There
wouldn’t be many Australian homes who support Foxtel as
enthusiastically as the Maynes and we’re pretty happy with the service.
The better half enjoys old episodes of Sex in The City, the kids would happily watch Nick Junior all day and I like the music channels plus the generally excellent offering on Sky News.

And
with Foxtel finally breaking into profit after ten years of losses, you
couldn’t blame the pay-TV players for yesterday patting themselves on
the back at one of those “glittering award nights” held for the
industry at Fox Studios. Claudia Karvan was voted the most popular
female character for her role in Love My Way on Fox 8, Lifestyle’s
Brendan Moore got gonged and Sky News received three awards, including
“channel of the year”. However, in one of those unfortunate
juxtapositions, a disaster was unfolding on the “channel of the year”
just as the awards were getting into full swing.

It has now been more than a year since David Koch and Michael Pascoe were booted out of Sky Business Report,
the nightly half hour program which goes to air at 8.30pm and is
repeated at 11.30pm. The two veterans were initially replaced by
21-year-old Brooke Forster, but then Karen Tso was parachuted into the
chair as part of a re-launch that saw the program produced in
conjunction with The Australian.

Given what went to air last night, Karen must be wishing she was still doing the finance updates for Tony Jones on Lateline.
For starters, the autocue obviously wasn’t working because Karen was
constantly looking down at a piece of paper as she introduced the
program. Then there were a couple of brief glitches with the sound and
picture, but it got worse when a story on oil prices featured a long
grab from Peter Costello with no sound.

Karen advised at the
outset that a detailed interview with AGL CEO Paul Anthony was coming
up later in the program so I stuck around out of interest to hear his
Welsh accent and learn more about yesterday’s peace deal with Alinta.
Sadly, Karen introduced the interview and once again we got a silent
picture of a man talking. After about 30 seconds Karen came back and
apologised for the technical glitch and went to what was obviously a
filler story about Sydney Fashion Week but that also had no sound.

The program usually finishes with a summary of the headlines in The Australian’s
business section the next day but when Karen bid farewell to her
10,000-plus viewers prematurely at 8.50pm we only had them read out
rather than displayed.

So how do you fill ten minutes of live news coverage? Sky first opted for a house ad plugging The Australian. The catch-line was: “Are you an informed Australian?” Certainly not after watching last night’s Sky Business Report.

The
last five minutes of the program were filled with an interview by sports reporter Craig
Norenbergs with Kyle Patterson about his not-so-new book Football for Dummies. Has anyone ever produced a book called Live TV for Dummies?
Maybe it was just a case of everyone being on the booze at Fox Studios.
Thankfully the repeat of the program at 11.30pm fixed up most of the
blunders but only really sad cases like me would have stayed up to find
out.

Peter Fray

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