David Koch has finally got his new small business show up on Channel Seven, as Terry O’Dial explains.

Well, well, well, David Koch has finally forced David Leckie and the Seven Network to pick up his idea for a small business show. The Network announced Thursday afternoon that 13 episodes of a new program called “My Business” would be shown on Sunday mornings. It starts at 11 am on Sundays from this Sunday.

This is what David Koch said in the Seven release: “My Business is a sleeves rolled-up approach to television. Every episode will deal with different businesses solving real issues confronting those Australians who underpin our economy.” Gosh, makes him sound like a sleeves rolled-up kind of guy doesn’t it.

But wait, there’s more. here Dave’s talent list: Koch leads the My Business team which includes Rob Belgiovane, Creative Director at leading advertising agency, BWM, on marketing; Julia Bickerstaff, a partner at Deloitte, on financials; Peter Blasina, the “gadget guy” from Sunrise, on technology; and Geoff Morgan and Andrew Banks, the founders of Morgan & Banks, on people management.

And there’s more. The Seven statement said Details of every case study will be featured in My Business magazine. That’s a Palamedia publication.

Ahhh the penny drops, there’s Geoff Morgan, a non-executive director of Palamedia, the company Koch was deeply involved with, helping to found it, run it and was a shareholder. Now, as his Seven network career has risen, it’s only as a shareholder. Palamedia produces a nightly business report for Sky News and also is looking after Sky’s digital business news channel.

Andrew Banks is partners with Geoff in the Talent2 job placement and head hunting business. That’s a repeat of the Morgan and Banks business they formed years ago, built up and then sold to an American company.

Both men have been guests on Sunrise being interviewed by Koch this year, something Koch hotly defended in an email to Crikey.
Geoff Morgan was also used in a series of My Business seminars that were advertised on line and in print media.

Peter Blasina might be the gadgets guy on Sunrise, but he was also the ‘gadgets guy’ on Nine’s Small Business Show for years. So he’s been everywhere, man.

From the press release, it sounds a little like Business Success, the 13 week infomercial than Nine is running on small business at 7.30 am before Business Sunday. That comes from Melbourne and this Sunday is its third week. Rumour has it that the program had better ratings than the Sydney ratings of Business Sunday did last Sunday.

Koch apparently has had written into his contract with Seven a provision about him doing a small business show. Seven apparently were forced to pay him in 2003 when it didn’t happen, but this idea was cranked up several months ago when it became known that Nine was looking for a small business show and had found one in Melbourne.

Ten runs a small business type show at 8 am Sundays that is basicaly a long house add for Sensis, the old Yellow Pages directories business of Telstra. That was pitched to Nine after the Small Business Show was pulled from the schedule, but nothing proceeded.

Seven had been unwilling to give Koch the program because it wants him to concentrate on Sunrise because of the huge gains he and the program have made against Nine’s faltering Today show.

Hence former Nine Finance Editor, Michael Pascoe being employed to host the Sky Business News two nights a week and replace Koch on Sunday Sunrise. That would allow Koch to devote more time to Sunrise.

The fact that the Seven program is only for 13 weeks which should take it up to the Olympics) is an indication that its firstly a trial and will get Seven off the contract payment hook. If it doesn’t rate, then it won’t go. If it does do well and is low cost, then it will stay. Buying the program must be around the same cost to Seven as paying Koch more money this year under the agreement he wrote with pre-David Leckie management at Seven.

Koch had a stab at a program involving his family at Ten in the early 90s. It failed.

Meanwhile, Palamedia copped a fairly stiff query from the ASX about its cash reserves and financial position in late April. The company was able to assure the exchange that it had enough money and would obtain more from directors. Wouldn’t it be ironic if someone like Geoff Morgan, a non-executive director, ended up effectively financing the pre-production costs of a program in which he and his good friend David Koch were appearing.

This Sunday’s edition of the Koch programme has a segment on cash flows, according to the Seven blurb. Judging by the ASX query and Palamedia’s reply, that company would be an ideal candidate for treatment by David and his team.

Peter Fray

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