President ABC Friends - January 29, 2017
It's time for crisis talks between ABC management and government to save NT Short Wave services before the final switch off on Tuesday 31st.
ABC Management has refused to respond to public concern from Territorians as well as representations from parliamentarians and community groups. The Federal Minister for Communications has not yet acknowledged any government responsibility for essential communications infrastructure and the Foreign Minister has not supported Pacific Island leaders who have also indicated their reliance on Australian short wave services for emergency communications.
Clearly there must be a realistic resolution of this impasse in the best interests of those who still rely on short wave services. It is unacceptable that an urban based decision can so disadvantage isolated Australians and disregard our neighbours.
The estimated cost saving of $1. 9 million and a fresh short wave contract are not valid reasons for ending an essential service without consultation.
ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said "the ABC is risking its strong community support by failing to respect a vulnerable group of Australians"
She said "the Federal Government is also neglecting its oversight of essential communications infrastructure"
Clearly this is an issue that can be resolved if both parties are prepared to negotiate but first there must be a delay to the switch off of short wave services scheduled for Tuesday.
Margaret Reynolds - ABC Friends National President
Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 27, 2017
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has called on the prime minister to step in and save ABC shortwave broadcasts in the Northern Territory, claiming the broadcaster's reasons to shut them down "do not account for the reality" of life in the outback.
In December, the ABC announced it would cease transmitting local radio broadcasts through shortwave radio in the Northern Territory and parts of the Pacific at the end of January.
It did so without community consultation and sparked a backlash from users who say the service is vital in remote areas. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 27, 2017
The ABC's chief operating officer, David Pendleton, has resigned ahead of managing director Michelle Guthrie’s major restructure next month.
A 21-year veteran of the ABC, Pendleton is the executive team's most senior member and has steered the finances at the national broadcaster under former managing directors Jonathan Shier, Russell Balding and Mark Scott.
He has been a key figure at Senate estimates, helping managing directors answer questions from senators and explaining financing and policy. "He knows where all the bodies are buried," one source said.
"He is the brains trust of the ABC." Full story [here]
Ebony Bowden - SMH - January 20, 2017
Richard Finlayson, the director of ABC TV, has announced his departure from the national broadcaster after three years in the job.
In a statement on Friday, Finlayson said he had handed his resignation to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie. It is understood he will step down at the end of March. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 20, 2017
The director of ABC television, Richard Finlayson, has resigned before a major restructure of the corporation by its managing director, Michelle Guthrie. "I have decided that after more than three very satisfying and rewarding years as Director of ABC TV, it is time to move on to the next stage of my career," Finlayson said in a statement on Friday. Full story [here]
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - January 20, 2017
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is working on a major management restructure of the ABC, with at least one significant announcement likely next week. Weekly Beast understands there are big changes coming in the TV department.
But Friday marks the end of an era, with the last broadcast of Radio National’s extensive music programming. All but one music show was axed last year in a restructure of Radio National into a talk network. Full story [here]
Helen Davidson - The Guardian - January 18, 2017
"People that live out in contracting camps or mustering stock camps or outstations, and even a lot of the people who live in the bush on cattle stations, spend probably 100% of their waking hours out on the land and have very minimal contact with other human beings," says Tracey Hayes, the chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association.
"You can imagine how isolating that would be without having access to the outside world via radio during the day while you're out in the workplace. But I don't think they took that into consideration." Full story [here]
Mark Chipperfield - SMH - January 10, 2017
Unlike the vacuous mental floss that adults endure each evening on the free-to-air networks, the shows on ABC Kids are mostly stimulating, well written, fast-paced and grounded in old-fashioned values. Programs such as The Octonauts and Dirtgirlworld deal with issues such as species loss, pollution, sustainable farming and the importance of recycling. Sesame Street teaches kids basic numeracy and the importance of tolerance in a diverse, multicultural society. Fireman Sam, set in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Pontypandy, provides basic lessons about safety and the need for self-sacrifice to preserve community life. Full story [here]
Fight the ABC's decision to cut music programming from Radio National. Much-loved shows - The Inside Sleeve, The Daily Planet, The Rhythm Divine and The Live Set - are to be axed with no replacement. More details [here]
This decision has disastrous implications for the independent and non-mainstream music industry in Australia, and for listeners Australia-wide, particularly in remote or regional areas.
Applications are invited to fill the upcoming vacancy in the role of Chairperson on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board. Applications close at 5.00 pm (AEDT) on Friday 27 January 2017.
For further information on this process, including detailed selection criteria for the position and application information [here].
Details on the Nomination Panel for ABC and SBS Board Appointments [here].
ABC Friends urges members and friends with skills to lead the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to consider nominating for the position of Chair of the public broadcasting corporation to lead it into the future.
A number of eminent Australians have helped shape the ABC as a national icon for 85 years so it is important the new chair has a range of skills to tackle complex media challenges in this anniversary year.
Perhaps the most important skill is to advocate for independent public broadcasting that reaches all Australians wherever they live. It is also essential that the new ABC Chair can negotiate with government and parliamentarians to protect our popular national icon.
Josh Bornstein - The New Daily - January 5, 2017
The relentless accusations of "left-wing bias", the numerous reviews and inquiries, wave after wave of punitive funding cuts, the stacking of the ABC board with ultra conservatives including Maurice Newman and Janet Albrechtsen, the dysfunctional Jonathan Shier era and, more recently, a government black-ban of a panel talk show have all taken their toll.
The cultural revolution unfolding at the ABC intensified in 2016. It broadcast a reality television show about the debate concerning the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, providing star billing to Andrew Bolt, an ABC hater, who argues the climate is cooling and who has been found by the federal court to have illegally racially vilified Aboriginal people. Full story [here].
Media Release - Margaret Reynolds - National President ABC Friends - January 5, 2017
An urgent call for ministerial action to protect short wave services in Northern and Central Australia has been made by ABC Friends National.
"It is the responsibility of both the Minister for Communications Senator Fifield and the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to respond to this very real need with urgency," said ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds today.
ABC Friends National sent a letter in December to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, urging him to intervene so as to guarantee the ABC had sufficient funding to maintain the short wave service - which is so essential in rural and remote areas.
"Furthermore a number of Pacific Island states also rely on this service especially in the current cyclone season," Margaret Reynolds said, "Pacific leaders have expressed concern about a loss of this service."
"It is unacceptable to simply blame the ABC when government funding has been reduced so severely in recent years."
"The ABC cannot provide adequate communication services for all Australians in isolated regions as well as support our Pacific neighbours if it is constantly facing funding cutbacks."
"The Australian Government must accept that, ultimately, short wave services can provide early warning and be an important preventative disaster measure," she said.
For earlier news posts go to 'News', 'News Archive'