The Parrot’s ill-informed ACMA board sledging. Alan Jones is up to his old sleazy tricks, selectively quoting news articles and headlines and the letters that support him. But the most disgraceful thing has been his sly change of tack after attacking the ACMA board as having “little radio experience or knowledge of talkback radio”. He read out the names of ACMA members and questioned their radio knowledge on air saying “These people simply don’t past muster”. Today he was up to his old tricks, changing his attack, saying the ACMA people had little ”commercial’ radio experience. And why did Jones change? Because someone obviously had a word with him and pointed out that one of the names he read out from ACMA, Malcolm Long, has had considerable experience in radio at the ABC, running radio stations. Long is also director of the Australian Film, Radio and Television School. It runs the only nationally recognised radio courses, including talkback for budding hosts, like Jones, producers etc. It is the best and most respected course in radio, so much so that 2GB’s News Director, Jason Morrison, has lectured there. Oops! One of the courses taught to first year students is the management of talk back radio calls, communications etc; how to handle emails and viewer comments on air. Yes, things that are at the root of Jones’s problems with ACMA at the moment. It is something his radio mentor, and savior, John Brennan, who oversees 2GB’s sound in Sydney, should also know. — Glenn Dyer

US advertisers show the way on offensive shock-jocks. In Australia we whip radio and TV people with a feather when they cross the line and insult people: as we have seen with the treatment of Sydney talkback noise, Alan Jones. In the US they take a stronger action. They are forced to, not by regulation, but by advertiser pressure. The case of US radio star Don Imus has run in parallel to our own Jones saga this week. He broadcasts on CBS Radio and is simulcast on the MSNBC website. Last week he insulted a college basketball team when he referred to them as “nappy-headed hos”. The resulting furore saw at least five major advertisers walk either before or after CBS and MSNBC took action to suspend Imus for two weeks for the insult. That isn’t enough for some critics who want him fired. And what of Jones for describing Australians of Middle Eastern origin as “grubs”? He gets whipped by ACMA, supported by his boss, John Singleton and employer, Macquarie Radio Network. Singleton joins Jones in bagging the regulator and its chairman, Chris Chapman, in a gutless attack, knowing full well that Chapman can’t get into a slanging match with either because they would show “apprehended bias” in any legal action. Our Prime Minister says Jones is an “outstanding broadcaster”; that’s tosh and John Howard knows it. Jones was irresponsible and reckless. If CBS and MSNBC are forced to sack Don Imus it will be because of advertiser and commercial pressure, not regulatory concerns. That should please Jones and Howard: the market punishing a transgressor. Why won’t advertisers on Jones’s program pressure MRN and Singleton? By advertising on his program they are giving implicit support to him and his vitriol. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Wednesday night and the ABC did well, draining viewers from Seven and Ten at 8.30pm, but the Seven Network still won. Seven News was tops with 1.387 million from McLeod’s Daughters up to 1.333 million, Today Tonight had 1.326 million and then Spicks and Specks on the ABC at 8.30pm with 1.310 million followed by The Chaser at 9pm with 1.303 million. Nine News was next with 1.290 million, Seven’s Air Crash Investigations averaged 1.212 million for an excellent program and A Current Affair had 1.177 million. Home And Away won the 7pm timeslot with 1.140 million, while Seven’s Heroes languished with 1.140 million. The Biggest Loser also averaged 1.140 million, while Nine’s Temptation had 1.055 million and Ten’s repeat of House averaged 1.034 million at 8.30 pm for third spot behind the ABC and Seven.

The Losers: Nothing really. Ten’s The Con Test finished last night with 828,000 from 7.30pm. It’s the first of this year’s new primetime game shows to die. Nine mix of fresh/used eps of Cold Case at 8.30pm averaged more than half a million viewers each: it got the program back into sequence after the AFL Footy Show was on last Wednesday night in Melbourne and Adelaide.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and as did Today Tonight. Seven News won all markets bar Adelaide and didn’t need its Perth margin. Today Tonight won Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, lost Brisbane and Adelaide to ACA. TT didn’t need its Perth margin but it was close. Seven News and TT won Sydney. Nine’s Nightline averaged 284,000. Ten News averaged 859,000; Late News/Sports Tonight, 434,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 954,000; The 7.30 Report, 813,000; Lateline, 244,000; Lateline Business, 125,000. Dateline on SBS averaged 217,000; SBS News at 6.30pm, 189,000. 7am Sunrise, 406,000; 7am Today, 264,000. The Catch-Up, 153,000 at 1pm and looking dead.

The Stats: Seven won a share of 28.5% (28.4% last week) from Nine with 27.7% (26.1%); Ten was third with 21.3% (23.8% a week earlier), the ABC finished with a high 18.3% (18.0%) and SBS was on 4.3% (3.7%). Seven won Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and had a big win in Adelaide. Seven still leads the week 29.4% to 26.7%. In regional areas a different outcome with WIN/NBN winning with 31.1%, from Prime/7Qld with 26.7%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.7%, the ABC with 16.5% and SBS on 5.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: So last night provided an even spread of viewing with the efforts of Spicks and Specks and The Chaser the stand outs. Tonight it’s sort of back to normal. Nine will be hoping Missing Persons Unit and the two Footy Shows will win the night, which they probably will do or go close. Getaway is back at 7.30pm. Seven has Earl, How I Met Your Mother, Lost is back and another series of The Amazing Race starts at 9.30pm. Ten has two eps of Jamie Oliver At Home at 7.30pm and then repeats of the two Law and Orders, SVU and Criminal Intent. The ABC is not for those looking for entertainment.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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