Stateline faces the chop? Word is that the ABC will axe the Stateline programs and replace them with a national, but Sydney-based Dateline-style format. It’s among massive budget and staff cuts to pay for News 24.

...might not save The Brazilian. Which Melbourne newsroom is collectively punching the air with delight every time the morning ratings come through to show that it’s been thrashed? It’s hoped the slide will hasten the demise of the man known as The Brazilian — but in case it doesn’t, there are many planning their exits, to join the dozens who’ve already gone.

Murdoch’s dollar dazzlers. It’s odd that we haven’t heard any real criticism from News Limited papers, especially The Australian, about the damage (alleged or real) the high dollar is doing to Australia. Yes, there have been stories about the problems in tourism, education, exporters generally, much of it stock-standard, fill-in-the-dots type of reporting (dollar up; who’s hurt; who wins). The reticence (say compared to the BER or The Greens) is because HQ is a big beneficiary of not only the strength of the Aussie, but more importantly, the terrible and continuing weakness of the US dollar. All that foreign income earned from London, Australia, Europe, India, China and points between from selling newspapers, magazines, Pay TV programming, movies and all the other things palmed off on the rest of the world by Murdoch.

The pounds sterling, euros, rupees, yen, Aussie and NZ dollars, Singapore dollars and many other currencies have risen by varying amounts against the greenback this year, which many seeing big rises in the September quarter in particular. In fact, the rise in the value of the Australian dollar (12% in the past quarter alone) is making the average John Hartigan and his crew of fumblers at Holt Street in Sydney look very clever, in US dollars. In Aussie dollars (or “local currency”, as News describes the Aussie in its earnings statements) it won’t look all that flash when News Corp produces its first-quarter figures in the first week of November. News Corp of course has its AGM in New York tonight for the 2010 June 30 year.

Announcing the third quarter figures could have been accommodated by combing the AGM with the announcement, but that would have exposed The Great Man to non-Murdoch shareholders (including, shock, Stephen Mayne, who might ask really hard questions). Murdoch will probably be in Australia for the first-quarter release and will run the teleconference from Holt Street, as he did last year.

Nine’s cash giveaway… Nine News in Melbourne is getting slaughtered by Seven, so much so they’re turning to a nightly cash giveaway which is always the option of last resort. Michael Venus is undoubtedly on shaky ground given the combination of poor ratings and staff deserting his newsroom, but unfortunately the feeling is that there are not many options around to fill his shoes.

Qantas as destructive as Cruise. In Sydney today Qantas will again be working out how much longer you’ll wait for the chicken or the beef when they slash the number of jobs on the flagship A380 late next month. Strange thing is, while you’ll be paying more and waiting even longer for the chicken or beef, those Qantas middle managers responsible have already started to reward themselves with a series of extravagant lunches and cocktails parties — last night in Melbourne and again next week (19th) in Sydney. And while passengers that complain about not getting kosher meals and get violent end up in handcuffs on the way to Hong Kong, it was these same partying managers that decided it would be a good idea to slash security training for the crew to a couple of hours once every two years.

When it comes to slashing it seems management are now taking lessons from Tom Cruise, who, in the on-board movie of the month, Knight & Day, takes hold of of some on-board equipment and attacks other passengers. Despite complaints about the movie violence from passengers and flight crew, management responded by telling the crew and their union in a post-lunch email that they “need to sort out fact from fiction”. Strange thing is that’s exactly what air safety regulators will be telling Qantas early next week when they arrive to investigate a swag of covered up safety shortcuts, including an A380 that flew across the Pacific three times with a major leak in a cabin door that was fixed by stuffing a tea towel into the gap.

Peter Fray

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