The second coming of Westacott The “Westie as Jesus” train chugs along at the Nine Network and in the Sydney media as 60 Minutes ratings hit the lowest ever. After last Sunday the season average is now 1.255 million, down on last year’s 1.504 million. The peak since 1990 was 2.2 million in 1992.

Today’s Daily Telegraph is a case in point. All this publicity about how Westie will return to save 60 Minutes from its current appalling performance ignores one very salient point: 60 Minutes’ problems are of his doing. He ripped out any semblance the program had to its original under Gerald Stone by dropping and then completely ignoring investigating stories on behalf of its audience.

That is something the CBS original has never forgotten and it remains a current affairs powerhouse, capable of interviewing Barack Obama, John McCain and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke. In Australia none of their equivalents. Prime Minister Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull or RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens, would never get a look in with 60 Minutes because of the way its reputation has shrunk to that of a ‘flirt’ based star driven purveyor of fluff.

Westie got rid of good reporters like Jeff McMullen and appointed each and every one of the current featherweight crop, all the producers and all the researchers. The thing David Gyngell needs to find is  talented new managers to revitalise the program, not give it more of the same. — Glenn Dyer

What is digital radio exactly? Tomorrow sees Radio United, a five city outside broadcast featuring all commercial and public service broadcasters, to promote the launch of digital radio in Australia. In the guest posting, Commercial Radio Australia’s Joan Warner highlights its potential for advertisers and marketers. What is digital radio? Put simply it’s all the stations you already know and love, plus new digital only stations such as Radar, Pink Radio, NovaNation, Koffee and The EDGE. — Joan Warner, Commercial Radio Australia, writing in Mumbrella

Forget water, where are our iPhones? Australia is in the grip of an iPhone shortage, with phone carriers sold out of the new model and Apple admitting it can’t produce enough to meet demand. The iPhone 3GS launched in Australia on June 26, but all five telcos with the device have sold available stocks. —

Young people won’t pay up One in three young people say they are not willing to pay for for online services such as digital music and video downloads, according to a report published by the European Commission. The wide-ranging report, which looks at the competitiveness of Europe’s digital sector over the past five years, found that 16- to 24-year-olds have a hardline attitude to online payment systems. — The Guardian

Don’t like what your TV news has to say? Attack it! A pro-government activist in Venezuela has handed herself over to the authorities a day after a violent attack on an opposition TV station. President Hugo Chavez said left-wing militant Lina Ron, who has been one of his most ardent supporters, would now face the full weight of the law. He deplored the attack on Globovision TV, and said it would help his opponents brand him as a tyrant. More than 30 people stormed the station in Caracas, firing tear gas. — BBC News

Happy birthday Helen President Obama celebrated his own birthday today by leading the White House press corps in singing Happy Birthday to veteran reporter Helen Thomas. Obama is 48 today; Thomas turns 89. Obama carried cupcakes into the briefing room, and told Thomas: “I will leave it up to you, Helen, how you want to distribute the cupcakes.” Obama sat beside Thomas for a picture after she blew out one candle, and said she told him her birthday wishes were “world peace and a real health care reform bill.” — Newser

Clicks are a sham Cost per click ads are the worst thing that has ever happened to publishers, because it robs them of the opportunity to charge for the other, less tangible benefits of advertising. Gian Fulgoni, co-founder of Comscore (an internet measurement company) agrees with me: Fulgoni says advertisers and marketers need to forget the click, focus on the sales impact on campaigns and conduct post-buy analysis. — eatsleeppublish

Radio was meant to kill papers too Like today’s Web, radio harmed newspapers commercially by disrupting the institutional identity they had carved out, Jackaway writes. The upstart media forced journalists and readers to ask, “[W]ho is a journalist? What is news? How should the news be delivered? What are the rules regarding the form and content of an acceptable news message?” Radio also fractured the existing institutional structure that partnered newspapers and wire services to deliver national and regional news. Radio could easily bypass newspapers and funnel news directly from the wire services to audiences. — Slate

Peter Fray

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