lloydGetting beyond some of the more weighty aspects of issues related to daylight savings, one of the aspects of it that concern me relates to the hiccups that occur with TV scheduling.  As a result of daylight savings, QLD is now an hour behind VIC and NSW. As a resident of Brisbane, this affects me.

In order to keep schedules consistent, national news programs keep their current timeslots. This places Sunrise and Today on a time delay by an hour. On most mornings, this is inconsequential, but on a day where significant news breaks, there is no value to watching either if you wish to get up to the minute information.

The lack of localism is a hurdle for national TV networks and this is one of the drawbacks of national services. There is a logistical (and financial) nightmare in changing the timeslots for these shows.It’s also worth noting that QLD isn’t the only affected state. All year-round SA/NT runs 30 minutes behind NSW and VIC, while WA is 2 hours behind.

Getting Sunrise and Today to air live in local markets falls in the ‘too-hard’ basket. It’s no doubt a nightmare with no discernable financial payoff. Having no excuse, however, is the ABC.

ABCNews24scheduleABC News 24 runs 24/7. And to it’s credit, there is no time delay on the channel. Nor should there be. What adds value to the service for those outside NSW and VIC is their simulcasted shows which run at the same time as they air in NSW/VIC. The 7:30 Report and Insiders are two notable, agenda-setting programs. There is a national interest for both of these shows to air live across the country. Thanks to ABC News 24, this is now possible.

Why is it then that Q&A, a show designed around live and interactive discussion, has not been added to the ABC News 24 service? Much like Insiders and The 7:30 Report there is a national interest in having these shows broadcast live.

Looking at the current schedule (pictured right) there are no programs going to air at that time that have a higher value than ensuring that residents of SA/NT/WA can participate in live coverage of Q&A. Stripping 30 minutes from Mondays edition of The World and the 10pm news bulletin is ultimately a small price to pay.

ABC News 24 is a valuable service that has already demonstrated its value in its contribution to the national discussion. It needs to take that final step and provide Q&A live to the national viewing audience. In not doing so, the ABC are dismissing the needs of residents outside of NSW/VIC.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey