I was in the Channel Nine studio at Richmond, Melbourne tonight as the 6pm news went to air.
It was an historic occasion. Newsreader Peter Hitchener announced to the television audience that the Richmond studios had been sold, and Channel Nine would be moving to its new purpose-built facilities at Docklands.
This means that Fairfax Media, Channel Seven and Channel Nine will all be within a block of each other. (And Crikey is just up the road).
Channel Nine first broadcast from the Bendigo Street Richmond studios 53 years ago. Before that, the building had been a piano factory and a Heinz factory. It went on to be the home of Australia’s most successful television programs, and the closest thing Melbourne had to a Hollywood-style studio, complete with stars and egos. Things have changed. I was shown, for example, where the swimming pool used to be. Those days have long gone. Like most news organisations, Channel Nine is leaner these days.
My presence in the studio tonight was due to the generosity of the Melbourne news team, which had agreed to host a number of tours for my Swinburne University journalism students. Everyone at Channel Nine has been incredibly generous in giving the Swinburne students their time and the benefits of their knowledge and experience. For the students, the visits have been a truly extraordinary experience.
Some of them, no doubt, will one day work in the new heartland of Melbourne media at Docklands, but they will certainly remember their first inside view of the workings of the media at Bendigo Street Richmond.
Thanks to all concerned.