Business reporters spend a lot of time thinking about business, but as Ross Greenwood found out, it doesn’t always pay off.

Rumblings inside the Ross Greenwood empire

Sealed section – 31 March

Sometimes the best-laid plans of mice, men and ambitious TV types come a cropper…

Take the Nine Network duo, Jim Rudder and Ross Greenwood; they
restructured Business Sunday in January, combining it with Greenwood
and his sidekick, Oriel Morrison, who do reports for the Today Show.

Greenwood, like all good Nine Business Unit managers, has ambitions and
Crikey hears his most cherished one has just been thwarted.

A little background. As part of their plan Greenwood and Rudder want
the business unit to generate income; hence the use of Greenwood,
Morrison, and reporter, Helen McCombie to do business reports for
Sydney radio stations, 2UE and 2GB. They sign off their reports, not as
a Business Sunday or Channel 9 reporter, but as reporting for Macquarie
or 2UE; which is a little misleading to listeners (and there’s no PR
value in it for Nine so Newsroom regulars wonder, why do it? The
answer; income for the business plan).

But Greenwood and Rudder have harboured ambitions to win control of the
nightly business report on Sky News, now being done by Palamedia – the
media arm of the multi-faceted David Koch. It is Koch who has
revitalised the Seven Network’s Sunrise program and made Rudder’s life
a misery as his ambitious revamp of the Nine Network’s Today program
stumbles from hiccup to hiccup.

Koch has been winding back his non-Sunrise involvement, under pressure
from Seven management who see him as something of a surprise trump card
in a pack that has delivered little in the way of winning hands so far
this year – Nine is towelling the floor with the other networks this
year.

Koch has also given a home to former Nine finance heavy, Michael
Pascoe, who does two nights a week on Sky and has now been given the
Sunday Sunrise finance gig instead of Koch. That puts him up against
his old Business Sunday colleagues and he appears to be relishing the
task.

But Greenwood and Rudder thought they saw a way to cripple Koch and
gain more income for the business unit by snaffling the Sky News gig,
so they have been working to position themselves to grab the Sky gig.

With Nine Network news and current affairs heavy, John Westacott, on
the Sky board, it would have been a bit of an inside run. But word out
of Sky and Seven is that Kochie has trumped Greenwood once again –
re-signing the Sky gig for another three years.

Meanwhile Nine newsroom regulars are awaiting the arrival of
Greenwood’s business unit in late April or early May after an early
dust-up between Greenwood and Nightline host Hugh Riminton. Hugh and
the rest of the tiny Nightline team are being squeezed to make room for
Greenwood’s group and Hughie has told him personally, and loudly, of
his displeasure about the move.

As they say in tele land; Stay Tuned!

David Koch writes on Ross Greenwood

Sealed section – 1 April

David Koch writes:

Dear Crikey, I was fascinated to read your account of the campaign of
Messrs Greenwood and Rudd to undermine the broadcast business of
Palamedia. While I have no authority to speak for the Palamedia
business as a whole, seeing I run the broadcast operation I thought I
should respond.

While I have the utmost respect for Ross (who worked for me at Personal
Investment magazine for a number of years) and Oriel (who worked for me
up until the end of last year) I am confident that our existing media
clients are happy with our work. While we were sacked from providing
the business coverage for 2GB, it was an amicable split as we weren’t
prepared to do it for free. Another radio network has since approached
us to provide a similar service, so we’ll wait and see.

As far as the television clients are concerned, we have just signed a
new 3 year deal with Sky News to not only provide the daily Sky
Business Report but also to produce the new 24 hour digital business
channel (we will also be handling the advertising and sponsorship for
the channel). We have also started production of a half-hour weekly
small business program for the Seven Network, and produce a daily
30-minute Asian-focussed business program for ABC Asia Pacific.

It makes us the biggest producer of broadcast business television in
the country. We’re particularly proud of our 30-minute daily Sky
Business Report which has double the viewers of the combined 24-hour
audience of Bloomberg and CNBC. But it’s the digital channel which
presents us with the biggest opportunity. While currently in the
fledgling stages, we hope to develop the channel into the premier
source for Australian business and market information on Australian
television.

I admire what Ross is doing at Nine and am glad it’s working out for
him. Michael Pascoe, Kylie Merrit, myself and the rest of the broadcast
team look forward to the ongoing competition from Ross and his gang.

Cheers, David Koch

Meanwhile, Angelos Frangopoulos, Sky News Managing Editor, has also responded to yesterday’s item:

“For the record, Sky News has had a long and very strong relationship
with Palamedia. Far from just renewing with them, we’ve in fact
extended our deal to include the production of the 24 hour Sky News
Active Business Channel.”

CRIKEY: Palamedia shares were steady today at 10 cents, the price has
ranged from 3 cent to 17.5 cents over the past year but at least it now
looks like the business will definitely survive after notching up $28
million in accumulated losses.

Peter Fray

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