Covering the 2005 budget was nearly beyond the Sky Business Report last night, and when they finally got there it was still an embarrassing effort. You can only feel sorry for 22-year-old host Brooke Forster who was expected to handle half an hour of live television on a very complex issue. The rest of Sky’s Budget coverage was excellent last night.

The program is looking low on resources and experienced staff and you have to again ask whether Sky management care any more. We’ve already reported on the way the old Sky Business Report was absorbed when Palamedia got rid of it, with high profile business hosts David Koch and Michael Pascoe vanishing and not being replaced.

But now from Sky CEO Angelos Frangopoulos, we have news of yet more changes announced a few days ago:

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Lindell as an Executive Producer on the main channel. Richard replaces Murray Shaw who is leaving to pursue new interests. I thank him for his extraordinary contribution to Sky News. Effective from next week Richard Goncalves will be the AM Program Producer for Sky Business Report. He will remain based in Melbourne. Matthew Taylor will be the PM Program Producer.”

Lindell and Goncalves both look to be in their early 20s. The program has lost experienced reporters, producers and a camerman. The producers have to edit. It would seem easier for Sky simply to fold the operation into the daily coverage and use the re-signed Brooke Forster to handle updates in the regular news broadcasts with longer segments during the day, but not as long as the program at night.

Sam Chisholm is proving to be a hands-on chairman of Sky. Now that he’s effectively running Nine, will the Sky Business Report be outsourced to the business unit there, as Nine’s finance editor Ross Greenwood has so long campaigned for?

Stay tuned.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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