On ABC local radio in Sydney this morning, announcers Adam Spencer and Virginia Trioli discussed Communications Minister Helen
Coonan’s comments in The Bulletin about advertising on the ABC.

It’s a hoary subject, but a listener belled the hypocrisy of the ABC
duo when he rang in immediately after the discussion (which featured a
slightly breathless Trioli becoming indignant about the idea of
advertising) to point out that Spencer and Trioli had been engaging in
a bit of advertising themselves: for Trioli’s program at 8.30am.

Spencer at least had the grace to talk about cross
promotion with the listener, but the subject was out in the
open. Every
day just before 7.45am Trioli and Spencer talk about
her show, and that happens throughout the day with other announcers.

It
sounds innocuous, but if cross promotion on the Nine Network for the Woman’s Day
is seen as “commercial”, or for New Idea on Seven, why isn’t it seen as being commercial when it happens on the
ABC? Likewise interviews with people with products or
programs on the ABC (such as the creator of Bob The
Builder
, or a member of the cast of Little Britain, recently), while ABC TV and
radio are full of ads for ABC publication like Limelight and Delicious.

And why
does Trioli, with her holier than thou attitude to
advertising, think that the ABC is any better a media organisation than SBS which accepts
advertising? There
are plenty of people in the ABC who look longingly at SBS as a superior public
broadcaster.

The
groups that will do their hardest to keep advertising off the ABC won’t be the
likes of Trioli and the various “friends” of the ABC. It will
be the commercial networks, because the ABC could
quite easy hoover up a couple of hundred million
dollars a year from the commercial networks, damaging Nine and Seven in particular.

Do you think any
government can withstand pressure from the big three commercial networks, or the
rest of PBL or Fairfax when their advertising revenue streams are
threatened?

Peter Fray

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