TV & Radio

Oct 29, 2012

A memo to my Radio National colleagues: welcome to the 21st century

ABC Radio National has axed its radio drama department and around 11 staff, putting more emphasis on live programming. Which according to one network insider is only fair.

Earlier this month, Crikey reported on a major overhaul at ABC Radio National that will see the radio drama department axed and around 11 staff made redundant. Staff in the features department have been particularly concerned at cuts that will see the number of senior producers reduced from five to two. However, as one RN insider writes, some at the station believe change is long overdue …

I am absolutely gobsmacked by the resistance to change exhibited recently be arts and features makers who are facing a small handful of redundancies, some overdue unit restructuring to adapt to 21st century cultural changes and slightly shorter deadlines.

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4 thoughts on “A memo to my Radio National colleagues: welcome to the 21st century

  1. archibald

    I must say it is pleasing to read the other side. I suspect there is much truth in it.
    I am concerned that management was required to spend so much time doing this rubbish given the significant improvements they have made to the network recently. I love what is happening to RN. The staff there is very lucky to have such talented leadership. (Yes I am a retired manager).
    May I suggest that succession planning be established at RN? Yes Philip Adams and Robyn Williams are replaceable. (What – no new clever science broadcasters emerging?). Phase them out and give them a presence. It works for Caroline Jones on Australian Story. Same goes for the old producers. OK…keep some, but refresh!

  2. rupert moloch

    “fair”, in this instance, would seem to be: whatever enhances yr contributor’s job security & salary package. & that, at the expense of his colleagues.

    RN’s problems are several. Budgetary constraint, cultural inertia, & editorial timidity probably addresses most of them. The first of these reflects the political agenda of successive federal governments, and the Howard govt in particular. The second & third have been RN’s native responses to the first.

    Talk is cheap. The programs your correspondent identifies – essentially commentariat colloquia – are the cheapest kind of radio there is. But perhaps not the best, nor the most expertly informed and engaging. Some of it, perhaps, might be considered more appropriate to ABC local radio?

    What is currently taking place represents a radical realignment of editorial priorities. And there’s a succession crisis; management is struggling to conceive of a new program grid in the absence of Tony Barrell, Ramona Koval and Alan Saunders.

    At this juncture it seems inevitable that, sooner or later, RN will be merged with Newsradio. But I remember well programming of the order of Adrian Martin’s The Week in Film, Eva Cox’s discursions on social policy, the radio essays of Bob Ellis. None of that made great claim to the station’s resource. It was unashamedly polemical, but well-reasoned and illuminating. The challenges those programs visited to their audience are increasingly disappeared from the RN schedule.

  3. Tim H

    Well I’m not a radio insider (fortunately?) but I find it pretty easy to see the logic behind the questions put. Surely the producers aren’t complaining about being singled out but in fact are just trying to stick up for cuts in their area.

    I don’t think it’s at all persuasive to argue that because certain staff at RN are being abused by their employer, then all staff should be.

    And I’m pretty sure the reason behind the question about budgets is revealed by the reply from management “Costs are not seen as a competitive requirement in terms of pitching”. The producers and the union are worried that management is going to chose the cheapest rather than the best segment (or whatever these budgets are for).

    The correspondent’s outrage seems a tad confected.

  4. nicko

    So the move to TV personalities and politicians to supply “new” programs, is money well spent?

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